Encuentros Cafe Social, a normal evening in Lavapies. Picture taken from Encuentros Cafe Social e Intercultural website.

Traveling and meeting other cultures has become one of the hobbies for millennials and many more generations. Lavapies is a famously known neighborhood of Madrid that has become the synonym of multiculturalism and diversity. Many immigrants from all over the globe have settled in this bright and colorful district of Spain’s capital. Tolerance, acceptance, and joy are some of the elements locals share with every who visit their neighborhood. A city within a city, this melting pot of cultures is representative of the area, having more international cuisine restaurant that any other part of Madrid.

Encuentros Cafe Social e Intercultural is a hidden gem located in the 26th of Embajadores street in Lavapies, a truly convergence point for cultures of all over the world. This place has the aura of a 1920 cafe, where erudite and scholars met in social gatherings and discussed. Owned by two partners, one is from Bangladesh, and the other is from Puerto Rico, the restaurant offers a wide variety of craft beers, with food options from all over the world. One of the protagonists is the famous Puerto Rican rum Don Q and the patacones.

Don Q Anejo. Picture taken from Encuentros Cafe Social e Intercultural website.

Their gastronomical concept is a balance by international cuisine and a full-service bar and an atmosphere of solidarity. According to their Facebook page, their working hours are Tuesday till Saturday from 6:00 pm through midnight and Sundays from 1:00 pm to 11:00 pm.

Joseph Leunam is the waiter and bartender and affirms that Encuentros is the meeting point for Puerto Ricans in Madrid. However, what is astonishing is the mix of nationalities who visit the cafe. “What better place to have an intercultural haven where you can drink, eat, and share your culture, than in Lavapies.” A big sign of refugees welcome is top on the front door greets everyone who walks in. Among the many amazing things this place has to offer, the notion of social awareness and tolerance are values that the staff promotes.

Joseph is completing his Ph.D. in Political Science and is always available to greet everyone who stops by the cafe. Most certainly, Madrid is brimful with food and beverage operations.  Encuentro Cafe Social e Intercultural has a sense of community that captures the essence of a fantastic city like Madrid.