10 Best Places to Dance and Drink in Nice

As the only major city in the French Riviera, Nice has a much more vibrant and diverse apres dark scene than neighbors like Cannes or Antibes, although if you want to roll the dice well into the night in a glittering casino atmosphere, hop on the train to nearby Monte Carlo (it's just 30 minutes to the east by rail). But in Nice itself, when it comes to nightlife you have a rainbow of choices. There are homey pubs, including quite a few excellent British ones like Ben Ben and Wayne's, for casual pint quaffing with people from around the globe in chill environs. And there are dress to impress DJ led dance parties at A-list clubs like L'Ambassade and Les Trois Diables, which attract the city's social set and don't get going until nearly midnight. For something in between, try long-lived mainstay bars like Akathor Pub and Bar des Oiseaux, which have a mixture of dancing and seating. And then if you want the ultimate tres chic local experience check out Le Ghost, which has a speakeasy vibe and excellent DJs spinning a different style each night. Note that many nightlife venues in Nice serve a daily happy hour and many also serve food, which will help with the morning hangover. Here we give you a range of our favorite places to party in the city.   


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Big Ben

Another authentic feeling British pubs in Nice, Big Ben offers a much more relaxed atmosphere than most of the others in town. If you want to avoid blaring lights, booming music, and gyrating bodies and instead want to relax with a cold pint in a traditional, friendly atmosphere, then this is the place to do it. There is long beer list as well as a range of whiskeys and traditional cocktail options. Good food is available, as well, including English-style favorites such as steak tartare and a variety of pastries, teas and coffees. Come between 5:30pm and 7:30pm to partake in happy hour.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: It's an authentic British pub with a quieter atmosphere than many of its counterparts in Nice although it does have live music some nights.

Becca's expert tip: The food here is quite good. There is also a daily happy hour from 5:30pm to 7:30pm.

Read more about Big Ben →

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Le Pub Opéra

In the heart of Old Nice, this bar has been serving the artsy crowd in an elegant setting for decades now. Located across from the Opera House and other cultural venues, it has a swanky upscale vibe and offers excellent service as long as you don't show up pre-showtime when the bistro is packed. Better to come after the evening performances have started or for a night-cap after a night experiencing the cultural side of Nice. It's also a good choice for wine aficionados as the list is long and varied. Food is available throughout the day in late into the night.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: A bistro and bar across from the Opera House it is a great spot for a nightcap after experiencing the cultural side of Nice.

Becca's expert tip: Avoid this place before opera showtimes as it is a madhouse. Instead come when the performance is in session for a quiet cocktail in an elegant setting.

Read more about Le Pub Opéra →

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Photo courtesy of Chez Wayne's

Walking inside Wayne's you'll forget you are in France – it feels exactly like a raucous pub in London with an inviting dark wood interior. As such, it is the most famous English pub in Nice and has a reputation with English-speaking tourists and students as the perfect place to come for a pint and a good time. It's also popular with sports fans, showing every type of sports match popular in former British colonies (from cricket to rugby to Aussie Rules) on giant TVs. But if you'd rather dance than watch a game, it also features live music nightly. Finally should you need to eat, there is a good pub grub menu.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: It's the most famous English pub in Nice with live music nightly and a great atmosphere.

Becca's expert tip: Fans of rugby, Aussie Rules, soccer, tennis or cricket can get their fix here, as the pub shows multiple games daily from big TVs.

Read more about Wayne's →

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This club does not cater to the rowdy young backpacker set, but offers great music, ambience and dancing to a classy, sophisticated crowd. Wear your best, for the locals and visitors here are typically high fashion and dressed to the nines. The door policy is somewhat restrictive, but once inside, you will find the decor is a colorful, high-tech visual treat. Evenings usually start pretty mellow with guests mingling on loungers and couches and the music is kept low. The energy gets kicked up at 10pm, when the music changes in volume and genre and the dance floor fills up with Nice's beautiful people.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: A popular dance club that caters to a more mature dressed-to-impress crowd.

Becca's expert tip: You'll need to be at least 25 years old to enter this club. You'll also need to dress to impress to get inside.

