Bar Nike (fluorescent lighting + cigarette smog + chatter + roving eyes + same waiters as always= ‘family’ joint where you can’t help but be incestuous.
Bar Nike is the most well known cafetería in Chueca and extremely popular among young people who frequent the area (search for ‘Bar Nike Chueca’and you’ll find tons of fan blogs). The typical strip lighting, stained ceiling tiles, wood veneer tabletops and clear glass display cases for the bar food might make you think you’re in another old men’s bar. But take a look around you, for God’s sake! EVERYONE comes here before going out and therefore I recommend ‘El Nike’ for the beginning to any night. The people, perhaps because of the volume (think of the thread count of Egyptian cotton), tend to be quite guapa. There are tables outside on the huge expanse of sidewalk the Nike has, but I don’t recommend sitting there since the traffic on Augusto Figueroa can be nerve-wracking. The bathrooms are disgusting but easily accessible (to the left and in the back) and the line isn’t usually too long. Beware of the timed lights, however, since they’re on a short cycle and tend to go off while you’re in the middle of doing your thing.
‘And the music?’ you ask. I’m sure there’s music but I’ve never heard it. The din of the people here is so that you’d never need music to create ambience. There’s a large TV on the wall next to the bathrooms so you’re likely to spot some characters from the immediate neighborhood watching a football game or a prime-time TV show.
The drinks are cheap- a mini with beer for 4.80- and there’s food! Meatballs, patatas bravas, boquerones, sandwiches and what looks like the makings for a full meal await you behind the counter. Be sure to ask for peanuts or potato chips with your drinks, as the staff- as lovely as they are (and almost never weeded despite being completely swamped) – is hard-pressed to give them to you voluntarily.
Bar Nike closes promptly around 2:30AM. I suggest NOT trying to take your drink out with you, because the employees are good at catching you.
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C/ Augusto Figueroa 22
By Allen Ribblett