The flamenco tablaos have ceased to be a stronghold for guiris. Madrid gets flamenco and dances to the beat of the palms. Gone are the hard times of the coronavirus, when the tablaos launched their last complaint and were closing one after another: the mythical Casa Patas, Villa Rosa and Café de Chinitas closed their doors after the pandemic.
Now, the trend is just the opposite: new premises open and Villa Rosa and Café de Chinitas have been resurrected under other names. Interestingly, the Covid that was about to end them, also became a revulsive and many Madrileños went for the first time to a tablao when these locals were back.
While Rosalía and C. Tangana bring the genre to the new generations, live flamenco performances in restaurants and trendy venues multiply. And this boom coincides with the emergence of a large number of high-level dancers and singers.
"We are in the best creative moment in the history of flamenco. We have artists like Jesús Carmona, Belén López, Eduardo Guerrero, Olga Pericet... that have a huge impact on the public because they fall in love and create followers," argues Juan Manuel del Rey, president of the National Association of Flamenco Tablaos and owner of the Corral de la Morería.
If you want to dive into the zapateo and cante jondo, we visit 10 of the best tablaos in Madrid, where gastronomy is increasingly taken care of.
The tablao Flamenco de Leones.
Located in the Puerta de Alcalá, this tablao was the last to land in the capital in 2022 with the intention of merging the flamenco show with a journey through the best of Spanish cuisine.
It is a new premises of the Ramses Group, which already has in the area the Ramses restaurant, the Patio de los Leones tavern and the easy speak The Kave. The businessman Jorge Llovet -promoter of the Puerta de Alcalá as the mecca of premium leisure- has commissioned the interior design of the tablao to Jouin Manku, creator of the decoration of the hotel La Mamounia in Marrakech, and Jonatan Miró is in charge of the artistic direction.
Address: Plaza de la Independencia 4 Planta Baja. Phone: 662 299 923. Price: menu with tapas 25 euros plus the show 55 euros.
Tablao de la Villa
Performance in the Tablao de la Villa.
After a thorough renovation, this establishment opened its doors a year ago in a house-palace of the nineteenth century, the emblematic place of the Café de Chinitas, although it has not been able to keep the name.
In this tablao they bet on an authentic and pure flamenco without commercial concessions. "Flamenco defends itself. It does not need dressings. With the name we have chosen we want to pay tribute to Madrid for its importance in the world of flamenco, "says Gonzalo Mendoza, partner and director of the venue.
C/Torija, 7. Phone: 912 042 428. 42 euros the show with drink.
A dancer, in La Carmela.
It is another of the new temples in the capital and opened its doors in the middle of the pandemic in June 2021, a few meters from the Puerta del Sol. It was born with the idea of modernizing the image of the tablaos so it offers a more immersive show.
Located in the extinct coal mines of the old convent of La Victoria, it is directed by Raquel Martos and Juan Andrés Maya, who owns the Cueva de la Rocío, another tablao in the Sacromonte of Granada.
C/Victoria, 4. Phone: 689 183604. Show plus snacking 52 euros.
The Corral de la Morería
The dressing room of the Corral de la Morería.
This emblematic space -which was born in 1956- has managed to win over the Spanish public through gastronomy. His restaurant has been awarded the three suns of the Repsol Guide, which are added to the Michelin Star for its Basque chef David García.
John Lennon, Ava Gardner, Harrison Ford, Nicole Kidman, Bono, Jennifer Aniston, Kim Basinger, Sting, Hugh Grant... The parade of national and international stars who have passed through this temple of flamenco is endless, so it has become the most famous tablao in the world.
C/Morería, 17. Phone: 913 651 137. Dinner with show 48 euros
FLAMENCO TABLAO 1911
Farruquito in the Tablao 1911.
It occupies the place of the old Villa Rosa, the oldest tablao in the world, founded in 1911 by two picadores. It closed its doors in 2021, but was resurrected by Ivana Portolés and her brother Lucas, who already manage another famous tablao: Cardamom.
