Address: Calle Cuclillo, 6
Metro: Oporto (L5 and L6)
If you thought Madrid was all about the beautiful people, flashy clothes and manufactured electronic, then you’d not be far off the truth. But Gruta 77, which opened around the turn of the century, is where all that changes. This is the city’s number one underground venue – this is where the heavies and the punks hang out, and although it might not be the snazziest of joints, it’s perfect for the music, and there were once live shows every night of the week. Yep, 363 days of the year – the only blanks are for Christmas and New Year. Sadly, as a knock on from the crisis, Mondays and Sundays are usually event-less these days – the place simply wasn’t making ends meet.
Marky Ramone, has played here over ten times, and the Sex Pistols’ bassist Glen Matlock has also graced the stage. And it’s not just about the live gigs. Whatever kind of music the act has been performed will then be followed by that kind of stuff for the rest of the night – which isn’t just punk and hard rock. Ska, power-pop, jazz and fifties rock n’roll, for instance, also figure high on the agenda.
As far as prices go, it’s much better than most, and rather than the usual commercial labels, there’s a cracking range of imported beers. The only downer as far as most people are concerned is the appalling treatment from the staff, otherwise, if you’re the kind of person that keels up in horror at the mere mention of David Guetta, then you’re in the right place. Madrid really could do with a few more venues like this.
One of the first comments you’ll hear when people mention Gruta 77 is the fact that it’s a pain in the arse to get to, stuck out in the Carabanchel district. It’s there because it’s cheaper, the assumption being that people that need to listen to this kind of music will make the effort, and to a certain extent that’s true. And it’s only just up the road from the Palacio de Vistalegre, and people don’t criticise that half as much for not being in the centre of the city. Fact is, mardileño’s are spoilt by having so many of the main attractions so centrally located, and having to make the effort to move any further seems such a chore.
People also say Gruta 77 is impossible to find. OK, it’s not a stone’s throw from Puerta del Sol, but neither do you need to be a cross between Sherlock Holmes and Indiana Jones to find the place. Just get the metro to Oporto, walk up General Ricardos and take the third left into Nicolas Morales, just between the Kia and Hyundai showrooms. You’ll wonder where the hell you’re going. Surely there’s no concert venue down this street? There is. You may also feel a little uneasy about the street, and you’d be wise to go with caution. You’ll probably be fine, but there are better places to be wondering about late on a Madrid evening. Eventually you’ll get to Calle de Cuclillo, and there’s Gruta 77 on the corner. That’s the place.