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Sunday, July 21, 2024
HomeTravel GuideFood & DrinkEspresso? Beer? Both?: My Madrid Morning Routine

Espresso? Beer? Both?: My Madrid Morning Routine

My Madrid Morning Routine is part of The Adios Puerto Rico, Hola España Trip Report.

As I wrote in the post, Why A Second Residency?, I left Puerto Rico because I faced a daily battle of trying to do everything before the sun went down more or less around 6 PM throughout the year. Sleeping in is not an option. In Madrid, I could wake up every day whenever I wanted, knowing that there was always something to do regardless of the time (see Best Tapas Madrid: No Budget Cuts Here). It didn’t take long for me to abuse this process. During the first week of residency, I was up no later than noon because I heard the afternoon church bells. I would make my way to the kitchen and drop in a Nespresso pod before going about my day. By the second week, I had closed the window and lowered the blackout curtains. The wake-up time was a reasonable 1 PM. By the third week, I was lucky if I woke up before two.

To make sure I didn’t turn into a complete night owl, I transitioned from Nespresso to espresso doubles at one of the many cafes in my intimate Chamberi neighborhood. I didn’t come all the way to Madrid to spend all my time in my flat, regardless of how nice it was (see Say No to Airbnb, Show Up Start Living at The Blue Ground). Everything was back on track until I ordered a beer to go with my espresso, a vacation breakfast tradition that goes back more than a decade. The first problem is that I was in residency, not on vacation. The second problem is that one beer turned into multiple. Going into the fourth week, I had to get back on track. I responsibly set my alarm for 12:30 PM and went back to budget-conscious Nespresso.

The idea of a residency means living like a local. In Madrid, locals may have a drink at brunch. The difference is they probably did some work that morning before indulging. In my next residency, I will be sure not to make such deviations again (see TPOL’s Expat Lessons). But, ever the optimist, I might as well share with you TPOL’s devolution from Morning Joe to drunken toad.

  • My Apartment: It gets boring drinking Nespresso every morning, even with dessert. a black coffee maker on a counter a heart shaped donut and a cup of coffee
  • La Sana: This was the first and best coffee shop. This was pre-drinking.
a woman sitting at a table with drinks
Look at those sweet treats.

TPOL’s TIP: La Sana is located at Calle de José Abascal, 44.

  • Local Bakery: More sweets and no alcohol. Still behaving.

two cups of coffee and a plate of food on a table

  • Local Bar Follow-Up: I didn’t take a photo of every espresso but after going to a coffee house, it was natural to go to the bar. a couple of glasses of beer
  • Rick’s: And this is where I knew I had lost it. In addition to ordering an espresso and enjoying tapas, I also had a burger and multiple beers.

a building with a green awning and a blue sign

a group of people in a restaurant
3 PM, on a Friday, no one working.

a cup of coffee with a packet of coffee a plate of food on a table a burger and fries on a newspaper

a machine with buttons and a game
All that was left to do was to compulsively play slots.

TPOL’s Tip: Located at Esquina, Calle de Espronceda, Calle de Modesto Lafuente, 23

two glasses of yellow liquid

TPOL’s Tip: Located at Calle de Bretón de los Herreros, 35, 28003 Madrid, Spain

  • VIPS: Trying to get back on track, we went to Madrid’s version of Denny’s.

a red sign on a building a cup of coffee on a plate

  • El Doble: I came across this iconic restaurant by accident after waking up after 3 PM on a Friday. Fresh seafood, crisp beer, and great vino made me want to abandon the residency life and stay in vacation mode. Houston Madrid, we have a problem.

a building with a door and a sign on the side

a tap with a tray of shrimp in front of a counter

TPOL’s Tip: Located at Calle de José Abascal, 16, 28010 Madrid, Spain

TPOL’s Tip: Don’t sleep in too late, the lunch rush ends at 4:15PM.

  • Gracias Padre Coco Bongo: If you’ve been to Cancun, then you already know. If you’re doing Cancun things for breakfast, you already know where the day is headed.

a restaurant with tables and chairs

a group of beer bottles and mugs on a table
Send help. Gracias, padre.




  1. I am reminded of the story of the time the soccer great George Best was was asked by the bellhop in his Spanish hotel, “Tell me Mr. Best, where did it all go wrong”

    While not exactly the same, there are parallels in your tale 🙂

    google it if not familiar with GB

    • Best often recalled the story of how a bellboy entered his hotel room early one morning only to find the Manchester United star lying in bed drunk with the then Miss World at his side, a dozen bottles of champagne on the floor and several thousand pounds of cash won from a night’s gambling on the nightstand.

      “Tell me, Mr. Best, where did it all go wrong?” the bellboy asked him, echoing the sentiments of an entire nation who felt he was frittering away his precious talent.

      “I spent a lot of money on booze, birds [women] and fast cars — the rest I just squandered,” Best quipped.

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