How to Celebrate a Birthday in Madrid

My roommate celebrated her 21st birthday in Madrid. You would think that might be depressing because Spaniards don’t understand the importance of a 21st birthday to a college student from the U.S., but it ended up being pretty perfect, so I will lay out the instructions for you step by step on the off chance that the title of this post is relevant to your life.

Step 1: Make lots of finger food. Mix it up any way you want. We went with half-American (pizza) and half-Spanish (tons of potatoes) fare. Obviously, there must be wine.

Step 2: Cater the guest list to your own liking. Similar to our menu, the guests were of mixed origins.

Step 3: After getting your eat on at home, continue behaving like a poor college student by going to what we referred to as “the Heineken bar” near Puerta del Sol. Unfortunately, it’s real name was never discovered, but we were always too distracted by the 1€ tequila shots and 5€ buckets (6 bottles) of Heineken to really look. Did I mention it’s an open air bar? Definite favorite.

**It’s at/near where Calle de Espoz y Mina and Calle de la Cruz meet!

Step 4: Buy the birthday girl/guy a crown from one of the obnoxious people pushing cheap merchandise on tourists. Act really excited about finding a crown, but refuse to pay more than 1€ for it. You will win.

Step 5: Once you’re happy, and it’s acceptably late enough to go to a club in Spain, use all the money you saved by eating at home and buying cheap drinks at the Heineken bar to blow on the overpriced cover of a fancy discoteca. We hand-selected Pacha for the occasion.

Don’t be surprised if a James Bond-themed dance show materializes in the middle of the floor.

Step 6: Dance.

Step 7: Dance, dance, dance. Repeat.

Step 8: Don’t forget the cake!

Buy cheap candles at a chino. They might not have the ñ on “años”, but they do the trick.

This method has been American-tested and Spanish-approved. Use it as a loose set of guidelines that can be customized to your particular celebration and location preferences. Enjoy the free knowledge.

– Alexa


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