A seaside town on the French Riviera that truly comes alive once the sun goes down, Cannes likes to party in style with elegant rooftop bars and international DJs packing the city’s best nightclubs. Cannes bar owner Rob Ryan tells Culture Trip where to go to guarantee a night to remember.
“There is something for everyone in Cannes,” promises Rob Ryan, owner of city bars The Lounge and Le Bar à Vin and self-confessed “long-term drinker”. Best known for its high-profile film festival each May, Cannes is a favourite with the international jet set, so nightclubs tend to be pricey, sometimes flashy and seasonal. Luckily, most bars are also open year-round until at least 2am, often host DJs and don’t always require such deep pockets for a good night out. “It’s very easy to spend a lot, but it is possible to have a great time in Cannes without it being too expensive if you know where to go,” Ryan says.
Bar, French, $$$
See and be seen at the restaurant and late-night cabaret bar Chrystie, with its elaborate Art Deco styling, central bar and buzzing atmosphere. Steps from the prestigious seafront boulevard La Croisette in trendy Carré d’Or, Chrystie morphs into a lively club as night falls, with hip-hop and deep house nights and circus-themed entertainment. But go early to try its outstanding truffle pizza before the dancing starts. “Be warned, because the dress code is very strict. Even though you have to dress up for this one, don’t be deterred. It can be a great night out if you can get in,” says Ryan.
For a fun night out that won’t break the bank, Morrison’s Lounge is ideal. Off the main shopping street of Rue d’Antibes and next door to the hugely popular Irish pub of the same name, the Lounge is a no-fuss late-night bar with a resident DJ, friendly bar staff and a karaoke night every Wednesday. “It’s a great and less-expensive option, with a huge terrace for outdoor drinks until 2am every evening,” says Ryan.
“This has probably the toughest door policy in Cannes,” says Ryan. “The prices reflect this, so do not come here for a cheap drink. Bottles of champagne, whisky and vodka are the norm.” If you really want to splurge in style, though, there’s nowhere better than celebrity favourite Bâoli. Perched on the water’s edge at Port Pierre Canto and only open during summer, this glamorous restaurant turns into an upmarket open-air nightclub after dark, where you can dance until dawn to big-name DJs under towering palm trees. “A reservation is advisable but no guarantee of entry,” says Ryan. “Or you could bring a famous friend. That always helps!”
On the roof of the boutique Five Seas Hotel, this intimate rooftop bar is in the centre of Cannes, with charming views over rooftops and city streets rather than the sea. Tastefully decorated in bronze, teal and mustard, Le Roof also features tropical plants, an infinity pool and an excellent cocktail menu, making for a friendly, laid-back atmosphere. “It’s a chic spot that sometimes has good parties, but call in advance to find out what’s on,” says Ryan. “Otherwise, it’s a really nice bar with a DJ who plays until about midnight.”
When a quiet drink just won’t cut it, Club 7 is right in the heart of the city and has been one of Cannes’s biggest party nights for over 40 years. “It’s been open since forever and is one of the most famous late, late clubs in Cannes, with a drag show twice every night,” says Ryan. It opens every day at midnight, and DJs play a mix of house, dance and chart music all night long until 7am. “But be warned: the drinks can be expensive,” he says.
Bar, Restaurant, Nightclub, French, Cocktails, $$$
The Gotha mega-club on the prestigious Palm Beach opens each year for the Cannes Film Festival and hosts parties throughout the summer months. A favourite with everyone from Justin Bieber to David Guetta, it has a restaurant, indoor and outdoor bars, a handful of VIP areas and a dance floor for over a thousand people. Dress up to stand a chance of getting in, and if you’re lucky, you could be in for a treat. “The owners spend millions on the entertainment, with people like P Diddy and Run-DMC performing,” says Ryan. “Wait and go around midnight, and you’ll probably only queue for half an hour or so.”
A Cannes institution, La Chunga is opposite the renowned Hôtel Martinez and opens as a Mediterranean restaurant each evening before transforming into a piano bar when the kitchen closes. Decorated in an elegant 1950s style, with low ceilings, dim lighting and cosy corners, it is a sophisticated bar where sipping anything but a pricey martini would feel wrong. “It’s tiny, so you sit [at] round tables rather than stand at the bar,” says Ryan. “I’d definitely say it’s better for an older crowd.”