El Perro de la Parte de Atrás del Coche. Calle de La Puebla, 15. Madrid

A mouthful of a name for such a small venue, but it’s quite entertaining whether you’re in a group or just as a couple. Music ranges widely from classic rock to glam-goth with some live gigs on the tiny stage, but veers towards dancey pop and nineties/noughties classics. The bar is fairly quick and entry is a tenner.

Metro Callao / Santo Domingo

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Bogui Jazz. Calle Barquillo, 29. Madrid

A mini-club at times, Bogui is fun and unpretentious. A memorable night here involved the DJ playing three Tribe Called Quest tracks within fifteen minutes (three! Fifteen minutes!), a personal hiphop favourite. Small jazz bands often play the intimate stage. Drinks are reasonably priced, the crowd is as scruffy as Malasaña gets, and they carry on until about 2.30am.

Metro Chueca / Cercanias Recoletos

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Gabana 1800. Calle de Velázquez, 6. Madrid.

To be confronted with an extremely spacious carpeted pavement area at the entrance of a club with well-dressed doormen – the only staff not wearing the ridiculous white or pink uniforms – is to know that some serious money is going to be spent. The display cabinet downstairs next to the cloakroom boasts a double magnum of Dom Perignon for €10,000. There just can’t be a crisis going on.
Bottle service is brisk and efficient, mixers are numerous; standard bottles cost €200. It’s a large single room that actually does get densely packed, seemingly by lots of twenty-somethings that haven’t bought drinks. The crowd ranges from tarts and teasers to sheikhs and shakers, especially in the section with the violinists and mini-exhibition. Though the bathrooms are small and the ladies’ queue gets obscenely long by 3am, it doesn’t take long to get to street level using the door by the DJ booth for a breath of fresh or a puff of smoky air. The music when the violinists are performing can be grand and there is a definite sense of occasion, but for the most part it’s housy-pop and classic rock mash-ups. Uninspiring, occasionally tedious but full of lots of pretty faces.

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Metro Retiro/Velazquez/Principe de Vergara

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Sala Pirandello (Club Low). Calle Princesa 3. Madrid

A heady mix of different strains of house and electronic music in a most convenient location close to Plaza de Espana; you can do a little botellon, hit a bar nearby, then shake your thing at the club, all within a 200 metre walk.
There really is a separate bar and club section here, though at times there aren’t always that many people dancing. Drinks are reasonably priced, though it can be a little slow if you want a cocktail.

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Metro Arguelles / Ventura Rodríguez

Macumba / Space of Sound. Renfe Chamartin, Loc.4. Madrid

A vast single-level club in the station complex, Macumba is the ideal venue for a big name dance act. There are some spacious areas near the bar and a loungey corner with sofas, but most impressive of all are the colourful fittings, curves, and lights; some may say it is a little overdone, in fact.
Drinks are good value and there’s never that much of a queue at the bar. Enjoyable.

Metro Chamartin

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Sala Penélope. Calle de Hilarión Eslava, 36. Madrid

This medium-sized club in a smart part of the city attracts some big names: I’ve seen both the drum’n’bass populist Roni Size as well as Dubstep poster-boy Joker here. The bar is usually quick to take orders and make drinks, and the stage is a decent size. The dancefloor is ill-defined but that doesn’t matter when everybody’s moving to a sound system that can definitely handle the low, low frequencies.

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Metro Moncloa

Taboo. Calle de San Vicente Ferrer, 23. Madrid

There is only one club I’ve been to more than Taboo, and that’s the Scala in London’s Kings Cross. This is no testament to its greatness, but indicative of the ease and predictability of having a decently-priced, fun night out. The music is usually great too, with live percussionists and saxophonists playing over the house and electro beats, and occasional big names on the Spanish DMC and breakbeat scene. A best friend once took a two hour nap in the corner on the long bench-style seat, only to wake up unmolested and get straight back on the dancefloor. I once left a leather jacket in the same corner and never saw it again. Good times have greatly outnumbered the bad.

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Metro Tribunal