KIKEKELLER

Store-Gallery-Bar

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Owners Kike and Celia have a workshop on the outskirts of Madrid where they make new and innovative pieces of furniture. In their designs they merge industrial materials and metals with antiques and beautiful woods.

This space is cool. Located in the hip neighborhood of Malasaña, you can find their showroom, Store-Gallery-Bar. The location is an old sewing shop, redesigned. With constant change and new concepts and ideas for furniture pieces as well as art exhibits are presented here. Kikekeller’s designs are funky and for sale in this space along with items from other designers as well. Artists display their masterpieces on the walls and the drinks are flowing. You can go out for a cocktail and come home with a new table. This is like interior design heaven meets a modern art museum meets bar.

The exhibit that was happening when I went last is by Turkish artist Cumher Jay Yilmaz. Inspired by urban art, Picasso, Polluck and his Turkish roots.

Great for a night out with your artsy friends.

KIKEKELLER

Calle Corredera Bajo de San Pablo 17

Madrid

Store Hours: Monday-Saturday 12-15 and 17-21

Bar Hours: Thursday-Saturday 19-2:30

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La Venencia

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Madrid is a strange place anyway. I do not believe anyone likes it much when he first goes there. It has none of the look that you expect of Spain… Yet when you get to know it, it is the most Spanish of all cities, the best to live in, the finest people, and month in and month out the finest climate. While other big cities are all very representative of the province they are in, they are either Andalucian, Catalan, Basque, Aragonese, or otherwise provincial. It is in Madrid only that you get the essence… It makes you feel very badly, all question of immortality aside, to know that you will have to die and never see it again.
– Ernest Hemingway Death in the afternoon

Lately I have been thinking a lot about my 5 year relationship with Madrid. What I find at times impossible to articulate, Hemingway captures the feeling effortlessly. Madrid has truly captured my heart and it is the place for me.

La Venencia was one of Hemingway’s spots when he spent time in this city. This charming bar is like walking into a dream. It is everything you could ever hope a Spanish bar could be. Walking in on a late afternoon you are transported back in time to 1930’s Civil War Madrid. Behind the bar is a wall of dusty old sherry bottles. The space is lined with old posters from sherry festivals of the past.

Don’t make the mistake of trying to order a beer (like I did the first time here). The drink list consists of only five Spanish sherries; Manzanilla, Fino, Oloroso, Amontillado and Palo cortado. My favorite is the dark Oloroso. Your drink will be served with bright green Campo Real olives. The menu is short and posted on a faded piece of paper on the wall. You can order tapas, 1/2 raciones and full raciones depending on how hungry you are. Mojama, Hueva, Lomo, Queso, Chorizo, Salchichón, Cecina, Roquefort, and Anchoa are your options. Everything is high quality, authentic and inexpensive. When ordering the barman will keep your tab open by writing on the wooden bar with a piece of chalk.

The people you will find here vary from elderly Spanish couples and other locals to young foreigners who are so lucky to have found this gem. Look out for the little black cat sleeping on a chair or table perhaps.

The only photo you will see is this one of the outside. Photos inside are not allowed to preserve the essence of the past and the antique posters.

La Venencia

Calle Echagaray 7

Madrid

Hours: 12:30-15:30 and 19:30- around midnight