Although the Maltese Islands are well known for their sunny skies, azure waters, and dramatic history, they are also teeming with places to visit and things to do after dark.
Malta is very well known for its nightlife and party scene, and with a vast array of nightclubs, bars, restaurants and wine bars, you’ll never be far from a good time.
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There’s also a lively arts and music scene, with lots of festivals to attend, during the summer season, as well as during the quieter winter months.
In this article I’ll help you with:
- Recommendations for my favourite nightlife venues in different localities: the best nightclubs, pub/bars, etc.
- What you can expect to pay for entrance fees and drinks
- Opening hours
- Seasonal clubs (open air) and how to get there
- Special night-time events
Where can I find the best nightlife in Malta?
You’ll find the main areas for nightlife in these areas:
- Paceville (St. Julian’s) – main hub of nightlife
- Buġibba, Qawra and St. Paul’s Bay (cluster of villages) – mostly bars/pubs and a few clubs
- Outskirts of Rabat – Gianpula complex and Numero Uno (popular open-air clubs during the summer months)
- Valletta and Sliema – mostly bars/pubs and wine bars
- Birgu and Mdina – wine bars
Best Places for Nightlife in Malta
Paceville (St. Julian’s)
Paceville is pretty much THE place to be for going out in Malta.
With the highest concentration of nightclubs, dining venues, gentlemen’s clubs, pubs and bars on the island, you’re sure to find something to peak your interests in Paceville and its surroundings.
5 Popular Nightclubs in Paceville/St. Julian’s
- Havana (Address: St George’s Road, Paceville. Free entrance.) boasts six bars and two dance floors, ranging from hip-hop and R&B music, to 90s tunes. Prices: Pint of local beer costs around €4
- Sky Club (Address: Dragonara Road, Paceville) – Malta’s largest indoor club, spread over 2,000 square metres, catering for up to 3,400 party people. Admission fees and drink prices vary, depending on the events taking place. This is one of the biggest and best places for parties and concerts on the island.
- Shadow Lounge (Address: St George’s Road, Paceville. Free admission), for some stylish cocktails. Prices: Spirits are €2.55 a shot
- Plush (Address: St. George’s Road, Paceville. Free admission). A very popular club in the heart of Paceville, having three main areas: Club Plush, Plush Lounge and the Purple Room. Prices: Bottle of Vodka: €25.00.
- Level 22, (Address: Level 22, Portomaso Tower, Portomaso) – for a more elegant and classy experience, high above, with some beautiful views to take in whilst dancing and enjoying a drink or two with your friends. Entrance to this club is usually free but there may occasionally be a charge. Prices: Cocktails from €6.50
5 Popular Bars and Pubs
- Saddles (Address: 132 Main Street, Spinola Bay, St Julian’s) – very popular with locals for its cheap drinks, to start off an evening of partying. The place is very small and it can get a little bit crowded, but has a fun atmosphere, with great music, table soccer, and large-screen sports coverage. Prices: A pint of local beer costs around €3.40.
- The Dubliner (Address: Gorg Borg Olivier Road, St. Julian’s) – a typical Irish pub with some hearty, and cheap pub grub on offer, a lively atmosphere, and all around sports coverage. They also have live music every Saturday night from 9:30 PM. Prices: A pint costs around €4.50 whilst shooters will cost you around €2.00.
- The Scotsman Pub (Address: St. George’s Road, Paceville) – typical Scottish pub with ample pub food drinks to choose from, a lively sports scene, and karaoke! Prices: Drinks costs are similar to the bars above.
- Ryan’s Pub (Address: Triq Wied Ghomor, St. Julian’s) – situated on a hill, overlooking the Spinola Bay, Ryan’s was one of the first Irish pubs in Malta. Very popular with locals and foreigners alike, this place is worth visiting before heading up to the clubs at Paceville. On the weekend, top local DJ’s and live bands turn this pub into a very lively and crowded place. Prices: Drinks costs are similar to the bars above.
- Native Bar (Address: Paceville Main steps – Triq Santa Rita, St. Julian’s) – promising to be Malta’s best Latino Bar, Native Bar is right in the heart of Paceville. It boasts a fantastic selection of bar nibbles and drinks and offers a happy hour daily from 6:00 – 7:30 PM. Prices: Cocktails cost around €5.50 and shooters will cost you around €2.50.
BONUS: If you’d like to try your luck whilst on the island, you can also head over to the Dragonara Casino (Address: Westin Dragonara Resort, Paceville). This is the islands’ leading casino and boasts 19 live tables for playing blackjack and poker, roulette tables, and nearly 200 slot machines to choose from. Admission to the casino is free of charge and the legal gambling age limit is over 18 years for foreigners and over 25 years for locals.
