Madrid’s Best Bars: The Dry

by mary on July 25, 2013

Madrid's best bar: The Dry

Besides friends, wine, and food, one of my greatest pleasures of going back to Madrid is the gin culture. Spain remains obsessed with gin and despite persistent rumors, the gin and tonic wave is still going strong. The Spanish really know how to do justice to a gin tonic, with a huge selection of premium gins and tonics, carefully selected garnishes and proper preparation. Though we have great gin cocktails in many parts here in the US in what I am happy to see is a growing trend, I've been generally disappointed with the gin tonics. There are many places to get a great gin tonic in Madrid, some pretentious and overpriced, others cozy neighborhood bars, but the place to go for great cocktails, perfect service, and to feel really special is the Dry Bar in the Hotel Melia Fenix.

The Hotel Melia Fenix is in Plaza de Colon, right next to the Hard Rock Cafe. The Dry is in the lobby and has both several parts: a beautiful classic bar, an indoor lounge area, and an outdoor terrace area. It is actually part of a luxury chain of bars started by famous barman Javier de las Muelas, and there is one in Barcelona and San Sebastián.

Best bar in Madrid: The Dry

Old world style bar

There are also tapas and I'm sure they are very nice but we come here for the drinks, usually after a long Spanish lunch, or before dinner. The cocktails are not cheap, 15 to 18 euros, but they are worth every penny here. A really good price for a premium gin tonic in Madrid is 10-12 euros and most of the poseur, pretentious places charge 16 on up. At these second palaces you often get just an ok drink served with an extra dose of attitude. Not so at dry bar, where the service and ambiance is a throwback to a former, more special time. The drinks, the atmosphere and the service will make you feel like a VIP every time.

Best bar in Madrid: The Dry

If you like a dry martini, this is the perfect place. Choose your gin and style….there is a counter on the walk for these namesake orders. I've tried the gimlets, the Moscow mules and a lot of the fresh fruit monitors, all excellent. There are lots of classics, but also some really inventive house cocktails. One favorite, when I'm in the mood for something slightly sweet, is the Shisomojito, a mojito made with vanilla rum and muddled shiso leaves….yummy!

Best bar in Madrid: The Dry

Shisomojito in the lounge area

But I usually stick to the gin drinks, either a dry martini, or the excellent gin tonics. The selection of gins is small compared to some Madrid bars, but they have a well-selected variety. The barmen and barwomen really know their business and can recommend both cocktails and the alcohol choice. The snacks that come with the drinks salty, abundant and go down perfectly with these top notch drinks! To seal the deal, it's almost always a great people watching experience.

If you want to feel special and have a lovely drinks experience, try the Dry Bar in Madrid!



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