As instinctive night owls… we prefer to spend our time out during the cooler, breezier August evenings, (when compared to the smoldering heat of midday, at least). So naturally, we know exactly where to suggest for your summer nights here in Rethymno.
Right before Sunset…
Since you'll probably be on the beach anyways… we'll start you off at our favorite beach bars.
(Note: You'll find in Rethymno that all the "beach bars" have two services– service in the actual bar on the street and service across the street on the actual beach. The first bar is best for their beach service environment, and the second is best to visit inside the actual bar).
Best Beach Bar —
Kai Beach Bar
Whether it be the 40 degree heat, the lazy summer energy, (or most likely both)… Alex and I have been spending an obsessive amount of time at the beach.
Especially yesterday between 8:30 a.m and 3 p.m… when we woke up at 8 a.m by the world's worst drilling noise (after going to bed a mere two hours earlier). We evacuated here… since we've been once before and remembered they had comfy looking beach beds; which we could camp out on to catch up on some sleep.
Many (as in most) of all the beach bars here, have that plastic, touristy feel to them. But not only is this place swarmed with young locals– the food and drinks are also pretty decent. Most importantly… it has the slow, chill energy of which a good beach bar should have.
And just like that… Kai was claimed as our favorite beach bar. And believe me we've been to enough other places to know that here, in our humble opinion, is the best.
(Note: I can not insist enough– make sure you grab a drink here right at dusk, get comfy in the sand to watch the magnificent, burning Cretan sun melt over the walls of the fortress. Maybe its because we're right on the border of Egypt… but it reminds me of something you would see on an African safari.
People say Santorini sunsets are the best in the world… but I have to disagree. Try our favorite beach bar and decide for yourself :)).
Best Reggae and Mojitos —
Cactus Beach Bar
Not only does this place often play good reggae… but their mojitos are just so. damn. good. Enough to where I had to at least make a mention of it.
Alex told me about it when he came here one night and the bartender bragged to him about having "the best mojitos in Rethymno". He of course, tested him out on it (though he probably would've ordered a mojito anyway, since its his regular cocktail)– and was really impressed.
So if you don't feel like a beach visit is complete without a little reggae and a fresh mojito… it is worth a visit.
Back towards Old Town…
Now taking you from the seawall, back to the center of things, as I sit here once again with my white sangria, typing to you at 1:30 a.m… waiting to present the best for last.
If you've read my Transitions, Unemployment and Crete post you know exactly where I'm speaking of.
Best Bar Overall —
Ali Vafi Garden Bar
Encased in the enchanting, ambiance of 16th century Venetian walls– the mood is set with garden candle light, grape-mint sheesha vapor and the timeless classics of the 60's (my favorite genre)… for me, this place will always take front seat when in comparison to any other bar here.
Enough to where I will leave it at this, if I had to chose one place to warm up for a long night out…. I would come here. Their creative cocktails have this flawless, consistency that never let you walk away less than totally impressed. The following are my favorites…
- Passionated Garden
- Orange Pie
- White Sangria
- Herbal Rum
So don't miss it!
Clubs, clubs, clubs (an overview)
You'll come to understand that in Greece, the "night life" starts when nights out usually end for most other countries. Not until after one, maybe two in the morning, do people start making their way to the clubs.
Though to be honest, Rethymno is not necessarily the greatest place to come for good night-life. Nevertheless, I'll give you my best overview of all the clubs this little town has to offer!
The Old Town Local Hubs
Local's Favorite #3 —
Fortezza Lighthouse Bar
This was the first club I came to with all my hostel buddies during my first week here. Probably due to the mix of American radio-rap, twenty different mixed versions of Despacito and mainstream Greek music… its a good mix of tourists and locals.
In my experience so far, I would say people dance the most here, which is always a plus for me; and nights get the craziest. A good rule of thumb is, wherever the most Americans go, is where the most crazy will follow. This was the only place (so far) we've gotten up and danced on tables…
So if that's your thing– check out Fortezza!
Local's Favorite #2 —
Alex and I have always passed by this place and wondered how people could stand inside long with the constant, flashing strobe lights and not have an epilepsy. When we've been, between the alcohol and the lights, I feel like I'm talking to four of him…
But regardless, this is one of the places quite a lot of young locals, dressed like they're going to Paris fashion week, go (they get very dressed up to go out here– women especially).
