As a beacon of prestige and glamour, Monaco unsurprisingly boasts an impressive bar scene to satisfy its rich, famous and beautiful visitors.
From upscale cocktail lounges to chic waterside hangouts, discover where the best places are in the principality to enjoy a drink during the Monaco Grand Prix. Whether you’re looking to get into the party spirit or would prefer a more chilled out spot, there's guaranteed to be something to suit your mood.
Fusing high-end Asian gastronomy with a lavish bar and club concept, the Buddha Bar’s Monte Carlo outpost has been a mecca for the well-heeled since its arrival onto the Riviera in 2010.
The principality’s old concert hall forms the perfect setting for this opulently decked out venue. Richly ornate ceilings, amber lighting and red and gold furnishings create an exotic yet extravagant Asian-inspired environment benevolently looked over by a three-metre tall Buddha statue.
Legendary DJ Papa spins live tracks in a booth overlooking a bar where electric daiquiri and royal Jasmin cocktails are served. An extensive sushi menu ensures nobody goes hungry while a sprawling terrace is where revellers go to smoke hookahs in the warm Mediterranean air.
Sass Café may not look like much from the outside, but its romantic, dimly lit red and gold interior has proved to be popular among some of Hollywood’s greatest. Brad Pit, Angelina Jolie, Will Smith, Beyoncé and Bono are just some of the big names seen here over the years.
As one of the few-family-owned bar and restaurants in Monaco, its long-time owners are also regularly seen working the tables. This alongside the leather club chairs and tufted booths reserved for bottle service create an intimate ambience, while a back-lit DJ podium pays tribute to the 1960s Pop Art scene.
Dine on world-class cuisine accompanied by a soundtrack of live piano music before the champagne is passed around and the festivities rev up for the night. Patrons should dress to impress.
Crystal Bar & Terrace
Elegant and exclusive; no less could be expected from the bar that crowns the swanky Hotel Hermitage. Step inside and be wowed by the neo-classical styling, glittering chandeliers and gleaming mirrored bar before falling in love with the breath-taking sea views from the heated terrace.
Accompanying the plush surrounds is a high-class menu of champagne, caviar and oysters while the big wigs in town come here to sample the fancy cigar selection.
Offering a charming and laidback setting, the Crystal Bar exudes an air of grace which is hard to come by in other establishments in the area. Come here to enjoy good company within tranquil surrounds.
Le Bar Américain
With burnished leather armchairs, soft, stylish lighting and handsome polished wood, Le Bar Américain evokes a 1920s-style aura of old-school glamour. Although tucked away in five-star Hotel de Paris, this venue looks as if it’s sprung from the pages of a F. Scott Fitzgerald novel.
Live music performances every night offer up a variety of jazz, swing, blues and soul for guests to enjoy while sitting comfortably at one of the tables of propped up against the counter.
There is also an extensive cocktail list, which rotates with the seasons. Favourites include the Pulcinella with its fresh mandarin orange, a surprising pear and cardamom combo called Pira Villosum and the Nutcracker with Grey Goose vodka by Alain Ducasse and hazelnut syrup.
Hôtel Metropole Bar
Occupying a privileged position on the ground floor of upscale Hotel Metropole, the Bar & Lobby seduces with its sensuous yet subdued atmosphere created by celebrated designer Jacques Garcia.
Velvet chairs, marble statues and subtle lighting embody the Belle Époque aesthetic present throughout the entire hotel and create a chic yet timeless retreat open at any time of the day. Indeed, this is the perfect enclave for those looking to escape the frenetic energy of the grand prix.
Come in the morning for some time out over a coffee and pastry or stop by in evening to sample the posh cocktails. Culinary delights from the hotel’s kitchen, which also serves the two Michelin star Joël Robuchon restaurant can also be enjoyed here for a more laidback dining experience.
No other bar screams Monaco as loudly as Blue Gin. Spread across a beachside space dubbed as the ‘waterfront’, this lounge bar offers the whole package: dreamy views of yachts cruising on the Med, inventive drinks, a Michelin-starred chef and a glam crowd who know how to party.
Situated within the high-class Monte Carlo Bay Hotel and Resort, Blue Gin welcomes guests to lounge on the sea-themed terrace during the day. But when the sun goes down, late night revellers come out to sip cocktails, dance to beats spun by DJ Nicolas Saad and play billiards in the games room.
For a refreshing mix of cranberry, raspberry, lime and vanilla flavours try out the Purple cocktail.
Brasserie de Monaco
Packing in the punters with its organic lagers and ales is Monaco’s only brewery, Brasserie de Monaco. Originally founded in 1905, the bar closed for a 30-year hiatus before reopening its doors in 2009.
Large wooden tables and lashings of steel offer a contemporary setting as big-screen TVs broadcast live sports and DJs entertain the evening bar-goers. Saturday is always the busiest night of the week when revellers groove on the packed dance floor until the early hours of the morning.
There is also a big beer garden and a menu of classic pub dishes. Don’t leave without sampling one of the innovative home-brewed beers, such as the Pils de Monaco – a light beer with a slightly spicy taste.
Stars ‘N’ Bars
Located in a prime position in Port Hercules, Stars ‘N’ Bars is a unique combination of American restaurant-cum-sports bar on the first two floors and a chic Riviera nightclub on the top level.
The venue’s popularity cannot be underestimated. Crowds flock here during the summer months and it is one of the busiest places in the principality during the Monaco Grand Prix. And despite launching over 30 years ago, its appeal shows no signs of fading, even among the famous faces in town.
Food-wise, expect a refined take on American classics while sport is televised across the venue. Drinks are best enjoyed in the open-air lounge bar against an ocean backdrop and, as night falls, cocktails, champagne and dancing become the main focus in the top-level club.