Archive: I Love the Nightlife
Like to boogie? Many of our readers are ready for bed after a long day of sightseeing and a slow tasty dinner. But others are just getting warmed up. Share with us your very best late-night European memory.
where is the perfect party in europe? amsterdam, no doubt about it. many think just because of the marijuana, but it's a mentality. people are much more open-minded.
in holland, "squatters law" deems that when a building is abandond for a certain amount of time, it can be claimed to live in by anyone with a table, bed and chair. on the weekends, there are "secret" parties that you can find all over the city in these reclaimed buildings.
get in with the locals. hang out at hidden hole-in-the-wall bar to meet people, not the glitz and glam places like the tourist-robbing bulldog and grasshopper coffeeshops.
most parties cost less than NL10, usually 5. the buildings can be old
hospitals, abandonded Sony corporation buildings and even factories. maybe
you will be lucky and have a swing to play on, or fire dancers to watch!
it's amazing. lose yourself in amsterdam. you won't regret it!
San Francisco, ca USA 05/28/01
I was in London last September and came across a great bar called Danny O. We met a lot of locals and there were beautiful people everywhere you looked (especially the bartenders and the girl carrying shots around in a holster). There were comfortable couches to lounge on and just take in the whole scene. We ended up meeting some locals and made a late night out of it.
Don't ever be shy in Europe, because if you don't hang out with locals,
you will never truly experience Europe!
Bend, OR USA 05/22/01
Re: Getting past the bouncers at Queen in Paris. I've never gotten turned away. Here's how I do it: Get there at midnight at the latest, don't speak English too loudly, and don't go with a big group (4 or 5 maximum). Look bored and like you own the place. Don't smile! And it helps to have as many guys with you as possible.
Though many nights are mixed gay and straight, Queen is really a gay discotheque and gives priority to guys. Also, wear club clothes — black, tight, you get the idea. Sometimes I see Americans hoping to get in dressed in khakis and t-shirts. Denied!
It sounds like a hassle to get in but it's worth it. Queen is a great
place to dance, has a nice big dance floor and the music is great. Most
weeknights it's only 50 F to get in, one drink included. Have fun!
Paris, France 05/02/01
For anyone going to Switzerland, check the site www.partynews.ch — all
the parties are specified. Swizerland is THE land of Trance Music and
Grenoble, France, FR 04/25/01
In April my wife and I saw the sold-out "Lion King" at Lancaster Theater in London for 37.50 pounds. Even though the show is sold out until August, if you are lucky you can be like us and get a return ticket. We arrived at 18:45 and were the 10th people in the Returned Tickets line. They release the tickets at 19:00 and everyone in line got a ticket (cash only). Our seats were together in the tenth row! It was really a highlight of London.
I personally would avoid the scalpers selling tickets in front of the
theater unless you are really desperate. If you do buy from a scalper,
I noticed some buyers asking the man at the front door first if it was
legitimate before they made the purchase, and it was.
Las Vegas, NV USA 04/15/01
Go to RadostFX in Prague. Visit their website first, www.radostfx.cz.
Great house music with big name dj's.
Vancouver, BC CAN 03/12/01
I was walking down Schwabing in Munich with others from our school group.
We were just people-watching. The funniest thing was the drunken German
men (about mid-30's) singing John Denver songs. Prost!
Denver, CO USA 02/08/01
I second the comment about Le Shaker in Amboise — a very nice little
bar, very friendly, and also good food. We were there twice and no one
spoke any English either time, but with our limited French we were able
to get along just fine. It is a swell little place. Check it out.
I'm stunned by the number of people who think that Munich is all about Hofbrauhaus and Biergarten-hopping. For those who aren't utterly spent touristing by day, Munich's got some excellent late-night spots.
For generally good clubbing with a wide variety of places from which to choose, you can't beat the Kunstpark Ost (U/S Bahn Ostbahnhof, Grafingerstrasse.) More than 20 different clubs, some lousy, some great, but definitely something for everyone. Particular favourites are the Milchbar and K41; both tout consistently good DJs who know how to spin a record. Park Cafe (near Hauptbahnhof and Stachus) is also a good place to dance.
Munich is home to a slew of snazzy bars as well; try Lenbach (also a restaurant; Lenbachplatz, near Stachus); and Lardy's (Schwabing, on Leopoldstrasse) are both fun.
If you've got a long night ahead of you, order a Weinschorle (white
wine with mineral water). Otherwise, go for the classic Euro-drink, Vodka
Red Bull. Helps you keep that much-needed edge!
San Diego, CA USA 11/19/00
Anyone coming to London and into alternative music — secret tip: Kings
College Student Union on the Strand plays quality music and has an upstairs
bar where you can chill out looking along the river from Parliament to
Docklands. I'm not a student but it really is great, £5 to get in and
Derby, England, UK 10/11/00
Staying the night in Beaune, France, I convinced my compatriots to go
out to a local nightclub. I chatted with some local kids at the next table,
and bought one a drink. They invited us to come out with them to a 'private'
nightclub. We drove out to a lonely spot (my companions were nervous)
when suddenly rows of cars and lots of clubbers came into view. We drank
and danced with locals til the wee hours for almost nothing. And we got
to practice our French on many people! If you're competent with personal
security (I am strong and always aware), craziness can be the way to have
large amounts of real fun and meet people. Don't be shy!