Tips and info for going out in Paceville
- Entrance fees: Unless a party or special event’s been organised, there’s usually no entrance fee to get into nightclubs in Paceville
- Opening hours and time: Most clubs open their doors at around 9:30 PM, and stay open till around 4:00 AM. Arriving early is definitely not recommended as the party usually starts at around 11:00 PM. Best thing to do is grab something to eat or drink from one of the bars below, before going to the clubs!
- Legal drinking age: You need to be 18 years or older to be able to purchase and drink alcohol or spirits legally on the island. Therefore, if you are attending any nightclubs, you might be asked for some form of identification.
- Getting there: Getting to Paceville and St. Julian’s is very easy. Being so central, it’s very accessible by public transport, with special night routes being offered on weekends for those staying up late. Taxis are also abundant within the area. If you are driving, there are a couple of public parking areas you could use against a fee (Ex. Portomaso Car Park: Weekend Rates: €2.00 Per Hour – Max €6.50). Pay close attention to the rates on display, as some car parks will charge up to max €12.00 (usually reached within 3-4 hours)
Safety and security
- Most clubs have security and bouncers at their doors. Even though roughhousing is not tolerated, fights involving locals as well as foreigners have been known to break out in nightclubs and bars, especially in Paceville, so it’s best advised to move away from any rowdy individuals and to avoid confrontations with bouncers, they are known to be quite aggressive at times.
- Pick-pocketing has become a nuisance in crowded clubs and bars, so avoid carrying items you don’t need, and keep an eye on your belongings at all times!
- Overcrowding is also an often-seen issue at nightclubs and bars. The more popular venues, such as Havana, are usually very heavily crowded and have long queues at the entrance. So be ready to wait if you want to get into the club, and be prepared to wait again to buy a drink at the bar! Preferential treatment is often given to women for entrance to clubs, as well as serving of drinks.
The nightlife in Valletta
Malta’s magnificent capital of Valletta is absolutely stunning by day, but wait to till you experience it by night! Make sure to have a walk through the recently revived Strada Stretta (Strait Street), which is reminiscent of the more nostalgic decades of the 1940s and 1950s.
Recommended bars to try in Valletta
- Tico Tico – (Address: 61, Strait Street, Valletta). A fantastic little place in the heart of Strait Street. Boasting retro-chic décor, with a fuzzy pink sofa and glamorous crystal chandeliers, this place is definitely worth a visit for a cocktail or two!
- Loop Bar – (Address: 68, Strait Street, Valletta). Another quirky, 50s bar with lots of character and a fun, vintage menu! A local pint of beer costs about €3.00 whilst a platter of cheese nibbles to share would cost about €20.00.
- Trabuxu – (Address: 2, Strait Street, Valletta – Reservation Recommended). A very popular spot for locals, this wine bar is housed in a 400-year old stone vaulted cellar and offers a selection of platters to go along with a nice glass of wine.
- Legligin – (Address: 110, St. Lucy Street, Valletta – Reservation Recommended). Having a rustic and cosy décor, this tiny wine bar is perfect for a romantic night out for two. The wine list is extensive with some of the popular quaffable wines available for under €20.
- Bridge Bar – (Address: St. Ursula Street, Valletta) An extremely popular venue, especially during late spring, and summer. For years, the Bridge Bar has brought to the island some of the finest jazz nights of the local scene. Sessions usually occur on Fridays, starting at the end of May and usually stopping in October. If you’re looking for an authentic experience, with a relaxed vibe and stunning views of the famous Grand Harbour, this is definitely the place to visit. The bar itself is extremely small, and most patrons just enjoy the warm summer evenings by sipping a glass of wine whilst sitting on the St. Ursula steps just outside the bar.
BONUS: You can also visit the Valletta Waterfront for a nice stroll along the water’s edge, as well as to dine at a variety of restaurants and bars housed in the restored grand stores with their colourful doors along the beautiful front.
What you should know about Valletta’s nightlife
The city has a more laid back vibe than Paceville, which makes it popular with a more mature crowd (25 years+) whilst youngsters aged between 18 to early 20s usually tend to move towards the clubbing scene offered by the Paceville and St. Julians area.
Getting to Valletta is easy as it’s Malta’s capital city, so nearly all public transport buses end their journey at the city terminus. Taxis are also readily available outside the Valletta gates. Parking within the city can be a real challenge because spaces are very limited, but parking outside the city and walking in is an easy affair.
Buġibba and Qawra
Located in the northern region of the island of Malta, Buġibba has a seaside promenade stretching from Salina Bay to St Paul’s Bay, very popular among tourists and locals alike.
Buġibba and Qawra are both very popular tourist areas, containing numerous hotels, restaurants, pubs, clubs, and a Casino. The area popularity soars during the summer season due to its seaside location, which might prove a little too windy and cold during the winter months.
