El Tigre Bar, definitely the must visit tapas bar in Madrid, being the only one true tapas bar left. Given a random google search or on any travel guide, El Tigre may not be apparent. But for the true travellers and Seeing The World In Steps, this travel blog of mine will definitely recommend you to visit this hidden bar, located in one of the inner streets just round the corner from Calle Gran Via, right in the heart of Spain and also Madrid!
Tapas Bar were distinctive to Spain where people goes and grab a drink and chat the night away. Usually in the past, Tapas Bar were hang out for people who would order a drink and then a small plate of tapas were be served together to accompany the drink. But the idea and possibility of getting a free tapas have now been diminished far enough. In Barcelona now, I think that there are no bar offering it anymore, while in the rest of Spain, the chances of you chancing into one is also quite difficult. I had once read that in Seville, chances are higher, although this is guaranteed too! El Tigre is definitely the only true tapas bar left in Madrid that offers free huge plates and huge plates of tapas with every round of drinks ordered. Looking ordinary isn’t it? Do not expect anything fancy or some delightful decoration, although I have to say that the atmosphere makes up for everything, it is like nothing elsewhere, it is simply indescribable and you just have to experience it yourself!
Hearty tapas are accompanied and serve by those waiters that are definitely overwhelmed, expect to go early in Spanish standards, which I mean around 10. Any time after that, you are going to get a hard time getting a table or even seats at the bar, the later it gets, the better the atmosphere and things starts to get messy, plates aren’t cleared and empty jugs are all over the tables. It may seems that the service is lacking, but come on, this is a true legacy tapas bar. You may order from the staff or also the bar. Drinks are affordable, with a large cup of beer or Sangria costing around 4 – 5 Euros. I have seen mojitos available too, I guess it really depends on the bartender to prepare some special drinks that you would want. For the travellers, I will recommend the Sangria, a true Spanish delight, fruity and nice but also packs a punch too! The drinks will soon be brought over with plates of hearty tapas, what you get definitely depends on what is being prepared and also what the waiters brings over, although many of them are quite nice. If you would like some Croquette or something, you may inform the waiter when they are bringing you some tapas, if it’s available, they will bring some for you! Do not expect any glamorous tapas but something kept simple.
Thick slices of bread, top with grilled meat or chicken! Serrano ham sliced thinly and on a grilled bread, crispy fried croquette, these are the usual tapas that are prepared for customers. If you are ever here, do not let the crowded bustling environment deters you, go in, mingle and try to find a seat. Soak up all the Spanish life, and wine and dine the night away. When you walk in to the restaurant, you will definitely pass by the kitchen, you will get to see the cook preparing lots and lots of tapas slicing of bread, shaving slices of serrano ham and grilling meat on the hot pan. Patatas Bravas is also another favourite here, served piping hot and the spicy sauce just ensure that you are able to finish the gigantic cup of beer that you have.
The location might be a little hard to find, but it isn’t far from Gran Via, this is the must visit night out you have to go in Madrid! The operating hours differs, but is usually open till 1 am, perfect for some pre drinking and filling of stomach before heading out to some of the clubs nearby, it is worth noting that besides New York, Madrid doesn’t sleeps either! The address is available through a short search on google.
Do enjoy this place! And those that who have been here, do share with me how you find it!