It’s always a thrill to share a juicy secret, so for your next night out with friends, introduce them to hidden tapas bar La Nacional. Lead your skeptical mates knowingly down the stairs of the Spanish Benevolent Society in Chelsea and find a welcoming scene hidden behind brownstone walls. Step into a lively room where you can laugh as loud as you like, with a zero-pretense staff on hand to keep the good times flowing. Start with a round of Estrella Galicias, a refreshing Spanish lager that’s a testament to the authenticity in play here. Keeping with the Iberian ethos, meals here are made to be shared, so scoot in close to your crew and try a little of everything. The kitchen turns out a Spanish greatest hits package, with small plates of sausage, octopus, and crisp patatas bravas made with family recipes. Savor the crunch of a crusty paella, or the delicate texture of squid ink arroz negro—a special standout. By the third plate, it’s time for a pitcher of sweet and refreshing sangria, with fresh fruit highlighting the attention to detail. By now the warm room has you feeling like you’ve left NYC for a backstreet of Madrid. A soccer game on TV, a flamenco performance, or a round of foosball will transport you even more, and give your group something else to bond over. Everyone loves to leave the country without the hassle of jetlag.
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