Nightlife in Macau has always struggled to live up to the glitz and glamor of near neighbor Hong Kong. Things have improved in recent years, but this isn’t Hong Kong. Frankly, it’s not even Guangzhou. Most night time entertainment here still rolls around the roulette table and the nightlife options outside of the major casinos are limited.
Here are some of the best places you can get a drink in Macau, as well as highlighting some places you should definitely avoid—looking at you, Fisherman's Wharf.
Macau Nightlife in the Casinos
Most of the drinks in Macau are poured inside a casino. While this might be a turn off for some —and there are definitive drawbacks— Macau casinos have changed from top to tail over the past ten years. Forget the dimly lit back rooms where triads bumped shoulders with chain-smoking gamblers over creaking poker tables—these days it’s all bright lights, yodeling gondoliers, and Playboy bunnies.
Las Vegas has arrived in Macau over the past few years and in The Venetian, Galaxy Macau and other Vegas-style resorts bars and pubs are part of the plan. Let’s be honest, they aren't all great. Washed up gamblers arrive, down a drink and then scuttle back to the tables; if you’re lucky you might even catch a second-rate can-can show. But there is an increasing number of exceptions. The Xanadu, inside the Sands, serves up some of the best drink deals in town while Club Cubic over at the City of Dreams is where you'll meet Macau's beautiful people.
Best Drinking Area in Macau
No matter what anybody says, there is no bonafide drinking area in Maca, despite locals dubbing various bits and pieces after Hong Kong's Lan Kwai Fong.
The biggest conglomeration of bars is in an area known as Docas, on Avenida Dr. Sun Yat Sen, near the Kun Iam Statue. Here you’ll find a string of fairly low key, but lively bars. Not much thought goes into the design, service or even the name of the establishments. V Bar and Bar One are just a couple of the more adventurous. You'll have to wait until 10 p.m. for the crowd to arrive when the volume on the Cantopop is turned up to the maximum.
Portuguese Nightlife in Macau
Portuguese Macau has seen a modest resurgence over recent years, with Portuguese colonial buildings getting spruced up and a spike in Portuguese and Macanese restaurants.
Many of these restaurants double as bars and are popular with the remaining Portuguese locals and expats. What you’ll find on the menu is an enviable selection of wines from Portugal as well as Porto and superb beers (such as Super Bock) at very reasonable prices.
A favorite is Fernando's. One of the top five bars in Macau, Fernando’s, is, strictly speaking, a restaurant. But the al fresco bar in the back garden has a comfortable, easygoing appeal where you can enjoy a pint of Super Bock and snack on chorizo.
Fisherman's Wharf Nightlife Macau
Save yourself some time—give it a miss. One of the worst tourist traps this side of Madame Tussauds, Fisherman’s Wharf does have a few bars, pubs and restaurants that have lured the unknowing tourist.
The project was originally dubbed Macau’s Lan Kwai Fong. Promisingly a number of Hong Kong’s flagship bars and restaurants did open branches, unfortunately, it all fell a little flat. The sheer tackiness of the place, despite the seafront location, means it really is a must miss.
Nightclubs in Macau
The last word in blowout nightclub entertainment, the Cubic Club tower is as big and bold as anything in Hollywood. This 30,000 square foot club, split over two floors regularly welcomes DJ’s of international acclaim and an international crowd of clubbers.
Entrance is selective without being hostile. Get there early enough and you should be able to bag yourself a booth.