We had barely unpacked and settled into to our Airbnb studio flat in Madrid before venturing out to explore the local neighbourhood. On our way to find supplies we passed La Libre, and knew immediately we had found our local brunch and coffee hideout. It’s close to Atocha station and near the Empresa Ruiz metro station.
Any cafe that’s so full of books it’s tricky to find somewhere to sit is getting the balance just right in my opinion. The style here feels as if it has evolved over years rather than being artfully put together. It’s a bit chaotic and gives a comfortable, lived in and very laid back vibe.
We ended up coming for brunch every day, and trying out our poor Spanish on the patient staff. They couldn’t be friendlier or more welcoming here, even to the tourists who can’t (or won’t) manage even a word of the language, which is a little bit rude isn’t it? We can all look up ‘Hello’ and ‘Thank you’ before we travel, as a bare minimum. End of mini rant, gracias.
Coffee and tea were excellent, and served in typically mismatched crockery. The menu had helpful English translations, and these were quirkily offbeat – somehow charming here where in posher surrounds it would have been annoying. So we had home made tomato (sic) on rye bread and a vegan bagel that came with cream cheese and ham – a sure fire hit with vegans everywhere. When our brunch crept close enough to lunch I had a croque monsieur which was cheesily divine. My only regret is that filling up on brunch meant that we didn’t have room to sample the tempting cakes on display.
We loved this place and it quickly became a regular haunt. I hope we go back the next time we’re in Madrid.
Loos Review (PMC rating): ★★★★☆ Clean and unisex, functional rather than a feature.