Sofia boasts an exciting nightlife scene. Many tourists rave about the after-dark options in this Bulgarian city because there are many different choices and prices are cheaper than in many other major European cities. Sofia has some really happening nightclubs with low cover charges and a young-and-beautiful clientele. There are also some great bars, many that have outdoor seating areas where you can start off your night. Cafes, lounges, live music venues, and wine bars round out the list of Sofia nightlife options.
If you want to spend an evening enjoying the Sofia nightlife, here are your best choices.
Dinnertime: Sofia’s restaurants
Though it might not stand up to the Michelin-starred menu of eateries in Paris or London, Sofia has a great list of eating options. You can (and should) start of your Sofia nightlife expedition at one of the city’s best restaurants. Esterhasi Bar is a spot that has a great wine list to go along with gourmet dishes ranging from sausages to pasta to sushi. The quirky, but quality, Raketa Rakia Bar has good Bulgarian specialties and a theme that hearkens back to the old days of the Eastern Bloc. The highlight here is rakia, a Bulgarian style brandy. A taste of this potent drink will definitely kick-start your evening.
Evening-time: patio bars
Since Sofia is the kind of place where the party lasts until dawn, you can take your time to enjoy a leisurely meal and a few drinks in the early evening. During the summertime, many bars and restaurants have open air patio areas that are filled to capacity in the evening. The main bar-crawl area is on Vitosha Street, and it has many such venues. At these places, you can grab a bite to eat and have a few drinks in an open air setting. The only issue: because of noise regulations, these “patio bars” close early at around 10pm. However, indoor portions of the venue remain open much later.
Nighttime: pubs, lounges, and bars
The Sofia nightlife scene boasts some great bars and lounges. Intermezzo Piano Bar features a classy setting and an exclusive location for people who want a little bit of Old World style to be a part of their after-dark fun. It is certainly not cheap here, but the surroundings and views are unmatchable. A more relaxed, but still stylish, option is By the Way, which is the perfect place for having a martini and a conversation while chill-out music plays in the background. Beer fans will enjoy a stop at one of the Halbite bars (this is a chain) because they serve some great Bulgarian brews. The aforementioned Vitosha Street is THE bar-crawl destination even after the party has moved indoors for the nighttime.
Overnight: Sofia’s Nightclubs
Sofia gets its wild-party reputation from its anything-goes nightclubs. Cover charges are very cheap here, and some of the best clubbing options can be found in the Studentski district (Student town). Jim Beam is a popular option here for the younger crowd. At Beam, people literally dance on the tables and the party doesn’t stop until sun-up. Sin City is probably the wildest (and most notorious) club in Sofia. Actually it has some interesting options, with three huge separate rooms, each playing its own style of music. You may even hear Bulgarian “country” music (folk music) sometimes. Finally, the popular Yalta Club features world class DJs. It is one of the oldest clubs in Eastern Europe, open in 1959.
Other options: live music and themed cafes
There are some great DJs playing at the aforementioned clubs. But there are other options too. Rock ’n Rolla is a laid back bar with quality local rock acts, while Music Bar Blow features a variety of genres from hip hop and electronic to swing and R&B. Larger shows take place at Akademik Stadium and Armeets Arena. There are also some interesting themed nightspots, including Toba & Co, a Parisian style cafe, and Trovatore, a stylish Italian wine bar.