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Sherry Bar Madrid – La Venencia

La Venencia is a sherry bar located dead center of Madrid, named after a long narrow tool used to sample wines through a small opening in sherry butts (casks). It is also commonly known as a wine thief. The bar is tucked into the side of a narrow street hidden from the busy boisterous streets, which is easy to miss if you don’t exactly know where to look.

Stepping inside the large creaky doors is like stepping back in history when wood was more popular than cement and large wooden barrels of sherry stand boldly behind the bar like sentries recording the minutes of time. Looking around the room, you glance upon nicotine stained walls and ancient posters heralding extinct vintages, you half expect to see Hemingway crouched in a corner scribbling illegible notes for his next novel.

What to order? Well, you have five different styles of sherry to choose from: oloroso, fino, manzanilla, and a few personal creations from the bar. Additionally, you can order from a small selection of “tapas” such as cheese, olives or cured ham. Which brand? Just order by style and make sure to get some cheese or meat to go with it! Experiment. Don’t over think it. It’s so cheap that for 7.50 Euros, you can try all 5 styles. However, allow me to suggest a bit of caution because remember, sherry is fortified and you might find yourself swooning in the street if your not careful.

Paying? Standing at the wood bar as you sip your sherry and nibble away on the free olives, a mark of chalk on the worn wood bar keeps your tab. Hence, instead of trying to remember what “the bill please sir” is in Spanish, you can just glance down at the bar and see how much you’ve drank. Basically, my advise is to let your mind wander across the dusty old shelves, suck up the surroundings, and sip ever so slowly on your favorite sherry. There are few times in your life that you get to feel as if time has completely stood still!

Till soon,

Ryan Opaz

La Venencia
C/ Echegaray, 7
28014 Madrid
Metro Stop: SEVILLE
Tel.: 914 297 313
Hours: Daily 13:00-15:30 and 19:30-02:00
Map

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  • Sue Yurick

    "How much you have DRUNK", Ryan! Drink, drank, drunk—I drink, I drank and I have drunk (doesn't mean I GOT DRUNK, of course!)In Spanish, in the event you go ahead and learn it, that would be: bebo, bebí and he bebido or, in the case of wine, most likely: tomo, tomé and he tomado. Enough of the picky, prissy grammarian: it's a good thing you are doing here! Am subscribing to the podcast, and planning to make my next purchase some nice fino!

  • Sue Yurick

    “How much you have DRUNK”, Ryan! Drink, drank, drunk—I drink, I drank and I have drunk (doesn’t mean I GOT DRUNK, of course!)In Spanish, in the event you go ahead and learn it, that would be: bebo, bebí and he bebido or, in the case of wine, most likely: tomo, tomé and he tomado.

    Enough of the picky, prissy grammarian: it’s a good thing you are doing here! Am subscribing to the podcast, and planning to make my next purchase some nice fino!

  • David Herren

    La Venenzia has been my favorite bar in Madrid for over 10 years. If I'm only in Madrid for a day or two, it's the ONE place I am sure to go. I have sent untold numbers of friends there over the years. It is exactly as you have described it…barrels of sherry along the walls, yellowing walls and fading posters of sherry events around the world. I've long loved the way they keep track of your tab, adding vertically as you go. I've been there long enough that at times they've had to erase the bottom totals and start again One thing you didn't mention is just how narrow a place it is. That's one of the reasons it's easy to miss since it is barely any wider than the front door!

  • David Herren

    La Venenzia has been my favorite bar in Madrid for over 10 years. If I’m only in Madrid for a day or two, it’s the ONE place I am sure to go. I have sent untold numbers of friends there over the years.

    It is exactly as you have described it…barrels of sherry along the walls, yellowing walls and fading posters of sherry events around the world. I’ve long loved the way they keep track of your tab, adding vertically as you go. I’ve been there long enough that at times they’ve had to erase the bottom totals and start again

    One thing you didn’t mention is just how narrow a place it is. That’s one of the reasons it’s easy to miss since it is barely any wider than the front door!

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  • Jim Watson

    Forgive me, but I was under the impression that not all sherry is fortified. That said, it is rarely under 15% abv, so yes, it is quite strong. It is also such a waste when a photo-taking tourist manages to knock a glass over on to you & neither apologises nor offers a replacement. My sweater still stinks! But the place is an experience!

