Florence doesn’t fall short when it comes to places to go for an aperitivo, with a vast selection of cocktail bars and restaurants to enjoy a drink with your friends. But what about when you’re all pumped up and ready to embrace the historic centre after hours? Whether it’s a drag show, live music or some late-night karaoke you’re looking for, this list focuses on 5 nightlife spots for a fun night out in Florence.
1. Full Up
Enjoy drag extravaganzas every Wednesday, live music and magic on Thursdays, or a flamboyant burlesque show on the weekend.
Full Up Club has been a popular nightspot among club-goers for decades, offering a variety of music styles, from throwback favourites to more contemporary hits, in a classic yet modern setting. But did you know that this trendy nightclub also doubles as a cabaret? Open Wednesday to Saturday from 9.30pm until late, Full Up hosts an inclusive series of performances in an intimate setting of around 20 people, before transforming into a lively discoteca in the early hours of the morning. Enjoy drag extravaganzas every Wednesday, live music and magic on Thursdays, or a flamboyant burlesque show on the weekend. The shows cost 25 euro per person and include reserved seating and one drink (choose from their selection of wines, beers or cocktails). So, if you fancy a few drinks with a side of risqué entertainment, definitely give this place a go.
2. Jazz Club
The lineup for the performing bands and DJs change on a weekly basis.
Tucked away on the corner of via Nuova de’ Caccini, just a 10-minute walk from the Duomo, the Jazz Club is a must-do night out in Florence. As you can already tell from the name, the cozy underground venue comes alive at night with its live jazz (and blues) sessions on Wednesdays and Thursdays respectively that overwhelm the eardrums in the best way possible. Fridays and Saturdays are taken over by ‘After Live’ DJ sets that run until around 3.30am, while Sundays are usually more relaxed with stand-up comedy or spoken word performances. Whichever night you choose to go, great live music and an energetic atmosphere is guaranteed. Entrance costs 8 euro, which includes one drink for your first visit and free membership for a whole year. The lineup for the performing bands and DJs change on a weekly basis, so it’s important to stay tuned with their upcoming events on their Facebook and Instagram.
3. Rex Cafè
A short walk from Jazz Club is Rex Cafè, a nautical-themed bar and club that’s made waves in the Florence nightlife scene since the ‘90s. Named after a 1930s Italian ocean liner, Rex’s main selling point has to be its interior—sail-shaped lamps, a mosaic-adorned bar and a life-size turtle hanging from the ceiling are only some of the weird but wonderful decorations to admire. Open 9pm to 2am every day, in the week you’ll find a low-key vibe where you can settle into a soft vintage armchair and soak up some live music until late. On weekends, prepare for big crowds and long queues as the venue’s infectious atmosphere also caters to those who love to take to the floor and dance the night away. With free entry and a creative cocktail selection, there’s no reason to skip Rex Cafè on your next night out in the city centre.
4. La Limonaia
If you’d like to venture out of the Duomo area and explore what the other side of the river has to offer, La Limonaia di Villa Strozzi is an ideal venue for the warmer months. The former greenhouse hosts many different events in three separate spaces: late-night parties, including throwback music nights and ‘The Shade’ drag discos for 10-15 euro are hosted in the indoor multipurpose room, while outdoor concerts and performances can be enjoyed from the open-air theatre and garden. At night, the Tuscan villa glows pink and violet with an inviting presence. Despite its remote location, the unmatched atmosphere and venue make up for the uphill trek. However, prices for the events vary and different DJs are constantly being introduced, so make sure to check their Facebook and Instagram pages for all the information you need before heading up there.
5. Red Garter
Red Garter will always be a go-to favourite among both the Florentine and expat community. With Trivia Night Mondays, Beer Pong Tuesdays and live sports screening almost every day, there are many reasons to head to this steakhouse-slash-nightclub, located just a few steps from piazza Santa Croce. Its main selling point, however, is most definitely the energetic karaoke nights. Every night of the week, the back room transforms into an intimate two-tiered arena in which you can sing your heart out to an ABBA classic or get involved with the countless performances of the people around you. In Red Garter, everywhere becomes a dance floor—the room next door has a DJ booth area that you can dip in and out of whenever your lungs need a break. Since entry is free, meaning big crowds both on weekends and in the week, it’s best to arrive early (between 9pm-11.30pm) to avoid waiting in long queues.