A Gringo’s Guide to Santo Domingo Nightlife
I remember my first time experiencing the fantastic Santo Domingo nightlife.
It was my first night in the country. A gringo who didn’t speak any Spanish looking to experience a real Latin culture.
I hopped off the plane just a few hours early and grabbed a taxi to my Airbnb apartment in Zona Colonial. The sea breeze hit my face as I stepped out of the airport and tried to hail a cab without getting scammed.
The Caribbean views were stunning as we drove to the colonial city. I was mesmerized. Romeo Santos was blaring on the radio as the taxi driver gave me the low-down on the DR in broken English.
After arriving, I checked in and quickly passed out. Hours upon hours of travel will do that to a man. Then I woke up to find night had fallen and a little rumba was about to be enjoyed.
I looked at my phone to see a girl I had “met” before arriving was in Zona Colonial with her amiga. She wanted me to join them.
Being in a new country and not knowing anyone whatsoever, I graciously accepted the invite and threw on my best button down. It was time to party.
And party we did! The night was absolutely legendary. I visited nearly every club in Zona Colonial with two stunning Dominican chicks on my arms.
People had told me the girls would try to scam me before I arrived, but they just kept buying me Presidentes. I was baffled. They weren’t scammers at all. Just genuinely friendly girls.
Now, I won’t go too far into the details of how that night turned out. But, I’ll say it was a great introduction to nightlife in Santo Domingo.
I was hooked!
In this Santo Domingo nightlife guide, I’ll breakdown:
- What’s So Great About Santo Domingo Nightlife?
- Costs of Santo Domingo Nightlife
- A Gringo’s Guide to the Best Bars and Clubs in Santo Domingo
- Santo Domingo Nightlife 101
Feel free to click on any of the specific sections and you’ll be taken straight to the source.
For those looking for a general overview of la rumba in Santo Domingo, keep on keeping on. Aka keep on reading.
Everything you need to know about the nightlife in the capital of the Dominican Republic is found below…
What’s So Great About Santo Domingo Nightlife?
Why should a gringo go party in Santo Domingo? Well, here’s a few reasons:
Dominicans Are Friendly
Dominicans are some of the friendliest people you’ll meet. Some say they have always have an angle to play, but for the most part, I found the people in the DR to be great.
Dominicans are always ready for a party and often willing to let you join their group. They’re outgoing and just love to have a good time. I’ve yet to find a more welcoming culture to party in, especially in Santo Domingo and Santiago.
It’s hot as hell in the DR. To me, that means people are full of energy and life – always willing to go out. There’s no winter in the Dominican Republic. The clubs pop off year around.
Plus, the Dominican girls love to wear skirts and high heels – and they can because the weather is so perfect. I certainly wasn’t complaining about this.
If you want to experience a true Latin culture with unique rhythms, then the Dominican Republic is for you.
Popular Santo Domingo nightlife spots often played a mix of reggaeton, bachata, and dembow. Shit pops off and people continually are dancing!
Tons of Spots
Santo Domingo is a huge city. As such, you’ll have a number of nightlife options in the capital. I’ve found there are three main zones in the city:
- Zona Colonial
- Avenida Venezuela
If you’re looking for a big night out in Santo Domingo, it’s likely you’ll end up in one of these three areas. While there’s a number of clubs and bars in each place, they are a bit far from each other.
Nightlife in Santo Domingo doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, it can be downright cheap. A bottle of rum in the club might only cost your $20-30 USD with mixers. A beer at the club might only run you $2 USD.
You can even get drunk before you go out at a local convenience store, called a colmado, for under $10 USD.
Many times the colmado will be filled with people downing Presidentes on a weekend night. Bachata will be blaring and it’s usually a pretty fun time. I almost always pre-gamed at a colmado before partying in the Dominican Republic.
English levels in the Dominican Republic aren’t that high. You’ll have a much better time if you can speak a little Spanish.
How do I know? Because my first trip I couldn’t speak anything, but my second time in the DR I could.
While I loved the first trip, there is no denying I had a better time once my Spanish improved. You’ll just get a better feeling of the culture when you understand what people are saying and can actually interact with them.
Costs of Santo Domingo Nightlife
Here’s a quick breakdown of how much nightlife costs in the capital:
- Cover charge: $0-8 USD
- Beer in club or bar: $2-5 USD
- Drinks in club or bar: $3-8 USD
- Bottle of wine at bar: $18-50 USD
- Bottle of booze at club: $20-150 USD
A Gringo’s Guide to the Best Bars and Clubs in Santo Domingo
After spending countless nights out in Santo Domingo over the course of nearly six months and two extended trips in the country, I put together a list of my favorite spots.
