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April 20, 2018

The Old Town – Bucharest’s Nightlife

After decades of neglect, major infrastructure renovation works have breathed new life into Bucharest’s Old Town. Many of its superb period buildings have been refurbished or restored, while others, whose beauty contrasts sharply with their state of degradation, are still waiting for their time. Nevertheless, the historic architecture, the old churches, the outdoor terraces and cafés and the romantic feel make the Old Town a most enticing area of the city.

The Old Town is the old district of artisans and merchants that emerged around the Princely Court, back in the 16th century. The first Lipscani Lane, paved with wood, has recently been discovered at a depth of 3.30 meters below the current street level. Many of the streets are still named after the various craft guilds of the time, such as Blanari (“Furriers”), Selari (“Saddlers”) or Bacani (“Grocers”). The trade center was in its hay days a bustling, colorful Balkan place, with merchants shouting out loud, praising their wares and trying to attract customers.

But what about Nightlife?

The best of Bucharest’s after-dark action doesn’t kick off until 9pm. There are no licensing hours so the bars and clubs run deep into the night. Restaurants do a brisk trade in Bucharest so do be sure to book a table for your group before turning up for a meal at some of the more established eateries.  

While the rest of Europe gentrifies their city centres, pricing out the real people that live there in order to attract the tourist hordes, Bucharest just gets on with being a proper city. To be sure Bucharest is modernizing at a rapid pace, but dilapidated streets and buildings push up against elegant and eclectic architecture from the Enlightenment era. Remnants of its communist past give way to its unbridled capitalist future with modern bars and clubs springing up throughout the city. East and West collide in its history of the clashes between Balkan and Middle Eastern cultures, brought to life best in its food and drink. Can you tell that I really love this place for being real and not just a memory of itself?

Most of Bucharest’s nightlife scene is found in the old town area known as Lipscani. It’s packed with bars, cafes, and restaurants that heave with locals nearly every night and are especially packed during the summer months. Clubs are liberally scattered throughout the city making it all the more important to arrange transport to and from when out and about.

Best Clubs

From mega-clubs that attract the top DJs in the world to smaller scale venues featuring local live music, Bucharest has one of the liveliest nightlife scenes in Europe. There are three types of clubs in Bucharest:

  1. the Überclub where the trend-setting high society types like to party;
  2. the Counterculture club where students and local crowds of young partygoers get their clubbing fix;
  3. Live Music Venues which host local bands most nights of the week.

Whatever type of night out you’re seeking, it shall be found in Bucharest. It’s a clubbers paradise so if you feel like sampling the best of the bunch you really should book from one of our amazing clubbing activities, like the VIP Night Clubbing or the Crawl and Club activities. Bucharest does not have a central clubbing district so your best bet for easy access for the entire group is to book Transport through us. Here are four of our favourite places to party in Bucharest:

BOA (Beat of Angles) – To describe this club is to sound like an over excited teenager: BOA is epic uber-ness mashed with ultimate awesomeness.It features superior entertainment in the form of world-class DJs and gorgeous women in various states of undress parading down two runways through the middle of the dance floor. Topped off with great drinks and great service, it’s pretty much the best place for your party in Bucharest.

Fratelli – The colourful, eclectic décor of the very cool Fratelli Lounge & Club features an industrial metallic structure and wood plated walls that reflects the street culture of Bucharest. Chill out on the plush couches with the hip, beautiful people and listen to some of the best underground music Bucharest has to offer.

Bamboo – It’s quite possibly the hardest club to get into in Bucharest – a hedonistic playground for the city’s super wealthy. Hosts major international DJs in an atmosphere of excess reflected in décor seemingly designed by a trust fund baby on cocaine. In actuality, once you get on board with a world that bears no relation to reality, it’s quite a low-key place to party. Dress fashionably or don’t bother to queue.

Player – An unlimited budget for decoration meets a complete lack of restraint in the last of our top picks of perfect clubs in Bucharest. Sunken seating areas lined with silver couches are dotted around the floor plan of the club interspersed among runways on which gorgeous girls parade their stuff as light from gigantic chandeliers reflects off the geometric mirrored panels and, well …hmmmm, words are kind of failing me right now. You simply have to see it to believe it. Bring lots of money.

