Centro Comercial El Pueblo (aka El Pueblo Tourist Center) can be a great place to go for night life, although not necessarily Costa Rican night life. Instead, it's more akin to the kind of night life you would find in the United States or western Europe; expensive drinks, cover charges for some bars, even pizza stands to buy a snack from when everything is closing.
Overall, I guess this is a good place to go if you are from USA/Canada/Western Europe and are looking for a night scene that is familiar. We didn't stay all night, but it looked like it was generally a younger, college to mid-20s aged crowd who mostly frequented the area.
There were a number of different bars with all kinds of different themes. Depending on your tastes, it could be worth checking out.
The Pueblo is like a large club mall complex in San Jose. It is THE place for nightime action. There are at least 10 clubs there (probably more) and lots of beautiful young people dancing the night away on weekends. There are a wide range of venues here from small sing-a-long bars with just a guitar player vocalist, to stand up bars with no dancing, to full on Mega clubs with a DJ and speakers bigger than your truck blasting salsa, merengue, and reggaton hits all night long. Keep a close watch on your wallet, keep your wits about you at all times, and stay on the lookout for jealous boyfriends and their friends lurking in dark corners. If you can avoid these potential hazards you are gauranteed to have a good time here. sorry I don't remember the address but everybody (especially cab drivers) knows where it is.
Dress Code: Anything goes just don't show up naked. Save that for later.
A 50p taxi ride from downtown will send you to San Jose's complex called El Pueblo. Can be quiet during the week, packed on weekends and ladies night.
Perhaps 20 bars all next to each other, variety of music from R&B, 80's etc etc
Good night out, 70p Imperial beer, can't go wrong
Dress Code: None that we saw
El Pueblo is located a 10 minute taxi drive from San Pedro or downtown and is essentially a gated community of bars, restaurants, shops and nightclubs that is hopping on weekend evenings. Sit in a lounge and enjoy some drinks over some good conversation or cheap tequila shots, dance it up to Reggaeton or practice your salsa moves at one of the many options.
This place is FULL of young ticos as well as travellers on weekend nights- 3am is your last chance to get IN to El Pueblo but many bars don't close until well after.
La Plaza is a big disco just across the street from the Pueblo main entrance and is especially hopping once a month when Merecumbe dance school alumni come down for a night of PRO dancing to bolero, salsa, cumbia and merengue tunes.
Twister's is hopping on Wednesdays for Ladies Nights: 500 colones will give ladies all she can drink until 10 pm as she looks on at the cute male dancers (clothes on of course). After 10, the crowd becomes more gender balances, the dancers are replaced by their female equivalents and drinks are no longer free. Good reggueton music though crowd is fairly young.
Exercise caution in El Pueblo as fights (with guns sometimes) are known to break out. Don't be lulled into security just because many people are around. Dont wander alone in the labyrinth alley ways of the complex. Many taxis hover around the main entrance but will try to charge EXORBITANT rates. 2000 colones is a standard fare into downtown or San Pedro (or less) so negotiate it down OR walk up to the main street above and flag down a taxi that will use the metre (this is the LAW in Costa Rica anyway).
Dress Code: Feel free to get dressed up or not.
Lots of shops to buy artesanias...a few restaurants. A pleasant place to walk around.
When leaving, walk out to the street to get a taxi that use the meter; taxis that leave from inside El Pueblo charge a flat overpriced fee.
Nightlife activities can be found in the following areas:
1) El Pueblo Tourist Center, lots of discos and restaurants plus souvenir shops. Usually busy during week-end nights but great to visit every night of the week.
2) San Pedro Mall, shopping and movies.
3) San Jose Casinos, for the gambling adventurers.
Dress Code: Everywhere you go in San Jose the dress code is casual, but only tourists dress in shorts and flip-flops.
Take one Canadian, one American, 3 Chileans, Tequilla and beer. Heat, shake and add some hormones. Very tasty! ;o)
Dress Code: Anything