Dady-O (Blvd. Kukulcán Km 9.5, tel. 998/883-3333, www.dadyo.com.mx, 10 p.m.–5 a.m. daily, US$40 with open bar, US$45 with open bar and entrance to both Dady-O and Dady Rock) is, well, the daddy of Cancún’s nightclubs, with seven different “environments,” including laser shows, swimsuit contests, and theme parties on several different levels.
Next door, Dady Rock (Blvd. Kukulcán Km 9.5, tel. 998/883-3333, www.dadyrock.com.mx, 6 p.m.–4 a.m. daily, US$40 with open bar, US$45 with open bar and entrance to both Dady-O and Dady Rock) is technically a restaurant and bar—there is no dance floor—but popular rock music, sometimes live, has partiers dancing every place possible, including on tables and the bar.
Bulldog Café (Blvd. Kukulcán Km 8.9, tel. 998/848-9850, www.bulldogcafe.com, 10 p.m.–4 a.m. daily high season, Fri.–Sat. only in low season, US$40 with open bar), best known for its music, features live bands and guest DJs nightly, including occasional big-name stars, and ranging from hip-hop and rock to Latin dance music. Friday and Saturday are the big nights. Five enormous bars and a private VIP lounge with a whirlpool tub are the highlights.
The City (Blvd. Kukulcán Km. 9, tel. 998/848-8380, www.thecitycancun.com, 10 p.m.–4:30 a.m. daily, US$35 with open bar) is a megaclub with four levels and a total capacity of 4,000 (and allegedly the world’s biggest disco ball). Be sure to take a whirl on the movable dance floor, which descends from the 3rd floor to the center of the club below.
CocoBongo (Blvd. Kukulcán Km. 9, tel. 998/883-5061, www.cocobongo.com.mx, 10 p.m.–4 a.m. daily, US$40 with open bar) is a spectacular club featuring live rock and salsa bands, flying acrobats, and Beyoncé, Madonna, and Guns n’ Roses impersonators. Movie clips are also projected onto huge screens.
Azúcar (Punta Cancún, Blvd. Kukulcán Km. 8.8, tel. 998/848-7000, 9:30 p.m.–4 a.m. Thurs.–Sat., US$10 after 11 p.m., free before 11 p.m.), next to Dreams resort and small by Cancún standards, is a popular bar-club with great live salsa and merengue music, including top acts from Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and elsewhere. The party gets started around 11:30 p.m.
In a new location in Plaza las Avenidas, Mambocafé (Av. Cobá at Av. Tulum, tel. 998/840-6490, www.mambocafe.com.mx, 10 p.m.–4 a.m. Wed.–Sun., US$4–5, free some nights) is one of the hottest spots in the downtown Cancún scene. It’s popular with locals and expats, so you’ll be assured of spinning to the sounds of salsa, cumbia, and merengue. Weekend crowds are reliably heavy, while specials keep things hopping midweek, too, like Singles Night on Wednesday and Ladies Night on Thursday.
Karamba (Av. Tulum at Calle Azucenas, tel. 998/884-0032, 10:30 p.m.–6 a.m. Tues.–Sun.) is mostly gay, but not exclusively, with frequent drag shows and theme parties. There’s a fun mix of men, women, and cross-dressers. Look for the fabulous zebra facade.
© Gary Chandler & Liza Prado from Moon Yucatán Peninsula, 9th edition