  • Jim Watson

    Forgive me, but I was under the impression that not all sherry is fortified. That said, it is rarely under 15% abv, so yes, it is quite strong. It is also such a waste when a photo-taking tourist manages to knock a glass over on to you & neither apologises nor offers a replacement. My sweater still stinks! But the place is an experience!

  • Ryan

    Jim, actually all sherry is fortified. That's how it's made, check out this post to learn even more: <a href="http://www.catavino.net/2005/09/10/sherry-101-bas…“><a href="http://www.catavino.net/2005/09/10/sherrhttp://www.catavino.net/2005/09/10/sherry-101-bas…<br /> I would hate the wet sweater, but the smell, for me, would not be a bother! ;)

  • Ryan

    Jim, actually all sherry is fortified. That's how it's made, check out this post to learn even more: <a href="http://www.catavino.net/2005/09/10/sherry-101-bas…“><a href="http://www.catavino.net/2005/09/10/sherrhttp://www.catavino.net/2005/09/10/sherry-101-bas…<br /> I would hate the wet sweater, but the smell, for me, would not be a bother! ;)

  • Ryan

    Jim, actually all sherry is fortified. That's how it's made, check out this post to learn even more: <a href="http://www.catavino.net/2005/09/10/sherry-101-bas…“><a href="http://www.catavino.net/2005/09/10/sherrhttp://www.catavino.net/2005/09/10/sherry-101-bas…<br /> I would hate the wet sweater, but the smell, for me, would not be a bother! ;)

  • Ryan

    Jim, actually all sherry is fortified. That's how it's made, check out this post to learn even more: <a href="http://www.catavino.net/2005/09/10/sherry-101-bas…“><a href="http://www.catavino.net/2005/09/10/sherrhttp://www.catavino.net/2005/09/10/sherry-101-bas…<br /> I would hate the wet sweater, but the smell, for me, would not be a bother! ;)

  • http://www.obiscoito.com Ryan

    Jim, actually all sherry is fortified. That’s how it’s made, check out this post to learn even more: http://www.catavino.net/2005/09/10/sherry-101-basics-of-this-noble-wine/

    I would hate the wet sweater, but the smell, for me, would not be a bother! ;)

  • RudeLead

    Fino sherry is not fortified as it would kill the layer of flor growing on top of it, giving it its special aroma. Other styles are, though.

  • ryan

    Fino Sherry IS fortified, just not to the high levels that kill flor. See this link if your interested in learning what teh DO of Sherry says….Cheers, Oh and another thing the flor actually feeds off the alcohol and the wine needs to be refortified regularly to keep it alive! <a href="http://www.sherry.org/EN/fichafino.cfm%20“><a href=”http://www.sherry.org/EN/fichafino.cfm “>http://www.sherry.org/EN/fichafino.cfm

  • ryan

    Fino Sherry IS fortified, just not to the high levels that kill flor. See this link if your interested in learning what teh DO of Sherry says….Cheers, Oh and another thing the flor actually feeds off the alcohol and the wine needs to be refortified regularly to keep it alive! <a href="http://www.sherry.org/EN/fichafino.cfm%20“><a href=”http://www.sherry.org/EN/fichafino.cfm “>http://www.sherry.org/EN/fichafino.cfm

  • ryan

    Fino Sherry IS fortified, just not to the high levels that kill flor. See this link if your interested in learning what teh DO of Sherry says….Cheers, Oh and another thing the flor actually feeds off the alcohol and the wine needs to be refortified regularly to keep it alive! <a href="http://www.sherry.org/EN/fichafino.cfm%20“><a href=”http://www.sherry.org/EN/fichafino.cfm “>http://www.sherry.org/EN/fichafino.cfm

  • ryan

    Fino Sherry IS fortified, just not to the high levels that kill flor. See this link if your interested in learning what teh DO of Sherry says….Cheers, Oh and another thing the flor actually feeds off the alcohol and the wine needs to be refortified regularly to keep it alive! <a href="http://www.sherry.org/EN/fichafino.cfm%20“><a href=”http://www.sherry.org/EN/fichafino.cfm “>http://www.sherry.org/EN/fichafino.cfm