Clubbing and partying is a huge part of backpacking and travel. And when you are in a big city like Rome, it’s an absolute must.
However, like everywhere else in the world, there are some things you should know before diving head-first into the nearest pulsating-light filled doorway.
After 3 nights in a row of hard-core partying and next to zero sleep,this is what I learned.
1) Plan on pulling an all-nighter
It is near impossible to go ‘out for a bit’ no matter how good your intentions are. After an early morning flight to Rome and a full day of exploring I planned to crash early, until my hostel host told of us of a Harlem Shake party near the spanish steps. Harlem Shake party? in Rome? Who could resist that. So 3 other girls and I decided to check it out. “We’ll stay for one beer” was the consensus.
Long story short we got back at 4:30am. And no I did not take that long to drink a beer. Somehow we became part of this large group that ended up on a pub crawl around the city. We had shots poured down our throats at club doors, danced on tables, and saw (no, I did not partake) some of the dirtiest body shots I have ever seen in my life.
And that was only night one.
Night two and three were similar circumstances, “only a couple of drinks” ended up being halfway across the city, dancing my butt off until sunrise. The earliest I got out was 3am…and that’s only because I needed to be up and at the train station for 6am to make my flight back home.
It’s a little weird getting used to clubs getting that stay open til 5-6am (unlike the usual 1-2am here in North America) but it’s pretty cool dancing until sunrise.
2) Plan on Pre-drinking
Drinks are expensive, no matter what type of drink it is. Some clubs, like AKAB, hook you in by providing free cover for the ladies and including a free drink with the 10 euro cover for the men. What they don’t tell you is that any drink you order inside; shot, beer, cocktail, whatever, is 10 euro a piece. Ouch.
Queue the euro shot bar, which is exactly what it sounds like. Located all over the city these lovely little spots get you feeling good without burning a giant hole in your pocket. And since they are popular with both tourists and locals..ladies you may not have to pull out your wallet at all.
And don’t forget, unlike here in North America it IS legal to drink in the streets of Rome. So feel free to take a bottle of wine or two on the walk to the bus stop.
3) Don’t follow the first guy offering free cover, champagne, and close bathrooms…
Campo dei Fiori is one of the most popular spots for bars and clubs in Rome, and it’s not uncommon for promoters to hang around a lure groups into their respective clubs. Our promise: a table, two bottles of champagne, free cover, and most importantly to me at the time, close with a washroom! (I blame those euro shots…)
However, as we quickly learned, the real reason we were lured to the club was because we were mainly girls and there was a whooole lot of sausage in that club. Which brings us to the fourth commandment…
4) Stick with a group
Pretty general advice anywhere, but ladies this is especially important for you. Usually it’s ok to go out as a group of girls, but even with 7 of us we were harassed non-stop and subjected to the dreaded ‘dance rape’ when our guy friends left in search of cheap drinks. The Italian men, though some are good looking and nice, tend to be pretty creepy (and at times old!) at some of the clubs. They don’t care about any potential boyfriends, and are more than ready to try to stick their tongues down your throat, or if that doesn’t work, bite you. Yes, that actually happened.
So ladies go out with some safe boys and stick with them, and keep eyes out for each other at all times. And of course, when things get really bad…remember the Jenna Marbles face…
5) Know your way back (bring a map!)
And so we come to our final point- getting back to the hostel. After a night of dancing and drinking the last thing you want to do is worry about getting home, and since (unless you did stay up til morning) the metro tends to be closed and busses have stopped running, a taxi is your best option.
Sadly, many Roman taxi drivers are… well, dicks. We were turned away twice by drivers who didn’t know where the closest metro station to our hostel was. One even pushed us away and waved over another (and clearly Italian) group.