Florence might be an old city, but there’s nothing remotely stuffy or fusty about its nightlife. From drag shows and early morning raves to secret cocktail bars and karaoke nights, here are the best places in Florence for nightlife.
Where are the best places in Florence for nightlife?
1. Full Up
With more than six decades of experience, the team at Full Up are experts in organizing a night of raucously good fun. Open from Wednesday to Sunday from 9.30 pm until late, the popular nightclub hosts drag extravaganzas on Wednesdays, live music and magic on Thursdays and a burlesque show on Fridays. Tickets cost €25 per ticket and include reserved seating and a complimentary drink. Afterwards, the dance floor opens up for a lively discotecta that goes on until the early hours of the morning.
Situated moments from Florence Airport, Tenax is a legendary nightclub that has been a staple on the scene since the early 1980s. Best known for its high-octane parties and live music events, the venue has hosted big names like Radiohead, Daft Punk and Ben Harper. It’s a popular spot on the circuit for revered DJs, producers and composers like Little Louie Vega, Ashley Beedle and Francois Kevorkian too. Partiers from across the globe head here for the guarantee of a good night out. And, for those looking for a little more privacy, there’s a VIP area with bottle service upstairs.
3. Bitter Bar
This craft cocktail bar is a big hit with both young(ish) locals and tourists looking for a local bar off the beaten path. There are all manner of cocktails on offer here, but you won’t find any sickly-sweet syrups or processed juices. Instead, you’ll find freshly squeezed pineapple juice, cheesecake foam and other innovative ingredients. The aim here is to create balanced and playful cocktails that don’t cover up the natural tastes of spirits. Owner Cristiano Guitti is cocktail extraordinaire with a serious reputation amongst the world’s greatest cocktail enthusiasts, so you’re in capable hands. Beware though, the Bitter Bar takes its duty to open up new horizons of taste seriously, so if you’re looking for a bog-standard rum and coke, it’s best to walk past.
3. Rex Café
Named after a glamorous 1930s luxury ocean liner, Rex Café is a lively lounge and after-hours nightclub. Interiors will provide great fodder for your Instagram feed: true to nautical form there are sail-shaped lamps, garish wave murals and a life-size turtle suspended from the ceiling. The club opened in the 90s and has been making waves ever since. Open from 9 pm until 2 am seven days a week, happy punters can enjoy live entertainment every day, from live jazz on Tuesdays to vinyl-only DJ sets on Thursdays. Entry is free and cocktails are reasonably priced.
4. Red Garter
From the outside, Red Garter looks like an archetypal American bar and steakhouse, but after hours, the steakhouse transforms into one of the city’s best nightclubs. There’s a different activity to enjoy every night of the week, from live sports screenings to beer pong Tuesdays, but karaoke nights are the most beloved by locals. The back room transforms into a tiny two-tiered arena, where you can belt out your best Wonderwall rendition, and then dance your heart out by the DJ booth next door. Entrance is free, which means it’s worth getting here early at the weekend to beat the crowds.
There are only three truly secret bars in Italy, and one of them is in Florence. Hidden behind a recess in the wall, you’ll need to ring a brass bell and pass the peephole test to get into Rasputin, but it’s worth the effort. Inside, it’s a stylish speakeasy, with walls painted scarlet red and covered in velvet drapes and gilded prints. Head bartender Daniele Cancellara has curated an extensive cocktail menu, using unusual raw ingredients to create inspiring (and potent) concoctions. The bar is conveniently located in Santo Spirito – the perfect starting point for a night on the tiles in the city’s most authentic neighbourhood.
7. Jazz Club
If house music isn’t your thing and you have no interest in dancing the night away to big-name DJs, Jazz Clb is an excellent option. Just a ten-minute walk from the Duomo tucked away on the Nuova de Caccini, the underground venue offers live music and blues sessions on Wednesdays and Thursdays. On Fridays and Saturdays, an ‘After Live’ DJ takes over the dancefloor, with beats until at least 3.30 am in the morning. Entrance costs 8 euros and includes one complimentary drink on your first visit and free membership for the year.