In the heart of every liberal arts student is born a love for coffee shops. You can settle yourself in a comfy armchair and grab a cup of coffee big enough to last all afternoon. The sounds of coffee brewing, indiscernible conversations, and maybe some chill music are enough to keep you awake, but not too much to be distracting. It’s a public space where it’s more than acceptable to be alone and anti-social: the perfect place to get a little bit of work done.
But in Spain, the coffee shop culture is a little different. First off, coffee doesn’t come in different sizes. There is one size and it’s small by American standards. Second, getting a coffee is usually a highly social outing. Your typical Spanish cafe probably won’t have wifi and you probably won’t see anyone working on a computer. In a Spanish cafe you’ll find small tables crammed with people. You’ll see employees chatting up the people sitting at the bar.
I have learned to love the Spanish cafe culture. But sometimes I really crave my American style coffee shops. To get the best of both worlds I go to La Fugitiva in Madrid.
La Fugitiva is a cafe-book shop. It has mostly Spanish books—everything from fiction to non-fiction to cooking to history. But it has some foreign language books too. What I love about it is that it’s still very Spanish in that it serves coffee and tea in reasonably sized mugs. And even if you just order a coffee they will give you a whole tray with sugar and a spoon to take to your table. If you get tea they brew it in a teapot! So classy. But since it’s a bookshop it very tranquila and lots of people are on their computers working. Bonuses: free wifi and it’s open during siesta hours. So get to work already. (Address: Calle Santa Isabel 7, metro stop: Anton Martín)