Santo Domingo Nightlife Guide

Editor’s Note: This article was last revised on 9-15-15. Venues frequently change and get closed down, so keep that in mind when reading and make sure to do additional research before visiting a recommended venue in this article.

Nightlife here in the Dominican Republic is different than in most countries. The people here don’t usually go out to meet other people, rather they come in small to large groups and interact with their group throughout the entire night. There are also a lot of tables. This is different than the western style of nightlife where people go out and mingle with each other. In western countries there is more standing and more action at the bar.

Another note is that girls here rarely go out by themselves. They usually go out in a group with guys, and the guys are the ones who pick up the entire tab. This makes it more challenging to separate a girl from her group. It’s also not a one-night-stand culture. Girls will make out with you and give up their phone number but anything else is usually rare, even for the most accomplished players.

Yet another negative is that the nightlife usually starts late. Most clubs only get good after midnight and sometimes as late as 1 am. The bars are different though, most bars get good at 10:30 and can peak by 11pm.

But don’t be discouraged by what you’re reading, there are still some good venues in Santo Domingo and there are some venues that are more ‘western style’. We will explore the four main nightlife areas and talk about specific venues.

Zona Colonial

This is the tourist area and there are a lot of different options here. There are numerous clubs and bars but they are usually a little spread out. So if you plan on going bar hopping then you can expect to walk a fair bit. But this is a very safe area so it’s fine to walk around here. At the front of the conde you will find police officers on segways. Other police officers patrol the area on motor bikes.

Onnos

My number one bar for this area is called Onnos. This is a western style bar which serves great cocktails and also has hookah available. The prices here are relatively inexpensive and there is a great special on Wednesdays where you can get 5 cuba libres for about $11.

The music and layout are what really separates Onnos from its competitors. They play popular American music and other music that you can really dance to. At the front, there is a long bar and also a couple seats. There is a DJ in the corner and this is where most of the action is, and where most of the dancing is. There is also a back room where there are tables and another bar.

The crowd here is a mix of locals and tourists. There is usually an even ratio of males to females and the girls here like foreigner guys. For some girls it might be the main reason they come here.

Onnos bar is located on Calle Hostos #157, right on the corner of the condo and near Parque Colon.

Clubs in Zona Colonial

There are some upscale clubs here but in general they are not worth going to. The two hottest clubs here are Maquiavelo and Mojiganga and they are located right near each other. These are places where the young, upper-class locals come to. Outside these clubs you can see limos pulling up and nice cars parked on the road.

Inside these clubs, it’s tough to meet people. The upper-class locals will stick to themselves and they will not be very friendly towards foreigners. Most of them are stuck-up. It will seem odd at times because they will come to the club to be seen- they aren’t there to talk to anyone.

At Maquiavelo, there are tables and VIP areas, but at Mojiganga there are no tables and it’s mostly a wide-open space. There is rarely a cover at either of these clubs and the drink prices are affordable.

Maquiavelo is located on Calle Hostos #352, and Mojiganga is on the corner of Calle Hostos and Calle Las Mercedes.

Moustache

There is a decent after-hours lounge here called Moustache. They play electronic music and there is a nice outdoor section. The cover is usually around $5 but can be more depending on the night.

Moustache is located on Calle Las Mercedes #303.

Avenida Venezuela

This is a popular place with Dominicans and many Dominicans proclaim that this is where the best clubs are. However for a foreigner, I would not recommend this place for a number of reasons. The first reason is that it’s not in the best area. It’s across the river and while the street itself is relatively safe, you are only a few steps away from a bad area.

Wao Dance Club
There are a lot of different clubs on the strip, but in reality they are almost all the same. It’s the same setup where they have tables, hookah, and bottles. A bottle with hookah can cost up to $100, and you will get charged more as a foreigner. The music is extremely loud so it’s hard to make conversation. There’s also no common dance floor so people usually only dance a little in their small groups.

Another reason to avoid this place is the clientèle. It’s a lower class place yet it’s expensive and the guys pick up the tab for their group. So how can these guys afford to spend over $100 for a night out? The answer is that these guys get money from illegal means- a lot of them are drug dealers.

Downtown

The downtown area consists of the Piantini and Naco neighborhoods, as well as the areas around major roadways Lincoln, Churchill, and Kennedy. There are a lot of nightlife options downtown, but they are more spaced out so can’t really bar hop like you can in Zona Colonial. To get around you would either have to drive or take taxis.

The people who go out downtown are generally middle to upper-class, and they aren’t too stuck up so it’s easier to talk to them. People here are more educated than in other parts of Santo Domingo so there is more English spoken. This is a major plus if your Spanish is not so good.

75 Grados

This is a really fun spot that attracts a middle-class crowd. The unique aspect of this place is that they serve drinks in blenders. You order a drink, they make it in a blender, and then they serve it to you in that same blender. There are mostly tables here but the people are open so it’s not hard to approach groups.

75 grados blenders

The only disadvantage is that this place can get packed- really packed. Sometimes on a weekend night it can be difficult to move. For some reason, everyone is allowed in and nobody has to wait.

75 grados is located on Avenida Lincoln, Con Lupe de Vega, Plaza Castilla (in front of Parque La Lira).

La Barrica

This is a popular sports bar and grill that has a little bit of everything. It’s a bar, a club, and a restaurant so there is something here for everyone which is why it attracts a diverse crowd. It’s the best spot in town to watch a game with friends. There is mostly tables and groups here but there is a bar area where it’s easier to meet people. In the club area there’s also a dance floor where people dance bachata and merengue.

La Barrica is located on Avenida Abraham Lincoln, on the corner of Jose A. Soler.

Malecon

A lot of travelers stay on the Malecon, so it’s natural for them to want to go out here. But unfortunately, there just aren’t many good options on the Malecon so it’s best to go elsewhere. I also would not advise walking around at night. The area at night is not well-lit and there is not much police presence.

One good spot to have a few drinks is near the volleyball courts, across from the movie theater (Cinema Centro). To the left of the volleyball courts there is a booth that sells food as well as alcohol. This booth is open on the weekends and there are families and other people hanging out in this area. It’s right near the water as well so it makes for good scenery and also a good place to bring a date.

If you are into strip clubs, then the Malecon might have the best one in the entire city. It’s called Dollhouse, and it’s further down the strip near the university. Supposedly there are European girls who work there. But also note that the strip clubs in the DR are not like western strip clubs, the girls here don’t dance very well. The strips clubs are more like whore-houses.

Mint

This is the premier after-hours club in Santo Domingo, and it’s located at the start of the Malecon near Zona Colonial. This place doesn’t get busy until past 2am and it doesn’t close until later in the morning.
So if your bar or club closes down, then you can head over to Mint to continue your night. At Mint you will find a bar as well as tables and a central area where you can dance. There is no cover.

Mint Nightclub

Mint is located in the Napolitano Hotel and Casino at Ave. George Washington No.51, on the corner of Calle El Número.

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