The best nightlife in Malta

The best nightlife in Malta

valletta

valletta

Long the preserve of Paceville, Malta’s less sane party town, the nation’s nightlife has recently taken a definite turn for the better. A spate of new openings, particularly in Valletta, has transformed the capital, once silent after 9pm, into a lively place for late-night entertainment. Music and people pour into Malta’s balmy nights in a vibrant new bar scene that offers everything from chic waiter service to artful shabby chic and streetside jazz.

Read on for our bar recommendations in Malta. See also our travel guides for a weekend in Valletta, Malta’s top hotels, things to see and do around the island, the best free activities, the best restaurants and the most beautiful beaches and swimming spots.

valletta

Tico Tico

This tiny, quirky little bar occupies a stretch of the narrow pedestrian street outside. A chic, no longer run-down, reincarnation of the Tico Tico that once served the Royal Navy’s sailors here on Valletta’s Strait Street, nicknamed The Gut, the interior is decorated with photos of said sailors, movie posters and a model gallery (typically Maltese wooden balcony) with hanging lingerie. Grab a kinnie (Maltese soft drink) or a cocktail (often 2 for 1) and order a meze from the excellent chef and head outside to relax and watch Strait Street’s trendy new clientele pass by.

Contact: facebook.com/ticoticomalta/
Prices: ££
Get in: Get here early if you want the best seats, otherwise just get there

Tico Tico

Tico Tico

cafe society

Café Society is a cosy, bohemian little bar with a parlor at one end and the limestone steps of St John’s Street outside, ideal for a quick drink or a whole relaxed evening. The copper-topped bar’s wide selection includes a rotating list of interesting cocktails (a twist on the usual recipes), while the music is chilled — loud enough, but not too loud — and suitably mixed for a clientele of local creatives and a handful of tourists each age.

Contact: Facebook site
Prices: ££
Get in: Come and join the relaxed crowd

cafe society

cafe society

The bridge

The Bridge is a fairly standard pub most of the week and comes into its own on Friday nights when jazz bands play live on the little bridge in front of the bar. Pop in for a beer or a reasonably priced cocktail, then take a seat outside on the steps to relax and chat, sip and eat and listen to excellent music. Everyone is welcome and at times it seems like half of Valletta is here, soaking up the sun’s remnants as it gleams off the creamy limestone and drifts gently towards the weekend.

Contact: Facebook site
Prices: £
Get in: Open to all if you can find a seat on the steps

The bridge

The bridge

royal road

Sip an Aperol Spritz or Singapore Sling at small round tables on Republic Street (formerly known as Kingsway) as you watch the world go by on Valletta’s main drag. Or find a quieter corner in the small smart mirrored interior. Cafe by day, bar by night, Kingsway is popular with locals and visitors alike. It’s a popular spot for a pre-dinner drink among Valletta’s movers and shakers, but it’s also convenient for tourists — right in the heart of the city, a stone’s throw from the Grand Master’s Palace.

Contact: 00 356 27037720, kingswayvalletta.com
Prices: ££
Get in: To be sure of getting a table, especially at weekends, call and reserve, otherwise you’re taking a chance

royal road

royal road

Trabuxu wine bar

Malta’s very first wine bar, Trabuxu, still ranks among the best. Set in a traditional 400-year-old limestone cellar, fitted with musical instruments and a rotating exhibition of contemporary art (for sale), the wine list offers more than 300 Maltese and international options, many by the glass or bottle. Still run by owner Kris, who opened it more than a decade and a half ago, there is a lot of knowledge behind the bar. He also serves a selection of cold meats, cheeses and oysters, or after a few drinks here head to the family’s Trabuxu Bistro around the corner for a full meal.

Contact: trabuxu.com.mt
Prices: ££
Get in: Reserve a table or (certainly at weekends) expect to be standing at the bar or on Strait Street

Trabuxu wine bar

Trabuxu wine bar

StrEat whiskey bar

A whiskey list of more than 70 types is the USP of this bar, but there are many other options as well. The Whiskey Bar is ideal for an after dinner drink and can get very busy late Friday and Saturday nights. Relaxed, friendly and absolutely casual with simple basement furnishings, it is a bit reminiscent of student days, although the clientele includes all ages. The attached restaurant, StrEat, is one of the early openings on the newly revitalized Strait Street (once Valletta’s red-light district), and serves burgers, Mediterranean dishes, and whiskey-cured salmon.

Contact: Facebook site
Price: £
Get in: Reserve a table or roll up and stand at the bar or on (pedestrian) Strait Street

StrEat whiskey bar

StrEat whiskey bar

St Julian’s Paceville

Hugo’s terrace

Right on the beach at St. George’s Bay in the heart of Malta’s party town of Paceville, this club – complete with a rooftop terrace – looks straight out to sea. With a laid-back beach club vibe, it plays laid-back ’80s music — the music (and clientele) gets louder as the night progresses. This is the spot for a relaxed (but not necessarily quiet) drink, bite and dance surrounded by sand, sea and stars. Hugo’s serves drinks, including many cocktails, and food all afternoon and late into the night.

Contact: hugosterrace.com
Prices: ££
Get in: If you want a table (especially on weekends) it is better to reserve, otherwise just come by

Hugo's terrace

Hugo’s terrace

Mdina

fontanel

A Maltese classic, Fontanella sits high atop the bastion walls of historic Mdina – the nation’s first capital. It’s primarily a cafe (serving nationwide famous cakes) but in the evenings you can sit up here with a glass of wine and a hearty snack and watch the sun set over a Maltese panorama or enjoy the twinkling of the island lights below and the stars above . It’s open until midnight – when Mdina’s atmospheric limestone lanes really live up to its nickname ‘the silent city’.

Contact: fontanellateagarden.com.mt/home
Prices: ££
Get in: go in

fontanel

fontanel

melieha

Cafe bar with sea view

Hidden behind the church, next to the cemetery, this tiny cafe bar perched like an eagle’s nest on the cliff edge on the outskirts of Mellieha village. Along with your beer, enjoy the spectacular views of the Mediterranean Sea and the sweeping Bay of Mellieha stretching far below. There is plenty of space outside and some seating in the clean little wooden shack that is the heart of this ‘secret’ drinking spot. It’s only open until 8pm so this is a place for an early aperitif.

Contact: Facebook site
Prices: £
Get in: Find it and you are welcome

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