The nation of Monaco might be small in terms of size, but it is a giant when it comes to glamour. Located on the French Riviera, this tiny peninsular country is home to some of the world’s wealthiest people and is the epicenter for all things glitzy. That said, there are plenty of attractions that make the principality a good stopping-off point for travelers who do not fall into the ultra-wealthy demographic.
Monaco has a diverse nighttime entertainment menu. The palatial casinos and glitzy clubs of the famous Monte Carlo area are worthwhile if you are looking for a high glamor factor. Pubs, cafes, and live music clubs are also found in Monaco. These venues give the destination a well-rounded after-dark scene that offers something for everyone, no matter what their taste.
Jimmy’z is the undisputed headliner of Monaco’s nightlife scene. This upscale place draws the trendy crowd, so people who feel more comfortable in jeans and tennis shoes probably won’t fit in (and probably won’t get past the doormen). The clientele is mainly made up of stereotypical “beautiful people.” However, there is lots of fun to be had a Jimmy’z. The dance-floor is almost always packed and the club regularly puts on theme nights.
You don’t even have to step into one of the principality’s gambling emporiums to enjoy the night scene in Casino Square. This plaza area and surrounding buildings are lit up brightly at night. Wandering the square is a great way to appreciate Monaco’s architecture and opulence without having to spend a single penny.
Monte Carlo is also home to one of the world’s hippest chain restaurants. The Buddha Bar has a location in the heart of the city. This exotically decorated lounge and restaurant is the essence of hip, with Asian fusion food and cutting edge ambient and electronic music complimenting the venue’s Eastern theme. The Buddha Bar is definitely upscale, but quite a bit more interesting than some of Monaco’s other scene-making establishments.
The Monte Carlo Opera gives the peninsula’s nightlife scene one of its best high-brow options. Located in one of the most opulent wings of the palatial Monte Carlo Casino, the MC Opera regularly hosts world-class performances. Tickets are not cheap, but the theater and performers are of very high quality. Italy, the birthplace of opera, is only a short distance from Monaco, and the authenticity has crossed the border, making Monaco one of the best places outside of Italy to see this art form.
Salle du Canton and the Grimaldi Forum are two additional venues for classic arts. These spaces host classical music concerts, ballet performances and chamber music. Both these venues have full calendars throughout the year. Tickets are not as expensive as you might expect. Ballet tickets occasionally sell for less than 10 Euros, while most admission prices for most performances are between 15-30 Euros.
You might not want to drop thousands at the casinos of Monte Carlo. High-limit games dominate the gambling halls of Monaco, but lower limit table games and slots are found at some casinos. But, like elsewhere in the world, the casinos of Monaco are about much more than blackjack, baccarat and roulette. Restaurants, theaters, shops, and clubs make these places good options for people seeking non-gaming entertainment.
Black Legend is a nightclub that is a popular weekend spot for the under-30 set. It is jam-packed on Friday and Saturday evenings. The setting here is hip and contemporary, but it is not quite as inaccessibly trendy as Jimmy’z. However, Black Legend still has healthy dose of glamour. The Living Room is another strangely-named but incredibly hip and glitzy nightspot in Monaco. It is a dance-oriented nightclub that draws a mix of locals and tourists, especially on the weekend.
Cinema Le Sporting is the best place to see movies in Monaco. The theater shows the latest French films as well as international movies (shown in their original language with subtitles). If you simply can’t wait to see the latest Hollywood blockbuster, this is the place to go. The art deco design of the theater will be quite interesting to history and architecture buffs since it is nothing like the multiplex movie theaters that dominate the US and much of Europe.
Chip and Castle and Black Diamond are yet two more scene-makers’ hotspots, while Blue Note is home to some great jazz and is also a good spot for experiencing Monaco’s classiness without too much pretense. Blue Note has world-class jazz artists most nights. Moods is another venue in Monaco where it is possible to get your live music fix.
Monaco is a glamourous place. However, the nightlife scene is reasonably diverse, with plazas, bars and music venues complimenting the more well-known and glitzy clubs and casinos.