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