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Flamenco in Madrid: Music, dance & shows

Flamenco dancers Flamenco dancer Flamenco dancers Flamenco dancer Flamenco in Madrid
Flamenco rhythm and the Spanish guitar

Some of the most internationally-known flamenco artists are Paco de Lucía, Camarón de la Isla and Joaquín Cortés. For Flamenco beginners we recommend any album from Camerón de la Isla or Paco de Lucía. “Sueña la Alhambra” by Enrique Morente is also a good recommendation. The album compiles ten themes that range from the traditional to the most modern of the genre. Another great current Flamenco singer is José Mercé, who has filled the Royal Theater of Madrid on many occasions.

Flamenco is a musical genre of Andalucia origin that always has maintained a close relation with Madrid. Different stores, schools, bars and restaurants in Madrid display this art, which is better witnessed at night. The restaurants with flamenco shows in Madrid usually start after 9 p.m. and go well into the morning. The majority of the establishments offer dinner and the show together. The show can consist of dancing and singing, or singing alone.

History of Flamenco

Flamenco was formed from a mixture of various cultures: Arab, Jewish and Christian. Flamenco developed as a musical style toward the end of the 15th century thanks to the gypsies in the south of Spain (Andalucia). The gypsy culture was a nomad culture, accustomed to traveling and borrowing indigenous types of music and reinterpreting them in their own way. Flamenco was the product of the fusion of different towns, their cultures and the interpretation the gypsies gave them in Andalucia.

What is Flamenco?

Restaurants with Flamenco shows in MadridAt the beginning Flamenco consisted of one voice mixed with hand clapping. Later the guitar was incorporated. During the 20th century, the zapateo was introduced: male and female dancers tapped the steps of the dance accompanied by the music. This basic combination of elements, known as cuadro flamenco, was pulished as more additions were made to it: hand clappers to accompany the music and provide rhythm, male and female singers to accompany the main singer, the caja (box), a rectangular wooden percussion instrument, and the castañuelas (castanets), small wooden instruments played by hand. Flamenco currently is a combination of song, guitar and dance.

Flamenco is also an art because of the types of clothing it requires. The women usually wear long flowing skirts with bright colors, white shirts and shawls on their shoulders. The men usually wear black pants, white or spotted shirts and, on occasion, a small back bolero jacket on top of a belt. The men as well as the women wear heeled shoes to emphasize the dance steps.

Flamenco Stores and Schools in Madrid

In Madrid there are various stores specialized in Flamenco clothing. The most well known are the Tienda de Flamenco Pastora del Rocío (Avenida Betanzos 4. Tel. 917 396 766. Metro Herrera Oria) and Yebra Flamenco (Calle Luis Vélez de Guevara 16. Tel. 913 693 212. Metro Tirso de Molina).

Some of the main Flamenco schools in Madrid are:

Restaurants with Flamenco shows in Madrid

Restaurants with Flamenco shows in Madrid

In Madrid there are many places that offer Flamenco shows, whether they are restaurants or bars. The restaurants are well known because their menus are full of typical Spanish cuisine: fish and meats a la parrilla, tapas, cheeses and sausages, as well as a large selection of wines. Among the wines, there are two typical kinds from Andalucia: the fino and the manzanilla. Besides having shows in bars or restaurants, there are usually seasonal shows (especially during springtime) in theaters and music halls. For more information about seasonal shows, it is recommended to visit the official web site of the Ayuntamiento de Madrid.

Andalusí (Calle Capitán Haya 19. Tel. 915 561 439. Metro Cuzco)

Located in northern Madrid, it is famous for its decoration. The menu has typical dishes from Andalucia and a wide variety of cold tapas accompanied by fino and manzanilla wines. The show starts at 9:30 p.m. and lasts until 6 a.m. The shows vary by month, but usually consist of dancers and singers.

Café de Chinitas (Calle Torija 7. Tel. 915 471 502. Metro Santo Domingo)

This is one of the restaurants with most mythic Flamenco shows in Madrid. It is located in an 18th-century palace in the downtown. It offers a menu that mixes the traditional, like the sobrasada al vino tinto, with contemporary dishes. Since its opening in 1970, its shows have presented the best Flamenco artists. The shows start after 22:30 and last as long as the body can endure it. Closed Sundays.

Casa Patas (Calle Cañizares 10. Tel. 913 690 496. Metro Antón Martín)

This Flamenco show is considered one of the best in Madrid. Its kitchen is known for its elaboration of traditional dishes like the chuletas de cordero lechal (suckling lamb steaks), the rabo de toro (bull's tail) and a wide selection of hams and cheeses. Its desserts are homemade as well. The shows vary by month, but all consist of singers and dancers. They have shows at Monday to Thursday at 22:30 and at 21:00 & 24:00 on the weekends. Closed Sundays.

