If there is a reason to visit a city on an island in the Caribbean it usually has more to do more with the nightlife than anything. Although most hotels have onsite bars and the bigger properties even have more than one and most likely a nightclub threw in, there is no beating a night out on the town, hanging out where the locals do, to give you a real taste of what it’s like to party in another country.
Whether you go with friends or make friends on the spot, there’s something for almost anyone in Kingston depending on the night of the week.
Sunday may feel like a day to take it slow and easy and there’s no argument there, but staying home isn’t the only option. Head for the hills to take in one of the best views of Kingston at night while chilling as Gabre Selassie spins conscious beats at Dub Club. Partake of whatever relaxes you as you enjoy meeting other like-minded visitors and locals. If you’re simply feeling partial to a glass of wine and good conversation, several spots around town cater specifically to your tastes. Uncorked, Oak Wine Bar & Cocktail Lounge, Cellar 8 and The Wine Shop Bar & Grill are the main choices for oenophiles, however, most hotels in the corporate area have their own on-site bars where you can partake of specialized wine menu or even a glass of bubbly along with a fine dining experience.
Monday night, a true Jamaican nightlife experience awaits you in the parking lot at Southdale Plaza on Constant Spring Road which jumps into full gear with a weekly street dance. Get there early enough for sweet treats and soup from Susie’s Bakery. A favourite with tourists, you’re likely to see a dreadlocked, sandal wearing American vibing to the music next to the towering block of speakers, while next to him a Japanese girl is busy ‘brukkin out’ with the latest moves she came to Jamaica to learn. If you’re looking for a more relaxed hang out session with friends, a few places have specials including the Jamexican Restaurant Chilitos on Hope Road in the Liguanea area that mixes up a mean drink on Margarita Mondays.
Tuesday night is a great girls’ night out at central spots like Ribbiz in Loshusan Shopping Centre in the heart of the Golden Circle of Kingston or Escape 24/7 in New Kingston. You may get lucky enough to be in the city when Johnny Live Comedy Bar takes over 100 Hope Road featuring some of the best comedians in Jamaica, plus a chance for amateurs to get up and show everyone what they’ve got, or go for live music with a jazz theme mixed with the musical sounds of Jamaica at Christopher’s on the ground floor of Quad on Knutsford Boulevard in New Kingston.
Wednesday is popular as a night to kick back, have a drink and just hang with a group of good friends and you’ve got a lot of choices, it just depends on your interests. If you want to catch a game with friends on TV, check out one of the sports bars from 100 Hope Road and Triple Century in New Kingston to Usain Bolt’s own restaurant and sports bar, Tracks & Records in the Marketplace complex. Not a sports fan? Head to The Deck on Trafalgar Rd for Wings Wednesday and enjoy drinks specials while a DJ spins popular tunes or go rock the dance floor old school at Weddie Weddie Wednesdays at Stone Love HQ on Burlington Ave in Half Way Tree.
Thursdays are all about fun with friends, with a wide variety of unique activities to be enjoyed. The Regency at Terra Nova offers a Latin dance class followed by a party with the same theme, while The Jam is a night of musical improvisation with some of the best professional musical talents on the island just hanging out and jamming, while anyone who shows up at the Pallet restaurant on North Avenue beside Kings Plaza gets to kick back and enjoy the vibe. Red Bones Blues Café is an institution for a great evening out. The restaurant always serves up delicious food with everything from art exhibitions to Dub Poetry nights and film screenings to draw in a crowd. The home of the famous annual Kingston On The Edge (KOTE) Arts Festival is the perfect spot to take in dinner and a musical evening on Thursdays with performers from big reggae acts like the The Abyssinians, to local rock and roll bands, solo acoustic Venezuelan guitar performances, Jazz & Blues, Bossanova , folk music, gospel and more.
Friday and Saturday night is the time to head for the club, or clubs, if club hopping is more your thing. Try out Club Privilege on Trinidad Terrace, The Regency at Terra Nova hotel, The Top Floor of Quad on Knutsford Boulevard in New Kingston, or Fiction Nightclub over on Constant Spring Road. Start the evening off with a quick drink first at The Devon at the Main Redbones Blues Café or Puls8 in the Pulse complex on Trafalgar Road where you can rub shoulders with beautiful models. If you’re not up for the driving beat of the club, most spots also have a DJ spinning while you drink or eat and just hang with friends. Jojo’s Jerk Pit usually has live music every Saturday night while Stones Throw Bar on Mannings Hill Road has a DJ on Friday nights and live music events which are announced on their Facebook page.
If it’s one thing Kingston has a lot of, it is parties. From dazzling all-white affairs to enjoying soca outside of Carnival season in tank tops and shorts at a cooler party, usually with a basic cover charge, Kingstonians know how to blow off steam on the weekend. Although it’s a year-round thing, during Christmas the stakes are higher with huge parties and live music events like the annual Major Lazer concert. Carnival is a non-stop party for nearly 2 months straight at the start of the year, with your choice of parties day or night every weekend leading up to the final road march hosted by three major groups. Although they do have a couple of beach parties out of town, almost all of the major Carnival events happen at locations around Kingston. There’s no better way to fully immerse yourself in Jamaican culture than to party with the locals, so dive right in!