Barcelona, Paris and Vienna are renowned for their elegant grand cafés, where in days of yore the intelligentsia gathered to discuss literary masterpieces and current affairs over a good glass of wine. Madrid also had its fair share of grand cafés and some of these literary cafés have withstood the test of time in great style.
Ernest Hemingway described Café Gijón as a ‘clean, well-lit place’, Nobel laureate Camilo José Cela visited Café Comercial to indulge in ‘chocolate con churros’, and in Café de Oriente Salvador Dalí drew a portrait of Federico García Lorca in Indian ink. What these cafés have in common are the 'tertulias' – the Spanish word for informal meetings where the elite gathered to read and discuss poetry. Today’s guests flock here for a good cup of coffee or a meal. Every now and then the café still serves up a tertulia.