Sala El Sol

Capacity: 350

Address: Calle de los Jardines 3

Metro: Gran Via (L1 and L2) or Puerta del Sol (L1, L2 or L3)

One of Madrid’s classics, Sol opened in 1979 and after being one of the hotspots of the famous ‘movida’ of the eighties, still conserves much of its original character – for the youngest kids in Madrid, when they first make their way down the famous spiralling staircase, they are following in the footsteps of their parents two decades before. Sol is one of those refreshing venues that hasn’t sold out to electronica – this is a place where people play proper songs on proper instruments, and although the ambience will change depending on the evening’s artists, there is almost always the kind of relaxed friendly mood that’s missing in so much of today’s techno-jungle. El Sol has always supported independent music, and hopefully always will do – there’s no particular style here, and this is a rare Madrid venue where you don’t get the feeling that everybody is just trying to out-cool each other.

It’s not big enough to attract any massive names, but there are bands on almost every night of the week (the late starts will be good for some an irritation for others), and the quality is generally guaranteed in an intimate atmosphere that almost feels like listening to a band play in your own front room. Not only that, but this must be the only place in the world where the drinks are actually cheaper when there’s a live band on – it’s not surprising that so many people come back time and time again and before they know it, they’re twenty years older. For some people, this becomes their second home – and if there’s one classic Madrid venue you should check out while you’re in the city, then this is the one.

GETTING THERE

Yet another Madrid venue that’s slap band in the centre of the city. The nearest metros are Gran Via or Puerta del Sol, from both of which it’s nothing but a short stroll down Calle de la Montrera, and Sala El Sol is waiting for you on the corner with Calle de los Jardines.

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