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Walking into this neighbourhood is like entering a different country ... except it's hard to tell which one it is. One side of Calle Lavapiés is lined with Indian restaurants, the other with kebab shops. Men in traditional African clothing convene outside their businesses for long chats, and people shout to each other across plazas and streets. Interspersed among ethnic specialty shops are independent theaters and
dance studios, and two large arts and cultural centers — the beautiful Casa Encendida and the Tabacalera, a former tobacco factory — all of which attract young crowds. Along Calle Argumosa, the place to go for drinks, artists and art appreciators with piercings and dreadlocks convene in the street’s eclectic array of young, hip bars. Though some of the side streets can get a little seedy at night, Lavapiés is still the place to go for those seeking a unique blend of arts and culture in an international and funky neighbourhood.