The Ultimate Men’s Guide to Santo Domingo Nightlife
I remember my first night out enjoying the magnificent Santo Domingo nightlife. I was new to the country and the culture…
“Cual chica te gusta?” (Which girl do you like?)
“Uhh…uhh…no se” (I don’t know).
My Dominican friend caught me off guard and I didn’t have an answer ready.
I scanned our group at the club and saw a tall, brown girl wearing high heels and a tight one-piece white dress.
“Esa” (That one).
He looked at the girl, looked back at me, winked and said:
“No te preocupes. Está hecho” (Don’t worry, it’s done).
Now, it was my first night out in the Dominican Republic and I was happy to be out with a group of locals, but I wasn’t sure of the customs yet.
Of course, I knew that Dominicans were friendly and welcoming to visitors, but I wasn’t expecting to have my pick of the girls, and for my friend to fix it up for me.
Boozing and Bachata in Santo Domingo
When you think of partying in the Caribbean, Santo Domingo isn’t the first city on your mind. You’re more likely to picture yourself dancing salsa all night long in Havana, Cuba, or getting down and dirty among the reggae scene in Kingston, Jamaica.
If the Dominican Republic has come across your radar, it’s likely you’ve only heard of the resort areas: Punta Cana and Puerto Plata. You’ll find plenty of all-inclusive resorts and watersports in these two beach towns but…
The best place to party in the DR (Dominican Republic) is the capital, Santo Domingo – it’s understated, largely unspoiled, and has the potential to surprise you.
Santo Domingo is one of my favorite party cities in the Caribbean because of the unique culture of the island and the character of the Dominican people.
Dominicans are open, fun-loving, and straightforward. While the country isn’t known for it’s advancements in STEM fields, they love to party. That’s what makes it a fun place. Would you rather party with a group of quantum physics professors or with some rum-chugging, hip-swinging island folk?
Exactly. Now let’s get into a quick overview of Santo Domingo nightlife for prospective partygoers.
Getting To The Clubs And Back
Once Uber arrived in Santo Domingo, my nights out in the capital were never the same again. No more getting ripped off by late night taxi drivers. And no more worrying that they would drive me into their barrio and set me up to get robbed by their “panas”.
I recommend any tourists going to party in Santo Domingo use Uber to get to the clubs and back. There are always plenty of cars available in the areas I’ll recommend, and you’ll be guaranteed a nice ride instead of the burnt out wrecks regular taxi drivers use in Santo Domingo.
Dress To Impress
How should you dress going to the club?
Dominican culture is segregated across economic lines. The lower class dress “ghetto” – basketball shirts, sneakers, baseball caps, gaudy jewelry…you get the idea.
The middle-class dress more “preppy” – colorful polo shirts, button downs, leather shoes, slacks, etc.
If you dress urban in your hood back home, and you’re familiar with Dominican culture AND have some local friends, be my guest and thug out.
If not, and If you’re going to any of the clubs I recommend in this article, dress up like the second group.
A note on weather: The DR is a Caribbean island so prepare to feel a waterfall of sweat running down your back if you walk around during the day. But most clubs/bars blast the AC all night. A light blazer is all you need to avoid a chill in the clubs.
The Local Lingo
English levels are low in the Dominican Republic. Two types of Dominicans speak English:
- Hustlers who lived undocumented in New York for 20 years before they got deported back to the island.
- People from well-to-do families who attended bilingual schools.
If your Spanish ranges from weak to nada, just follow the advice in this article:
First, you need to learn some Spanish. If you can’t even mutter “Hola” without sounding like a tourist, then grab Rocket Spanish and start studying. The program will have you holding conversations in a few months.
If you want to flirt with some ladies in Spanish while enjoying the nightlife in Santo Domingo, then you’ll need Pickup Spanish. This course is tailormade for guys looking to get laid while traveling in the Dominican Republic.
While in the DR, you’ll want to stay in the capital as much as possible. Santo Domingo has the highest percentage of English-speakers of any city in the Dominican Republic.
The clubs I recommend below are frequented by middle-class Dominicans. So you might get lucky and find people who know English
Random fact: Dominicans often call a bar “un drink”. So “Estoy buscando un drink” means “I’m looking for a bar” not “I’m looking for a drink”.
Staying Safe In Santo Domingo
Santo Domingo is a Latin American concrete jungle. For that reason, many visitors fear for their physical safety and personal belongings.
But don’t worry, I’ve got your back. All the clubs I recommend are located in the safer areas of Santo Domingo.
Santo Domingo splits in two with a river running through the middle. As a general rule stay away from east Santo Domingo. Also stay away from the North of the city. Stick to the West of the city and you’ll have no worries.
These zones are safe:
- Bella Vista
Heed my words: Do not visit, party at, or stumble around drunk late at night in the following areas:
- Villa Juana
- Cristo Rey
- Los Minas
- Villa Mella
Nights of the Week
Santo Domingo nightlife is great, but this isn’t one of those cities that “never sleeps” so there isn’t much going on from Monday to Wednesday.
With one exception: if you wander down to “La Zona Colonial” (the colonial zone) on a Tuesday or Wednesday night, you might get lucky and find some other tourists out drinking.
But generally, Thursday and Sunday nights bookend the party week, with Friday and Saturday being prime nights.
Below are the clubs and bars I recommend new visitors to Santo Domingo start with.
In order form the least to the most recommended:
Ask any local in Santo Domingo for nightlife recommendations and they’ll tell you head over to Avenida Venezuela. This isn’t a specific venue but a strip of clubs.
I only include Avenida Venezuela on my list because it gives you lots of choices – there are probably 15-odd clubs on the strip. The only two I recommend are at opposite ends; Euphoria (a large dance club) and La Barrica (a bar with more of a local feel).
I prefer the other La Barrica bar in the Naco neighborhood. It’s a bar with a small dance area, but the atmosphere is conducive to mingling and meeting new people, especially inside.
Close to La Barrica in Naco, K’Rajos is that bar you start off your night at to have cocktails and get in the mood. You’ll start your night here and end it at Euphoria or at the last two clubs on this list, for example.
Located right at the entrance of Acropolis Shopping Mall, this is a small spot is THE place to be seen in Santo Domingo. They play Latin top-40 all night and bring out burning birthdays cakes for the birthday girl/boy of the night. Another early night spot
You’ll find this club in the middle of the university zone, so no safety worries. If you are staying in a hotel near the waterfront (“The Malecon”), Platinum will be the closest night spot for you.
Platinum will have live music most nights of the week. It’s hardcore Latin music: Bachata, Merengue, Salsa. Sorry for you dance fans – not much David Guetta or Avicii
Somewhat famous among the locals of Santo Domingo, Jetset host many famous Latino artists throughout the year. They play a mixture of reggaeton and pop music early and more traditional Bachata songs later in the night.
Jetset is the ideal club for the 30+ crowd.
Nightlife in Santo Domingo – Vamos Mi Gente!
If this is your first time enjoying Santo Domingo nightlife, I envy you. Few places are more welcoming to visitors and I’ve never found anywhere better for striking up a conversation with a local – if you know Spanish.
Dance a little bachata, enjoy some reggaeton, and meet some Dominicans. The nightlife in Santo Domingo is some of the best in Latin America. You just have to know where to look!
About the Author
Living and traveling around Latin America, Papi Chulo learned a thing or two about dating stunning Latinas. Now, he's sharing that information with the world. If you've ever wanted to meet stunning, exotic women - the time is now!