You'll find the best nightlife in Malta, in my opinion, by wandering the atmospheric alleys of Valletta, Mdina or Birgu and soaking up the historic atmosphere and admiring the views before diving into a cosy restaurant, or settling on a rooftop or waterside terrace to enjoy a drink or a good dinner. Unless of course it is festa time…
Festas provide Malta’s traditional nightlife. In summer, there is at least one festa every weekend. Some are bigger than others, but all involve processions, bright lights and bunting, people on the streets enjoying a drink (or five), food, all sorts of music and, best of all, fireworks. Each parish has a small firework factory and they compete to produce the best displays.
If, on the other hand, you are after flashing lights of the electronic kind, then head for Paceville where the bars crowd together along narrow walkways, interspersed with pubs, bars and fast food joints. On summer weekends the party spills out onto the street and the bass booms until 4am. The clubs are not exactly state of the art, but Maltese teenagers and some tourists love them.
Bars stay open late in St Julian’s as well as Paceville, and also in other tourist centres such as Mellieha, Bugibba and Qawra in summer. You will find everything from Irish pubs to attempts at trendiness, but nothing to inspire a Londoner. The restaurants are generally more interesting.
St James Cavalier Centre for Creativity in Valletta has occasional evening performances while Malta’s main theatre, The Manoel, built by the Knights of St John, is one of Europe’s oldest functioning theatres and a charming place to attend a show. Performances happen most nights except in summer, when it gets too hot inside and culture moves into the open air with ad hoc performances and festivals. Gozo has two competing theatres in the capital Victoria both of which participate in the annual autumn opera festival.