Café Madrid, Calle Escalinata
On my first visit I was here when it was almost empty, to use one of the computers to post the first Madrid entry to this journal. Fortunately, the protocal and 'billing system' for Internet use are sufficiently simple for me to have been able to ask and learn about in Spanish - coin-op monitors with a minute-by-minute countdown (not cheap at €1.50 for 30 minutes).
I popped in again a few days later, and I think I dropped into the middle of International Night at Café Madrid, where a lot of other foreigners were attempting to converse. It was loud, so I guess only the advanced were going to be managing it in Spanish; nearby I could only hear the Euro-English that is the lingua franca of Erasmus students thoughout Europe.
This time, there is little to recommend the place, since I only wanted so sit down at the bar for a while. Even if I did get some cheese with it after a while, my beer was €2.50, which suggests that the place is more touristy than I am keen on.
Another time, having discovered that Café del Real is not ideal for doing homework in the afternoon, I thought I should give Cafe Madrid another try. Just as hoped, it was mostly empty, and we had a big rectangular marble table to spread out our books on. Better yet, the big open windows at the front, by our table, afford a pleasant view down the road, and a similarly refreshing breeze. This is Café Madrid at its best, and now it is a good choice. Also, in an unexpected inversion of Café Madrid's expensive beer, at €1.50 the coffee is cheaper than at Café del Real. This evens things up more, making this place a better choice in the afternoon.