Nightlife in San José: Best Bars, Clubs, & More

San Jose, Costa Rica
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If you’ve got the energy to hit the town after exploring the city sites, San José has an abundance of evening activities to entertain you. You can choose from live music and culinary adventures to pub crawls, nightclubs, and more.

There are so many new spots popping up—particularly in the Barrio Escalante, Barrio La California, and Barrio Amon neighborhoods—that it would be impossible to visit them all in one weekend. To help you decide where to go, we've rounded up some of the best ways to experience a night out in San José.

Bars and Pubs

  • Selvática: A sophisticated terrace bar with city views, Selvática is the best spot in town for a sunset drink. Arrive later, and you'll find a DJ blasting beats into the sky.
  • Sásta: A popular place to watch football matches, this bar has the charms of a British pub with a menu to match. Bar bites include classics such as fish and chips and bangers and mash, while the drink menu features a Tico twist on the Moscow Mule.
  • La Uvita Perdida: When you’re in the mood for wine and tapas, head to La Uvita Perdida. The brick and wooden decor creates a welcoming wine cellar vibe. There's often live music here.
  • Soberanos Brewers: One of the newer bars in the rapidly growing neighborhood of Barrio Escalante, Soberanos is already a hit with the party crowd. With old-school video games and graffitied walls, it feels a bit like a fraternity house—but with locally-sourced food and beverages.
  • Stiefel Pub: This pub only serves beer brewed in Costa Rica—so if you’re looking for local brews, you will find plenty here. The staff is friendly and the food is better quality than you might expect in a bar. Open until 1:30 a.m. on Saturdays, Steifel Pub is popular with the late-night crowd.

Clubs

  • Bahamas: This club brings the beach vibes to San José, claiming that they invented the original chiliguaro, a shot of Costa Rican liquor with tomato juice, lime juice, and hot sauce. One of the more affordable clubs in the city and open until 2 a.m. every day, this is a solid option for night owls on a budget.
  • Antik: Housed in a historic building, this three-story club is a destination in and of itself. There’s electronic music in the basement, a restaurant and bar on the ground floor, and on the second floor, you'll find a balcony overlooking the Central Valley. A night out here will cost you a pretty colone, but the experience is unforgettable; and as you can spend the evening in one place rather than club-hopping around town, you’ll save time and cab fare. 
  • Rabbit Hole: Get down underground. Located in the basement of the Amor de Barrio building, this cocktail bar and club is open until 2 a.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays. The music selection changes each day, but their “just drink and dance” mantra stays the same.

Live Music

  • Steinvorth Building: Grab a slice of pizza and a glass of Costa Rican craft beer from Cimarrona’s Pizza, a burger at Gucce, or a Costa Rican coffee at Café La Mancha and find a seat in the courtyard of this historic brick building where there’s live jazz every Friday from 5-7 p.m. 
  • El Cuartel de la Boca del Monte: Salsa your way into the night at El Cuartel de la Boca del Monte. There’s live music Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Trade your casual clothes and sandals for something more sophisticated; a dress code is enforced.
  • Cantina SSCA: This venue brings together art, music, and craft beer, hosting a variety of live shows every weekend. Check the calendar to see upcoming events

Events and Activities

  • Art City Tour: This once-per-month evening event includes free admission to participating galleries and museums as well as suggested routes and a free hop on hop off bus.
  • Pub Crawl: Leave the planning to the local experts at Carpe Chepe. This pub crawl starts at 7 p.m. at Aguizotes in Barrio Escalante, every Friday and Saturday. It includes transportation, shots, drink specials, and VIP entrance to five bars.
  • San Jose by Night tour: Experience the history and culture of San José through the cuisine. Led by local guides from Urban Adventures, this night tour takes participants to markets, restaurants, and around local neighborhoods. 
  • National Theatre: This historic building plays host to events and concerts, such as the National Symphonic Orchestra. Check the theater’s calendar for upcoming events.
  • Tournant: This artful restaurant in Barrio Amon regularly hosts events that include live music, flamenco, karaoke, and even comedy shows. 

Late-Night Eats

  • El Jardin de Lolita: Food stalls and a big backyard with picnic tables, in close proximity to a number of bars make this a popular place. It's open until midnight Thursday through Saturday and 10 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday.
  • Melted: Indulge your comfort food cravings with a grilled cheese sandwich at Melted, one of the open-kitchen concept restaurants in the Amor de Barrio building. All grilled cheese sandwiches come with pickles, chips, and, of course, tomato soup. Melted is open until midnight Thursday through Saturday, 10 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, and 8 p.m. Sunday.
  • La Ventanita Meraki: Just around the corner from Rafa’s Bar and across from the Atlantic Railroad, this take-away window offers late-night fare like burgers and fries to revelers. The window stays open until 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday, midnight Tuesday through Thursday, and 8 p.m. on Sunday.
  • Mercado La California: An urban food court and outdoor club mashup, this is an eat, drink, dance, see and be seen kind of place. If you’re headed here, dress to impress and prepare to stand in line. Inside you’ll find a variety of culinary kiosks, craft beers, and likely a DJ and stylish university students. It's open until 3:30 a.m. Thursday through Saturday, 1:30 a.m. on Sunday, and is closed Monday through Wednesday.
  • The Fallen Stag: If you’re out late or up early, you can still find something to eat and drink at this British bar in Los Yoses. Get your fish and chips here until 5 a.m. on the weekends.
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