Malta Inside Out


Looking for an Alternative Night Out?

Paceville anyone?  No? Then what better than vino and friends in Malta's growing number of wine bars

Paceville anyone? No? Then what better than vino and friends in Malta's growing number of wine bars

Ever since Facebook became a part of our lives, it has become our primary source of reference to what to do on a Friday or Saturday night out. This, along with copious SMS adverts, radio spots, and the word on the ground in the Maltese social scene, generally point to the best night outs being at bigger, more advertised social events.

Most people will often go to a certain club or bar just because ‘people’ are going (i.e. acquaintances within the same social circle who you would walk past on the street but who, on the other hand, could contribute to a good ‘night out’ out given their ‘attending’ status indicated on Facebook). Of course, there could be other motives that draw crowds to a particular place, such as cheap drinks and more often than not, cheesy radio-friendly music. Not your thing? Then find out…

What do the rest of us do?
If you take a look around, there are loads of different events that contribute to a good, if not better, night out. The popularity of such events isn’t necessarily assessed by the people who attend, but by the level of satisfaction attained by the people that do actually attend.

Let’s face it, Malta is small, so if you look hard enough you’re bound to find something that although unappealing to the general public, is ten times as fun. Here are some clues and tips on what to look for…

First of all, look as far away as possible from Paceville.
If you don’t want to waste your Friday/Saturday night looking for parking or faced by throngs of teenagers binge-drinking on streets, Paceville is definitely not the place for you. A walk through the streets of Valletta, for instance, will uncover quite a number of quaint little spots advertising jazz nights or acoustic gigs.

For the older crowd, the last few years has seen the surge of quite a few wine bars in Malta, often found in Valletta, or in ‘faraway’ old towns; some of the most popular are in Mdina, Balzan, Attard and Birgu, and are venues for a good night whether you’re spending it with a few friends over a few bottles of wine with accompanying cheese and meat platters, or as a quick getaway with your loved one.

For a younger crowd that have still not tucked away their dancing shoes but can’t face the commercialism found in major bars in Paceville, there are plenty of alternatives. Summer months give non-Paceville goers plenty of options, although in winter you may have to look around a bit and be in the know about gigs. However, whether it’s reggae, electronic music, or techno that you like to follow, there are people out there who strive to make it happen. Whether you prefer donning your mum’s hippie clothes for a reggae party to covering your face in face paint for a rave somewhere remote, there’s something out there for everyone.

And what’s more, Maltese people can make good music. There are plenty of live gigs every weekend. Even though the more popular bands are the ones the general public often talks about (Winter Moods, Ira Losco etc), there are other small bands and acts out there that are just as good, often playing in smaller bars setting the backdrop for a more intimate setting.

A good point of reference, as much as we love to hate it, always remains Facebook. Do your research well, add a few influential people, and you’ve a recipe for fun to guide you through the ‘colder’ Maltese nights.

Photo: Therese Debono

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7 Comments about “Looking for an Alternative Night Out?”

  1. I’d love to take all your suggestions to heart but there’s a major snag: I don’t drive. God forbid! A 21 year old male who doesn’t have a car? Well, I know I’m one of the MANY university students who are sick of Paceville but have to go simply because we have no choice. Try and go to Balzan or Lija winebars using public transport. Come 10 pm, you’re effectively stranded.

    Other than that, it’s a solid article, but it does make the implicit assumption – as Maltese adult society seems to do – that everyone can simply jump into a car and drive off to these hip and cool winebars.

    Oh and what about the prices? I know you must have been writing for an employed readership in mind, but in these economic times, winebars are way too expensive for their own good!

  2. Neville, your comment is spot on. It really highlights the need for more articles (and debate) on, say:

    the over-reliance on private transport (on a set of small islands where
    the roads are already over-congested with traffic);

    the way many places can become marginalised since they are not on the main public transport network

    pricing, value for money.

    So thanks for that. And if you want to submit your own feature, just email us at

  3. Neville, I agree. Before I drove I hardly had other options myself, other than the times I would kindly get offered a lift.

    Also, keeping in mind that most of my friends as well as myself are pretty much as low on cash as I am, no, it wasn’t really written with an employed readership in mind. I think it depends more on whether you’d rather spend your money on alcohol in PV to anywhere else really. Having said that, most of my better nights this Summer have been also my cheapest, again, away from Paceville.

    Thanks for your criticism though, brought up quite a few valid points, and as Alex said, a stepping stone to further discussion!

  4. Actually I used to follow all your advice almost to the letter a year or so ago; I had a group of friends who all drove, but then I started dating a girl and in my course and we both don’t drive so whenever we want to go out and be together, just the two of us, I face this frustration.

    Thanks for the offer, Alex, you’ll be hearing from me (and I’ll be telling other people to write from DESA as well)

  5. Hi Malta inside out.

    I am an Aussie that is coming to Malta for 5 days in May. My grandparents were born in Valetta and Sliema(spelling).
    My wife and I will be looking around during the day but love the idea of cruising some wine bars away from the drone of Paceville.
    Can you recomend a couple of cool wine bars? for us to visit. Would love to have 4 or 5 to visit ove the week we are there.

    Looking forward to finally seeing where Pa and Nana grew up.

    Kind Regards


  6. @Cam, yes Sliema spelling correct!

    There are lots of wine bars, especially in Valletta these days. They seem to be sprouting like mushrooms, so I have no doubt you’ll pass some on your daytime tours and find them enticing to pop back to evenings. Most wine bars are in old converted stone houses or cellars of historic town houses so you usually get some nice atmos.

    Ones we like or know of are:
    Del Borgo – Birgu (Vittoriosa) one of the Three Cities – large space in vaulted cellar in old quarter. Does platters, and other nosh too.
    Trabuxu – 1 Strait Street, Valletta, Tel: +2122 3036. Down steps, quite small, and tables hard to come by if you go mid-late evening, so be an early bird there, and just stay on! That it’s very popular says it all!
    Etienne Locum Vinim Restaurant & Wine Bar – Attard (town in central Malta). Not been here myself but hear it’s fine / OK-ish.
    Kafe Ta’ Marku – Alley 6, Triq Santa Lucija, Naxxar. I hear it’s not the place for top wines, but fun and friendly and does a good platter and a good cake too. Probably more a cafe stop than wine bar. It’s in premier old street in Naxxar, cental Malta.
    2-22 – 2-22 attracts a designer crowd in a designer space hollowed into the historic bastions of Valletta, Great Siege Road. Has great harbour views from outside. It’s a reminder how Valletta’s sprucing up. I remember parking my car outside where it is now – the ‘hollow’ used to be a garage / panel beaters!
    Legligin – 119, St.Lucy Street, Valletta. Tel 21 221 699. Relaxed cafe-wine bar not far from Manoel Theatre, and Gallery 68. Food ranges from casseroles to fine cheese platters.

  7. The bridge bar Valletta is one of the coolest plase in Malta with a very good range of wine and veriaty of chesse platter with great value and use of money.

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