When we needed a modest sized quiet place to watch the Super Bowl, the Monkey Bar was the perfect place. The bar had several comfortable chairs and a big screen TV, which we basically monopolized.
If you're looking to avoid the crowds at Key Largo and the Blue Marlin, walk right around the corner of the Del Rey and across the street and you're at the monkey bar.
Dress Code: Dress for the weather.
As always it's dissapointing to hear about how sex trade flourishes in impoverished nations, and that better off, mostly American men are supporting the trade. San Jose is no exception. Don't support this. Most people that you talk to would warn that going out at night in San Jose is asking for it, definately do not walk the streets alone. I cozied up in the sports bar in my hotel (Hotel Europa, a great choice for you if you haven't decided on a place to stay!) and watched a soccer game. It was a packed house and a lively crowd, great times!
This hotel has a nice little bar on the corner, but if you venture inside the hotel, you will find a smaller bar open only at night.
We attended a good old Karaoke night. A selection of Spanish and English tracks. The locals loved the fact that 2 English boys were in for a song or 2.
Good fun, and more cheap Imperial beer mmmmmmmmm
Dress Code: None
There's corner table wuth an open air window here that's our favorite happy hour place in San Jose. It's right on Ave Central so you have a birds eye view of the this lively street. The calamari adn the nachos are great and the beer is really cold with frosted mugs.
Dress Code: Casual
Though a great place for a classy lunch special during the day, this resto-bar/lounge converts into a classy, hopping bar at night- particularly on weekends when it is packed with trendy, good looking young Ticos. Stay in the main areas and sip martinis while cozing up to your friends in the big black leather booths; get some fresh air while listening to the dj's new spun tunes in the corner garden or hit up the backyard terrace for socializing or chatting at one of the garden tables over a tasty Michelada.
On weekends, men will likely have to pay a 2000 colones entry fee; ladies should be free! Drinks are reasonably priced however: a Cuba libre 800 colones, domestic bottle of beer, 900 colones; a classy Martini: 1600 colones
Dress Code: Anything goes but the crowd tends to be done up a little bit classier.
This is a big bar in Barrio California that is most popular for its Monday nights. Ladies get in free (and shouldn't have to wait in line). The place is packed, there is live music (though not my favourite kind as it is often old 80s and 90s music or current top 40), drinks can be a bit expensive and there are SO many people, you can hardly dance. Do NOT leave your personal belongings on a table- this is a thief's paradise.
Many young Ticos will frequent this place on Mondays but it is also packed with every foreigner in San Jose it seems and thus isnt the best place to experience Tico culture but a good place to meet up with other young foreigners.
Dress Code: Very casual- whatever you want.
This is a fun little spot to catch a sports game while looking at the street below, munching on some bocas and having some happy hour beers. (2 for 1000 colones before 7 pm)
The second floor balcony offers bar stools under a thatched palm roof.
Dress Code: Casual.
This is a small intimate bar where the tables are sheltered under palm trees and the floor is sand. Generally full no matter what day of the week, great live music after 10 pm (you will be charged a cover for this, around 2000 colones and even if you arrive before it starts but stay after, it will be included in your bill).
Sip some cold MICHELADAS (a Costa Rican speciality: pick your beer such as an Imperial and it is poured into a salt-rimmed glass with lemon juice and ice cubes), listen to the great tunes and make some new friends.
Dress Code: Casual
This is one of the largest and most popular bars on Calle de la Amargura, the rocking bar scene in San Pedro next to the University of Costa Rica.
On this street, bouncers ALWAYS id even if you look or are 30 so bring an ISIC card or a photocopy of your passport. Terra U is full of small tables with high barstools, reggaeton music, young university students and dancing. Can be very loud. Basic bar food is also available.
Down the street are many other bars and the place is rocking even during the day, especially on game days, holidays and weekends.
Dress Code: This is a very casual street to go out on.
If you'd like to go out in San José you should go to San Pedro, the Student neighboorhood. Bars and dance places on every corner and 'relatively' cheap drinks and food.
The most Ticos(Costa Ricans) find our techno, R&B, ... parties unbelievebly borring. They always said me 'what can you dance on that kind of music? Just shaking with you had!' They prefer dancing salsa, merengue and cumbia when going out or they go to one of the many caraoke bars.
if you like more cinema the two malls in San Pedro each play all the most recent movies (Mall San Pedro wich is the biggest and the Outlet Mall).
If you rather like some culture you should know that the performances, concerts, dramas, ... in the national theatre are cheap (look under must see--> national theatre).
There are tons of great clubs in San Jose. El Cuartel de la Boca del Monte, Casa Matute, Cocoloco, and Club Cocodrilo to name a few. For a college type crowd, go to the bars by the UCR. For late nite, definitely go to Infinito. For gambling hit up the Gran Hotel Costa Rica. For great live music and a great local crowd go anywhere Marfil is playing.
The amazing local girls and cheap drinks. All nights are good at these bars, but the best nights are Fridays and Saturdays just after the 15th or the 30th of the month when everybody gets their paychecks.
The music played all over CR is great. It has a Latin flavor (Salsa/Merengue, etc.) mixed in with some Caribbean style Dancehall and Reggae.
Dress Code: Dress nice if you want to meet any ladies. Slacks are a must. At the bars by the UCR the dress is much more casual.
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