Best Bars

All of the best establishments are located in the recently, somewhat sporadically, refurbished old town otherwise known as the Lipscani district. Bars in Bucharest range from secretive hotspots without a name known only to locals, and larger, more urbane lounges that cater to locals and vacationers alike. Authenticity is the watchword in this city as all of the bars on our list reflect the ambience of old Bucharest. Even better – don’t worry about getting loaded and getting rolled in the streets – all of Bucharest is incredibly safe to walk at any time of the day or night. That said it might be best to book one of our Bar Crawl or Cocktail Crawl activities so you get the best action Bucharest has to offer.

Bordellos – What started as a one-room pub morphed into three complementary venues that offer their clientele a unique night out in Bucharest. The ground floor is home to The Pub – old-world Romanian décor provides the perfect atmosphere to enjoy pints, great tapas food and live music. The Library Lounge resembles New York’s late 30’s Speak Easy Bars – yours truly particularly enjoys sampling and sipping from their extensive menu of single malt whiskeys. The Malunruj Dining Theatre is the cherry on the top featuring entertainment in the form of cabaret, magic, acrobatics, theatre, dance, music and fine dining. It’s one of our favourite places to party do in Bucharest. 

Freddo Bar & Lounge – Modern, innovative architecture like the sliding glass doors and fully retractable roof help make Freddo one of the coolest hotspots in Bucharest. Live DJs and an inviting menu complement a friendly, social atmosphere. Perfect for a more chilled night out with the boys.

Interbelic – This legendary, formerly hidden cocktail bar is now the biggest open secret in Bucharest. It’s got a speakeasy, interwar period feel to the décor and atmosphere, and serves the best cocktails in town. Their intended aim is to educate their clientele about spirits and cocktails so everyone’s invited behind the bar to create his own creation. Very, very cool place. 

Storage Room Café – The unique interior design of brightly coloured chairs, baroque inspired mirrors, bicycles hanging from the walls and comfy neon pillows give this bar a vibrant atmosphere. Add to the mix the young, student clientele and you’ve got yourself a perfect place to chill before heading out to a club.


Best Restaurants

Inspired by modern trends in dining and informed by its history as the crossroads of Eastern and Western cultures in Europe, Bucharest’s restaurants offer visitors a unique gastronomic experience. Greek, Turkish, Russian, Bulgarian, and Hungarian peoples have all contributed to what are called the traditional dishes of Romania. Street vendors, lunch counters, mid-priced eateries and upscale fine dining establishments all serve up mouthwatering cuisine. Your party can expect to eat well and inexpensively on your weekend in Bucharest. For an even better deal why not go for a three course traditional dinner? Two places that I always try to make it to whenever I’m in Bucharest are:

Carul cu Bere – The dazzling interior design features stained-glass windows and décor reminiscent of the belle époque. Bucharest’s oldest beer house may be a big draw for the tourist industry, but locals love it just as much as weekend visitors. Peasant-girl hostesses and traditional entertainment help round out the classic Romanian menu. 

Hanul cu Tei – Beer and the best sausages in Bucharest. Need we say more? Well then, the long bar, brass fittings and exposed pipes lend this pub a decidedly retro feel while retaining all the modern comforts of a contemporary gastro pub. Its location deep in the heart of the picturesque old town makes it one of our favourite haunts whenever we’re in Bucharest.

Travel Tips 

Travel can be full of pitfalls – from tourist scams to an overpriced restaurant or bar, from seedy hotels to a wasted afternoon at a boring attraction, one wrong step can ruin a perfect weekend abroad. We want to help maximize your time and money spent in Bucharest. So check out our top tips for traveling smart on your weekend abroad. 

  • It’s customary to book a table at a restaurant or club even if it’s only a few hours before your arrival. Be prompt for dinner and club reservations. You will lose your booking if you aren’t there on time as there are always people next in line.
  • If you must take a taxi, always ask the fare before setting off, or use UBER! 🙂
  • Try and book accommodation close to the Lipscani as it’s the heart of the party disctrict. To avoid staying in a hole in the ground book with us.

And best advice? Have fun in Bucharest!


Category: What to See
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