Other places of interest include Sliema a great place to find bars and restaurants by the sea, Birgu, which is growing ever more popular for its authentic atmosphere and nicely decorated wine bars and Mdina, for a more refined evening experience in the island’s Silent City.
Seasonal (open-air!) clubbing
Several open-air venues open their doors during the late spring and summer season. These include:
- Gianpula Village, which encompasses a number of partying events, within the limits of Rabat. This is the largest open air night club in Malta and is usually packed during the weekends.
- Uno Malta at Ta’ Qali Crafts Village – having the largest dancefloor on the islands, with four full-sized bars and with a capacity of 4,000 people. This place is very popular with locals for its Sunday night parties.Aria Complex in San Ġwann
- Aria Complex in San ĠwannMedasia Playa in Sliema
- Medasia Playa in Sliema
- Café del Mar in Qawra – for some stylish drinks and dancing by the pool, whilst enjoying beautiful views of St. Paul’s Islands.
- La Grotta Nightclub in Xlendi, Gozo.
Admission to these complexes usually comes with a fee, depending on the events and parties held.
Malta Public Transport operates a special bus route during the summer months on Friday and Saturday evenings (and into the night) with a direct route between Gianpula Village and Uno Malta and St. Julian’s/Sliema. More info here.
Seasonal events and parties
There are a number of seasonal festivals and activities, which are worth experiencing during your visit. (Some of these are part of my list of 25 Annual events held in Malta and Gozo!)
Isle of MTV
Isle of MTV is a huge annual music festival (around 50000 people attend!) held by MTV Europe. Famous artists such as Lady Gaga, Maroon 5, Snoop Dogg, Rita Ora, and the Black Eyed Peas, amongst many others, have taken part in this festival, usually held at the Floriana Granaries (large square that lies within a short distance of Valletta’s City Gate).
The festival is organised annually on one day in June or July and the last editions were attended by an estimated 50,000 people. The party begins at 18:00 and ends close to midnight. Entrance is free of charge and there are no age limits.
Malta Public Transport runs special bus routes on the day to facilitate travel, even so, getting there and leaving can be tricky, especially if you’re in a hurry. That’s no surprise really, considering the area’s infrastructure and public transport weren’t designed to cope with that large a number of people trying to find their way home.
The Malta International Fireworks Festival
This spectacular event takes place at the end of April to commemorate Malta’s accession into the European Union. The festival includes fireworks displays designed by foreign pyrotechnic companies as well as some of the best local fireworks factories and is held at various locations around the islands.
Each year, some of the locations are different, although the main, most spectacular show is always held at Valletta. It’s a public event so there’s no entrance fee.
The Malta Jazz Festival
Another annual festival taking place in the month of July, boasting a line-up of top international and Maltese artists, presenting an eclectic mix of jazz styles from the current art scene. Entrance to the festival is at a nominal charge with concessions for students and elderly citizens, as well as block ticket offers.
Notte Bianca and Birgu by Candlelight (Birgufest)
Both held in October, these events create a spectacular nocturnal celebration within the capital city, Valletta (Notte Bianca is held here), and Birgu. State palaces and museums open their doors to the public for free, or at greatly reduced prices, while the open-air streets and piazzas showcase some of the finest local and international musicians and dancers.
Restaurants, cafés and bars stay open till late, and if you prefer a quick snack whilst strolling through the old cities, there are plenty of food stalls and vendors to meet your needs.
Birgu is one of the island’s oldest cities and was once the seat of power of the Knights of Malta. Combine the old, authentic feel of Birgu with its narrow alleys and streets being lit with hundreds of candles and lanterns and it all makes for a special (and romantic!) experience.
The Delicata and Marsovin Wine Festivals
These so-called wine festivals are held in Valletta (Upper Barrakka Gardens and Hastings Gardens respectively), and also recently held in Malta’s sister island, Gozo. Being a very popular event among the locals, these wine festivals are organised by local vineyards, Delicata and Marsovin, and offer the public a chance to sample a variety of their wines as well as local and foreign foods.
The festivals are usually held in July and August and entrance to both comes with a fee, which usually includes a few free glasses and souvenir wine glass. Also of note is the Farson’s Beer Festival, Malta’s largest beer festival, held annually over a two-week period (between July and August) by the islands’ main brewery, Farsons, at ta’ Qali National Park. It’s a great opportunity to sample Malta’s finest beers, see musical performances by local artists and bands, and eat lots of tasty Maltese, and international grub!
With the local festa (feast) season starting off two weeks after Easter, the sound and sight of fireworks is a common occurrence on weekend summer nights in Malta and Gozo.
Each village celebrates a different patron saint; each features tonnes of activities during the festa including concerts, firework displays and parties. The village band clubs are always a great place to start off, with alcoholic drinks and spirits being sold at cheap prices and just loads of atmosphere and celebration.