Kingston offers a variety of nighttime entertainment. Most events are listed in the daily press, along with a host of other attractions, including colorful carnivals and festivals that are held island-wide throughout the year. In nearly all the after-dark establishments of Kingston, foreign visitors are only about 3% of those in attendance. Most Kingston places, except for the bars in first-class hotels, are patronized mainly by locals.
Caution: The city is very unsafe at night. Take taxis everywhere.
The Performing Arts
Kingston is a leading cultural center of the West Indies. Notable theaters include Ward Theatre on North Parade Road (tel. 876/922-0453), and the Little Theatre on Tom Redcam Drive near the National Stadium (tel. 876/926-6129). Both stage local and imported plays and musicals, light opera, revues, Jamaican dance and choral groups, and pop concerts. Ticket prices vary. From downtown Kingston (Parade and Cross roads), buses 90A and 90B run here.
The Club & Bar Scene
Within the relatively sedate premises of one of Kingston's best-established hotels, Mingles (in the Courtleigh Hotel, 85 Knutsford Blvd.; tel. 876/929-9000) is a rich-looking -- and richly popular -- bar and disco. Sheathed with full-grained mahogany panels, with uniformed bartenders whose look might remind you of Jamaica during the era of Noël Coward, it's a clubby-looking but often rocking site known for a revolving combination of reggae, pop, soca (a danceable form of reggae), and Latino meringue. Folk here tend to flirt, talk, and gossip on Friday night, and dance, dance, dance on Saturday night. The bar is open Monday to Friday 5pm to midnight and Saturday 5pm to 3am. There is no cover charge except on Saturday, when it's J$400.
One of the hottest new venues after dark is Asylum, 69 Knutsford Blvd. (tel. 876/929-4386), where the program changes nightly. Some nights are devoted only to reggae music, other nights to various contests, sometimes to the old hits of the 1970s and 1980s. A crowd, mainly of locals in their 20s or 30s, flocks here to enjoy the music, the dance, the entertainment, and even karaoke. It's very tropical and very happening, Tuesday to Sunday from 10pm to 4am, charging a cover ranging from J$300 to J$600.
The open-air Carlos Café, 22 Belmont Rd. (tel. 876/926-4186), is all the rage with its flamingo-colored tones and Caribbean decor. There's a whimsical feel here, attracting a crowd of men and women in their 20s and 30s. You can also dine here -- on Monday, crab is featured on the menu. On Friday it's a fish fry and karaoke. On any night something is happening, perhaps a show by Cuban salsa dancers. There's no cover, with a Red Stripe beer costing J$350. Hours are Monday to Friday 5pm to 2am, Saturday 3pm to 2am.
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.