Whether it's fine wining and dining, high culture or beach clubbing, Naples has plenty to offer night owls. And the chameleon-like multi-function nature of some venues sees cafés turn into lounge bars, bars turn into clubs, and music shops turn into bars.
For a full immersion into Neapolitan culture, check out the festivals: Piedigrotta (10 days at the beginning of September; www.festadipiedigrotta.it) boasts plenty of music along with parades, floats and a whole lot of dancing, and Carpisa Neapollis Festival (mid July; www.neapolis.it) is one of the biggest music festivals in southern Italy and attracts some great names (Massive Attack in 2008, Prodigy and the Virgins in 2009).
Teatro San Carlo is the place for first-class ballet and opera. For details see the website - www.teatro.sancarlo.it.
Naples hasn't really adopted the aperitivi culture of Milan, where you can dine out on the marvellous array of snacks that arrive with your drinks, but on my last visit to the Excelsior's swish Casanova bar I was rather pleased to be served a bowl of warm taralli (peppery Neapolitan biscuits), olives and nuts when I ordered a chilled Greco di Tufa; and I also got that incredible view of Vesuvius and the Bay of Naples – you can't get that for the equivalent of seven euros in London.
Those looking for a relaxing drink with a few nibbles will find plenty of really good enotece (wine bars) to while away an hour or two. Chiaia's Enoteca Belledonne is a popular haunt and gets very busy after 7pm. While you're in the area, why not nip into Bluestone (Via Alabardieri 10; www.bluestonenapoli.it) for a drink, or even dinner? Musicians can often be heard here and entrance costs 10 euros on a Thursday (admission prices vary on other nights; open until 3am; closed August). An old stalwart S'move (Vico dei Sospiri 10A) is open until 2am (closed August) and attracts a handsome crowd.
Piazza Bellini is buzzy all day long and Intra Moenia (open until 2am; Piazza Vincenzo Bellini; www.intramoenia.it) turns from a convivial café/bookshop into an even more convivial café/bar in the evenings.
Vomero offers the rather wonderful Fonateca (Via Morghen 31; until 1am Mon-Wed, 2am Thur-Sat, 1.30am Sun; closed two weeks August) – a really good music shop where you can browse for a new or used CD and then grab a beer and chill in the bar/café.
The clubs in the centre tend to have handkerchief-sized dancefloors, so those looking to really shake a leg will have to venture beyond the centre (and have a car or a friendly driver). One of the best destinations is Nabilah Beach Club (until 3am every night; Via Spiaggia Romana 15; www.nabilah.it). The name (and the 'spiaggia' in the address) are the clue that this one is on a beach, but that doesn't mean you can rock up in cut-off shorts and a bikini; Neapolitans don't really do dressing down so that micro mini that she's wearing may look like a bikini… Time it right and you may get to see some top DJs here (Gilles Peterson, a personal favourite, said this place made playing Miami look like Cleethorpes; I refer you to my earlier comment on dressing down) as well as the likes of the fabulous José James. There are lights, fireworks, barbecues… all this and dancing in front of the sea.
The rest of the riviera
Nightlife options are limited when you head out of Naples for the Neapolitan Riviera. You'll find more advice here - Neapolitan Riviera nightlife.