So you know WHERE to go out in Madrid, but do you also know HOW? No matter how long you have lived here, how well you know your friends or how integrated you are as a guiri in this city, you will end up with the following at least a few times a year no matter how hard you try.
Plan way ahead or just in time
A night out requires plenty of planning or none at all. Either you pin down your friends 6 weeks before they have had the chance to think of something else, or you call them at the very night to go out an hour later. Do anything in between and you will face endless calls (‘I am calling you to say I will call you later’), reconfirmations (Why? Are you waiting for a better plan?) changes of plan, mind and venue only to end up on your sofa alone.
More = better
Forget about having some quality time with your best friends to discuss the important matters in your life. Your friends will bring friends who will bring friends who will bring friends. Relax, it is actually fun and who has ever heard of having too many friends, anyway? Leave the philosophical stuff for Facebook.
Learn to love the street
With all these extra friends, it is even harder to go to the bar you planned. Lady A wants to meet a friend in place B, who actually turns out to be in bar C and then Mr D thinks of excellent restaurant E which is closed so you all flag down a taxi to pub F but Miss G remembers she left her lipstick in café H and suddenly it is six in the morning, the sun is coming up and you realize you spent the last 5 hours on deciding where to go while not actually ending up anywhere. But hey, you saw a great many very picturesque streets.
Spend some extra time on your makeup
Bars that attract the real crowds are always, funnily enough, overlit. They all suffer from a serious attack by fluorescent lights and that, as you will figure, requires a different strategy on the makeup and hair front. But let’s keep it positive: you will never step out with your latest catch only to discover on the street that he/she actually looks funnier than you thought inside.
You want to leave? Plan at least 20 minutes to say goodbye to everybody (‘I will call you to say when I will call you later’).
Try to just whisper even the slightest complaint on all of the above and you will be accused of being German, Nordic, square, or plain uptight. So just see it as a local experience and remember: there is always next week. Have fun!
PS And also remember all those nights where everything came together wonderfully and you thought life could not get any better. There will be more nights like these, I promise.
PPS Been let down again by your friends and will need to spend the weekend in a different way? Step into the Congreso de Diputados on Friday or Saturday (from 10.00 am to 19.00) for some excellent bullet hole searching (yes, really).
Este artículo forma parte de la Madrid Guide in English que publica en MMM Jolijn. Puedes leer aquí otro de sus artículos: Chorizo, Franco and lots of waste paper on the floor: this must be Election Day.