Gallery Hopping on Madrid’s DF

Tucked behind the Reina Sofía Museum, the Doctor Fourquet Street has become a thriving gallery district.  On a recent stroll one afternoon, we were able to visit many interesting spaces, lounge at a cafe, ending at the Reina Sofía during their free visiting hours. The map below shows you the different galleries located in this area.

Click on the underlined titles for a link to the galleries’ websites.

THEREDOOM-With a nice cafe, perfect for cocktails, this gallery is currently showing: Andy Warhol/Todo empezó así.  I was not familiar with these early Warhol’s and I particularly liked his drawing of a boy’s face.


Helga de Alvear-Timing is of the essence on this very original installation, currently on view: Karin Sander, Kitchen Pieces.  This new take on the tradition still life, brings vegetable and fruit to life and it’s slow rotting death.


NoguerasBlanchard-Loved the quote on the gallery wall entrance.

La Libreria, located in the corner of Doctor Fourquet and Argumosa streets. is a great little stop for coffee, juice or a sandwich, while browsing their used books.

Reina Sofía Museum– The terrace of the Reina Sofía’s Jean Nouvel Wing, is a great place to catch great views of the Atocha Train Station on one end, and the Lavapies neighborhood on the other.  Take advantage of the free admission from 7-9pm to catch one of its many exhibits.




Barrio de las Letras: The great people behind where I shop

The Barrio de las Letras is my neighborhood.  Although it is located next to many tourist destinations, it functions and feels very much like a neighborhood. I do not need to leave the neighborhood for my grocery shopping and errands. But the heart of this neighborhood is the people. You will find all the places I have mentioned on this map, as well as other restaurants and locations that I will feature on another post. Also, the highlighted words (in pink) contain links to the website of the place.


Licores Cabello The best place to shop for wine and liquors you must stop by Calle Echegaray to Licores Cabello where you will be well guided by Maria,her husband Jesus, or her father, David.


Maria and her father David

The Cacharrería and the Barber

For more information on Amparo’s pottery shop read about the little shops I love.


Of course, if you nee anything ranging from lightbulbs, soap and kitchen gadgets you must stop at Multitienda León. Pablo has everything, and will help you with a wonderful laugh.




Across from him on the Calle León you will find the widest selection of Gins and Tonics, as well as beer from all over the world at a shop called Mas que Cervezas



View of the back of the Mercado

My friends love to accompany me to the Mercado de Anton Martín for my grocery shopping. This three level building is where the locals shop, as opposed to the Mercado San Miguel which has become a crowded tourist destination. This market is located between Atocha and Santa Isabel Streets. You may enter through the narrow alley, Pasaje Doré.


Classic Movie Theater

The market is located next to the fabulous Cine Doré, where you can catch a wonderful classic film, and drink a beer at the lobby bar.

The market building occupies two floors of the building while the third floor houses the famed flamenco academy, Amor de Dios. Here at the vendors you find in the lower floor. There is also a great Japanese food counter right across the fishmonger.

On the second floor there are more places to eat and drink. There is also a health food shop and the wonderful flower shop, Flowrs.


Leti at her shop Flowrs


Very close to the market, I get my clothes tailored at Taller de Costura Buenavista by this lovely  mother and son team. They also collaborate with local artists/architects,, on very cool art installations.


Calle Amor de Dios/Moratín

At Centro de Estética, Paloma and her daughter can take care of your nails, waxing, facials and tanning needs.

For a good drink or a bite to eat you can head to the corner of Amor de Dios and Moratín to Los Chanquetes



Activities: 10k through Madrid’s landmarks

Just registered the entire family for this popular race hosted by Madrid’s most eclectic neighborhood, Lavapies. This hilly 10k only costs 10€ and includes a great tshirt. You can register online or in person at the neighborhood association’s office at c/Lavapies, 38 until 9pm Friday.

