MADRID - LA VENENCIA
The fabulous La Venencia is like stepping back in time into an Andalusian sherry bar from the 1920/’30s. The bar has a great history to it (it is believed anti-General Franco supporters would meet up here during the Spanish civil war).
It is doubtful the place has changed much over the years. The unassuming sign above the door. The dusty old sherry bottles behind the bar & the vintage posters on the walls give the place great character.
This refreshingly non-modernised, quirky old bar only serves sherry. You will see very old smoke-stained walls and casks of various types of sherry from where they will fill unlabelled bottles. The menu is written on the wall on a piece of paper with five sherries listed.
Fino Manzanilla Amontillado Palo Cortado Oloroso
No sweet sherry, like Pedro Ximenez, is available.
This place is serious value for money. Stay a while and try all five (be careful, it may be a long walk home!) plus a few tapas, although you do receive nuts, olives or crisps with each sherry
Tapas are all cold and include
Stunning anchoas de Cantabrico.
Manchego Queso (sheep’s cheese)
Huevas (pressed tuna roe) Mojama (tuna loin, salted and air-dried for three weeks. The jamón Ibérico of the sea ) Chorizo (cured spicy pork sausage) Cecina (salt-cured, air-dried beef)
It has a very casual, relaxed atmosphere but can get very busy on occasion. You will see regulars enjoying a glass or two near the entrance while lots of young and old Madrileños can be seen sitting and chatting at the tables in the raised section at the back.
The sometimes surly waiters (I think it is part of a game, they can be fairly friendly!) are not really waiters but masters of a dying craft. They are pouring the sherry, they are carving the dried meats and cheeses, and they are keeping your bill up to date with chalk on the bar.
They do not pander to you. Do not attempt to take any pictures without asking very nicely first or try leaving a tip as they may throw you out!
There are many extremely old-looking sherry bottles with labels on the shelves behind the bar but the amount of dust they are covered in suggests they are for decoration only.
It may be to your advantage to read about sherry before even venturing into La Venencia because it will only add to your experience. Just go and enjoy this place, simple and incredibly unique.
Calle Echegaray 7, 28014 Madrid +34 91 429 73 13
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