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Jackson Winters' Top Party Cities
  • May 30, 2012 : 12:05
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Scene: 9/10                  Cost: 10/10                  Getting Around: 4/10                  Girls: 7/10

Stepping out into the dull glow of early morning in Belgrade, I couldn’t quite get my bearings, my ears still ringing from a seemingly endless stream of new-wave electronica and deafening euro beats. There is something strange about pulling off a weeklong bender in a city that only twenty years ago was being bombed into oblivion but is now emerging as the next European party powerhouse. Belgrade’s underground life is a no-holds-barred homage to the 80s and early 90s, and you’re never sure if it’s intentional or if the whole city is just caught in a time warp. But it doesn’t matter one way or the other; anyone born before the fall of the Berlin Wall will feel right at home in the unpretentious underground of Belgrade.  

Places to Hit: Andergraund, Akademija, Cvijeta

The Women: Dark-skinned, light-eyed beauties

Key Features: Blast from the past; total nostalgia. Ridiculously cheap.

Cost: €3-5 a drink at the club, €1-2.50 for a beer. €2-4 a drink at the bar, €1-2.50 for a beer

The Downside: The scene is pretty spread out, and without a subway system, Belgrade is a little tricky to navigate. Luckily public transit and cabs are also dirt cheap.

Rio de Janeiro

Scene: 7/10                  Cost: 7/10                  Getting Around: 7/10                  Girls: 10/10

“O que você pensa que está fazendo,” was the first bit of Portugese I learned after spending my first night in Rio facedown on a beach in Copacabana. It roughly translates to “What do you think you’re doing,” and it’s something I started hearing a lot after I discovered Lapa’s street parties. These nightlong ragers turn entire districts of Rio into one concrete dancefloor of unrivaled beauty and debauchery, people flooding out of clubs and bars after they close and into the wild stream. Sunrise brings with it a sense of finality and some much-needed rest, but the parties continue to rage long into the day along Rio’s coastal stops and back into the city center and the super clubs come nightfall.

Places to Hit: Bunker 94, 00, Casa da Matriz

The Women: Drop-dead gorgeous and sparcely clothed.

Key Features: Street parties, beach life, Carnival, clubs where you can bank drinks against your cover charge (pay $20 to get in, first $20 in drinks are free).

Cost: $8-12 for a drink in a club, $6-8 for a beer. $7-10 for a drink in a bar, $4-6 for a beer.

The Downside:  Losing your drink card at the club (US$125 upon exiting).


Scene: 8/10                 Cost: 6/10                  Getting Around: 8/10                  Girls: 9/10

Montreal is the layered universe of party cities: an endless scene that bleeds the permanently relaxed lounges of the Plateau area into the heart of the city’s downtown clubs and back out to the ancient waterfront bars of the Old Port. The whole thing is a three-ring circus with after-hours clubs stacked upon bars beside greasy breakfast dives and across the street from strip clubs. You couldn’t throw a stone in Montreal without hitting a good time, but no one throws stones here, there’s no need. The city runs on good vibrations and good-natured locals, so long as hockey isn’t part of the conversation.

Places to Hit: Le Sainte-Élisabeth Pub, Rouge, Korova, Dieu du Ciel

The Women: Well-dressed French Canadian goddesses

Key Features: Endless string of festivals, innumerable strip clubs (fully nude), poutine (fries drenched in gravy and cheese).

Cost: $7-10 for a drink in the club, $5-6 for a beer. $6-10 for a drink at the bars, $4-6 for a beer.

The Downside: It snows. A lot. But even in winter Montreal ponies up with festivals like Igloofest and Nuit Blanche. 

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