Conde Duque and its Environs


I decided to visit the recently restored Conde Duque Cultural Center which gives title to its Neighborhood, bordered by c/Alberto Aguilera to the North, c/San Bernardo to the East, Gran Via to the South and Princesa to the West.  I have previously visited this  former military barracks of 1717, for the various summer evening concerts held in its courtyards.  It has now been converted into a cultural center housing the Municipal Historical, Music and Film libraries, the City Archives and the Museum of Contemporary Art.



The wing of the Museum of Contemporary Art, at the time of my visit, felt empty.  There is a large staircase leading to the first floor where an auditorium and the permanent collection gallery are pushed to the sides of yet another commanding stair volume. It is elegant, yet the scale builds up to a disappointingly small gallery and collection. You would think that a city with so much art and rich curatorial tradition would have amassed and impressive amount of contemporary works.

DSC_3197However, the newest permanent installation located on the second floor, is definitely worth the visit. The studio of writer, artist and collector Ramón Gómez de la Serna (1888-1963), has been carefully transported to this space.  During his lifetime he had collected many curious objects from El Rastro, Madrid’s flea market, as well as his travels. His walls, screens and every surface is completely covered by collages of clippings of everything that interested him, books, images, magazines, road signs, etc.


He was a curious figure and the details and stories of his collection are well documented on some of his books. After leaving this space, I’m now inspired to read some of his books and gain more insight on this very influential avant-garde figure.

This studio brought to mind others I have visited like Francis Bacon’s Studio in the Hugh Lane Gallery of Ireland, Juan O’ Gorman’s studio and Frida Kahlo’s house in Mexico City./p>

View of the churrigueresque entry door of the Conde Duque

View of the churrigueresque entry door of the Conde Duque from the Plaza de Guardias de Corps

After visiting the Conde Duque, I walked through the various narrow streets of this neighborhood that at times, its hills reminded me of Old San Juan.  There are many artist studios and small shops, as well as new “hipster-like” specialty shops. Look for Olula-la, Sportivo, and FEEAS, a curious artisan who transforms objects into surreal accessories. Peseta is one of the pioneers in DIY handcrafted bags and accesories.

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I came across a small workshop and vintage gallery that Gómez de la Serna would have loved. Estudio Albahaca, is populated by many papier mache figures created by owner/artist, Vicenta. She would love to sell more of her creations, but in the meantime she offers workshops for all ages on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Check her website for more detailed info on her offerings.

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My friend, Beatriz Gonzalez Mañero, who lives in this neighborhood, shared with me her local favorites. I have marked them all on my map for locating it easily.

Eat/ Drink:

El Cangrejero: This typical bar of Madrid is considered by some as one of the best places where they draft the beer. The secret, says Beatriz, is in the “serpentina” or spout that is one of the original from the Mahou beer factory which was located nearby in what is now the ABC Museum. The factory workers would come here for their beer after work.

Muuy is a unique shop, cafe, gallery that specializes in “preserves” of high quality foods.

La Dichosa has a fantastic selection of wine and beers, a great tortilla de patatas and some meat pops. The owner, Eva and the waiter, Marcos will treat you very well.

La Carbonera also offers great cheeses and beers.

At the Plaza de las Comendadoras, you have the long standing Cafe Moderno and the Mexican, La Taqueria de BirraFederal also has great coffee, chai and although when crowded the acoustics may be loud, it has a good hamburger.

Olive has a terrace or outdoor sitting area and it’s known for its crepes. It shares the same owners of La Cajita de Noris.

Panic is a new type of bakery, the artisan breads are amazing and you must go early before they sell out. The owner apparently offers some baking workshops. Next door, another specialty shop Queseria, Yogures offers just that but really good as they are in direct contact with their local source suppliers.

Crumb has delicious sandwiches and make their own sourdough bread. Beatriz suggests the sardine or the chicken sandwich and to make reservations for weekends as it gets very busy.

Muur is an english style cafe, located in the Plza de Cristino Matos great for cakes and pastries, go for their carrot cake.

La Lata de Sardinas on c. Limón is another one you must call ahead. Apparently their gyozas are to die for.

La Gloria is known for its salmorejo.

For authentic asian food walk by c. San Bernadino and Plz. Conde de Toreno for Chinese, Thai and Indian restaurants.