Sooner or later you’re bound to have a drink on Plaza Santa Ana—it’s been a center for entertainment and café nightlife since the Corral des Comedias de Príncipe, one of Spain’s first theaters, began packing in the crowds in 1583. The open-air theater would stage the plays of Lope de Vega and his more sophisticated successor, Calderón de la Barca, who is honored here with a statue. The 19th-century Teatro Español still operates on the east side of the square; a statue paying tribute to the murdered poet and playwright Federico García Lorca faces it, holding a dove of peace. The Reina Victoria hotel on the west side was once a favorite of bullfighters; superstitious Manolete always stayed in room 220. On warm evenings, the square is almost entirely filled with the tables and chairs of the bars that surround it, including the Cervecería Alemana, one of Hemingway’s favorites.
Plaza Santa Ana
Our Rating Transportation Metro: Antón Martín. Bus: 6, 26, 32
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