While nightlife certainly isn’t Europe’s only offering, it would be a shame to miss out when our trips take in some of the best nightlife cities on the continent. But all bars are not made equal, and a flat lager in a dingy club is no longer enough for us…drinking should be an experience. We’re talking craft beers, amazing spaces, quirky decor, incredible cocktails, the best vibes and nights you’ll never forget (or maybe remember…).
Check out our top 10 coolest bars in Europe for some of the best spots to start (and finish) a wild night out.
Since its opening in 2014, urban renewal project De Cuevel’s cafe has been serving up healthy slices of art, theatre, live music, chilled vibes and excellent beers, and has proved a massive hit with locals and visitors alike.
It’s the perfect place to wile away a summer afternoon – perched on the edge of Amsteram’s Ij waterfront, it opens out onto upcycled wooden terraces which are rammed in warmer months. As well as serving up some great local droughts from the likes of Oedipus and Brouwerij ‘t IJ breweries, the cafe also puts together some amazing veggie grub using local produce. After dark, the cafe becomes a bohemian riverside music venue, bringing together some of the best new talent from the area.
Placed in one of the largest sustainable developments in the world, this place has grand plans for it’s future, including a rooftop orchard, greenhouses for growing veg for sale and even more space. Best of all, it’s entirely fueled by green energy. We can’t wait to visit!
Paris’ drinking scene is characteristically elegant – more classy cocktails than crazy drunken nights, so our bar choice follows in the same vein. This bar is just north of the nightlife area of Le Marais, and features a laid back vibe and a team of expert mixologists to serve you. The soundtrack is mostly old school hip hop and Garage, with old school decor to match. This is the perfect place to relax into your night out, and one of the coolest bars in Europe to sip something incredible.
This pub is a great shout for affordable drinks and lively atmosphere in a city which can often be extortionate for a night out. The quirky decor is the first thing you will notice (spot the deer with a vuvuzela in its mouth…) matched by the incredible burgers, which Time Out have claimed (and we can confirm) are the best in London. The menu is heavily meat focused coming from the nearby famous Borough Market, but there are a few veggie options too! A lively pub with a friendly vibe, it’s always buzzing as it’s as popular with students as it is with nearby office workers. Above all, The Lord Nelson prides itself on fantastic service, an incredibly friendly and mixed crowd and quality booze, which is always the best recipe for a great night. Combine this with 20% discount for students and it’s easy to see why this south of the river favourite made our Top 10.
If you’re into cracking cocktails, kitsch vintage furniture, lighting and wallpapers, you’ll love this unique little bar; it’s like walking into MadMen era USA, only with even more booze… Although it looks like a quaint cafe during the day, after dark this little hideaway turns into a buzzing bar with DJS adding vibes and bartenders sending out perfect mojitos and caipirinhas. We recommend you try them, since they follow the original recipe from La Floridita in Havana, but you’d also be spoilt for beer and wine choices, so there’s something for everyone.
If you’ve ever imagined turning an old swimming pool into a bar, this place is your dream come true… because that’s exactly what they’ve done in Berlin. This old Soviet pool is now an urban multi-arts space providing areas for new artists, street food companies, musicians and performers to showcase their talents. It also has a pretty sick bar which serves a range of great beers and cocktails, and a clubnight till late every Saturday. Brings new meaning to the phrase Pool party…
Trust Copenhagen to provide something different… The Jane is totally unique in it’s own Scandinavian style. Drink contemporary cocktails in rooms which make Downton Abbey look understated; think Chesterfields, towering bookcases, roaring fires… and then make your way through the maze of secret passages to find the underground club. Music is as varied as the clientele, with Wednesdays bringing disco to 2015, and house and funk dominating on other nights. The Jane also has a beautiful terrace for the daytime, so it’s the perfect place to catch a little hare of the dog on a summer afternoon.
This place is sophistication incarnate. Holding an incredible position at the top of the Grand Central hotel, Barcelona, this is a place for celeb spotters, cocktail fans and those who like a taste of the high life. With 360 degree views of the city, this laid back bar brings chilled vibes with house and electro DJs to complement it’s chic decor and wicker loungers. You can even take a dip in the infinity pool while you admire the view and sip a cocktail, perfect for baking Barcelona nights. Best of all, you don’t have to be a guest at the hotel to enjoy the bar after 8.30pm, so you can get a taste for the elegance and charm of the hotel without paying for a room!
This tiny bar in Bratislava is housed inside an old public toilet. An unlikely place for a drinking establishment, you might think, but it’s unusual position doesn’t seem to have done anything but help its reputation – the place’s tiny capacity is rammed on a daily basis. Here the focus is on great Slovakian and Eastern European beer, with beer pong nights a regular fixture.
Into the night, Slovak DJs keep the good vibes going – the intimate crowd is mostly made up of locals, and one of the friendliest around.
We all know about Ice Bars… yes everything is made of ice etc etc. But this IceBar is the original and best. Created by the IceHotel (which you might have heard about from our Lapland Adventure) in Northern Sweden, this is the world’s first permanent IceBar. Entry fees include a drink and warm clothes to take the edge off the IceBar. On top of this, the whole bar is recreated every year to a new design, and is home to a whole collection of contemporary art and ice sculptures for visitors to enjoy.
It seems unfair that Berlin gets 2 entries, but we couldn’t miss this off the list. Das Klo is an institution in Berlin. While it may not be arty, beautiful or even particularly great for cocktails, here the attraction is the experience itself. Started on Christmas eve 1971, a night in Das Klo is kind of like a cross between being a contestant on Fort Boyard and riding the world’s weirdest ghost train. As soon as you walk through the door, you’ll start to understand why this place has such a bizarre reputation. Once you make it to the bar, you’ll find drinks being served in Chamber pots and urine sample containers, seats taking the form of loo seats and coffins and some… unexpected twists. The staff are more like actors, their sole purpose being to give you one of the weirdest experiences you’ve ever had. Don’t expect a cheap night, and the vibe certainly isn’t underground or edgy, but those who go claim it’s unlike anywhere else, and has to be seen to be believed. If that wasn’t enough to tempt you, they also do a mean currywurst…
There’s definitely something for everyone’s taste in nightlife in Europe – if you’re up for sampling the best of it, why not take a look at our Ultimate Pub Crawl trip! All our Interrail trips can be customised to take in any of the destinations you want to see, or just take a look at our packages for a taster!
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Words by Catherine Livesley