Many hangovers were had to bring you this information.
I spent most of my time in Zona Colonial and Piantini – so this list reflects that. Avenida Venezuela can be fun, but I prefer my Zona Colonial nightlife.
Here’s the best places to party for young gringos looking to have a good time in Santo Domingo:
Onno’s, Zona Colonial
If you’re staying in Zona Colonial, there’s a good chance you’ll end up here every time you go out. Onno’s is absolutely legendary. The place can be amazing – it just depends on the night.
I usually went to Onno’s every Thurday, as it gets packed due to ladies’ night. The small club is also fun on Saturdays, if you’re looking for a cheap night out. Overall, this is a staple of Zona Colonial nightlife.
Mamma Club, Naco/Piantini
A staple of the high-end nightlife scene in Santo Domingo, Mamma Club is where to go when you want a big night out.
The place isn’t cheap, but you’ll see some of the best looking people in the DR here every single weekend.
If you go to Mamma Club, you need to remember a few things. First, make sure you dress nice. That backpacker shit won’t fly here. Second, go with a few friends and buy a bottle. You’re wasting your time if you don’t.
VIP Room, Malecon
A buddy told me VIP Room is quickly becoming the “next” Mamma Club in Santo Domingo. The place is super high-end and some of the best looking Dominicans go here every single Saturday.
Like Mamma, you’ll need to dress well and open the wallet to make the most out of this club. I’m confident you’ll have a great night out in VIP Room if you can do those two things.
I absolutely love Zambra. It might be the easiest place to meet sexy Dominican girls with jobs in the whole country. Plus, the music is fantastic and it was within walking distance of my apartment in Piantini.
Zambra isn’t a huge club. In fact, it’s downright tiny. But, the music is fantastic and the place gets packed on weekends. Plus, there’s a huge outdoor patio that’s perfect to chill out on.
Ibiza Club/Pool, Bella Vista
I believe this spot is located where the old Gold’s Dance Club used to be. Gold’s was known as the late night club in Santo Domingo. Ibiza replaced it and added a pool area, too.
A buddy said this spot could be fun, if the crowd is packed. However, I heard it’s still hit or miss at the moment. They throw pool parties, too – but I haven’t been to one yet. Worth checking out if your in Santo Domingo for more than a few weeks.
La Fabrica, Naco/Piantini
La Fabrica is an “underground” club in Santo Domingo. It’s located around Naco and Piantini, so it’s pretty damn upper-class. Actually, this is the only place in the DR where I’ve heard people got denied entry – even though they had on nice clothes.
Suffice to say, the place is classy. The one time I went it was a hell of a time, too. The music is great and the place just has a vibe to it. Would recommend if you can get in.
Parada 77, Zona Colonial
Another solid Zona Colonial nightlife spot here. While most places in the Dominican Republic play a lot of reggaeton, bachata, and merengue – Parada 77 in Zona Colonial also plays salsa.
If you’re looking to dance to Latin music all night long, then this is the ideal spot. They stick to salsa, merengue, and bachata pretty much the whole night. It’s great for a date, but I wasn’t a huge fan. Had free cover when I went.
75 Grados, Bella Vista
75 Grados is damn fun! If you’re looking for a rowdy night out and some rumba that’s 100% Dominican, then this is the spot. This places gets jammed packed and only plays dembow and reggaeton.
The dancing here is dirty and the only drinks you can get are sugar-packed frozen blenders filled with rum or vodka. Suffice to say, if you go to 75 Grados, it’s going to be a sloppy night.
Shots Bar, Naco/Piantini
Shots Bar is the only place I’ve been in the DR where I heard rock music and conversations in English. Lots of middle-class Dominicans who have spent time in New York like to come here.
If you’re tired of reggaeton music, Shots Bar may be a good place to check out. It’s not a club, but you’ll find people here Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.
Santo Domingo Nightlife 101
It’d be damn near impossible to cover all the nightlife spots in Santo Domingo. These are just what I know. If you’re in the capital of the Dominican Republic, use this list to start things off and then go from there.
The one thing I know? Dominicans love to party and you’re sure to find somewhere fun on the weekends in Santo Domingo.
If you have any questions about nightlife in Santo Domingo, feel free to shoot off a comment below and I’ll do my best to answer.