By Laura O'Neill
Having experienced nightlife in both Britain and Australia, I can vouch for one thing: Bahrain does not fall short in this department. For a small country, there is a surprising abundance of clubs and pubs - many within walking distance of each other, and they deliver everything you could possibly want, from top DJs and live music to karaoke and pub quizzes.
If all you're looking for is a relaxed atmosphere to knock back your favourite beverage, I'd recommend the Rugby Club. Usually you'd have to be signed in by a member, but there are many open days (about once a week) where for a fee of BD1-2 ($2.50-$5), you can pretty much have the run of the club. Just a word of warning though, the Rugby Club crowd is a bit rowdy so be prepared to be included in some very dangerous drinking games!
There are also some very good pubs in Bahrain, most of them equipped with the now standard pool tables, dart boards and multiple screens to watch international sports. The better pubs are invariably packed to overflowing when major European soccer or rugby games are being shown live.
One hotspot that has remained popular with the nightclub circuit for many years is The Warbler. It has a typical British pub atmosphere and has a well equipped kitchen that offers every type of pub food you can think of. There are events and promotions on at the Warbler practically every night. My favourite is ladies night on Tuesdays, where ladies only pay a BD2.500 ($6.60) entry fee and drink for free all night! Oh, and if you ladies don't think that's a good enough offer then you can pay 100 fils (26 cents) a drink on Wednesdays and Thursdays, now that's a bargain and a half!
Another very popular watering hole is the Irish themed pub JJ Murphy's. They pour the best Guinness on the island, and if you look down at your pint just as you get it, you'll see that there's a shamrock shape in the froth...now that's what I call a PROPER Irish pint!
There's a resident DJ who entertains every night playing a wide variety of music and they have two quiz nights a week. JJ's is the ideal place to meet if you're planning on going on to a club afterwards as there's a connecting door from JJ's to Bahrain's most well known nightclub, Barnaby Joe's (usually called BJ's).
Bahrain's top DJs spin the latest hits seven days a week at the club, but if you don't feel like dancing you can always go and relax on the sofas on the second floor, maybe order a cocktail or two.
If listening to DJ music all night isn't really your thing then there's always Rock Bottom who always have a live band playing. The venue is huge, you'll find pool tables and snooker at one end and the dance floor at the other. Rock Bottom provides just about everything you could want, it mixes the pub and club scene and is definitely big enough to pull it off.
Live bands are a regular feature at many nightclubs, and the choice of music is quite good, from Ethiopian and Arabic bands to Indian, Filipino and Western, though jazz is poorly represented.
One of the smaller clubs that caters for more specific tastes is Likwid. It's about great music that's not commercial, set in a unique and cozy atmosphere. Likwid is about being open to new things and has a very open-minded customer base that enjoys all styles of music. In fact Likwid has become popular because of its varied music programme and of course the international guest DJs that visit the club on a regular basis.
If you feel like digging into your pockets a little deeper, then why not try Trader Vics (in the Ritz Carlton). It's a Polynesian restaurant that offers the most mouth watering food imaginable, but is probably better known for its arm long list of cocktails! The Potted Parrot is a favourite, it comes along with a life like parrot on the edge of the glass (which they let you keep). There's also a wide variety of "mocktails" for those of you who don't wish to indulge in the more potent selections!
These are just a few of the places you could try, but if none of these take your fancy, ask around for suggestions. There are scores of places just waiting for you to discover them, and you will find "clubbing" in Bahrain is safe, enjoyable and inexpensive. Have fun!
Top international nightspots