Now you may have noticed that the aperitivo is something I’ve written about before. Sorry to bang on about it, but honestly, if you’re on a break you mustn’t miss enjoying a leisurely lunch, and in my opinion when in Spain that should begin with a delicious little aperitivo to whet your appetite.
Casa Labra is just the place to test out my theory. This little tavern is located in the very heart of Madrid, just off la Plaza del Sol, and has remained almost unchanged since 1860. There is a sit-down restaurant upstairs, but I have never been there, as I love the bar downstairs so much.
Have a beer, wine, sherry or (my favourite) vermut de grifo, and a couple of their famous “croquetas de bacalao” (salt-cod croquettes) and a “tajada de bacalao” (a chunk of battered salt-cod).
Standing while eating and drinking is something that is very Spanish, although it takes some stamina and getting used to. Casa Labra is a good place for your initiation into Madrid’s popular bar culture.
Pay for what you want and get your ticket at the old cash register by the door, order your food at the bar, then head outside. The colourful tarps you can see in the photo are typical in Spain in the summer, offering some welcome shade from the blazing sun while you enjoy your snack. They are fun and decorative too.