Though I am not into nightclubbing, a place I appreciate is Espace Dera.
I went in three clubs in Tana, I did not like the first two and I like the third one. What makes it special (compared to Hilton's club and the other whose name I don't remember) is that you go there for dancing, but also there is room for discussing, socializing.
Ah yes! One thing I appreciate is also that the place is not packed with prostitutes (in contrary of most of clubs I saw in Tana). This is in fact, a place for Tana "bright young things" :) and for young businessmen. I appreciated there door selection as well, for that particular reason...
For other shows, check this out (in French):
Dress Code: No rotten jeans :-)
On week-end nights, restaurants and other premices dedicated to entertainment attract people who are seeking for some exciting shows.
Those shows are blues and jazz live music, starring talented local artists (mostly interpreting Malagasy and European standards and their own songs)..
Audience is mostly made of up to 25 as youngsters use to go to nightclubs for techno or dance, pop music.
Also, it could be a nice program for your St-Valentine celebration, to accompany the red rose whenever you and your honey happen to celebrate it in Tana. On such occasions, there use to be special programs (duets, food, classical jazzy love songs). Check the newspapers the days before Feb. 14, the rooms & clubs use to advertise about their St-Valentine evening program.
Addresses: Le Glacier Analakely, RADAMA Hôtel, La Boussole, Le Pavé, Capitol
For other types of shows, check it out:
Dress Code: No rotten jeans :-)
Since sun sets at 17 in winter and 18.30 in summer, and because of unsafety (it has much decreased though !), nightlife in Tana is more about clubbing, caf?s, restaurants as well as entertaining oneself in cultural centers.
A tip in the tip: For you guys, just beware of lonegoers girls... Malagasy girls and women never go out alone. They are accompanied by friends (most of time male ones, be it friends or relatives). Lonegoers would ask money for their company. Call it whatever you want but take necessary protection since prostitution circles are a real concern as far as AIDS is concerned.
Also, beware that prostitution comes in all types & ages: schoolgirls, university girls in daylight & prostitutes at night. Most confusing, some would still wear schoolgirls attire even in nightclubs. No sexy stuff. Jeans & bulky trainers & sweaters would do.
In clubs, they can even "fish" as a cluster of 3-4 females, dressed in jeans, striped shirts bone fide white-collar women wouldn't ignore. It took me the seasoned eyes of my male fellows to distinguish who was in the services & who was not. No, really, the only way to know whether they could be in the services is the fact that they go out alone.
I'm not being judgemental about it. The whole society has this thinking and yes, we, women do not go out alone, use to be accompanied (if not by a husband, fiance, boyfriend, could be our male cousins).
Call it whatever you want but it can be risky for your health ! Anyway, act safe.
Dress Code: Depending on the institutions. In most institutions, no rotten jeans *lol* It's not that you're somewhere tropical, poorer, far that you'd behave that differently from home. Show some respect.
I love dance music, so this place was the best of the places we tried. From the cool entrance, you descend into pounding dance music, which rotates from electronica/trance to rap to R&B, plus some local flavor. Drinks are certainly cheaper than back home, but fairly stiff for Madagascar. As with every place we went out, prostitutes were everywhere, and somewhat entertaining in watching them dance with a 60 year old who almost falls down every 30 seconds.
Dress Code: Anything you like, but I certainly wouldn't recommend flip-flops/thongs, as the floor gets messy.
Though not every night, you likely will be able to catch a local band at Hotel Glacier's venue. It is Tana's version of a meat market, that's for sure, as all of the local prostitutes know the tourists come here. This was the first place me and my friends went out, so we were a bit caught off-guard watching super-old European men and the super-young Malagasy women. A bit of a juxtaposition. But, it was an experience, that's for sure. The band we caught was certainly local, and what I like most was being able to hear the distinct African influence in the drums mixed with a bit of Indian pop. Strange sounding in words, but pretty cool in person.
Dress Code: They will turn you away if you are not wearing shoes.
The bar here is quite bizarre. I saw this massive fronted bar during the day and noted it in my Lonely Planet Guide says its a lively place, is cheap and I also noticed that it had a Cabaret advertised. No problems, so when I went back I had some young lady (about 20-22) all over me before I could get in the door. I honestly thought she was on drugs and literally had to push her away from me to get inside. She followed me and kept demanding that I buy her an ice cream. I ignored her, got a beer and started to watch the show. It was actually very colorful and melodic. Then I noticed 2 things. There were now more young ladies and the crazy one had returned.
Yep, the French male tourist would never be without company in this place. I think that this definitely seemed to be a major supply depot for a major demand. I found this a bit shocking at first. This is on the main avenue in the city. And there were couples inside. However being a solo male traveller just seemed to spur them on. And the crazy one kept grabbing at my hand and screaming what her intentions where at me. Some guys might think this would be fun or funny. I can assure you it was not. After more harassment I left.
I found the whole experience truly weird. The hotel itself caters for families, the bar (massive) seemed to have couples on one side, then rows of prostitutes on the other. Antananarivo has a real issue with this trade out on the side streets at night. I just cannot believe it is so open inside a main entertainment venue.
You have been warned.
Sometimes, "Vendredi Joli".
Or so are simply called Friday evenings. Friday evenings are cool because it’s, for urbanites, when week-ends begin. It’s usually made for letting the steam off, partying, going out with friends, to clubs, cabarets, karaoke. Let's get carefree, light. That's the ultimate goal. “Zoma mahafinaritra” is now an institution. For those Friday evenings, newspapers usually print out “l’agenda culturel”, a compilation of all cultural happenings in Tana. You’d expect them to do it esp. on long week-ends. My favourite “agenda culturel” newspapers is at Les Nouvelles. L’Express de Madagascar is quite interesting too. A big cons though: both dailies, like all we have here, are in written French.
Now, you could always check it out at Hôtel Glacier (on Araben’ny Fahaleovantena, the main avenue downtown). They have those concerts, events bills sticked up at their door. Chances are they are in French. Guess you could ask about their program too since, imo, you don’t need to understand the language to appreciate Mozika Mafana. Mozika Mafana is the rhythm Cabaret Glacier (cabaret room of Hôtel Glacier) is specialized in. Literally translated “Hot Music”, it’s about tropical rythms such as our salegy, our tsapiky made for dancing, partying. For who is in the know, salegy king Jaojoby is nearly a resident there, performing his art cabaret style. Not too big a room. Not that uncommon to see Merina folk groups perform vako-drazana either at Cabaret Glacier. Another cabaret spot I’ve heard good things of is Piment Café, located in Behoririka.
You may check at your hotel too, as some like Radama, Palissandre, Carlton (ex-Hilton) reportedly hold regular venues too.
Else, Tana youngsters like karaoke a lot (not my stuff). I’ll give you addresses upon request.
By the way, depending on finance, Zoma mahafinaritra in Tana can be a booze-up evening on the backseat of a car, parked in a parking lot. With all the kalin-taoka: fried chicken, kebabs, meatballs, snacks... mostly meat… to accompany all the booze. As simple as that… and… as long as it’s fun.