World’s Best Nightlife – Reviews
When searching for the cities with the hottest nightlife what criteria should be used? What makes a hotspot? Is it the variety of clubs, the splendor of the surroundings, the quality of the vibe, the size of the party? Perhaps the sheer magnitude of the scene.
With something on the order of 1,100 bars, lounges and nightclubs, New York City is indisputably the epicenter of nightlife on the east coast of the US. There is something for everyone from the swank ambiance of Marquee to the foot stompin’ country honky of Hogs and Heifers. At Webster Hall, a 40,000 sq foot venue in the East Village, you will find multiple rooms devoted to different genres of music and a grand ballroom complete with colored lights, trapeze artists and go go dancers. With most venues open till 4am, nightlife in NYC carries on till the wee hours and keeps surprising you with its boundless energy and variety.
Energy and variety are also the stock in trade of London’s club scene. Noted for huge spaces in quirky former rave locations, many London mega-clubs set their DJ’s spinning beneath railway arches or in grungy former industrial spaces. An exception is KOKO located in a refurbished theatre which still maintains its gilt and velvet opulence. Another club with class is EGG, a stylish venue combining a variety of indoor and outdoor spaces. Beyond the mega-clubs London offers hundreds of DJ bars, style bars, cabarets, wine bars and pubs. The notorious 11pm closing time is a thing of the past and some spots have 24 hour licenses, which means, theoretically, the party never stops.
In Tel Aviv the party starts about 11pm and stretches until first light. While the city is home to many exciting nightclubs, particularly in Allenby Street, the trend is away from mega-clubs to smaller, more intimate venues. That is not to say that Tel Aviv doesn’t like a big party. Young party goers have embraced the concept of the rave, random, one-off events held in various places. Unlike the European raves of the 80’s and 90’s, however, these events are aboveboard and held in clubs. One of the organizers, Pacotek, based in Jerusalem, announces the dates and locations on flyers, in emails and on its website only days before they occur. Thousands flock to them.
Thousands flock to Reykjavik to sample its popular nightlife. The Icelandic combination of sculptured Nordic beauty and a liberal attitude toward alcohol has acted like a magnet to outsiders and the result is a nightlife scene that is exploding. Most of the action takes place along Austurstraeti, Laugavegur and Bankastr where a typical night doesn’t get going until midnight but then roars on until 6am. Bar 11 is the first stop on the Runtur, the popular pub crawl that occurs every Friday and Saturday night. Participants pay a flat fee for drinks and then make a circuit to area bars where they enter without paying. The night typically ends up at NASA, Reykjavik’s largest bar, where disco is featured after midnight and the dancing lasts until dawn.
Starting late and going until dawn is the special forte of Bueno Aires. In this dazzling Argentine city the partying doesn’t really start until 2am but then runs until dawn. At Confiteria Ideal, the night begins with tango lessons. Later, the school becomes an exhilarating nightclub. At the multi-storied Bahrein an eclectic crowd wanders between floors laid out in three distinct settings, the Yellow Bar, XSS and the Funky Room. Nearby at Kika the beautiful people gather while a line forms behind a velvet rope to admit those whose style and verve are deemed worthy. Another expensive and exclusive club is Crobar where techno rules. It is reputed to have the best sound system in the city.
If you like your nightlife big, loud and licentious, Berlin is the place for you. Berliner’s have a thing for humongous venues. Tresor Club, the birthplace of Berlin’s famed techno scene, moved from its sprawling digs in the vault rooms of a former department store to its new location in a former industrial plant. The enormous Berghain nightclub, also housed in a former plant, boasts an 18 meter high dance floor and accommodates 1,500 partiers known for their wild hedonism. At the Kit Kat Club the hedonism is taken a step further, entrance is restricted to those wearing appropriate fetish gear. What goes on inside is enough to make even the randiest libertine blush.
In Bangkok the nightlife is no less epic, although on a somewhat less profligate scale. (I know that’s hard to believe). In the officially designated nightlife zone of RCA a number of outsized clubs cluster together to form a playland of dancing and revelry. The Flix and Slim Clubs are housed inside a sprawling modernist steel and glass structure. Nearby the ultra suave Inch club accommodates 2,500 in a chic, glowing ambiance of sexy dark blue. The 808 club boasts the city’s biggest sound system. Route 66 is all sleek white surfaces, animation screens and snazzy lighting. Everywhere you turn, the scene dazzles and excites. Bangkok is the place to party in Southeast Asia.
Away on the other side of the world, no one disputes the number one party spot in the west. Las Vegas is big and brash and irresistibly electric. Its nightclubs are lavish, their variety dizzying, and the ongoing game of one-upmanship between them ever ready to surprise and delight. The most recent show stopper is the 100 million dollar XS at the Encore Suites featuring 40,000 square feet of bars, VIP tables and poolside cabanas. But for every XS there are a dozen other clubs that were the XS of the moment not so long ago. In Las Vegas it’s hard to keep up with the feverish evolution of its nightlife, but for many people there’s nothing more fun than trying.
Six thousand miles to the south another city sizzles late into the night and often until daybreak. In Rio de Janeiro the club scene is rich and varied. If you like your nightlife pricey and exclusive and in the company of super models, try Baronetti. If you prefer to rub elbows with trendy young people while listening to samba, head to Casa da Matriz. Over at Club Six three floors of high energy hip hop thump and squall. Anywhere you go, the clubs have a unique payment policy, an upfront payment for the cover charge plus a value in cash placed on a debit card that is subtracted every time you buy a drink. It can be hard to keep track of once you surrender to the vibe and it’s hard not to surrender to the vibe.
The vibe in Ibiza is no less appealing. Dubbed the entertainment island of the world by the Guinness Book of World Records, the Spanish island of Ibiza is party central for southern Europeans. From the original and enormous Pacha, long a magnet for the beautiful people, to the internationally renowned Amnesia with its 16 bars, 200 employees and dance floor that can hold 5,000, Ibiza is no holds barred when it comes to throwing a party. Rivalry between the clubs feeds the beast, which sparked the evolution of Privilege, formerly a humble restaurant, into the largest nightclub in the world with a main room the size of an aircraft hanger and a capacity of 10,000 people. When it comes to a firm refusal to be outdone, few hotspots can outdo Ibiza.
Whether it’s the size of the dance floor, the energy of the vibe, the splendor of the surroundings or the sheer determination to drink and dance until dawn, these nightlife hotspots top the list for the cities with the hottest nightlife in the world.