San Jose Nightlife

The metro area's hottest nightlife has migrated to the Central Valley suburbs of Escazú and Heredia these days. Both are about 20- to 30-minute taxi rides from downtown San José. The capital isn't devoid of places to go in the evening, however. There are still plenty of bars, dance clubs, and restaurants and cafés where you can spend the evening. Take taxis to and from when you go; it’s the

safest option if you’re out after dark. Most places will be happy to call you a cab—or, if there's a guard, he can hail you one—when it's time to call it a night. Remember that all venues are nonsmoking.

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North and East of Downtown 8

South of Downtown 1

West of Downtown 1

Downtown 1


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Bars/ Pubs 4

Cafes–Nightlife 10

Dance Clubs 2

Music Clubs 1

Themed Entertainment 1

Wine Bars–Nightlife 1

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Gay and Lesbian 2

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San Jose Nightlife

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Café 1930

  • Cafes–Nightlife

The café under the arcades at the entrance to the Grand Hotel Costa Rica pulls duty as a pleasant place for a drink or coffee. Listen...

Café Miel Natural

  • Cafes–Nightlife

A scant two tables and a small counter are the only seating at this tiny place, which serves up coffee from its own finca in Tarrazú...

Café Mundo

  • Cafes–Nightlife

The highly recommended restaurant Café Mundo is a quiet spot for a drink or bite to eat and is frequented by gay and bohemian crowds.

Café del Barista

  • Cafes–Nightlife

The rain does get a bit loud on the metal roof, but the wide selection of coffee drinks here is worth the occasional racket. ...

Club Unión

  • Cafes–Nightlife

The elevated, glassed-in café here lets you survey the ongoing beehive of activity on the small, shaded plaza in front of the post office.

El Observatorio

  • Bars/Pubs

El Observatorio strikes an unusual balance between casual and formal: it's the kind of place where folks over 30 go to watch a soccer...

Jazz Café San Pedro

  • Bars/Pubs

This place draws big crowds for the nightly live music (except Sunday). Although the staple here is jazz, rock and funk acts play here...

La Avispa

  • Dance Clubs

A gay and lesbian crowd frequents La Avispa, which has two dance floors with videos and karaoke, as well as a quieter upstairs bar with...

Mac's American Bar

  • Bars/Pubs

An older expat crowd hangs out at Mac's, which always has the TV tuned to a sporting event. It gets our nod for serving the city's best...


  • Dance Clubs

Step into a San José nightclub and you might think Costa Ricans are born dancing. They aren't, but most learn to merengue, rumba, mambo,...