The Best Bars in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Pulling a pint © antonioandrade1/pixabay
The geography of the Dominican Republic couldn’t be more diverse, with its world-famous beaches, steamy rainforests, salt lakes, desert shrublands and the highest peak in the Caribbean. Yet one thing the whole country has in common is a passion for partying. February’s Carnival is celebrated all over the country and the major resorts throng with night spots, but capital Santo Domingo is the place to be for the best bars, often pumping out merengue all night long. Here’s where to head.
Bar, Beer, $$$
It’s impossible not to be in a good mood at Sabina. Right in the heart of Santo Domingo, it’s packed with locals every night of the week enjoying the very loud music, head-clearing rum cocktails and regular happy hours. You’ll never be short of conversation either: the walls are lined with hand-written notes from previous drinkers and old records, so there’s always something to keep chat flowing as smoothly as the drinks.
Bar, Fusion, $$$
Can’t decide if you want to eat, drink or dance? Do a bit of all three at this lively bar, serving delicious pizzas and tapas so you can wolf down food and head straight to the dance floor – where there’s live music almost every night. It’s hugely popular thanks to great-priced happy hours, but Thursdays are a favourite with locals so get there early if you want to squeeze in.
Arturo Fuente Cigar Club
There are cigar clubs all over Santo Domingo, but this one is easily the swankiest. This is where the capital’s elite come to wind down over elaborate fine dining, a vast choice of wines and one of the best collections of Scotch in the Dominican Republic. Expect to spend some serious cash on the world’s finest cigars, and dress well or you won’t even make it in the door.
Bar, Beer, $$$
© Brendt Petersen / Alamy
Not keen on rum? This basic but budget-friendly beer market is the place to go if you’re craving beer, stout or lager. Choose from German, English, Belgian and American beers, then find a table and order reasonably priced Mediterranean dishes to soak up the damage. You can even order boxes of beer if you find one you really like – or are too lazy to keep walking to the bar.
If the drinks don’t make you dizzy, the decor of this glamorous rooftop bar certainly will. Crowning the very top of the Marriott Hotel, this Instagrammable spot has a huge roof terrace and its very own infinity pool if you like to have a dip between drinks. Best of all, there’s a lengthy cocktail menu, a gulp-inducing glass floor and panoramic views of Santo Domingo throughout.
Bar, Steakhouse, $$$
Live music fans will love the jam-packed calendar of concerts at this friendly local bar on Jose Reyes. You’ll often rub shoulders with musicians and other local creatives at the bar too, all drawn to La Espiral’s decent beer, unfussy atmosphere and snacks to help the drinks go down. If you want to make the most of balmy evenings, grab a table in the pretty courtyard strung with fairy lights.
Bar, Cocktails, $$$
© Mykyta Filippov / Alamy
Shopping and drinking in one place – what’s not to like? At the front of this cute as a button store, you can watch artisans make colourful espadrilles known as Alpargatas, then pick up the perfect pair. Afterwards, toast your purchase in the charming back patio lined with plants. The coffee and tapas are excellent, but the margaritas and mojitos are the real reason this is a neighbourhood favourite.
Market, Fusion, $$$
There are lively markets all over Santo Domingo, but this is the one to head to for a night out. There’s a selection of fantastic food all under one roof, plus a selection of artisanal drinks offerings – including craft beer sellers. Graze on snacks and sample the range of drinks available, while relaxing in the attractive communal courtyard. There’s live acoustic music on Wednesday nights too.
75 Grados Bar
Looking for a quiet beer and muted conversation? Best look elsewhere. This rowdy bar attracts a young crowd, is usually rammed and is one for those looking to party – with reggaeton at ear-splitting volume and rumba on the dance floor. Drinks are frozen, fruity and reasonably priced, served in your very own blender cup and guaranteed to give you a sugar high. It’s open until 2am on Friday and Saturday, but often kicks off with a happy hour for those who get there early.
Nightclub, Cocktails, $$$
If you want to dress up and go “out out”, this nightclub in Piantini is the hottest spot in town. There’s a strict door policy so you won’t be able to roll up in your flip-flops, and it’s certainly not cheap – but it is jam-packed with beautiful people and the light shows are seriously impressive. If you’re really lucky, you’ll catch a DJ set from an international name too.
These recommendations were updated on August 25, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.