“Tertulia cafés” in Madrid

Since the moment Madrid was established as a capital city, it has had the privilege along the époques of gather together the most important thinkers and creative people of our country. Their common interests always led them to meet each other to share their concerns, and traditionally they always chose the cafés as a meeting place. For this reason these cafés would be called cafés-tertulia (literary-cafés), which became popular for their illustrious visitors and gained the right to be recognized as cult places in the city. In some cases their exclusive appearance has been lasting until now.
For this reason from Spaneasy we are going to describe some cafés, which will allow you to feel the charming and bohemian atmosphere that are still preserved and convert these places into proper museum pieces.
Café Gijón
This establishment opened its doors in 1888 and survived thanks to the literary meetings. Due to its distance from the bustling center, the café became a comfort place for conversation, setting up a loyal clientele and gaining prestige for its well-known visitors. On its tables used to sit personalities such as the Nobel Prize for medicine Ramón y Cajal, royalty members and European refugees from the First World War, members of the Spanish literary generation of 27 such as Lorca and writers and actors from all decades to the present. If you have the chance to have a coffee there, you will be able to see plaques and souvenirs in honor of its most famous gatherings at the tables where they used to sit.
Address: Paseo de Recoletos, 21
Café Comercial
The cafe-restaurant reopened in 2017 with a new owner, after a reform that has maintained its identity. When the previous owner decided to close it, lots of customers left on the café doors messages of affection and memories lived in the place. One year and a half later the unexpected reopening generated a generalized great joy. El Comercial, which opened in 1887, gained its mystique and charming atmosphere when it became the favorite place for important names such as the poet Antonio Machado or the Nobel Prize writer Camilo José Cela, who was inspired by this place to write La Colmena, one of the most important works of Spanish literature of the twentieth century.
Address: Glorieta de Bilbao, 7
Café Pombo
The historic café, opened in the 19th century in Calle Carretas, is no longer located in its original place, but nowadays you can find it in a building that honors its history: it is located where Ramón Gómez de la Serna used to live. He was the founder of the Saturday night tertulia called La sagrada cripta del Pombo, hence the name of Café Pombo Sagrada Cripta, which pays homage to the place where the main personalities used to meet: the filmmaker Luis Buñuel and the painters Picasso and Dalí among many others. Today it is both a restaurant and an art gallery where often you will be able to see contemporary art exhibitions together with the memories left by the sacred crypt.
Those meetings have been attested by the work La tertulia del café Pombo, painted in 1920 by José Solana from a photograph taken of the participants. Today you can find it at the Reina Sofía Museum in Madrid.
Address: Calle Guillermo Rolland, 7
If you are eager to discover this side of our culture, don’t miss the opportunity to see these places, which fed the creativity of the main Spanish artists. Have you already been in one of them? Leave your comment below.
And remember that if you are interested in these kind of places of Madrid here you have a post about its most bohemian corner. Discover it!

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