The Romanian capital promises one of eastern Europe’s most eclectic nights out, from dining at a Van Gogh-themed café to drinking Dom Perignon at one of the city's exclusive nightclubs.
Much of Bucharest's socialising happens in the recently rejuvenated Old Town district, also known as Lipscani. This historic quarter is packed with venues; there are quirky eateries that double up as artists' hangouts, traditional pubs that haven't changed in decades and bars filled with Bucharest's most fashionable residents. These are a few of the highlights in and around the city's nightlife hub.
1. Caru’ cu Bere: a Bucharest institution
Bucharest’s most famous restaurant is also its original beer house, and despite being tourist-friendly it remains incredibly popular with locals. That’s partly down to the strength of its multi-course menu; here you can try traditional cheese-infused Käsekrainer sausages and hearty mutton stew with polenta, a house special. Remember to save some room for dessert – you won’t want to miss the deliciously flaky apple strudel.
2. Van Gogh Grand Café: Dutch-inspired treats
The city's go-to meeting place is located at the entrance to Lipscani, and is just a 15-minute walk from our Radisson Blu Hotel, Bucharest, With its signature appeltaart and refreshing mint tea, Van Gogh Grand Café is a little slice of Amsterdam in Romania – indeed, you can even tuck into sweet stroopwafels while admiring replicas of the Dutch painter’s masterpieces. Whether you indulge in its fusion dinner menu or simply sample some snacks, this is an ideal place to start a Bucharest night out.
3. Berăria Hanul cu Tei: authentic beer drinking
Another Old Town institution, Berăria Hanul cu Tei provides as authentic a Bucharest beer-drinking experience as you can get. Dating back to 1833, its interior will delight antique enthusiasts, with features including centuries-old furniture, retro clocks and old gramophones. There are over 30 beers to choose from, from the local Ciuc flavours to Austrian Edelweiss.
4. Bicicleta: pedal-powered nightlife
The fittings of this Old Town lounge bar are handcrafted from bicycle parts; expect to find saddles rather than bar stools and wall-mounted bike lights in place of mood lighting. Since opening at the end of 2012, Bucharest’s most unconventional drinking spot has become a magnet for bohemian artists and musicians. It's little surprise that many local DJs while away their nights at Bicicleta, as it plays a distinct mix of soul, funk, electro and disco, as well as staying open till the last person leaves.
Bucharest’s clubs: the top three
Fratelli and Player Summer Club are among Bucharest’s trendiest clubs; the latter is a palatial venue, with a swimming pool dominating its grand outdoor area. Much of the entertainment at Fratelli, meanwhile, comes from the bartenders, who deftly juggle bottles and create cascading towers of cocktails.
The most exclusive option has to be Club Bamboo; you may need to be on the guest-list of a member of Romanian high society to get in, but those who do are rewarded with sets from global DJs and a seriously indulgent champagne menu. Magnums of Dom Perignon can cost in the region of £500, so this is certainly somewhere to go for special occasions.