Although not as famous for its nightlife as nearby cities Budapest or Prague, Bratislava can still hold its own when it comes to places to have a good time in the evenings. Slovakia’s capital boasts several microbreweries and upscale cocktail bars, as well as local pubs and even energetic nightclubs. As word gets out, more bachelor parties and birthday celebration weekends are making their way to one of the most affordable nightlife cities in Europe. Here’s a few bars you should check out during your trip.
Slovak Pub is one of the largest bars in Bratislava, divided into 11 rooms that each portray a different era of Slovak history. Although the name makes it sound as though it is only for tourists, many local Slovaks and university students frequent this bar as well. Slovak Pub has its own keg room in the basement brick cellar, which keeps the beer at the perfect temperature and away from contact with oxygen, improving its quality and taste. In addition to drinking some superb locally brewed beer, you can also try many traditional Slovak foods. The pub offers five different varieties of bryndza halusky, Slovakia’s national dish, made with ingredients from the pub’s farm just 25 kilometers outside of Bratislava.
The friendly staff at Grand Cru Wine Gallery really make it stand out amongst many other bars offering Slovak wines in the historic Old Town. The owner Martin warmly welcomes visitors and offers advice about the best Slovak, Moravian, and French wines the bar has in stock. He will happily chat with you for as long as you’d like about the different vineyards in Bratislava and the difference in taste of each wine you try. It’s easy to go to Grand Cru and drink for hours, enjoying the cosy atmosphere. Make a reservation in advance to ensure you’ll have a table, as this bar is quite small.
Nu Spirit Bar advertises itself as being “for people who want more in their lives than what the average commercial nightlife offers.” The bar is definitely one of the most trendy and popular places for people who like to stay out all night long. Nu Spirit regularly hosts visiting DJs and draws a large crowd for Groovy Saturdays. The music selection is focused on jazz, soulful house, funk, bossa and soul. You won’t notice time passing as you sip a mixed drink and jam out in the cellar, so plan on staying until 4am.
If you like to listen to live music while drinking your choice of local wine or beer, then Flame Music Bar is a great choice for you. A maximum of 100 people can be in the bar at one time, guaranteeing a cosy and friendly atmosphere. A variety of events such as concerts, jam sessions, workshops, stand-up comedy, trivia, and film screenings are held regularly at Flame. Flame does not hold events every evening, so make sure to check their calendar or Facebook page before your visit.
This bar doubles as an art gallery that exhibits new contemporary paintings about once a month. The unique interior is designed to look like a vintage tram. Even though it is quite small, Drink in Gallery Andy offers art expositions, parties, movies, concerts, quiz sessions, and other events. The bar easily attracts many visitors and tourists due to its quirky exterior design and location along the route from the Old Town to the Bratislava Castle. But people stay to play board games with friends, admire the art along the walls, and enjoy a couple of inexpensive beers. If it gets too crowded, you can head outdoors to socialize in the street just in front of the bar; this is especially common on Fridays and Saturdays during the warmer months.
There is no doubt that the UFO Bar has the best view of any bar in Bratislava. Walk across the SNP Bridge and take the elevator ride 45 seconds up to a height of 95 meters with panoramic view over nearly 100 kilometers (about 62 miles) of the city and its surroundings below you. The best time to go is to watch the sunset from your bird’s eye perch. Twelve different cocktails and an array of wines, beers, and spirits are available. The Simply Borovi-Tsch-Ka cocktail is a uniquely Slovak creation of juniper brandy, elderflower syrup, fresh lemon, and blackcurrant.
Most of the wine’s at Barik are from Central Europe, with a primary focus on Croatian wines. If you aren’t sure what to try, the staff is always willing to make a recommendation for one of their locally sourced wines. You also have the option to purchase a bottle of your favorite wine to take home from their shop. You can accompany your wine tasting with a creative small plates menu. The best time to visit Barik is during one of their dégustation tasting evenings, where you can sample several wines that follow the theme of the evening.
Papichulo offers a three-hour happy hour, making this bar the perfect after-work meeting spot for young people in Bratislava. The bar also has house music nights, beer pong parties, televised sports matches, and karaoke nights. The bar is located in a building which used to house public toilets, an interesting fact that you might never guess given the bar’s chic interior.
Michalska Cocktail Room is Bratislava’s best speakeasy bar. To get there, you’ll need to ask the barista at Urban Bistro for directions. You’ll enter into a small space with very low lighting, complete with unique antique furniture and flickering candles that set the scene. The cocktail menu changes with the seasons and is based on fresh ingredients. Occasionally, Michalska hosts visiting bartenders who offer their own specialty drink concoctions.
The view here isn’t as fantastic as the UFO, but it is definitely the next best thing. Lemon Tree‘s location in the heart of the Old Town is also more convenient, and if you like vodka, this is the place to go. The bar offers 70 different kinds of vodka, and you can even order a tasting menu with five different kinds to choose your favorite. You can try vodkas from everywhere in the world, including Slovakia, Russia, the Netherlands, the United States, and Japan. There is even a vodka on offer that is filtered through diamonds. If you aren’t sure which one to choose, the helpful staff will happily assist you.