Nightlife in Puerto Vallarta: Best Bars, Clubs, & More

Puerto Vallarta's Our Lady of Guadalupe church at night

Darryl Leniuk | Getty Images 

Puerto Vallarta’s sunsets are phenomenal, and after the sun goes down, the nightlife scene comes alive. With options that run the gamut from friendly neighborhood bars to trendy nightclubs where the main concern is to see and be seen, there are also fun gay bars, on-the-water excursions, tribute concerts, and shows to enjoy.

Bars

Begin the evening at one of Puerto Vallarta’s chill bars. Take advantage of some happy hour specials, or have a few rounds of drinks before moving on to the dance clubs. There are several smaller bars along Lázaro Cardenas and Olas Altos streets just off the Malecón that are good options for getting the party started, or check out these popular spots:

  • Bar La Playa is a casual bar serving highly Instagrammable hand-crafted cocktails. Happy hour is from 3 to 5 p.m. daily; closing time is midnight.
  • Garbo Piano Bar is popular among locals as well as tourists; this martini/piano bar has a sophisticated ambiance.
  • Morelos Mezcaleria is an upscale yet mellow lounge bar with a full menu of tequilas, mezcal, and cocktails.

Dance Clubs

Puerto Vallarta’s dance clubs don't see much action until at least 10 or 11 p.m. Peak time is often past 2 in the morning and the party keeps going until dawn. There are a few different areas of town with late night clubs, each with its own vibe:

Along the Malecón

The most bustling and trendy clubbing scene is along the Malecón where you’ll find a string of large nightclubs, including Mandala, the Zoo Dance Bar, and La Vaquita, which are all in close proximity to one another. These are hopping and crowded open-air bars. Hearing the music from outside may help you decide which to choose.

La Zona Romantica

The gay nightlife scene is mainly concentrated in this area. These are a few fun, popular clubs that tend to welcome a diverse crowd:

  • Mr. Flamingo is a tiki-style club playing pop music from the 90s to the present; this is a lively dance spot. On busy nights, the crowd spills out onto the street. Happy hour is from 2 to 8 p.m. daily, and closing time is 3 a.m. Cash only.
  • CC Slaughters is a street-side open-air martini lounge bar and inside, with a larger discotheque area with a tiered dance floor, DJs playing mainly techno music, and the occasional drag show. It closes at 6 a.m.
  • Paco’s Ranch is a popular nightclub on two levels playing a mix of pop hits with country classics. They have colorful and popular drag shows on Tuesday at 1:30 a.m. and Wednesday through Sunday at 12:30 and 3 a.m. Paco's Ranch closes at 6 a.m.

In the Hotel Zone

On the north side of town, along Boulevard Francisco Medina Ascencio, there are a few glam party spots that tend to be popular among locals. Strana nightclub is located past the Plaza Pelicanos, and La Santa and Biblioteca are a bit farther out, side-by-side across from La Isla shopping center. Dress well for these clubs, or you may not get in. If you're going with a group, make a reservation for a table beforehand.

Late-Night Restaurants

Late night dining is very common in Puerto Vallarta, and the majority of restaurants close around 11 p.m. or even midnight. These craft beer places are good spots to enjoy a late meal and some tasty brews: 

  • Los Muertos Brew Pub is an open-air cantina-style brew-pub where you can enjoy flavorful craft beer along with pizza and pub fare. It closes at midnight.
  • La Cerveceria Union is a raw oyster bar located on the Malecón at Paseo Díaz Ordaz 610. It serves a variety of seafood options and craft beer from around Mexico and closes at midnight. 

Live Music & Shows 

If you’d like to take in some live entertainment, there are some good options in Puerto Vallarta, mainly in the Zona Romántica. 

  • Roxy Rockhouse offers live music performances most nights and a small dance floor. The club plays rock music predominantly, but occasionally intersperses some rhythm and blues and reggae. It's open until 6 a.m.
  • Nacho Daddy serves Tex-Mex cuisine and live music Tuesday through Saturday evenings. Sports events are projected on screens. The last call is around midnight.
  • Act 2 PV has live theater productions, and cabaret acts, concerts, and other performances. On Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, you can see the presentation of Mama Mia musical tribute to ABBA, and on Sundays, they present MJ Live, a Michael Jackson tribute.
  • Captain Don’s is a casual bar with live music performances several nights a week, and sports events projected on big-screen TVs. 

Nighttime Events and Activities 

Families with older kids can enjoy some nighttime dinner shows and partiers who might enjoy being part of a larger group and have a local accompany them may enjoy a guided club crawl. Here are some of the nighttime events and excursions you can partake of in Puerto Vallarta: 

  • Rhythms of the Night: Take a boat across the bay to the private Las Caletas beach and enjoy dinner and a theatrical performance in an open-air amphitheater tucked away in a natural forest setting. Recommended for ages six and up. 
  • Dinner Under the Sea: Board the Marigalante pirate ship and experience an adventure as you voyage along Mexico's picturesque coastline. Dinner, open bar, a pirate show, fireworks, and pirate party are included. The daytime pirate ship adventure is entirely family-friendly, but the nighttime one has an open bar and is recommended for ages 10 and up.
  • Puerto Vallarta Bar Crawl: One of the best ways to have a great time out on the town is in the company of a well-connected local who knows the scene. Join a Puerto Vallarta Crawl bar-hopping tour, and you will go to three different clubs, with no waiting in line to get in, reserved tables, and open bar all night. This is an excellent choice for a bachelorette party, or for singles or couples who would like to experience Puerto Vallarta’s nightlife as part of a larger group. There’s also a gay bar-hopping tour if you’re interested in discovering the gay nightlife scene.

Tips for Going Out in Puerto Vallarta

Drinking Age: The legal drinking age in Mexico is 18.

Dress Code: For casual bars, you can dress however you like, but most of the nightclubs have an inconsistently enforced dress code. In general, for going out at night you should avoid wearing beach or sportswear, jean shorts, baseball caps, and flip flops.

Open Containers: It’s illegal to drink alcoholic beverages in public spaces, but the authorities generally turn a blind eye to discrete public drinkers who don’t create a disturbance. 

Cover Charge and Tips: Some clubs have a cover charge that includes an open bar. Keep in mind that tips are not included, and you may have to tip generously to keep the drinks coming. Many of the clubs along the Malecon only implement a cover charge on weekends and holidays. Women may be offered free admission not only on Ladies’ Nights but also early in the evening or during slow periods.

Keep Tabs on Your Tab: Check food and drink prices before ordering and keep track of your tab. It’s a good idea to close out your drinking tab after every two rounds to keep things simple and ensure no extra charges are added..

Transportation: City buses stop running by 10 p.m. or earlier. Taxis and Uber are available. Taxis are generally safe, but as an extra precaution (particularly if you’re taking a cab alone at night), take a photo of the taxi number on the side of the car and send it to your friends.

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