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Where To Smoke: Madrid

Where To Smoke: Madrid

There has long been a love affair between the city of Madrid and Cuban cigars. The historical connection with Havana has been a conduit for cigars to reach Europe for more than 500 years, and in recent times, Spain has consistently been the most valuable single-nation market for sales of Habanos. While China may have taken that crown briefly in 2021, it returned to Spain for the most recent set of reported results: just over half of Cuban cigars sold in 2022 reached Europe, and Spain took more of them than any other country.

With a population of almost 3 million, Madrid is the largest city in Spain as well as its capital. It is a vibrant and cosmopolitan place, full of lively squares and winding streets which are packed with food and drink establishments the envy of anywhere in the world. Like any major capital, the main tourist spots can be crowded, and a little unpleasant, but there is plenty to see besides the clichéd points of interest. Sure, El Retiro Park and the Palacio Real are wonderful, but the hidden corners of the Barrio de las Letras and countless bars of Lavapiés, for examples, are much more entertaining and likely to give you a feeling for the soul of the city.

Given the history shared by Spain and Cuba, and the status of Spain as the most voracious consumer of Habanos in the world, it should not be surprising that Madrid is a fairly cigar-friendly city. More than 300 sunny days per year certainly don’t hurt, and many Madrileños can often be found enjoying a quiet cigar in the sunshine of the parks and plazas.  The estancos (small tobacco shops) dotted around the city centre will have humidors with decent selections, and there are some wonderful dedicated cigar shops in the more up-market neighbourhoods. Cava de Puros Habanos Barquillo near the Banco de España, and La Cava de Miguel Ángeljust minutes from Real Madrid’s legendary Santiago Bernabéu Stadium—are two of the best.

While it can be very pleasurable on a sunny day to enjoy a cigar while strolling, or in a shady spot with a prime people-watching view, we will usually find ourselves gravitating to a hospitality venue to enjoy our smokes. The option of a quality pairing to enhance our cigar is rarely one which can be resisted, so a true cigar city must have plenty of venues for aficionados to visit when the taste for a smoke hits them. Luckily, Madrid has many...

Dani at Four Seasons Madrid

The Four Seasons Hotel in Madrid is one of the most stylish and elegant properties in the city, and worthy of a visit on its own. The art collection which adorns the corridors and lobby is exceptional, the cocktails in El Patio and Isa are delicious. For the cigar lover, however, the real jewel is on the roof. Dani Brasserie is their flagship restaurant, signed by Spanish celebrity chef Dani Garcia and home to a magnificent wrap-around terrace. Views across the rooftops of the surrounding area are impressive, and the food is magnificent. When service is not in full swing the area becomes an excellent place to enjoy a fine cigar with your choice of drink. Before lighting up, try the Best of Dani lunch menu—the dessert has to be tasted to be believed.

Ginkgo Sky Bar at VP Plaza España Design

The Plaza de España is one of Madrid’s most recognisable and popular landmarks. Pop by to view the impressive monuments at its heart, but once the crowds get a bit too much (and they will) head to the eastern side of the square. The majority of it is taken over by the VP Plaza España Design hotel, and high up on their 12th floor is the wonderful Ginkgo Sky Bar. This is a spot for lovers of live music and dancing, as well as quality cocktails and delicious smokes. The position of the building makes the views of the setting sun here unparalleled, and the late opening times mean that those of you in town to enjoy Madrid’s eclectic nightlife will find this the perfect spot to smoke until the wee hours.

Club Pasión Habanos Madrid

Just across the Plaza de España from Ginkgo, hidden away in a traditional building alongside various salubrious members’ clubs, is Club Pasión Habanos Madrid. Technically it’s a members’ club itself, but a simple registration on their website will grant you access to a discreet and stylish indoor lounge with views over the square. The atmosphere is traditional of a cigar club, in that the décor is all wood panelling and leather sofas, but the clientele and staff are welcoming and keen to share their love of cigars with newcomers. Their rum menu is extensive, and more reasonably-priced than many other smoking spots in the surrounding area. If you’re looking for a serene place to unwind with your cigar and escape the mania of a bustling capital for a few hours, this is your place.

Plaza de Santa Ana

The Barrio de Las Letras, or Literary Quarter, was once home to some of Spain’s most important and renowned writers. Today it maintains an air of artistry and liberalism, and has become one of the most popular parts of town for nightlife. Plaza de Santa Ana is its heart—within walking distance of most of the best hotels and lined on two sides with wine bars, tapas restaurants and quirky cafes. All have outside seating, and the temperate climate of Madrid means they are viable all year round—even in the winter, most are well heated. Sitting down, ordering a bottle of wine and watching the Madrileños float past is one of the most entertaining ways to pass an hour or 2 in this city—so entertaining, in fact, you might just light a second cigar.

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