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Best Kingston Nightlife

AOL PICK from our Editors
Visitors on a Jamaica travel jaunt will find the best and most tourist-centric concentration of nightspots in New Kingston. Nightlife doesn’t exist without a musical pulse, and New Kingston keeps things throbbing with dancehall, reggae, ska and rock steady. Nightclubs kick into gear around midnight and motor hard with Kingston hipsters sharing the dance floor with travelers until the wee hours. Jamaicans like to put a shine on things when they head out for the night, so don’t be afraid to dress up a little, and leave the flip flops, shorts and T-shirts back in your hotel. Most Kingston hotels—especially the high-end properties—have bars that are perfect for a low-key evening over a quiet cocktail. High culture takes a ride, too, and Kingston’s cultural life blossoms after dark with performances by the internationally acclaimed National Dance Theater Company, as well as the Jamaica Folk Singers, Jamaica Philharmonic and the National Chorale (ask your hotel concierge to help you organize tickets to shows at these companies). 

Club Privilege

Neighborhood: New Kingston
Less than a year old, Club Privilege made a splash when it launched with a story-book themed party featuring heady cocktails in tiny tea cups, à la Alice in Wonderland. The 5,000-square-foot Club Privilege has a house-rockin’ sound system, a huge dance floor, a VIP section, and a choice of a champagne bar or a cocktail bar. The club has more than 100 high-end liquors, including Cristal Champagne by Louis Roederer and coconut-flavored Ciroc vodka. We love the “Lipstick and Heels” cocktail, a mix of triple sec, vodka, cranberry juice, lime and a piquant splash of cherry liqueur. The club sets out its velvet ropes at 10PM Tuesday to Saturday and shutters at 4AM.

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Club Privilege  

Quad

Neighborhood: New Kingston
Quad is the place to go if you're looking for a multi-level, energy-pumping nightclub. This Kingston scene spot is a short stroll from the hotel strip in New Kingston and a favorite party palace of Olympic champion Usain Bolt. With four clubs under one roof, it’s a club that hits all bases. Christopher’s Jazz Cafe on the ground floor is the most sedate; here you can order a light meal accompanied by the tinkling notes of a baby grand. Climb up to Voodoo on the top floor if your taste runs to retro; Voodoo also has a balcony for taking a break or plotting your moves. Twenty-somethings flock to Oxygen, where dancehall music pumps up the energy and a ferocious air conditioner keeps the sweat to a minimum. The basement houses Taboo, a high-toned gentleman’s club, where the dancers display their toned bodies. If you’re the nervous type, a police station is right next door.

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Redbones Blues Cafe

Neighborhood: New Kingston
One of the best Kingston clubs for music and culture is Redbones Blues Café,. The spotlight here shines on cultural art exhibitions, theatrical performances, film screenings and poetry nights. There’s also great music that runs the gamut from touring world beat music shows to live performances by local and international jazz, reggae and R&B bands. The Redbones menu is Caribbean fusion, offering Jamaican-spiced dishes like strudel stuffed with callaloo. Those in the know order one of the specialty cocktails—we recommend the “Hop, Skip & Get Naked” a concoction mixing vodka, beer, lime and sugar syrup that is far more delicious than it sounds. Redbones may be a nightspot, but it’s also open for lunch.

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Fiction

Neighborhood: New Kingston
This hot spot on the Kingston nightclub scene is named after the owner Craig Powell’s favorite movie, "Pulp Fiction." Head chef is island star Sara Mair (you may know her from the Bravo TV series "Top Chef"). Her signature dishes are crispy bowtie pasta, gourmet burgers and shrimp balls with Cajun sauce. This hip and happening boite has three VIP booths that are almost always booked, so call ahead as far as possible (and at least two weeks in advance) if you want to snag one. While the main area features bold artwork and psychedelic lighting, off to one corner is the dimly-lit Johnnie Walker Lounge. Here you can nestle on plush earth-toned leather cushions surrounded by an extensive selection of Johnnie Walker products.

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Carlos' Cafe

Neighborhood: New Kingston
If you’re looking for a little bit of South Beach magic in gritty Kingston, head to Carlos’ Café on Belmont Road, close to the Altamont Court hotel. Take five on large, white-sheeted beds, order one of their signature martinis and check out the beautiful people—that’s why they’re at Carlos’—to see and be seen. This upscale venue serves up familiar steak and salad combos, as well as local dishes like spicy crab backs. Most nights you can meet the owner himself, suave Carlos Max-Brown, as he makes his rounds. Check out one of their themed nights—Martini Mondays and Karaoke Fridays.

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