I went to this great bar in Vienna called Voodoo Lounge. It has a big
picture of Keith Richards on the awning outside. The bartender was great
and enjoyed my pathetic attempt at German. He even let us pick music for
the bar (classic rock mostly). We played backgammon with the locals too.
And the beer was awesome.
Carrboro , NC USA 08/29/00
I found a neat little pub in St. Goar, Germany. I arrived in town on a Tuesday afternoon and as night approached, I began looking for a drinking joint where I could spend the evening. I was about to kick myself in the arse for staying in St. Goar as all the pubs were of the eating type rather than drinking type. However, near the south end of town, on the road that runs along the Rhine, I found this place called 'Tropical,' which in the States I would have avoided. But I was desperate to hear some music and clown around a bit.
I couldn't have found a more freindly group of people to drink with.
The young couple that ran the place were quite nice and very amused when
I asked to hear neue Deutsche welle songs on the stereo (German new wave
from the 80's). There were about 4 or 5 locals hanging around and I struck
up a conversation in my very limited German and found out that a couple
of them could speak English. The whole place welcomed me as a regular
and I spent a very fun night drinking, sharing stories, playing cards
and darts. What more could you ask for on a Tuesday evening. If you stop
in, ask them to play NDW and tell them the goofy American sent you! Cheers!
waukegan, IL USA 08/09/00
The dance clubs in the center of Florence tend to be a bit cheesy and touristy. I opted for where more Italian natives spent their Saturday nights: at either Central Park or Meccano, both near the entrance of Parco de Cascine. In the summer both have outdoor dance areas that are packed but worth the crowd!
If discos aren't your thing, there are more than enough friendly bars
in the centro. The Joshua Tree on Via Della Scala right near the train
station was where I spent most of my nights during my 6-month stay. The
crowd is mixed between students and young Italian locals and the music
was the thing that kept me going back. The staff all speak English and
made my stay in Italy worthwhile.
NY, NY USA 07/24/00
In Amboise, France, at the base of the castle is a bridge. As you cross the bridge look down and to the right on the far side. There you will find on the bank of the Loire a place called 'Le Shaker.' They apparently are into the 'lounge' scene now also. They will buzz you in, and the place is decorated like a swank 1880's western hotel bar (no cowboy stuff, just polished brass and wood). They take their mixology quite seriously and were very gracious. There is nothing like a 32 oz mug of Kronenbourg after a 4-hour drive.
Since many of the places in Amboise close earlier than in the bigger
cities, make sure you have your dinner first, then stop by 'Le Shaker.'
They open about 7 pm. People are friendly and treat foreign visitors wonderfully.
Stiff drinks also, as they bring you their very large cocktail menu. Stop
by, talk, listen to some music in a little booth. You won't be disappointed.
New York City, NY USA 07/19/00
FYI, to Kelly (below): Werbung is not the name of MTV in Germany. Werbung
means commercial in German. The network was just announcing that a commercial
was coming on.
Santa Rosa, CA USA 07/10/00
I loved Europe...just don't expect to gain easy entry into Paris clubs. I went to "The Queen" for some serious dancing and was quickly denied entrance after they heard my American English and found my look unappealing. This was a swift blow to my NYC ego. Can't a girl get a break?
P.S. I gave up MTV after watching Werbung, the German version. Lots
of great music, only a little commercial advertising and funny songs!
Boston, MA USA 06/19/00
If you are in London, and book far enough in advance, I HIGHLY recommend
the musical/comedy MAMMA MIA playing at Prince Edwards Theater. Tickets
were $70 pp. What a great show! It was set to 23 ABBA hits...the wife
LOVED it and I thought it was pretty terrific myself. Call soon! Tickets
Albuquerque, NM USA 05/30/00
I attended a pub crawl in Rome which was awesome. It's run every night
at 8pm by a company called Walks of Rome. Meet at the bottom of the Spanish
Steps. Basically it consisted of one hour of free beer and wine and then
the guides took us to six bars around Rome. There were people from all
over the world that all partied really hard — I would tell you what time
it finished, but to be honest, I don't remember! Anybody in Rome who wants
to party MUST do the pub crawl. Enjoy!
Michigan, USA 03/09/00
If you are looking for an entire island that pulsates with partying,
go to IOS, in the Greek Cyclades. This seems to be a summertime and "spring-break"
location for many young Northern European travelers. Dedicate at least
a week, because it will all seem like one long day!
Boulder, CO USA 02/11/00
Amsterdam: cafe duivel. Utrecht: nachtwinkel, omhelzing. Both in holland,
both rocking til 7.am.
amsterdam, nl 01/04/00
The Mission nightclub in Edinburgh, Scotland rocks — until 3:00 a.m.!
