La Mina opened in Madrid in 1949, and five years ago the first owner’s grandson took it over and spruced it up, while remaining true to the original spirit of the place. It was looking a little tired, but now it’s stunning! Shiny black and white tiles and bare brick walls, vermouth barrels and retro touches, as well as a beautiful terraza on the tree-lined street in front. It’s really sad when much-loved old places go into decline and disappear, so a resurrection story like this makes me happy.
The very first word I learned in Madrid was “caña”, which is a small glass of tap beer. I was so shy speaking Spanish when I first got here, but I managed that word – can-ya! It’s such a good word to know in Madrid, especially in the summer, when what you really want is a nice cold fizzy beer! They have excellent cañas in La Mina, or wine by the glass from a good selection, as well as the ubiquitous vermut. I lived on this street back in 1990, and used to come to La Mina for their speciality – grilled prawns. I was delighted to see after the re-opening that prawns are still on the menu, as well as pincho morunos (grilled marinated pork on a skewer), tostas and conserved seafood.
This feels like a bar for locals, who come with their dogs, and chat with the friendly waiters – I think you’ll feel right at home in this traditional old neighbourhood too!