Dar's biggest party night happens once a month at the Mediterraneo Hotel and Restaurant; the city's sexiest crowd -- usually a good 500 or 600 people -- gathers for an all-night festival of drinking, dancing, and strutting that kicks off around 11pm or midnight. Admission is Tsh15,000, and you might want to hire a taxi to wait for you all night. On nonparty nights, Mediterraneo's open-to-the-elements lounge/bar at the edge of the beach is always a splendid spot to hang out with a chilled bottle of wine and lusciously deep sofas. Owned by one of the brothers from the Mediterraneo, Runway Lounge, on the second floor of Shopper's Plaza on Old Bagamoyo Road, is Dar's outright hottest after-dark venue and a world-class spot to drink, lounge, and boogie side-by-side with a flamboyant crowd. For details, you can contact the venue (tel. 075/544-1922; info@runway-lounge.com) or call Samantar himself (tel. 078/490-9095), who'll make sure you get a good table and experience Dar's dizziest night out. Make sure you wear long pants and closed shoes.

In the small shopping complex just behind The Oyster Bay Hotel, Sweet Eazy (tel. 075/575-4074; www.sweeteazy.com) is a vibey restaurant and bar with live music (often by cover bands such as Banana Zoro & B Band, Dar's favorite act -- cheesy but fun) on Saturday nights (9pm-1am; Tsh5,000 admission). It's a safe, comfortable place to watch the easy rhythm of after-dark Dar as expats, tourists, and even a few ladies of the night trying haplessly to be discreet gather under one roof to enjoy the cold beer and cocktails.

More than a little bit seedy, Q Bar, off Haile Selassie Road, Oyster Bay (tel. 075/428-2474; www.qbardar.com), is rather rough and raucous, but popular with a wide range of people (locals, expats, and backpackers), and has everything, including live music, pool tables, and squadrons of hovering prostitutes. A little less downmarket is O'Willies Irish Pub (tel. 022/260-1273), located on the ground floor of a small hotel set right on the water's edge. There's trip-down-memory-lane live music on weekends -- and a lot of drinking.

Finally, since Dar nightlife kicks off quite late, the best place to start off your evening is at Level 8, at the Kempinski hotel (tel. 022/213-1111), down by the waterfront. With its breezy, elegant layout and scintillating view over the port, this is arguably the best sunset spot in town, where you can watch dhows mingling with cargo ships on the gold-tinged water down below. Then suddenly the scene is silhouetted by enormous spotlights that illuminate the harbor after dark. Listen to business deals being struck and romantic deals smoothly negotiated. Every Friday night from 9pm, Tanzanian songstress and musician Carola Kinasha brings a bit of magic to the place.

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.