L.A., CA USA 12/15/99
The red light districts in Hamburg have some of the best clubs around
on the Grosse Freiheit, right off of the Reeperbahn. One good club is
the Funky Pussy Club, that's where my German friends and I went.
lake jackson , tx USA 12/08/99
The best nightlife in Europe is in Spain. I danced the night away in
Madrid and Barcelona. By the water near the train station in Barcelona
there is a whole cluster of dance clubs to choose from. Also I went to
a great jazz club named Harlem.
Staten Island, NY USA 11/24/99
Caveau de la Huchette in Paris' Latin Quarter has my vote as the hippest,
coolest, quirkiest European jazz club I've ever seen. It's located in
an underground cave which I'm told was used as a torture chamber during
the Revolution. What a great hidden surprise. Ignacio the bartender, with
his curly-cue moustache and bellowing voice, was right out of a Guy Buffet
picture! It was an expensive evening ($20 cover plus champagne) but I'll
never forget it! Picture it: REAL FRENCH champagne in hand, "Don't Get
Around Much Anymore" is playing with an almost incomprehensible French
accent, and for a bit of irony, Parisians dancing joyfully in the same
location where a few hundred years earlier people were suffering slow
and painful death... Can life get much better?
Chicago, IL USA 11/18/99
Killarney, Ireland, is touristy, but has some great nightlife as well. After the first of the year, the pub closing times will be extended to 12:30 am and the Sunday "Holy Hour" will be eliminated. If you are staying at one of the hotels that have a pub in them, there are no real closing hours. Most have an after hours bar run by the night porter. Both the Killarney Grand and the Eviston House Hotel have discos that stay open until the wee hours. Make friends with the locals and your night life will be the best.
For good traditional music try the Danny Mann (very touristy) when Spalpin
is playing. Also the Dunloe Lodge, Tattler Jacks, Scotts Hotel, and Killarney
Grand have great music. There are over 100 pubs in town to choose from.
Just stand outside, listen, and then go in or move two or three doors
down to the next pub. Some cut back on the live music off-season, but
when I was there in October, things were still going strong. Killarney
isn't a back door, but it deserves a day or two.
Charleston, SC USA 11/14/99
If you're traveling to Prague, escape the Disney-esque feel of the town
center and hop a tram or walk half a mile away from the tourist zone to
an authentic Czech "pivovar" (beer hall). You'll find an entirely different
atmosphere from the bars around the Charles Bridge and Wenceslas Square
— a more authentic, truly Back Door experience. Here's a test to determine
whether you've found a proper Czech beer hall: If a pint costs less than
12 crowns (about 35 U.S. cents), you're there.
Europe Through the Back Door, 11/11/99
In London the best way to find your own "scene," especially if you're
looking for something that's not so conventional (i.e. not house music)
is to go into the record and clothing shops in places like Soho and Camden
Town and pick up club flyers. They're usually just inside the door, but
may be next to the counter or even in a special rack on the wall. Once
you find a club that suits your tastes you can usually pick up more flyers
there for similar clubs on other nights.
San Francisco, CA USA 11/05/99
We discovered that Ireland has an interesting closing time policy. Even
though the "official" closing time might seem a little early, the proprieters
simply lock the door or turn off the outside light, and the good times
continue until everybody calls it a night. As one of the locals told me,
as long as the "constable" doesn't stop by, closing time is pretty flexible.
NE USA 10/29/99
For the best nightlife in Europe nothing can match the wine village of
Rudesheim, Germany. Try dancing away the night at one of the winestubbes.
They all have bands and it turns into a nightly contest as to which bar
can attract the largest crowd.
Perry, Ia USA 10/25/99
I love the nightlife, but I don't like to boogie at all. No problem in most European countries if you can hit a cue ball. Billiards bars are very popular in European cities, especially Paris and Amsterdam. They are also a great place to meet locals.
In Paris, look around for a billiards bar as far away from the city center as possible. In Amsterdam, you can't throw a wooden shoe in any direction without hitting a coffee shop or bar with pool tables.
Be aware, standard 8 ball is not so standard. The traditional rules for billiards in Europe are different from those in the States. So, don't let locals talk you into playing for cash or beers. You'll most likely get taken. Instead, with a smile, ask anyone waiting for a table if you can join their game to learn. Offer to buy him/her a drink as a gesture of thanks.
Billiards is good for the wallet, too. One or two beers plus 5 bucks
for a few games can last for hours. An added benefit is that this is a
great way to polish up your high school French or fortify it with the
NJ USA 10/19/99
Best fun I ever had in London was at a place called The Effra Pub in Brixton. I stopped a local guy and asked where was the live spot on Sunday nights. We lucked out and picked the right guy because he took us to The Effra, which has an open mic night on Sundays. The house band was great, the Guinness was flowing, the locals were cool and the talent was as varied as anything you'd see on Amateur Night at the Apollo. Saw a woman there who did a cover of "You make me feel like a natural woman" that — seriously — rivaled Aretha Franklin.
There's another good club in Covent Garden called The Spot that has
an open mic night on Sundays. Also is a good place for dancing. London
is pretty lively as far as nightlife.
Miami, USA 10/11/99