The hallmark of this enclosure is its Andalusian decoration with a tiled façade and an interior with decorated rooms inspired by the Alhambra. The new owners have not been able to keep the name and, in fact, the previous owners have sued them for using the brand. Therefore, they called a public contest of ideas to find a new name and the name chosen was Tablao Flamenco 1911.
Plaza Santa Ana, 15. 650 63 51 25. 39 euros the show, 16 euros the tapas.
All ready for the pass in Cardamom.
He is the most rogue of the tablaos and Antonio Carmona, the singer of Ketama, was a classic of his early mornings. Here the voices of Enrique and Estrella Morente and Diego have been heard, the Cigala, the guitars of Tomatito and Raimundo Amador and the heels of Farruquito and El Yiyo.
Its owners have always wanted Cardamom to be a modern space, but to retain the classic authenticity. For example, in this tablao there are ipads where the public can enter and read in all languages information about the palos and the Spanish guitar.
"We are in a good moment for flamenco, better even than before the pandemic. There are many sites of great quality. Except for the loss of Casa Patas, the offer is much stronger than before and we are competing very well with Sevilla, which does not try so hard in programming, "says Ivana Portolés, owner of Cardamomo with her brother.
C/Echegaray, 15. 691022117. 39 euros with welcome drink.
Marisol Navarro, in Las Tablas.
This place turns 20 in December and has survived the 2008 crisis, the coronavirus and the works of the Plaza de España, where the premises are located. The dancers Antonia Moya and Marisol Navarro started with a small flamenco company until they decided to set up their own tablao.
Moya recognizes that for the national public the prices are expensive, but argues that maintaining the artists on a daily basis has a high cost and the spaces are small, so that a large number of tickets are not sold.
"When Covid ended, we had 40% Spanish customers. We want to banish the idea that the tablao is a thing for guiris and we would like more Spaniards to come. It costs a lot to move the flamenco from the tablaos. The Community of Madrid is supporting us a lot and has given us aid," says Antonia Moya.
Plaza de España, 9. 915 420 520. 38 euros with drink and 66 with dinner.
The owners of the tablao El Cortijo.
Unlike the rest, this space is not located in the heart of Madrid, but in Vallecas. Being a neighborhood tavern, it is more focused on the Spanish public. "We have a very interesting mix because the tourist who comes does not have the typical experience, but sees the Spanish in his salsa," says owner Melody Nicholls, an Anglo-vallecana dancer, nicknamed La Rubia de Vallecas.
While in other tablaos there are two and three daily passes, El Cortijo only offers one show, which allows the client to stay relaxed chatting. "Ours is more familiar, so there is more interaction between the audience and the artists," says Nicholls, who runs the venue with dancer Carolina Fernández.
C/Josefa Díaz, 4. 610 765 384. 20 euros the show with drink
Interior of Café Ziryab.
Like El Cortijo, this tablao is not located in the center of the city, but in the neighborhood of Arganzuela, which takes it away from the tourist circuit. "We are a hidden diamond for the public that is not looking for a massified flamenco. Many people here don't know what a flamenco tablao is," laments owner Anja Vollhardt, a German dancer with more than 40 years of career.
In this establishment they also offer intensive courses of cantiñas to immerse yourself in history, compass, singing and flamenco dancing.
Paseo de la Esperanza, 17. 618 103 803. 29 euros with drink
Dancer in Las Carboneras.
Located on the ground floor of the old palace of the Count of Miranda, in Madrid de los Austrias, this tablao was born in 2000 with the idea of recovering the singing cafes of yesteryear.
The place combines live entertainment with a wide range of cuisine and painting exhibitions. Artists such as Jorge Pardo, Olga Pericet or La Shica have passed through its stages.
Count of Miranda, 1. 91 542 86 77. 45 euros with drink and 84 with dinner.
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