Address: C/ Julián Romea, 4
Metro: Islas Filipinas (L7) or Guzmán el Bueno (L6 and L7)
Sala Cats is right next to the Complutense, one of the oldest universities in the world and the highest ranking in Spain, attended by some 85,000 students and located in the heart of the Ciudad Universitaria district, where other lesser institutions busily do their best to inform the nation’s young about economics, theology, science and other such delights, while the students themselves spend much of their time investigating such places as Sala Cats.
Cats is stuck somewhere between the typical Madrid ‘pijismo’ and student alternativeness. Essentially it used to be a nightclub, famous for its student promotions and small-scale concerts for little more than two or three hundred people. But it was always renowned for being reasonably spacious and generally producing a decent sound thanks to it unusually friendly and cooperative staff.
But it’s all change at Sala Cats, and seemingly for the better. The rights have been purchased by the same people behind one of Madrid’s most common concert venues, Sala Caracol, and as a result the place has been completely refurbished, now featuring a huge stage and the capacity for almost three times as many people, in a rectangular hall with almost perfect sight-lines. Caracol have clearly done the remodelling with concerts in mind, and it seems they will be dealing with the schedules. Sala Cats could soon be becoming one of the city’s most important music venues, and promoters will be relishing the thought of having thousands of students just around the corner.
The venue lies roughly halfway between Islas Filipinas (L7) and Guzmán el Bueno (L6 and L7) metro stops, in the Moncloa district of the city, not far from Santander Park. In whichever direction you’re heading, you want to get onto c/Guzmán el Bueno, and as you’re doing so, perhaps ponder the deeds of the Alonso de Guzman (1256-1309), after whom the street is named. He was in charge of the defence of Tarifa, and when his own son was captured and held for ransom in return for the surrender of the city, Guzman offered a knife with which to kill his child, saying that “I did not beget a son to be made use of against my country, but that he should serve her against her foes. Should Don Juan put him to death, he will but confer honour on me, true life on my son, and on himself eternal shame in this world and everlasting wrath after death.”
By the time you’ve finished pondering all that, you should have arrived at c/Julian Romea, which is named after a 19th century Romantic actor, or maybe after his nephew, also an actor, who went by the same name. Or maybe both. Maybe you could stop and ask somebody on the way of they could clear up that little mystery.