In major cities and resort areas, there’s a wide choice of nightlife for all ages, including jazz clubs, cabarets, discos, sex shows, flamenco clubs, music clubs and bars, night clubs, music halls, and restaurants with floor shows ( tablaos). Karaoke is popular in many pubs and clubs in resort areas. For many Spaniards the day doesn’t begin until nightfall and most clubs and discotheques don’t start to warm up until after midnight (raving is ironically referred to as ‘the bad life’ – la mala vida).
Many young Spaniards literally rock around the clock and in the major cities and resorts some discotheques open at daybreak, while others are in business non-stop from Friday night until Monday afternoon. Not surprisingly, Spaniards reportedly sleep less than other Europeans. Ibiza is the spiritual home of the ‘Euroraver’ and is the place to be in summer, when it boasts Europe’s most vibrant nightlife and biggest and boldest dance clubs. The authorities in Madrid and Barcelona have been forced to restrict Spain’s incessant day and nightlife in some cities, in an attempt to reduce drug use (particularly amphetamines and ecstasy) and the resulting high number of fatal car accidents. Bars in these cities must now close at 2.30am and discos at 4.30am, although most owners ignore the new regulations unless forced to close by the police. Some towns are also cracking down on discos making excessive noise.
Discos are found in the smallest of towns, although they may be no more than a bar with music and a dance floor. The entrance fee is usually around €6, but can be as high as €30 for the most exclusive places (women are often given free entry or are charged less than men). The entrance fee often includes a drink; some have no entrance fee, but very expensive drinks. Some discos have early evening sessions for teenagers with an entrance fee of around €3. Live music is common in music bars which have a small dance floor and offer free entrance or charge a small fee.
It’s important to be fashionably dressed to gain access to the most exclusive discos, but in general any casual dress is acceptable, including jeans and T-shirts. There’s usually a ‘bouncer’ on the door checking that guests are suitably attired and haven’t had too much to drink.
Discos, night clubs, music bars and clubs, dinner/dancing venues and cabarets are listed in English-language publications and in Spanish newspapers under salas de fiestas and espectáculos.
This article is an extract from Living and Working in Spain.
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