Corral de la Morería (Calle Morería 17. Tel. 913 658 446. Metro La Latina)

This Flamenco restaurant-stage holds 150 people and has been around for almost 50 years. Besides traditional Spanish dishes, there is a menu with a wide selection of tapas, including Spanish tortilla, seafood and sweet tapas. The shows vary by day. Blanca del Rey, a prestigious Flamenco dancer, is the star of the nights at the Morería. Open every day.

Corral de la Pacheca (Calle Juan Ramón Jiménez 26. Tel. 913 530 100. Metro Cuzco)

Open since 1971, this place is known for its Castilian decor and for the quality and prestige of the artists who have performed here. Its kitchen offers typical dishes that range from the sausages to the salads, seafood and meats. The specialties are the soups and rice dishes. The show usually varies by month and begins after 22:30. Open every day.

Las Tablas (Plaza de España 9. Tel. 915 420 520. Metro Plaza de España)

Its kitchen is known for its variety of tapas and wines. The Flamenco show starts at 22:30 and is led by the dancers Marisol Navarro and Antonia Moya. Every Sunday in April, after 13:00, everyone there is invited to enjoy some vermouth accompanied by a tapa and gets the fun started with live music. Open every day.

Tablao Las Carboneras (Plaza del Conde de Miranda 1. Tel. 915 428 677. Metro Opera)

This is one of the most popular restaurants with a Flamenco stage in Madrid. Its menu has traditional dishes: portions, tapas and meats. It offers different tasting menus as well. The walls inside are full of photographs that tell the history of Flamenco. The shows start at 11 p.m. and vary almost every month. Closed Sundays.

Torres Bermejas (Calle Mesonero Romanos 11. Tel. 915 323 322. Metro Callao)

Founded in 1960 in downtown Madrid. One of the most typical dishes is the paella.Special group rates are available. The show goes from 21:30 until 02:00 a.m. Varied Flamenco styles are offered – from the sevillanas to the cante.

Bars with Flamenco shows in Madrid

Flamenco bar in MadridThe bars with Flamenco shows offer the possibility of having a drink while you enjoy cuadro flamenco. Some of the most popular are:

  • Arco de Cuchilleros (Calle Cuchilleros 7. Tel. 914 295 675. Metro Sol). Open since 1961, the best Flamenco singers and dancers have performed here. The show lasts from 21:00 to 02:00 a.m. Closed Mondays.
  • Candela (Calle del Olmo 2. Tel. 914 673 382. Metro Tirso de Molina). This one of the most famous and frequented Flamenco bars in Madrid. Art professionals and aficionados usually go there. There are Flamenco shows almost every day, and it is not uncommon to pull someone up to sing, play or dance. Pure Flamenco in an authentic environment.
  • Cardamomo (Calle Echegaray 15. Tel. 913 690 757. Metro Sevilla). This is one of the most traditional Flamenco bars. The shows start after 21:00 hours every day. The weekends are especially full. The “jam session” every Wednesday starting after 10:30 p.m. is recommended.
  • Clan (Ronda de Toledo 20. Tel. 915 288 401. Metro Embajadores). Located in the Rastro area of Madrid, this is a picturesque restaurant by day specializing in appetizers: beers, wines and tapas, enlivened with good music. Around midnight it transforms into a bar with live shows from Wednesday to Saturday. Flamenco is the main genre, but they also have jazz, canción de autor (singer-songwriter), belly dancing, tango… Closed Mondays.
  • La Soleá (Cava Baja 27. Tel. 913 653 308. Metro La Latina). This is not a locale usually frequented by tourists because the Flamenco shows are very authentic. The show starts in the evening and lasts until the first hours of the morning.
  • Los Gabrieles (Calle Echegaray 17. Tel. 914 296 261. Metro Sevilla). Mythic Flamenco bar in Madrid, well known as the favorite of the toreros (bullfighters), singers and artists. Since its opening in 1907, it has had the same decoration of tiled walls. It opens at 1 p.m. and closes at 2:30 a.m., except for Fridays and Saturdays when the hours are extended until 3:30 a.m. There are live shows every Tuesday.
  • Peña Flamenca Chaquetón (Calle Canarias 9. Tel. 916 712 777. Metro Palos de la Frontera). This is the meeting place for the most demanding Flamenco public. Shows are held every day, starting at 23:30 and going until dawn. The name of the bar pays homage to the deceased singer Chaquetón.
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