A journey down the GRAN VIA is not complete without a few excursions into the neighbouring streets. As a result you will find yourself criss-crossing the road and exploring the many side streets. This is a highly recommended method as either side of the GRAN VIA offers barrios with varying styles.
Firstly, the Metropolis building, designed by Jules and Raymond Février for the insurance company La Unión y el Fénix and built in 1907 it has a distinct French influence.
Swedish megastore H&M: This impressive building built in 1928 was once the Cinema Avenida and inside you can still find the original cinema staircase and theatre boxes.
Bocaito: Located on Calle de la Libertad 4, Bocaito was another Almodovar haunt, it is a brilliant discovery in a side street just off Gran Via and reminiscent of times gone by. The food is exceptional, the wines diverse and you really feel like you have slipped back to when the Gran Via was first opened.
Fuencarral Street: is a tributary that runs off the Gran Via and it is arguably one of the most interesting streets in Madrid. Interesting not only for it’s fashion and curiosities but because it also introduces the barrios of Chueca, Tribunal, and Malasana. Three totally differing neighbourhoods where the bars and the ambience areas cosmopolitan as you could imagine.
Chicote: Located on Gran Via 12, Chicote is a cocktail bar trading heavily on its past. One of the main scenes in Almodovars “Broken Embraces” is shot in this legendary cocktail bar which has been visited in the past by the brightest Spanish and international stars. Apparently Hemmingway used to get drunk here (where didn’t that man get drunk?!?). The bar is worth a quick look and a souvenir snapshot but avoid the expensive drinks and brash attitude of the staff.
Schweppes Buildingis one of the most loved building in the Gran Via. It’s real name is The Carrión building and it was built in 1933. Located at the top of Grand Via near Callao Plaza the buiding cuts an imposing figure and can be seen all the way from the other end of the street in Cibeles square. The Schweppes neon on the top of the building is one of Madrid best known icons, great product placement!!
Funny given his first impressions of Madrid Almodovar fell in love with the City and it influenced his life as much as he influenced its profile. The Círculo de Bellas Artes became one of his favourite spots. It is a major multidisciplinary centre with an active cultural programmes in Madrid.
I’m sure he would have walked it’s length many times and witnessed how alongside the commercial retail outlets, the homeless sleep in ATM spaces or entrances of abandoned buildings. He would have smirked at the prostitutes chewing gum on the corner of the Gran Via and Montera Street and near Plaza de Callao. It’s just like a setting from one of his films really. All these locations and monuments make Gran Via and its streets one of the Top Madrid Sights!