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Best San Juan Nightlife

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The best nightlife in San Juan is a mix, and regardless of your age, musical tastes or sexual preference, you'll find someplace to have fun. The best clubs in San Juan tend to be in Old San Juan, or in hip Isla Verde. Some are also in up-and-coming Santurce, where many locals go to party. Gay clubs aren't prevalent, but there are quite a few, and rarely raise an eyebrow in carefree San Juan. For a sophisticated night out, consider visiting one of the clubs located in San Juan's major hotels; most of those require a certain dress code and attract an over-30, well-heeled group. To really cut loose find a club that plays reggaeton. The popular music, a combo of reggae, salsa and rap, is characterized by suggestive lyrics, heavy beats and seriously sexy dance moves.

Nuyorican Cafe

Neighborhood: Old San Juan

You never know what you'll find at the Nuyorican, where salsa dancing, spoken word and jazzy trumpets appear interchangeably. Down a tiny alleyway in Old San Juan, the Nuyorican looks a bit seedy, but it's all good. Pile in, order a pizza if you're hungry and see what they've got on tap—and we're talking beer and artists. Most nights you'll hear live jazz, but some weekends a DJ will step up and spin an entrancing mix of old-school salsa and dirty reggaeton.

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Milk

Neighborhood: Old San Juan

Underneath a glowing chandelier in a narrow, renovated house San Juaneros dance the night away to techno, rap and electronica. Milk is a newcomer in busy Old San Juan, but it's made quite an impression with its neon lighting, minimalist decor and late-night music. Baggy jeans and baseball caps don't make the dress code, but just about anything else goes. There are two levels, and most of the dancing is down below while the upper reaches have ottomans and chairs to lounge in. Watch out for the table service unless you've got deep pockets.

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Raven Room

Neighborhood: Old San Juan

The best house music on the island (or so the owners here say) Raven Room is hopping on Wednesdays through Saturdays. It draws a 21+ crowd to its small, slim bar, which has beige walls, beige banquettes and a plain tile floor. The decor fades away, however, when the DJs start to spin. Lots of house music, as promised, plus electronica and the best hits from the 80s and 90s, even a few dance tunes occasionally sneak their way in to a set now and again. Dress to impress if you want access to this rather exclusive aviary.

Noise

Neighborhood: Old San Juan

Popular among the 25 and under crowd, Noise pounds out the regggaeton beats, and is especially hot on weekend nights. The super-raunchy 'perreo' style of dance that's fast supplanting salsa as the national export is all the fashion. For the uninitiated, perreo is based on the kinds of movement usually only employed by consenting adults in the privacy of their own home. It's all in good fun though, and as risque as some of the moves get, it's just kids being kids to pumping rap rhythms.

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Krash

Neighborhood: Santurce

When you're overcome with the urge to listen to a Michael Jackson tribute, head to Krash, San Juan's oldest gay club. Chances are on any given night you'll hear something from the King of Pop, and ditto Madonna, Lady Gaga, Lady Kier of Deee-lite and more titans of 90s pop. Krash is straight-friendly and tranny-friendly, really everyone is welcome. Although the club is tolerant and all-inclusive, the address is off-the-beaten-track. Arrange for a cab if you are planning a late night here.

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Club Brava

Neighborhood: Isla Verde

It's been around forever in the lobby of the Old San Juan hotel, but it still draws a crowd. No sneakers or t-shirts allowed (and you will be turned away), Brava likes to project an aura of casual chic. Table service is prohibitively expensive; stick to the main room, an unremarkable beige space with leather banquettes and neon lighting around the wall. Unless you want to drop anywhere from $200 to $1,200 on table service, avoid the center tables and the tables in the VIP green room.


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