With current estimates placing 30% of Monaco’s population in the demographic of millionaire, it should come as no surprise that this tiny city-state can turn any night into a luxurious adventure.
As the second-smallest city-state in the world (behind the Vatican), Monaco is also a principality. In fact, since the year 1297, the Grimaldi family has ruled this nation, and Prince Albert II serves as the current constitutional monarch.
However, what makes Monaco stand out as one of Europe’s, if not the world’s, most decadent party spots isn’t just its opulent history. Starting in the late 1800s, the country’s Monte Carlo district opened its first casino and, shortly after, a railway united this neighborhood to Paris.
Not only did Monaco have a booming casino and nightlife district, but the area was also beautiful enough to warrant going out in the daytime. Given its placement in the French Riviera, its short distance to major Italian, French, and Spanish metropolises, and its association with wealth, Monaco hasn’t had to work hard to stay relevant.
In a nod to its history and reputation, Monaco recently shifted legal policy to cater to its wealthiest citizens. The city-state has transformed itself into a banking center, which doesn’t impose income tax or low business taxes on its citizens.
This qualifies Monaco as a tax haven, which means that the country’s funds can be redirected toward business, property, or, in the case of this list, nightlife. Keep reading for some of Monaco’s best haunts after dark.
Casino de Monte Carlo
Run by the Société des bains de mer de Monaco, which is a public company that’s majority-owned by the Royal Grimaldi family, the Casino of Monte Carlo looks, sounds, and costs as extravagant as its façade indicates. However, bets aren’t too expensive, starting at €5… though there’s no betting cap in a private room.
It may be worth it to think of the Casino of Monte Carlo as more of an experience than an opportunity to break the bank—especially consider sites like Oddschecker offer $500 risk-free bets for all types of games, whereas the Monacan casino is missing a few major favorites, like Texas Hold’em poker, Pai Gow poker, and video slots.
Société des Bains de Mer
In Monaco, the royal family’s publicly-owned and privately-run company throws some of the best parties that the city-state has to offer. Not only does the society run spectacles such as the aforementioned casino, but it also oversees major attractions such as the opera house and associated Hôtel de Paris.
The list of holdings for this society group (commonly referred to as SBM) goes on and on. Some of these properties make the list below, like the club JIMMY’Z and Le Bar Américain.
In fact, SBM is more or less a one-stop-shop for those traveling to Monaco with an eye toward nightlife. Though it doesn’t make this list given its association with daylight as well as its private and highly exclusive nature, Le Bar Salle Blanche is worth checking out, if just to dream of visiting this swanky salon someday.
Le Bar Américain
This bar is a staple of Monaco for its ability to continue delivering on the charm of days forgotten. Here, well-maintained wood paneling and worn leather armchairs bring to mind the romantic days of 1950s Americanah.
As one of the city-state’s most exclusive watering holes (as indicated by its SBM insignia), this bar has entertained more than a handful of celebrities. If you manage to make it in, don’t forget to treat your waiter like a personal sommelier.
After all, some wines are available solely at Bar Américain. That’s right—this bar is located inside L’Hôtel de Paris (also owned by SBM), which not only features the world’s largest wine cellar located inside a hotel but also serves a certain wine that is stored and served exclusively for guests at Le Bar Américain.
Yes, this club is also owned by SBM, but it doesn’t make the list for having the refined chops of Le Bar Américain or L’Hôtel de Paris. Actually, JIMMY’Z is the iconic nightclub of Monaco that features bright lights and electronic dance music.
Started since 1971, this club recently underwent a full makeover. Though it serves a very different crowd than its SBM counterparts, this makeover also transformed this nightclub into an unforgettable experience.
Now, clubgoers find themselves dancing beneath canopies of glass. Outside, they also find a bar that’s fully floating in a manmade lagoon. However, JIMMY’Z is also renowned for its beautiful sunrise, which tends to cast the entire venue with a rosy hue of red.
As the first mention on this list that isn’t a part of SBM, it should come as no surprise that Black Legend packs a punch when it comes to its appeal. In fact, this isn’t just an ordinary nightclub—it’s a shapeshifting attraction that won’t be forgotten anytime soon.
Before midnight tolls, Black Legend functions as an exclusive dinner club, where fashion is just as important as what’s on the menu. However, this supper club transforms itself into a bar and club that’s unparalleled in terms of its musical chops.
There’s live music, VIP rooms, and a stunning view of the harbor. The space’s interior, which is a mix between a 70s-chic vibe and a light-happy take on the Big Apple, complements its music selection. When the bar-club isn’t pumping out retro jams with a fresh new twist, they’re hosting live bands who play soul, funk, and R’n’B.
Monaco Grand Prix
Sure, the Formula 1 Grand Prix doesn’t take place at night, but its associated bedlam certainly does. During the week or so that F1 takes over Monaco, there are enough after-hours parties to make the entire affair seem like a partying may be the professional sport in question. (Especially considering the nearby Cannes Film Festival raps at about this time).
For those lucky enough to find themselves in this principality during the F1 madness, be sure to check out the aforementioned JIMMY’Z, as well as Black Legend. However, other major haunts for the Grand Prix madness include Amber Lounge at Le Meridien Beach Plaza Hotel, Nikki Beach at the Fairmont Monte Carlo, and Twiga at the Grimaldi Forum.