Devoid of the nouveau chic vibe found in the center of Santo Domingo, “Aquel Lado,” as it is referred to by Capitaleños, has a completely different feel. Gone are the European designers and the thumping techno music. Gone are the high-priced sushi joints and cafe bars. Forget about Moet and Martinis. This part of town across the Ozama River some 15 minutes east of Santo Domingo’s city center is where real dancers go to dance and where an authentic Dominican nightlife vibe can be found.
According to Jeurys Perez, who lives on the east side of the Ozama, “people from Aquel Lado like to meet more and more people and make more and more friends so they can keep the party going until whenever.”
Cesar Perez, who also frequents the dance clubs, says, “the vibe on the other side is very different from the center of Santo Domingo. The music is different, the people are different. It’s more down to earth.”
Though Aquel Lado covers a large area, in terms of nightlife it only spans about two streets – Av. Venezuela and Av. San Vicente de Paul. These two bustling city streets are lined with some of Santo Domingo’s hottest Latin dance clubs. And for those who bring their dancing shoes, this is the place for you. The party can be found any night of the week with the ever-popular Makumba playing today’s hottest salsa and merengue jams, with a mix of bachata and American pop songs. As the weekend nears, the dancers get their shoes ready for Eclipse, where the party goes strong all weekend long.
For those who would rather watch than be watched, take a ride to House Drink or La Barrica, better known as a “mega-colmadón”. Cheap drinks, great music and a great atmosphere make these some of Santo Domingo’s best people watching nightspots.
And on certain nights you won’t even have to go inside a nightclub as the party spills onto the streets. These avenues become party strips where cars parade slowly down the street, grabbing the attention of onlookers. “Aquel Lado is 100 times better than anywhere in Santo Domingo,” says Giancarlo Pimentel. “It’s not about image or the car you drive. People won’t judge you here; they just want to have fun. It doesn’t get any better than that. If you want to have fun, then you have to cross the river!”