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This cultural center from the age of “tertulias” (formal discussion groups that resembled book clubs in suits) has forged bravely into the digital age with conferences on media arts to augment a terrific program of repertory film showings and exhibits of contemporary photography and graphic arts. The center also maintains a vigorous publishing program of monographs and proceedings from its conferences on the state of art and culture. But for all its forward-looking programming, much of the appeal of the Circulo de Bellas Artes de Madrid is the building, which was constructed in 1920. The interior architecture shows all the foment and contradiction of that age, with a grand marble staircase and classical statuary, the great domed rotunda of the Salon de Baile, and plentiful bas-relief decoration where classical motifs blend into Art Deco style. The cafe windows open directly onto Gran Vía at the most elegant street corner in the city: where the wedgelike Metropolis building across the street points the way to the Cibeles fountain. It’s the only cafe we know where you pay an entry fee. For even better views, the rooftop terrace is open when weather permits. (That’s an additional entry fee.)