The best nightlife in Malta

·6-min read
Valletta
Valletta

Long the preserve of Paceville, Malta’s not so salubrious party-town, the nation’s nightlife has recently taken a significant turn for the better. A slew of new openings, particularly in Valletta, has turned the capital, once silent after 9pm, into a lively spot for an evening’s entertainment. Music and people spill out into Malta’s balmy nights in a newly vibrant bar scene offering everything from smart waiter-service to arty shabby-chic and streetside jazz.

Read on for our bar recommendations in Malta. See also our guides devoted to spending a weekend in Valletta, Malta's top hotels, what to see and do around the island, the best things to do for free, the finest restaurants and the most beautiful beaches and swimming spots.

Valletta

Tico Tico

This tiny, quirky little bar spills out onto a stretch of the narrow pedestrian alley outside. A smartened up no-longer-seedy reincarnation of the Tico Tico that once served the sailors of the Royal Navy here on Valletta’s Strait Street, nicknamed The Gut, the interior is decorated with photos of said sailors, film posters and a model gallerija (typical Maltese wooden balcony) hung with ladies' underwear. Grab a kinnie (Maltese soft drink) or a cocktail (often 2-for-1), and order up a meze from the excellent chef, and head outside to relax and watch the trendy new Strait Street clientele go by.

Contact: facebook.com/ticoticomalta/
Prices: ££
Getting in: Get here early if you want the best seats, otherwise just arrive

Tico Tico
Tico Tico

Café Society

A cosy bohemian little bar with a snug at one end, and the laze-across limestone steps of St John’s Street outside, Café Society is ideal both for a quick swig or a whole chilled-out evening. Plenty of choice at the copper-topped bar includes a changing list of interesting cocktails (a twist on the usual recipes), while music is relaxed – loud enough but not too loud – and appropriately mixed for a clientele of local creatives and a handful of tourists of all ages.

Contact: Facebook page
Prices: ££
Getting in: Turn up and join the laid back throng

Café Society
Café Society

The Bridge

A fairly ordinary pub for most of the week, The Bridge comes into its own on Friday nights when jazz bands play live on the little bridge outside the bar. Pop inside for a beer or an inexpensive cocktail then take your place on the steps outside to chill out and chat, sip and snack, and listen to some excellent music. Everyone is welcome and it sometimes seems half of Valletta is here, soaking up the remains of the sun radiating from the creamy limestone and drifting gently towards the weekend.

Contact: Facebook page
Prices: £
Getting in: Open to all if you can find a spot on the steps

The Bridge
The Bridge

Kingsway

Sip an Aperol spritz or a Singapore Sling at little circular tables on Republic Street (formerly called Kingsway), while watching the world go by on Valletta’s main drag. Or find a quieter corner in the small smart mirrored interior. Café by day, bar by night, Kingsway is beloved of locals and visitors alike. A favourite place for a pre-dinner drink among Valletta’s movers and shakers, it’s convenient for tourists too – right in the heart of the city, a stone’s throw from the Grand Master’s Palace.

Contact: 00 356 27037720, kingswayvalletta.com
Prices: ££
Getting in: To be sure of a table, especially at weekends, call and book, otherwise take your chances

Kingsway
Kingsway

Trabuxu Wine Bar

Malta’s very first wine bar, Trabuxu, still ranks among the best. In a traditional 400-year-old limestone cellar hung with musical instruments and a changing display of contemporary art (for sale), the wine list offers more than 300 Maltese and international options, many by the glass as well as the bottle. Still run by owner Kris, who opened it more than a decade-and-a-half ago, there is plenty of knowledge behind the bar. He serves a selection of cold meats, cheeses and oysters too, or after a couple of glasses here, pop round the corner to the family’s Trabuxu Bistro for a full meal.

Contact: trabuxu.com.mt
Prices: ££
Getting in: Reserve a table or (certainly at weekends) expect to stand at the bar or out on Strait Street

Trabuxu Wine Bar
Trabuxu Wine Bar

StrEat Whisky Bar

A whisky list of more than 70 varieties is this bar's USP, but there are plenty of other options too. Ideal for a post-dinner drink, The Whisky Bar can get very crowded late on Friday and Saturday nights. Relaxed, friendly, and completely casual with simple cellar décor, it may remind you a little of student days, although clientele is of all ages. One of the early openings on the newly revitalised Strait Street (once Valletta’s red light district), the attached StrEat restaurant serves burgers, Mediterranean dishes and whisky-cured salmon.

Contact: Facebook page
Price: £
Getting in: Book a table or roll up and stand at the bar or out on (pedestrian) Strait Street

StrEat Whisky Bar
StrEat Whisky Bar

St Julian's Paceville

Hugo’s Terrace

Right by the beach at St George's Bay in the heart of Malta's party town of Paceville, this club – complete with roof terrace – looks straight out over the sea. With a relaxed beach club vibe, it plays chilled out music from the Eighties onwards – the music (and clientele) getting louder as the night wears on. This is the place for a relaxed (but not necessarily quiet) drink, a bite and a dance surrounded by sand, sea and stars. Hugo’s serves drinks, including plenty of cocktails, and food throughout the afternoon and far into the night.

Contact: hugosterrace.com
Prices: ££
Getting in: If you want a table (especially at a weekend) you’d better book, otherwise just turn up

Hugo’s Terrace
Hugo’s Terrace

Mdina

Fontanella

A Malta classic, Fontanella sits high on the bastion walls of historic Mdina – the nation’s first capital. It is primarily a café (with cakes that are famous across the nation), but in the evening you can sit up here with a glass of wine and a savoury snack and watch the sun go down over a Maltese panorama, or enjoy the twinkling of the island’s lights below and the stars above. It is open until midnight – when the atmospheric limestone alleys of Mdina really do live up to its nickname, 'the silent city'.

Contact: fontanellateagarden.com.mt/home
Prices: ££
Getting in: Walk in

Fontanella
Fontanella

Mellieha

Sea View Cafe-Bar

Hidden away behind the church, next to the cemetery, this tiny shack café/bar perches like an eagle's nest on top of the cliff on the edge of Mellieha village. Imbibe, along with your beer, spectacular views over the Mediterranean and sweeping Mellieha Bay spread far beneath you. There is plenty of space outside and a few seats within the clean little wooden hut that is the heart of this 'secret' drinking spot. It’s only open until 8pm so this is a place for an early aperitif.

Contact: Facebook page
Prices: £
Getting in: Find it and you’re welcome

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