The NOTEBOOK Madrid.comExpert facts from local expats since 2001
Moving to Madrid

Like to go out? Party? Drink and dance until dawn? You have chosen the right city. 
The Spanish capital is famous for its nightlife, especially in the Sol and La Latina neighborhood. Bars, discotecas, salsa clubs... But any self-respecting Madrid evening begins in the tapas bars. 

To experience the atmosphere of a typical tapas bar off the beaten towards La Esquina Eusebio in the Puerta del Angel neighborhood. 
Absolutely unknown to tourists, this bar is very popular with madrileños and especially students who do not hesitate to cross the city to spend an evening. They offer 1.50€ beer and tapas flowing non-stop from red trays that fly over your heads. It's hard to beat- its floor are covered with papers and customers are packed into the bar like sardines- claustrophics should refrain! Eusebio is one of the most popular among students Madrid and get packed to the door every night. The bar is also open during the day, it's still busy, but there's breathing space!
Another must address the Madrid student-life: the tapas bar El Tigre. Same principle: everyone is trying to elbow there way in for a spot, waste is thrown on the ground. Each drink purchased (1.85€ beer) is accompanied by a plate of tapas (patatas bravas, croquetas ...). For a few euros you are satisfied. Also, they have large, good mojitos for just 5€.
Never bored of tapas? Discover El Palentino bar. At around 3 euros per glass, this neighborhood bar became the headquarters of the Madrid youth. It's less known than the previous two, but still crowded.
Finally, if you prefer a less noisy place, try one of the Museo del Jamon. It's a chain found across the city and is a combination of a shop, restaurant and bar. It serves plates of Spanish hams and cheeses. The Museo del Jamon is not as cheap as previous addresses, but product quality and abundance are guaranteed. The setting is nice with dozens of hams hang from the ceiling, so you can't forget you're in Spain.
If you're looking for a nice tapas place to take visitors, try Lateral. There are many locations with outdoor terraces.
Seduced by the typical Spanish bars, but wanted something else? You will also find many bars in Madrid more "traditional", including Txakolina, Lamiak or others...

After tapas, you must improve your knowledge of Spanish culture by tasting the typical drink: Sangria. 
Coveted by young, Las Cuevas de Sesamo bar is recommended for its atmosphere and especially for its excellent sangria fair price (10 euros carafe). The bar in an original cellar, as the name suggests, where a piano welcomes you. The downside: the line starts at 20:30 on the weekends. If you are not fond of sangria, this isn't your place. 

On another note, try the Irish pub O'Connell St. Very fashionable among students, especially Erasmus, it offers happy hour Monday through Thursday from 19h to 22h and on weekends from 17h to 19h. The bar features 10 TV screens, including a giant screen broadcasting sports. Ideal for those who follow rugby tournaments.
In the same area, there are two more Irish pubs, Dubliners (same prices as O'Connell) and Fontana de Oro, which is less busy, but features live-bands.

If you like the gatherings of international students, visit the Teatro Barceló, every Wednesday night. The party from Orange Club has moved into the club that used to be Pachá. This is a great place with 2 dance floors, trendy atmosphere, free entrance until 1:30am with one free drink (or 2 drinks for 10euros). Note: to skip the line or get drink discounts with Europeanvibe, you must be a member of the student community Madridmas
Every Thursday and Friday, Joy is the discount club for Erasmus students. The crowd tends to be older, since the club is famous to tourists. But students get free entry or 10 euros with two drinks before 1:30 or 12 euros with two drinks after 1:30. To be sure to enter, register on the Guest List on the site

You can register on the website. For 5 euros, you get a card that entitles you to discounts at many bars, restaurants, clubs, clothing stores and even gyms like Urban Fitness

PRE-DRINKS (Botellón)
Finally, if you are in Madrid during the spring or summer, be aware that most universities organize "Botellón." It is improvised, outdoor, often in parks with music, beer, appetizers and, of course, Calimocho (coke or fanta and wine). The "Botellón" sometimes gathers several thousand students. This is an economical way to start the evening before going to bar hopping or clubbing. 

Some suggestions of cheap restaurants in Madrid...
Little known, La Casa de la Tortilla offers a buffet (food and drink) for youth. For 12 euros, you can get sangria, beer, tortilla, croquetas, morcilla, chorizo. Ideal for dinner with friends, until they can not swallow anything more... 
For a quick dinner, try the famous Spanish chain VIPS. Located through out Madrid, the VIPS restaurants offer a varied menu of simple, good dishes. Salads, sandwiches, burgers, pizza, pasta are prices around 8€. Heavier meals are around 10€ and desserts about 4€. Do not miss:. The chocolate brownie with vanilla ice cream (4.95€).
If you are free on Monday, Wednesday or Sunday, you have to find a Cien Montaditos. They offer 100 choices of small-sandwiches, various salads, and large "jarras" of beer or tinto de verano for great prices.  On Wednesday and Sundays, bring your loose change, because the menu costs only 1€ for almost anything. Mondays, they also have a combination-deal menu. There are many Cien Montaditos across Spain and they are growing fast.
On Tuesdays, for anyone that can't make a decision easily- the easy choice is Taco Bell. You can order one taco and one cup of beer for just 1€. Perfect way to satisfy your fast-food, mexican cravings.
Finally, if you are willing to spend more than 1€, but are still on a budget, La Finca de Susana offers an excellent price to quality ratio. You can enjoy Mediterranean cuisine for under 15€ from the a la carte menu. The "menu del dia" (lunch) is around 9 euros. The ambience is elegant. Highly recommended for a date night with your"enamorado(a)". The catch: It's impossible to book, so avoid Friday and Saturday nights.

To keep your stomach full before the metro opens, here some addresses to eat all-night. 
If you're in the area of Malasaña before 2:30am, then you can enjoy coffee, chocolate cake and board games at Cafe Manuela. This cafe is also great in the summertime to beat the heat with a delicious and natural milkshake.
Just steps from the Palacio de Gaviria, you can taste the famous churros con chocolate chocolateria of San Gines
An famous address in Madrid filled with lots of foreign students at night.