Nightlife, or la marcha, reaches legendary heights in Madrid. It's been said that madrileños rarely sleep, largely because they spend so much time in bars, socializing in the easy, sophisticated way that's unique to this city. This is true of young and old alike, and it's not uncommon for children to play on the sidewalks past midnight while multigenerational families and friends convene over coffee or cocktails at an outdoor café. For those in their thirties, forties, and up, who don't plan on staying out until sunrise, the best options are the bars along the Cava Alta and Cava Baja, Calle Huertas near Plaza Santa Ana, and Moratín near Antón Martín. Those who want to stay out till the wee hours have more options: Calle Príncipe and Calle De la Cruz—also in Santa Ana—and the Plaza de Anton Martín, especially the scruffier streets that lead onto Plaza Lavapiés. The biggest night scene—with a mixed crowd—happens in Malasaña, which has plenty of trendy hangouts on both sides of Calle San Vicente Ferrer, on Calle La Palma, and on the streets that come out onto Plaza 2 de Mayo, and on the refurbished and adjacent Triball area. Also big is nearby Chueca, where tattoo parlors and street-chic boutiques break up the endless alleys of gay and lesbian bars, dance clubs, and after-hours clubs.
Most of the commendable cafés you'll find in Madrid can be classified into two main groups: the ones that have been around for many years (Café del Círculo, Café de Oriente), where writers, singers, poets, and discussion groups still meet and where conversations are usually more important than the coffee itself; and the new ones (Faborit, Diurno, Delic, La Central de Callao), which are tailored to hip and hurried urbanites and tend to have a wider product selection, modern interiors, and Wi-Fi.