Malasaña Madrid, back to the present
Malasaña is an eclectic mix. Micro-breweries, outdoor cafés, interior patio restaurants, cycling the quiet streets and vermouth on tap add an extra layer to the intrigues of the area. The streets are alive, old, new, trendy, mod and square. Amateur photo shoots in front of gracefully graffiti decorated walls. Lace curtains on terraces flutter in the wind, often revealing a fleeting glimpse of life as it was, but still is in Malasaña. Malasaña is about as traditional Madrid as you can get.
One of Malasaña’s hidden secrets is vintage clothes. Forget the East Village, Brooklyn, Camden and Shoreditch; Malasaña is the place. Remember when you didn’t need a bank loan to fit out a new wardrobe of vintage clothes? Recall when shopping for vintage garments wasn’t being taken to the cleaners? If you could pick up a genuine Seventies dress for £20 or a silk scarf for a few Euros, would you be interested? Well, those days are alive and well in Calle Valverde in Malasaña, Madrid.
Calle Velarde is the vintage enthusiast’s Aladdin’s cave. La Mona Checa, a tent-full of vintage. Its ceiling is draped with red and white fabrics, just like a tent. Frayed denim cut-offs, floral midi dresses and polka-dots adorn the rails. You can even pick up 80’s and 90’s Rayban frames. Finally, check out the cheerleader uniforms lining the back wall to top it off.
These are dreamland for vintage fans. Remember those old photos of grandma and grandad in their elegant clothes? Say no more. Welcome to their wardrobe. Metal rails are packed with colourful dresses, jackets, shirts and skirts, with vintage shoes lined up and ready for your inspection.
For your post-shopping pleasure, Malasaña is an excellent place to hang out. It has grown from the 60’s hippy hangout frequented by Almodovar and Alaska to an intriguing, energetic mix of past and present.
Offices have been converted into art galleries, one-off boutiques, great bars, and earthy rock venues. The closest I can compare the latter to is CBGB, a once-famous haunt in New York City’s Bowery district. Most venues teem with high-octane thrill-seekers with limited budgets and unlimited energy.
Before bed, your final resting place will probably be the Plaza de Dos de Mayo. Surrounded by bars, it is a massive outdoor terrace for passing the night away, savouring a few cervezas or calimochos. The choice is yours, including when you decide to call it a night or get into the local culture, what time you go home after sunrise.
If you attend an EBC TEFL course in Madrid, you may well become a regular Malasaña visitor or, who knows, a resident.