One of the things that sets San Jose apart from other locations is it varied nightlife. While some of San Jose nightlife options may not be that great, many of the options are both unique and quality, making San Jose one of my top party towns of all time. I would rank it even higher if I could have participated in the karaoke!
Hotel Scenes: I’ll do some reviews on specific hotels and their indigenous nightlife later, but there is some variety here as well. From the Del Rey complex to the Sportsman’s Lounge, hotel nightlife is not only guaranteed to have something going on but may be the best bet for an all-around great experience. While it is quite obvious that these establishments cater specifically to the tourists, it’s not uncommon to meet a few locals enjoying these hotspots.
Local Bar Scene: I also had the opportunity to experience quite a variety of establishments that are generally local specific. These places, too, vary greatly but I will put them in one category. El Pueblo is a fantastic choice for a tourist wanting to mingle with locals and get more acquainted with the real San Jose nightlife. El Pueblo is a large compound of bars and nightclubs that run from booty-shakin’ to sophisticated. There is one entrance where you clear security and then you are free to explore the establishments without being harassed by security anymore. Of course, racial profiling in Latin America is generally more than acceptable and the security guards here are no exception. Apparently, I met the profiling criteria to bypass security and walk right in. The guards laughed at me and waved me through instead of searching me when I got up to them. Maybe I should sue! Despite never seeing another gringo in the El Pueblo community, I felt very comfortable and have been told that it is frequented by foreigners regularly.
Other local bars and such should be treated with caution. While there are some good opportunities to have a great time, there are some trouble spots that should be avoided. Choose the right hotel and this will be a simple process. All of the local bars I visited were welcoming and comforting, although there were a few that I stopped at and just moved on. Discotec Castro’s was one that I enjoyed immensely, but I probably would not have gone alone. Nobody spoke English, including for the most part the girl that invited me, but everyone was pleasant and the karaoke was awesome. The place was packed and there were some beautiful voices singing words that I had no idea what they meant. I actually found this rather helpful in getting a feel for the local accents as I could read as they were singing.
Strip Clubs: Don’t bother! I only visited one and that was after being informed that strip clubs in the area were worthless. The girls were dog ugly and I almost got into a fight with the bouncer or whatever that dirtbag was. Not only was there an American priced cover, but the guy running the floor attempted to intimidate me into buying drinks for girls at like $15 – $20 USD a pop. One of the strippers finally got him to go about his business as my patience was coming to an end. Only one girl seemed to vaguely understand the idea of getting more with honey than vinegar. I was the only customer there and I didn’t stay very long. This was the worst of all the brothel establishments I experienced and it was the least poorly rated among the strip clubs. You can get much better shows at some of the regular club scenes.
Clubs (male entertainment type): There were some really cool places here with great atmosphere and friendly girls. These were mostly low pressure places but the girls were all over you. All of these places had rooms for rent and good bars. In some of these places the girls danced and in some they didn’t. One place in particular had much better live shows than any strip club I’ve ever seen. I’ll leave it at that. The costume party was Awesome!!!