La Coquette, Calle de las Hileras 14
I'm glad that María and Ricardo took me here, because I am not likely to have been observant enough to notice this small and relatively anonymous doorway, or curious enough to venture down the staircase into this brick cellar blues bar. Once down below, we just about managed to get a seat so we could relax with our beers and nibble sunflower seeds while listening to the live music - a singer-guitarist and another guy playing harmonica.
This is a small place, and friendly with it, so you are quite likely to end up talking to other customers, which is good. The downside is that the bluesy cellar atmosphere comes with heavy smoke. Otherwise this place is good value, with a surcharge on drinks when there is live music instead of an entrance fee.
When I went back to La Coquette with some classmates they loved the place. Apart from being handy for home, and having a great atmosphere, we inevitably got talking to one of the locals who had been 'appreciating' the beer as much as we had. Alvaro, in particular, was an extremely chatty Spaniard.
The next time, we came here on a Tuesday because Templo del Gato was so empty, and we knew that La Coquette would be packed out for the live music they have Tuesdays to Thursdays: much more fun, and as rich with ambience as it was with cigarette smoke.