Livin’ la vida loca: Madrid

Going abroad should be a time of hard work and educational pursuits, but don’t let intellectual activities keep you from having a blast in a foreign country. At NYU Madrid, one of the oldest NYU Global Study Away sites, students party until the early hours of the morning. NYU juniors, Kira Prentice and Maria Stojanovic reflect on the Spanish nightlife and the cultural immersion they experienced once the sun went down.

While it is worth exploring many different types of clubs, Prentice said it’s worth exploring some of the more touristy options. 

“There’s some touristy clubs, of note of course is Kapital,” Prentice said. “Huge building with dance floors with every type of music you can imagine. It’s so expensive [12 euro or $13.60], crowded and basically chaos but you have to go.”

Getting outside of your comfort zone is the biggest tip to enjoy the Madrid club scene. Stojanovic said students studying away in Madrid should be ready to stay up past their regular New York hours.

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“Clubbing in Madrid is very intense, the party doesn’t start until
2 a.m. The first time we went out we arrived at a club around eleven and it was empty,” Stojanovic said.

For Americans and other foreigners unaccustomed to the party starting in the “morning,” this aspect of Madrid becomes a huge culture shock. While New York City students are normally drunkenly walking home at 2 a.m., abroad they are just walking into the club. Without a doubt, “post-dancing” snack attacks are the best part of the late night experience. New York City prides itself on food trucks and Insomnia Cookies, but in Madrid it is all about the tapas, montaditos and tortillas.

Stojanovic said her favorite “post clubbing” eatery was actually a non-Spanish spot.

“I once went to a pizza place called Il Siciliano, where I had the greasiest, cheesiest pizza ever,” Stojanovic said. “It was perfect for late night comfort food.”

Prentice, on the other, hand visits 100 Montaditos — her favorite late night bite.

“Cliche, but it’s great,” Prentice said. “The schtick is tiny sandwiches [are] 1 euro—and on Lunes Golfos, their Monday special, you could get two-for-one. There is a 100 Montaditos on Bleecker Street but there is no comparison to the traditional Spanish cuisine in Madrid.”

After experiencing the best of Madrid nightlife, these students also describe the lows they encountered on their nightly adventures. Stojanovic recalls walking into a 70’s themed bar called Singles.

“I dropped in once with my friend and left immediately, as it caters to a specific kind of client — heavy, middle-aged men wearing colorful wigs and oversized sunglasses,” Stojanovic said.

While a themed bar sounds like a place to go to after becoming familiar with the nooks and crannies of Madrid, Prentice remembered a story about when her time abroad was just beginning.

“On the first night in Madrid I was with a group of students following an NYU grad student who was supposed to be showing us around,” Prentice said.  “She took us to a bar and afterwards we started drinking in the street because she said that Spain didn’t have open carry laws, but then the cops came.”

Even the best of places offer the strangest of stories. Madrid is a place of wild club scenes, intimate and delicious late night eateries and a place where one could feel right at home in the midst of chaotic nightly adventures. So, take a break from studying and explore the night of a Spanish capital that seems to sleep even less than New York.

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