Sooner or later you’ll have a drink or two on Plaza Santa Ana and probably wonder what took you so long to discover the place. The neighborhood has been Madrid’s theater district since the Corral des Comedias de Principe, one of Spain’s first theaters, began packing in the crowds in 1583. The open-air theaters of that era were famous for producing the plays of Lope de Vega (who lived nearby) and other satirists. When the Teatro Español (see below) was erected here in the mid–19th century, it made Plaza Santa Ana as hip then as it is now. Since the square was firmly established as an entertainment district, dozens of bars and cafes popped up. They (or their successors) are still there and still constitute one of the city’s most varied and most civilized tapas scenes.
- Frommer's Staff