Are you a digital nomad, have you brought some work with you on holiday, or are you looking for a café with free Wi-Fi where you can enjoy your computer? Here you’ll find cosy cafés in Madrid where you can sit with your computer and drink coffee for as long as you like.
Almost all cafés in Madrid have free Wi-Fi, and more and more are being converted to allow you to sit with your computer for longer periods. It goes without saying that a metropolis like Madrid keeps up with the needs of the modern, digital man in both leisure and work, especially in a country where life is lived outdoors and cafés and bars act as living rooms. Madrid’s book cafés are particularly popular and work-friendly, and new ones are popping up all the time in the neighbourhoods. The concept, style and decor of the cafés are different, and there is a café for those who like quiet and those who like the sound of many people’s lively conversations and good music as a soundtrack when you sit in the café with your computer.
1. The hip bike cafe
La Bicicleta is as hipster-cool, creative and popular as the Malasaña neighbourhood where the café is located.
Bicycles, coffee bags and large graphic prints hang on the walls, and there are dedicated work areas like a large plank table in the middle of the room and by the windowsills. Around the work tables, there are small groups of cosy seating areas with vintage sofas and chairs, where you can also sit with your laptop or take a break from work.
The atmosphere is relaxed and lively, and many regulars come here – both locals and visitors. Cyclists pull their bikes through the room and down to the basement, where they can fix a flat tire or lube the chain. La Bicicleta is one of my favourite cafés, and if you thrive with lots of life around you, you’ll love it.
The menu offers a good selection of good coffee, breakfast, brunch, cakes and sandwiches, and La Bicicleta has several vegan and organic options.
La Bicicleta, Plaza de San Ildefonso 9
2. Oasis of second-hand books
The smell of books hits your nose as soon as you step through the door of La Fugitva in Madrid’s multi-ethnic Lavapiés neighbourhood. The café is packed with towering bookshelves and tables laden with books. You can sit in small corners with café tables and chairs with soft cushions, where you can work and browse through the many books on offer. Window seats overlook the street and the delicious Anton Martín food market, and the small bar serves coffee, tea and snacks. The café is popular and well-attended, but there’s plenty of time to immerse yourself in the computer or the books.
The huge selection of literature includes food, art, travel, sport, religion, philosophy, short stories and novels. However, the titles are in Spanish. It also hosts workshops and readings.
La Fugitiva, Calle de Santa Isabel 7
3. Paradise for film geeks
The colourful Ocho y Medio café, named after Fellini’s famous film 8 1/2, is a haven for film lovers. Around old cinema seats and retro sofas and tables you’ll find stacks of movie posters, scripts, T-shirts and film props. Most of the props and posters come from Pedro Almodóvar’s films, which were shot in the city.
Settle into the different and very Spanish film universe with your computer. The café menu offers good coffee, and the breakfast and lunch dishes are named after film classics. Ocho y Medio also has a terrace if you’d like to sit in an instructor’s chair outdoors.
Ocho y Medio, Calle de Martín de los Heros 11
4. Books and good wine
Tipos Infames is a wonderful combination of bookshop, café and wine bar. Close to the popular Fuencarral shopping street, this trendy spot is where locals gather for after-work wine.
It’s quieter during the day, with high ceilings both spiritually and physically, and plenty of space between the bookshelves and tables to sit with your computer. If you are holding a meeting or working with others, Tipos Infames is also a suitable meeting room. And then you can enjoy a good glass of wine with or after work.
In the bookshop, the focus is on small, Spanish publishers and authors. The wines also come predominantly from smaller local producers, with red and white wines and vermouth available. Coffee and snacks are also available at the bar. Tipos Infames also holds regular art exhibitions, workshops and book receptions.
Tipos Infames. Libros y vinosCalle de San Joaquín 3
5. Creative with living room atmosphere
La Infinito often serves as my office and living room when I’m in Madrid. Partly because the cafe is just a stone’s throw from the apartment I live in when I’m in town, and partly because I love the atmosphere and peace of mind I get here.
Around the corner bar are small islands of tables where you can set up your mobile workspace. Many people come here to sit alone, and it’s quiet, so it’s a good place for a few people to meet in a quiet setting. The creatively decorated walls are lined with small bookshelves, and the windows have deep red curtains that draw the eye to the theatre. La Infinito also has regular micro-theatre performances, including in the toilets.
The menu includes coffee, tea, freshly squeezed juices, yoghurt, toast (the avocado one is recommended), sandwiches, tapas and cakes. On weekends, the café’s brunch is popular.
La Infinito, Calle de los Tres Peces 22
6. Retro in the art district
Just behind the modern art museum, Reina Sofia, you’ll find La Libre, in the cosiest street of the multicultural Lavapiés neighbourhood. La Libre is another of Madrid’s many cafés, decorated as if it were a living room. The owner, Pilar, has made it easy to feel at home in the charming jumble of vintage furniture and knick-knacks from the 1960s and 1970s. There are also a bunch of board games and second-hand books. You can bring one book to the shelf and take another home.
The staff treat guests – both humans and dogs – warmly, and the bar serves brunch, sandwiches, cakes and tapas. Guests include both the neighbourhood’s creatives and tourists who have found their way from Reina Sofia.
Although the café is very busy, you can find peace and quiet, but it’s best suited for those who can sit in an armchair with their laptop in their lap.
La Libre, Calle Argumosa 39
7. Modern concept café
The most modern café on the list is La Central, located next to the three-storey bookshop of the same name. La Central is a popular bookshop concept in Spain, and Madrid has three branches (including one at Reina Sofia). The largest is in Plaza de Callao, and here you can sit in the simply decorated café and use the Wi-Fi.
The café is frequented by everyone from young students doing their homework to pensioners enjoying their afternoon coffee while doing the day’s book shopping. The café offers everything from breakfast, salads, sandwiches and burgers to the dish of the day.
In the bookshop you will find books in all genres, just as La Central also has funky gift ideas like bags, purses, different postcards, mugs and notebooks.
La Central de Callao, Calle Postigo de San Martín 8