Passion for the sultry, sassy and utterly mesmerising traditional Spanish dance of flamenco shows no sign of cooling – in fact, it’s as popular as ever with both the locals and tourists who flock from all over the world eager to experience this cultural extravaganza. And when it comes to big city delights, flamenco in Madrid puts on extra show-stopping frills that will take your breath away.
Although Madrid may not be the traditional homeland of the flamenco genre, some of the most ancient flamenco ‘tablaos’ were established in the Spanish capital and have continued to flourish, attracting the top performers to their stages and dance floors. The exhilarating art form of flamenco is now performed globally, and recognized for its remarkable passion, energy and beauty. So, what better place to go and see flamenco than in the heart of Spain itself?
Ready to see this cultural art form up close? Check out our pick of the hottest venues hosting the finest flamenco in Madrid…
- Corral de la Morería
Corral de la Morería is one of the most famous and historic flamenco tablaos in Spain, winning ‘The World’s Best Tablao Flamenco Award’ in ‘Las Minas International Festival’ – Spain’s most prestigious flamenco festival. It was also selected in the New York Times #1 best seller ‘1000 Places to See Before You Die’ as one of the world’s most iconic places.
There are performances taking place at the Corral de la Morería every night of the week, with shows lasting up to 1 hour and 10 minutes. Along with this experience, you can enjoy exquisite cuisine either before or during the show at one of the two gastronomic spaces in the venue.
Some of the finest flamenco artists have performed at the Corral de la Morería, such as Isabel Pantoja, La Chunga, Antonio Gades, Pastora Imperio and Blanca del Rey, with Blanca del Rey becoming the Art Director of the Morería shows; former winner of the National Flamenco Award. The shows are so iconic that familiar faces from all over the world have been spotted here. The tablao has seen the likes of politicians and presidents such as George Bush, Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy, with more recent visitors including Nicole Kidman, Hugh Grant, Natalie Portman and Sandra Bullock.
- Café de Chinitas
Café de Chinitas sits in the centre of the city near the bustling street of Gran Via and is perfect if you fancy digging in to a traditional Spanish paella whilst watching the show.
The venue hosts two 90-minute shows every day of the week (apart from Sunday), and serves an excellent choice of tapas, meats, seafood and drinks that spectators can savour whilst enjoying the incredible flamenco performances.
- Torres Bermejas
Torres Bermejas has seen some of the best flamenco artists in Spain perform at its venue, along with numerous familiar faces in attendance, such as the Queen of Spain and television icons. Its stunning décor and interior is inspired by the beautiful Alhambra Palace in Granada, bringing a southern Spanish feel to the capital.
Torres Bermejas discovered a handful of rising stars such as Camarón and Paco de Lucía, so you can expect to experience the utmost professionalism when visiting this tablao. Performances are on every night of the week and there is also a delicious choice of signature cuisine dishes available in the restaurant.
- Casa Patas
Located in the centre of Madrid, Casa Patas is renowned for hosting some of the more intimate yet extraordinary flamenco shows. The venue combines a performance area and a restaurant, with shows beginning at 10:30pm from Monday to Thursday, and 6:00pm or 10:30pm on Friday to Saturday, with the venue closed on a Sunday.
Casa Patas also has a flamenco school and a flamenco foundation for those who are eager to learn and get in on the action.
Recommended by The New York Times, Cardamomo is located in the heart of Madrid near Puerto del Sol. It is one of the biggest flamenco locales in the city, with up to three shows taking place every day. If you fancy a bite to eat before you indulge in the flamenco experience, dinner is also served 45 minutes prior to the show.
- Las Tablas
Las Tablas is one of the newer establishments in Madrid, located in the centre between Gran Via and Princesa. In just ten years, the venue has shot to the top end of the list of flamenco bars in the city.
Two shows are performed each day: the first at 8:00pm and the second at 10:00pm, and depending on the type of ticket you purchase, dinner, tapas and drinks are also available, making this a sure-fire hit if catching some flamenco in Madrid is high on your travel wish list.
Flamenco – a little bit of history
The genre of flamenco originated in the southern Spanish region of Andalusia in the 18th century and is heavily associated with the gypsy culture which was present in this period. This art form typically consists of three distinct parts; ‘cante’ (the song), ‘baile’ (the dance) and ‘toque’ (the guitar); all of which are performed simultaneously, along with a rhythmical rendition of handwork and footwork.
The history of flamenco is extensive, with the first ‘café cantante’ emerging in 1842 in Seville; a small venue which organized ticketed flamenco performances to the public. In the second half of the century, flamenco was widely popularized, with several café cantantes emerging not only in the larger cities of Andalusia, but also in the capital city of Madrid. This was a defining moment in the evolvement of flamenco; a period which is now identified as the ‘Golden Age of Flamenco’.
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