A nondescript café is a surprisingly great late night spot
Whenever and wherever I travel, I love to find a good, cozy café. And Madrid is no exception! A couple of blocks from my friend’s apartment is an adorable spot that is the perfect place to spend a few hours just hanging out and relaxing, either by yourself or with company. The exterior of the Blue Café is unassuming, the bottom floor of an apartment building on a fairly small cobbled street. In the mornings when the café is closed (and thus, without sandwich board), one could walk past without giving it much of a second glance. It has a door to the left side and an open-air window to the right, in front of which customers gather and enjoy the fresh air or a cigarette break.
Entering the café, there is a counter where one orders straight ahead, covered with a many jars and plates of baked goods, chips, even napkins. Behind the bar sit many a bottle of alcohol and quality coffee machines. To the left, one can peer into the small, narrow kitchen, with pantry items strewn about. The menu is written on a few chalkboards, all of different sizes and framing styles, which hang on the walls behind the counter, alongside odd mirrors and mismatched light fixtures.
The customer seating area is divide in two, by natural trunk-like wooden poles: an area to the right when one walks in, which features a few tables, chairs, and bench seating, and the rear, where a long tables are crammed together with two-tops. Wall paint colors fall into the blue-green family, though nothing matches precisely. The furniture is a quirky mix of beachy-vintage items, like rickety, multi-colored wooden tables and red and blue slotted chairs, and more mod sleek items, like a tiled counter and some velvet-covered stools. A fan purrs over the jazzy soundtrack at all hours, keeping the atmosphere breezy and comfortable.
But why is this café such a great hang out spot? The eclectic mix of people is a definite draw: skinny-jeaned hipsters, groups of high schoolers, an intellectual reading the paper, couples on a date, and even a family coming in for an 11p dinner with two small children. Laid back staff, creative food specials (and vegetarian-friendly options!), cheap glasses of good wine, and endless chips and nuts to accompany drinks make it quite appealing, but the high speed wireless internet and late night hours seal the deal. Sitting with a friend, what began as a powwow to finish homework assignments can – with a few shared plates, a bottle of wine, and far too many bowls of homemade potato chips – turn into a long evening of sharing photos, searching for cheap flights throughout Europe, and joining tables to chat with new friends.
We have found our “spot,” our home away from home, the perfect place to unwind and enjoy new elements of Spanish culture with the locals.