Dominican Republic Nightlife
Tel: 809 526 2319
It's almost impossible to find this chic, authentic beachside bar and restaurant without specific directions from a local, but it's well worth the ten-minute drive from Boca Chica (and even getting lost on the way). At lunchtime on weekends, well-to-do Dominican families from the capital come for fresh-off-the-boat fish and delicious carpaccios and ceviches, served at portable tables right on the beach. Later, fashionable young hipsters hang out on the bedlike lounges on the sand, sipping chinola cocktails (made with rum and fresh-squeezed passion fruit juice) and listening to DJ-spun beats. Very sexy.
El Callejon de la Loma
Tel: 829 865 6444
It might feel like sacrilege not to party on the beach in the Caribbean, but if there's any nightspot that can pull it off, it's this sexy little number at the edge of Cabarete town. Bliss's under-the-radar location weeds out the riffraff who patronize bawdier joints nearby; add slick mood lighting and a courtyard pool, and this feels almost like an L.A. or Miami club. While the cocktail scene here thrives (sugared rum punches, killer mojitos, and private nooks shrouded in gauzy curtains), Bliss also serves excellent French/Caribbean fusion cuisine, like pork medallions in coffee sauce.—Aaron Barker
110 Calle Arzobispo Meriño
Tel: 809 689 3430
A gallery, performance venue, and bar rolled into one. The front two rooms of this boho space are filled with art installations, and in back there's an open-air atrium with a small stage where live musicians and comedy acts perform. What's best, though, is that you can also order drinks while you watch the night's show or peruse the art; it's kind of like being at a gallery opening.
110 Arzobispo Portes
Tel: 809 687 4233
It looks like your standard-issue Spanish restaurant from the street, but head past the dining room and you'll discover an interior saloon. Though it's got a few touches of style—some palm wood here, some old urns there—the real draw is the live music: there's jazz on Mondays, and Wednesday through Saturday bring either Manuela Rodriguez, an Argentine tango singer, or guitarist Francis Cabral, or sometimes both. Don't be shocked when patrons get up to sing with the artists and the rest of the audience joins in; that's the way things work in this informal saloon. The anything-goes atmosphere has drawn impromptu performances from famous merengue singers such as Sergio Vargas, Milly Quezada, and Peña Suazo.
Open Mondays through Thursdays noon to 4 pm and 7 pm to 1 am, Fridays and Saturdays noon to 4pm and 7 pm to 3 am. Live music nightly except Tuesday.
Tel: 829 915 4842
Bottle service, cushion loungers, and fairy-lit palm trees up LAX's bling factor several notches above the other Jimmy Buffett–style bars that line the Cabarete strip. Even nightclub naysayers might get swept up in the moment once a silver ice bucket of añejo rum gets plunked down next to their pillow on the sand. During the week, the scene is chill, with swaying hammocks, passing hookahs, and down-tempo tunes in the main bar area. Things rev up considerably on the weekend—a DJ spills the action well out onto the beach, spinning house and techno for the bronzed beach bodies.
Tel: 809 732 4016
The hottest club in Santo Domingo is way too loud for conversation: It's all about the crowd of local and international models, fashionistas, and jet-setters rubbernecking at one another. The door policy is tough; you'll have to look pretty fabulous to get in (and then spend a fortune on bottle service if you want a table). But the people-watching can't be beat, and if you stick around late enough, you'll see people dancing on the banquettes as well as the small dance floor.