The hotel bars along the Malecón have some of the hottest dance clubs in the city. Besides tourists, they are also frequented by a lot of the wealthy youth of Santo Domingo. Most clubs have a US$5–10 cover charge depending on whether it’s live music or a DJ.
Jet Set (Independencia 2253, 809/535-4145, 10 p.m.–late, US$7) is a semi-casual place to hear good salsa and merengue. Sometimes the music is live. The dance floor fills after midnight.
Compared to the size of the other hotels along the Malecón, El Napolitano (Av. George Washington 101, 809/687-1131, 9 p.m.–4 a.m. Thurs.–Sun.) is small. But its disco can still pack them in on the weekends. This is in part due to the fact that your drink bill won’t be what you worry about all night. It’s popular with 20–30-somethings and tourists.
At the Maunaloa Club & Casino (Calle Héroes de Luperón at Malecón, Centro de los Héroes, tel. 809/533-2151), the nightclub’s two floors of tables overlooking a dance floor and a lush design give it a Mambo Kings feel. In fact, they have Cuban son night on Sundays. Other entertainment ranges from stand-up comedians to merengue orchestras, but you can expect live Latin music every night, starting around 11 p.m. By the end of the evening, your drink tab may be rather steep, but this venue is worth it.
Guácara Taína (Av. Mirador del Sur, 809/533-2151, 9 p.m.–3 a.m., La Guácara Taína on Facebook) is a very unique experience and was quite popular, although now it is more frequented by tourists and tour groups. It is in the belly of a massive cave—so massive that it can hold 2,000 people and has multiple dance floors. You should definitely take a taxi here. Dance the salsa and merengue amidst stalactites and stalagmites.
Monte Cristo (Calle José Amador Soler and Abraham Lincoln, 809/542-5000, 6 p.m.–5 a.m.) is a very popular spot. Named after the fictional Count of Monte Cristo, this English-style pub re-creates the story of this character through its decoration. There are different activities like video nights, wine-tastings, raffles, and of course, dancing to rock, merengue, and salsa. Appetizers are available. Dress nicely for this bar.
Excerpted from the Fourth Edition of Moon Dominican Republic.