Read more about L'Ambassade →

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Comfortable seating and ghostly interior creates the ideal backdrop for the skilled DJ's, who play nightly at this small club with a speakeasy vibe – you'll have to ring a bell the get in. A different style of electronica is is spun each night, ranging from trip-hop to drum 'n bass to progressive house. The dance floor is small, but the energy is usually so pumped up it doesn't matter. When you tire of dancing, hang out in the plush red-and-black sitting room. It's a favorite with locals, and unlike many of Nice's doesn't feel touristy. On weekends it fills quickly.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: It has a retro speakeasy vibe and DJs spin the best of electronica nightly.

Becca's expert tip: You'll need to ring the bell to enter this small club. It fills quickly on weekends.

Read more about Le Ghost →

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Located in the heart of Vieux Nice, on cours Saleya, this club has been popular for years now thanks to a rotating line up of nightly events – during the week there's karaoke and pub quiz nights and even an evening dedicated to students, while weekends are devoted to DJs and plenty of dancing. The name means "The Three Devils," and you can get devilish on two levels or outside on the patio, which is packed with people watchers most nights. There is also a nightly happy hour from its 5pm opening until 9pm. Check the website to see what's going on that night, or just show up.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: It is one of Nice's best and longest running clubs that puts on fun events nightly including karaoke, pub quizzes and DJ dance parties.

Becca's expert tip: Check their Facebook page as different events go on every night of the week.

Read more about Les Trois Diables →

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Café de Turin
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia

This cafe and bar has been around for years and has collected a large, local following, who come not only for a cocktail, but also for its excellent fresh seafood. Tucked onto one side of the place Garibaldi, the location is prime and the atmosphere is quintessentially French. The terrace is one of the best places to be in Nice on a summer afternoon, and the cafe fills up quickly in the evenings with dining patrons. Arrive in late afternoon, before the crowds, if you want to score a seat outside and order a carafe of wine or a Pastis and water.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: It's an authentic French cafe and bar with a lovely terrace overlooking place Garibaldi for afternoon cocktails.

Becca's expert tip: If you're hungry, the seafood here is excellent and why many locals come.

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Les Distilleries Idéales

The exterior and the interior are quite basic, and you may not even realize you are passing a bar unless you happen by during a raucous show. However, this small bar is popular among locals for its unique list of drinks and its low-key atmosphere. Its "hole in the wall" style lends appeal to the classic beer joint/pool hall, which also has some of the best martinis in town. When the weather is nice, sit outside on the sidewalk terrace and watch the world go by as you sip your cocktail. It also has a happy hour from 6pm to 8pm and is a good place to start your evening out.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: In a great Old Town location with a low-key atmosphere and sidewalk seating for people watching.

Becca's expert tip: Come for happy hour from 6pm to 8pm for drink specials.

Read more about Les Distilleries Idéales →

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Bar des Oiseaux

Tucked away in a far corner of popular Old Nice, this bar may be difficult to find, but it is worth searching for. Comedians and entertainers frequently take the stage to amuse uproarious crowds at the bohemian favorite. There is live music most night from jazz to cabaret to other musical acts like chanson francaise (French songs). The unique decor complements the off-the-beaten-path feel of the bar, named for the birds that inhabit the surrounding area. There is a cover of around 5 euros when there is entertainment. Should you drink to much and need to soak up the alcohol, there is a full menu for lunch and dinner.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: A great bet for live music and cabaret it has long been a local favorite.

Becca's expert tip: If you are hungry, Bar des Oiseaux also serves food.

Read more about Bar des Oiseaux →

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On the main tourist strip in Old Town, this international pub is known for its party atmosphere and live music scene and has been a player in the Nice nightlife scene for nearly 20 years. It attracts huge crowds during the season, both tourists and locals of varying generations, who come for decent bands and other acts like comedy performances in English. Check their website or Facebook for what is going on when you visit. The pub sprawls over two floors - bands play upstairs nightly starting around 10pm - and has a cool ambiance inside. There is also a daily happy hour from and a hot and cold tapas menu is served throughout the night.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: Decent music and a lively party atmosphere, it attracts a diverse crowd of varying ages and nationalities.

Becca's expert tip: If a band is playing and you aren't seated in their line of site, you can check the video screens to watch the concert from other parts of the pub.

Read more about Akathor Pub →


Meet Becca Blond

Becca Blond is an award-winning Denver based freelance travel writer. She has authored more than 30 Lonely Planet guides on five continents. She also writes about Colorado and the world for...  More About Becca