Saturday, December 03, 2005

Drinking: Via Lactea

I'm somewhat ashamed to admit that I had never been to Vía Láctea until last weekend. After all, it is one of the most famous bars in the city—the epicenter of the movida madrileña, that explosion of music and art and exuberant freedom that took hold of the city's youth following the death of Franco. If you've seen Pedro Almodovar's Bad Education, you've got some idea of what the movida was like. And Vía Láctea was at the heart of it, a cavernous bar with not much in the way of style except 80s rock posters and colored lights.

That, some decent music, and a good feel. Twenty-six years after it opened, Vía Láctea is still going strong. At 1am last Saturday night, the place was packed, with a steady stream coming through the door, and a line outside curling down the block. Most everyone was in their 20s or 30s, but I saw more than a few 40-somethings and, I swear, one small group wo were well into their 50s. Which makes a certain amount of sense, given the age of the place. As one 18-year-old I spoke with put it, "My parents used to come here." Now how many thriving bars can say that?

Vía Láctea: Velarde, 18. Teléfono: 91 446 75 81

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