Caracas is a big, cosmopolitan city, and your nighttime options are many and varied. It's advisable to stick to the more upscale and relatively safe neighborhoods such as Altamira, El Rosal, and Las Mercedes, or one of the popular malls.
In terms of malls, the Centro Comercial San Ignacio has emerged as a popular one-stop shop for young Caraqueños looking to party. However, my favorite bar in Caracas is located atop the Altamira Suites hotel. As its name implies, 360°, 1st Avenida Los Palos Grandes and 1st Tranversal (tel. 0212/284-1874), offers up panoramic views from its rooftop perch. The bar actually starts out with a large indoor space on the 19th floor, with plush cushions, couches, and even hammocks for seating, and climbs two more stories outdoors with a handful of different open-air patios, bars, and seating areas.
The Juan Sebastián Bar, Avenida Venezuela, El Rosal (tel. 0212/951-3750), is a popular restaurant and bar -- and the most consistent place in the city to catch live jazz. Rockers head to Greenwich, Avenida San Juan Bosco, Altamira (tel. 0212/267-1760), a small place with live bands, or Little Rock Café, Avenida 6 between 3rd and 4th Transversal, Altamira (tel. 0212/267-8337), a knock-off of the Hard Rock chain that also has live bands on most nights. And there's even an official franchise of the Hard Rock Cafe (tel. 0212/267-7662) located in the huge Centro Comercial Sambil. El Maní Es Así, Avenida Francisco Solano and Calle El Cristo, Sabana Grande (tel. 0212/763-6671), is one of the more popular salsa and Latin dance spots. Open Tuesday through Sunday from 5pm until around 5am, they charge no cover and always have a live band.
Located just across from the Caracas Hilton, the Teresa Carreño Cultural Complex (tel. 0500/673-7200 or 0212/576-6411; www.teatroteresacarreno.gob.ve) and the Ateneo de Caracas (tel. 0212/573-4799) are the places to go for live performances. Top-notch popular and classical concerts take place in the Teresa Carreño, while film series and modern theater are often on tap at the Ateneo. The Trasnocho Cultural, Centro Comercial Paseo Las Mercedes (tel. 0212/993-1910; www.trasnochocultural.com), is a popular option with a beautiful theater and a couple of cinemas offering a steady diet of live music, theater, and avant-garde cinema. They also have a hip little bar and cafe. Check the local papers or ask at your hotel for a performance schedule. Ticket prices range from BsF5 to BsF50.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.