Lavapiés is an inexpensive area whose name comically translates to “wash feet”. It was originally the Jewish quarter of the city until the Jews were expelled in 1492. The area still is famous for having a large foreign population.
The whole area is very steep and at the bottom of Lavapiés is the main square Plaza de Lavapiés is known for openly selling drugs but it also has a high police presence in order to crack down on this. There are many alternative bars which offer a nice change from the upscale places further up in central Madrid.