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Home » Nightlife

Avenida Venezuela – Santo Domingo’s real party strip
Submitted by dr1guide on August 1, 2009 – 10:41 am18 Comments

venezuela-3Devoid 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!”

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  • adrianb says:

    how safe is this area?

  • dr1guide says:

    This is a safe area. As with anything, take the proper precautions. But if you are there to have a beer, dance and have a good time you should have no problems. The particular part of Venezuela the guide refers to is a three block area, and is very well lit. Stay within this and you should be OK.

  • danny says:

    any other spots where they play salsa in Santo Domingo ?
    What about Salsa dance schools any suggestions ?

  • dr1guide says:

    There are plenty of clubs that play Salsa in Santo Domingo. If you turn to pages 36-37 in the guide you will see some more clubs that play salsa like Platinium, Retro Cafe and Jet Set. As for Salsa schools; one school some of the guys here at dr1guide took classes at is called Tia Gloria Dance School. You can contact them at 809.476.9661.

  • john in NJ says:

    I am so glad to finally see this DR1 Guide being passed out . I was in the conde and saw an aquaintence, Dino I asked him how to get to a particular spot and as he was telling me he had in his possesion the DR1 Guide , I never asked him where he got it , I thought they were around somewhere and would eventually find one , long over due !!! more info inside here then youll ever get from anyone or any info center , I have been traveling to this country for over 15 years and this has more info then I could imagine. cant wait next year to get mine , or Ill just copy from here on the site , thanks to all involved in this venture, not just great !! a fantastic job, great for everyone

  • dr1guide says:

    Thank you for the kind words John and I’m glad you find our guide so helpful. But you don’t have to to wait till next year to get a copy! Please check out our distribution list where guides can currently be found dr1guide Distribution

  • John in NJ says:

    Can you tell me how the parking situation is along those three streets on Ave Venezula? , I usually rent a car and like to visit different areas when I am there . you posted about being somewhat carefull and I was wondering if parking down some secluded streets might present a problem? can you park along the well lighted street? is parking usually available ? or do you need to find a side street that is not so well lighted and take your chances sort of say?

  • dr1guide says:

    There’s actually plenty of parking in the area and I’ve personally never had a problem getting a spot. The local streets that intersect Ave. Venezuela are where everyone parks as parking along Venezuela is nonexistent. Take all the precautions you would take when going out in a big city but the area is safe. You’ll see plenty of people walking around the backstreets.




  • dr1guide says:

    If you know of any gays bars on in Santo Domingo East, please let us know and we’ll add them to the Directory :) Si conoce algún bar gay en Santo Domingo Este, avísenos para poder agregarlo a nuestro Directorio :)

  • migz says:

    thanks to some dear friends from dr1 i was able to experience the infamous ‘venezuela’ when i was down in the DR in may and let me tell you, it was memorable! i am from new york but spend most of my time in santiago when i visit, this was my first time partying in santo domingo, and it won’t be my last! i had been yearning for an ‘authentic’ place to cut a rug, have some beers and just let my hair down. unfortunatley (personally) the DR is plagued with too many techno clubs, filled with pretentiousness and a neo-classist feel to it…this is NOT the case on la venezuela. as the guide says: it’s down to earth and yes, safe. you hear authentic music, see a variety of people and if you go on a good night (which i hear is almost every weekend lol) you get to experience one of the most liberating things for us ‘dominican yorks’ who visit the DR: bailando en la calle! (dancing in the street: literally)
    great job fellas (and ladies i have yet to meet).
    thanks for showing the world our REAL dr…

  • john in NJ says:

    I can not Wait , I will be back in January and plan to visit Ave Venezuela Ill be arriving on a Saturday So it will be perfect , hope to meet some great local regular people when Im there , I love this country

  • Manya says:

    How funny, you call the east side “aquel lado” and us lot who live over by the Ozama call your posh centro side “aquel lado”.

  • alex says:

    I agree with la venezuela being the best thing at the moment, it beats all the clubs in the west side of Sto Dgo, matter of fact, if your Dominican and you live abroad this is where youll get a real feel for the country, I dont care if its classed as being for the “chopos” its ten times better and youll have a better time here than anywhere in the capital matter of fact, have been to NY, Madrid, Barcelona, London, Cuba, Ibiza, Greece (Athens, crete, paros, aegina, skiathos) and I can say hand on heart the venezuela is the best place ive ever been when it comes to partying and atmosphere, check out “Cool bar” “Geisha” and the places opposite, stay around here though cos further down its a different animal. Crowd wise, lots of young beautiful people, lots of flash cars not that it matters cos they get left parked around the corner, lots of fun, this is a strip of heaven. Quite simply if you go Santo domingo, you cannot miss this.

  • Jose says:


    I’m planning another trip to the Dominican Republic this summer and I found this guide quite helpful. The only thing is that I wouldn’t exactly call La Venezuela a safe place. I was at the Barrica last year August and shots were fired from the street breaking two glasses inside the bar. Everyone ducked and my friends and I ran to the bathroom in the back. After a while everybody went back to normal as this is a regular occurrence. People fire their gun up at night all the time. Other than that I never experienced any mugging or anything of the kind Thank God but for those who don’t know their way around or have never been to DR saying this avenue is safe is an overstatement. Other than that I do coincide that the atmosphere is very down to earth and all about the music and the Presidentes.

  • dr1guide says:

    We appreciate your post but I will say that I visit Ave. Venezuela nearly every weekend and I’ve never heard shots fired. I’m sure this was an unfortunate and isolated situation. Shots have been fired at other clubs in the capital but Ave. Venezuela gets a bad rap for being a dangerous place because it is simply on the “other” side of the river and frequented by patrons from anything but the upper class neighborhoods. I’m sorry you experienced this but I assure you, from personal experience, that Ave. Venezuela is safe.

  • Mercy says:

    We went twice to Ave Venezuela during Memorial Weekend 2010 and loved it. We went from one place to the other, just enjoying the whole atmosphere. We didn’t have to pay cover anywhere we went, we just enjoyed seeing everyone having a good time. The only thing I didnt like was that they close down too early, but I guess you have to go by the rules. We live in Miami and have travelled the world, and there is no other place like this, where people are just having fun. I love the Dominican Republic and of course the people, they are the ones that make this country “extra special”

  • baumann says:

    dear all,

    I will be in Santo Domingo from Friday 2nd of November until Tuesday 6th of November 2012.

    I would like to stay in the Colonial District- if I will find good dancing classes nearby the Hotel.

    I remember having seen this year in spring a dance school nearby, approx 100m from Hard Rock coffee. I would be pleased if you can find out for me the contact details because I would like to take Friday until Tuesday every day 2 or 3 hours of private Daning lessons in order to learn Salsa, Meringhe and some other Latin Danse.


    Could could you direct me to this specific dancing school or any other danse school/teacher who would be interested to teach me in private lessons for the 4 days to come.

    I am 50, male,european, sporty and open minded.

    Thank you for a short reply.

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