10 Best Cities for Nightlife around the World
When the clock strikes and the lights go out, some of the world’s most iconic cities come alive. Gin bars, jazz clubs, and spectacular cabarets are only a few of the main attractions, and visitors will have no trouble finding after-hours entertainment. From the City of Lights to the City that Never Sleeps, here are our picks for the world’s best cities for night owls.
When it comes to nightlife, Amsterdam is best known for its Red Light District. But there are many venues throughout the city that offer unique late night experiences. Movie lovers can visit The Movies, a 1920s-style art house cinema that dates back to 1912. After getting your fill of indie films, you can walk next door for drinks at the cinema’s restaurant and bar. If you’re in the mood for music, visit Paradiso: a contemporary music venue with live performances and special club nights. To get away from the hustle and bustle, stop at Wynand Fockink, a small, 17th century-style tasting house that offers the finest Dutch liquors.
The City of Lights comes alive after hours. It wouldn’t be a night out in Paris without a trip to the Moulin Rouge. Visitors can watch a cabaret show while sipping champagne, and sample cuisine from one of the venues gourmet tasting menus. Once the clock strikes midnight, stop by Club Silencio, one of Paris’s most exclusive nightclubs. Created by movie director David Lynch, the secret club only allows members and guests until midnight, but then admits the general public. If you’re lucky enough to make it past the bouncers, you might rub elbows with some of Hollywood’s elite.
Nightlife starts late in Rome—diners linger over meals until midnight, and clubs stay open until the early hours of the morning. But with late hours come plenty of opportunities for entertainment. At the top of the Spanish Steps is Gregory’s, one of the city’s most celebrated jazz bars and dinner clubs. After sampling the club’s delicious cuisine and extensive collection of whiskey, enjoy a live jazz performance in the lounge. To do as the Romans do, stop by Il Piccolo—a wine bar just off the Piazza Navona. The quaint setting is perfect for people watching and will have you lingering in true Roman style.
There’s no shortage of nightlife activities in Sin City. New clubs sprout up almost daily, and bars and casinos dot every corner. For an upscale, sophisticated setting, visit the Vesper Bar in the Cosmopolitan Hotel. The bar offers an extensive cocktail and drink menu, and exudes elegance and refinement with its classic décor. For a more lively setting, PURE is your best bet. Dance through the club’s multiple rooms, or step out onto the terrace for a view of the city’s center Strip.
Los Angeles’s glitz and glamour extends past movie sets, and into its vibrant nightlife. With its World War II décor and artisanal cocktail list, Harvard & Stone will take you to a different era. The bar, which just celebrated its second anniversary, also features live music and an extensive collection of American spirits. For a Mad Men-esque bar experience, visit Stark Bar in Mid-City West. Located next to the Los Angeles Contemporary Museum of Art, the bar features seasonal cocktails and a California-centric wine list. During the summer, you can listen to live jazz music from the museum’s adjacent courtyard.
London nightlife offers something for everyone—from comedy cabarets to swanky boutique bars, you don’t have to look far for late-night revelry. Dusty blue walls and romantic décor make the Blue Bar a favorite upscale cocktail spot. Located in the Berkeley Hotel, it offers live jazz music and an inventive cocktail menu. For a more traditional pub experience, try Jerusalem Tavern. The pub’s small interior belies an extensive menu of St. Peter’s beers and ale, and the laid-back atmosphere creates a convivial drinking experience. For arts and culture aficionados, the Royal Opera House is a must. The venue hosts nightly performances, including classic ballets and opera.
Bangkok has a reputation for being rowdy after-hours, but there are many upscale locales that offer a more sophisticated late-night experience. Take the elevator to the 63rd floor of State Tower to Sky Bar, a rooftop cocktail lounge with panoramic views of the city. Le Derriere, the city’s only absinthe bar, offers a more intimate drinking experience. The décor is reminiscent of 1920s Paris, and patrons can sip on champagne on one of the lounge’s velvet red chaises.
Tokyo’s international spirit is reflected in its nightlife, as visitors can find everything from live music and bars to traditional Japanese Kabuki shows. Music lovers will enjoy Sweet Basil 139, an upscale jazz club that features both national and international acts. For a more colorful experience, visit Kamiya Bar, the city’s oldest Western-style bar. The bar is home to Denki Bran, liquor invented in Tokyo that comprises gin, red wine, brandy, and curacao.
Rio de Janeiro
Rio is the city of Samba, but there are many other options for late-night visitors. For pristine views of the sea and well-crafted cocktails, visit Bar D’Hotel. The bar attracts some of Rio’s most elite, including actors, socialites, and sports starts. Cultural aficionados will enjoy the Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil, one of Rio’s most important cultural centers. The building, which used to be the headquarters of the Banco do Brazil, houses art exhibitions, theater performances and music recitals.
New York may be the city that never sleeps, but Madrilenos don’t catch much shut-eye, either. The city is known for its all-night partying and lively late-night hotspots, but the latest trend is gin and tonic bars. Start the night at Arzabal for classic tapas and carefully prepared gin and tonics. Next, head to the Gin Room, which offers more than a dozen unusual brands of gin in a sleek, stylish environment. For sky-high views of the city, visit Glass Bar and La Terraza at the Urban Hotel. The menu includes over 30 gin and tonic pairings, and draws from an extensive collection of international gins.
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