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General Advice and Tips on Nightlife in Valencia, Spain

 

Valencian nightlife is quite specific. While in many cities you instinctively look for the biggest building with neon lights to give you the best, in Valencia it is actually more popular to cruise through a few small places. This is the main staple of Valencian nightlife - small energetic disco-bars where people dance and talk at the same time.

That said, there are also plenty of pubs to sit down.

As for the big and shiny nightclubs, they mostly tend to be on the outskirts or out of Valencia. They can be truly pumping but for the Valencians it is more of a whole self-contained trip - meaning you just zoom in on one club and fulfil your mission there. While there are still some night-clubs in Valencia's nightlife areas, they will usually be only slightly more prominient than the disco-bars, although they will go on until early morning.

Days of the week

Saturday is the busiest day with everyone quite ready to party until 7am and beyond. Friday is very busy too, although slightly less. Quite a few people go out on Thursday as well - some people prefer Thursdays because places are still busy but not too much. Thursday is also a traditional party day for the students in zona Aragon, and in other areas it is a night to vary your programme with a different theme, live music, etc. Wednesday is known for being the Erasmus night in the same Aragon area. The rest of the week is fairly empty but some venues get full because of special nights, for example Soiree has good nights on Sundays while Jimmy Glass puts on live jazz every Tuesday. Some places, like Cafe Negrito or St Patricks pub, are lively any day of the week.

Dressing

The Valencian generally like to dress sparkly for their night out. Latest fashions, hair dos and make-up come out in full power. Quite a few places will be picky on your shoes / scruffy trousers. Definitely no sleeveless vests or flip-flops.

The two exceptions are Blasco Ibanez student area (where pretty much anything goes and noone cares) and Carmen

In Carmen, the weekend crowd, very broadly speaking, is divided into two camps.

Half of it likes to dress sparkly, to be seen. The trendy crowd can be very self-conscious and sometimes pretentious. They like to look good and make an impression, with the latest sunglasses and designer labels. They usually party to Spanish pop or commercial house/dance in shiny places, and often look down on people who have not made an effort to dress.

The other half calls them "pijo" (snob) and resents any idea of smart dress (which doesn't mean they can't be pretentious in other ways!). "Alternative" is the name for it in Valencia. Not necessarily hippies, it is a very broad range of people who generally like things a bit simpler. They usually prefer rock, funky and underground electronic music in a more basic, down-to-earth decor.

Locally, there is a fair bit of animosity between those two camps. But yourself you shouldn't rush to judge anyone. Many of the trendy crowd will be fantastically open people with you, while many others will ignore you even if you are very smartly dressed. Many of the alternatives won't give a damn about your tuxedo and many will be some of the most obnoxious people you have ever met (if you don't have dreadlocks). A fair few trendy places feel very welcoming to everyone, and a fair few alternative places feel very tense if you are seen as "not one of them". When you just want a good night out it is hard to say where you will be more at ease - amongst people who want to look cool, or those who want to be cool.

Hours

On a quiet night people will tend to have drinks before midnight. However, on a weekend things only start picking up after midnight. The Valencians are religious about eating out, so they tend to spend the evening in a restaurant or a tapas bar before moving on for drinks. From midnight to 4am the night comes into full swing - everyone is in bars or free-entry disco-bars dancing away. After 4am the survivors condense into select few late nigth venues, usually paid entry, which normally close around 7-7.30am.

Drinks

Beer is expensive - in a bar you will normally pay 3-4 euros a pint. In a nightclub or a trendy bar it may be as much as 5 euros for a 375ml bottle. The spirits are a much better deal - only a couple of euros more but very generous portions - normally you can expect 2/5 to a half of the glass (with ice). This price would include a small bottle of mixer. The shots can also be very generous, although that varies from place to place. Agua de Valencia is a cultural experience but be prepared - it is hardcore, not far from taking absynthe in Prague.

Boys and Girls

The sexual interaction is quite machista. Valencian men are very forthcoming and hopelessly obsessed with sex. If you are a girl, be prepared for lots of attention. If you want to chat to someone all you have to do is let him know with good eye contact. You won't have to wait long. If you are a boy, taking Valencian's men example is probably the worst thing you can do - many women will appreciate something more sophisticated. Boy or girl, here in Valencia you can normally talk to whoever you like without fear of rejection - people are normally quite friendly. That said, please don't expect everyone to be delighted to see you - just expect normal things, this is a city after all and people do have their own lives. But the culture is very allowing. Hence avoid jumping to conclusions if someone talks to you. Also, physical contact is commonplace even between strangers, so dont freak out, there is no intention behind it. Even if you're a guy, a heterosexual Valencian guy you had a great chat and a drink with may well give you a goodbye kiss on the cheeks. It is just a Mediterranean expression of affection and respect and is not seen in any sexual way.

Tips

  • Do try to plan where you will go by looking through our listings. Valencia is not obvious and can be quite confusing. Make sure you know where the best places to suit you are, and how to get there. This is espacially true in Carmen where you simply won't find the best places if you don't know your way.
  • ALWAYS pick up flyers when you see them in bars or when you are given them on the street - it may well give you a free entry or a free drink.
  • The guy in black suit and red tie is security.
  • If you don't like pachanga (Spanish pop), make yourself like it - you won't escape it
  • Think twice if there is a paid entry - the chances are the place next door with free entry is just as good
  • However, do expect to pay entry for late night venues that run until 7-7.30am
  • If there is an option of paying only entrance and paying more for entrance + a drink, pay more. It will always work out cheaper in the long run, unless you don't drink alcohol at all - then it will be cheaper to pay only entrance and get yourself a coke.

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