Mainstream Greek music is what is primarily played here… though not a ton of people are dancing. Its a bit small, so people just kind of hub around the centrally located bar and bump shoulders. It was okay. Not my very favorite. But if you are trying to meet your "Greek lover" you probably should come here.
Or go to…
Local's Favorite #1 —
This club is such a local favorite… so much, that I've been told more than twice that they hardly allow tourists in. Kind of snobby? Maybe… but its understandable when your hometown is regularly over-saturated with tourists to want a place for your own.
Not sure if that's the solid truth… but in my experience, I tried to go once with a group of friends from my hostel and was denied access in. When I went with Alex however, we were let in immediately.
So see and try for yourself!
Is it worth trying to squirm your way in? Well it is nice inside… staying true to its name "Ice Bar" with its cool, sleek interior and blue lighted backgrounds. The music is undoubtedly played for locals… as it is modern mainstream Greek music all the way. Downside? Well when we've gone it has been incredibly over-crowded… so you can't even dance if you wanted to.
But if you're wanting to really meet locals… this is the place in Old Town to come.
The After, After Club —
Alex and I call this "our little bit of Athens in Rethymno" because its the only bar with an electronic music scene (that is very typical in Athens). Primarily playing house and techno… it is refreshing to have something different when your surrounded by mainstream.
If you hadn't noticed by now, a big deciding factor for if I like the club or not, is if people dance… and here that's all they really do, crowded around the DJ.
The only thing about this place, is that it is really an after hour club. You wouldn't usually come before 3 a.m.
But if you're out and up for it… we've always had a lot of fun here.
The Salsa Night Club —
Now I am not 100% sure if it will continue to happen next summer… but what I love about this place is their lively salsa nights!
A sweet, salsa instructor couple we met, started hosting these this summer. Dedicating one night a week, (usually on Mondays) to sexy Latin music and dancing.
So you can guess that I really enjoyed coming to this one!
Besides Mondays, I haven't really spent any time here so I'm not sure how it is during the rest of the week. Maybe because its right next door to Fortezza and can get a bit over-shadowed.
But if you're here next summer and want a little something different… here is your place (on Mondays ;)).
For The Looks of It —
What I love about this club is how simply beautiful it is. Right on the water, just outside of Old Town enough feel nicely secluded, while still being close enough to see the glow of the Fortress at night. You can probably walk here in twenty-five minutes or take a taxi in five.
It's a mix between a place to go for a nice cocktail and a club. Although the cocktails aren't as good as Ali Vafi's… they are still pretty yummy!
Usually the DJ will play a mix of music here… though I have heard locals get excited about going here on Wednesdays, when it plays Greek music, of course.
I wouldn't necessarily go here to get loud and crazy, but it is beautiful enough to be worth a stop by.
And now for the grub…
Only a very small handful of places stay open until after hours here. Unfortunately, because one of my favorite things about going out, is after all is said and done… everyone can agree to the undeniable, necessity to eat the greasiest, yummiest, grub available.
And THE place in Rethymno for this?
The Italian Job
I won't lie… I snubbed this place for quite a while, because I thought it was just another gross, greasy, pizza joint.
I was so surprised by how wrong I was.
I'm a die hard pasta addict… and one late night out with Alex, I finally decided to try a few bites of his shrimp pasta. A "few bites" which turned into splitting the entire plate… as usual, (sorry babe).
It was cooked right in front of us within five minutes and somehow tasted as fresh and delicious as most other fancy Italian places I've been.
Their variety is good… ranging from traditional carbonara, to seafood pasta (the salmon one is my favorite) to giant, American-ized, B.B.Q pizzas. And they're decently priced (between five and six euros) with huge portions.
And most importantly, they're open till 3 a.m :).
So now you have a pretty decent idea of the nightlife Rethymno has to offer. Again, not the greatest place you can go for the whole clubs and bars scene… since romantic afternoon strolls in historical Old Town is what you should actually come here for.
But whatever you're down for tonight… whether that be pulling those sexy heels out for a night of dancing, or kicking them off for mojitos and a sunset. There's enough of a variety here for you to chose what fits your mood.
And speaking of romantic, if you're wondering where to go for date night dinner plans… next week I'll have an overview of what I feel to be the most romantic and intimate spots in Rethymno <3.