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Defying all logic, Sicily’s best night out is found amid mulberry trees and blood-orange groves. Located outside Catania in a former winepress, Mercati Generali (Strada Statale 417) is the island’s most influential nightclubs.
The Chemical Brothers played in 2016 and online music magazine Resident Advisor regularly hosts nights in this candlelit courtyard in the middle of nowhere. It’s laidback, affordable, and never dull.
Elsewhere in Sicily, central Catania is also boisterous, while Taormina thrums with upscale bars. Palermo’s nightlife spans a quirkier spectrum, typified by the multi-concept Kursaal Kalhesa (Foro Umberto I 21): a watering hole, restaurant, bookshop and concert venue in one. Sip some Nero d’Avola in the jessamine-perfumed terrace for optimum enjoyment.
The same three cities are also at the heart of Sicily’s cocktail revolution. For a taste of this type of nightlife in Sicily, try the late-night Morgana (Scesa Morgana 4) in Taormina. Admire the themed decor, which alters every year, then grab a Von Gloeden (gin, agave, lime, cucumber, ginger beer, jasmine) and wiggle your way towards the small dancefloor, or into the prickly-pear-tree-shaded courtyard.
Back in Catania, it’s the Mercati Generali owners’ bar Ritz (Via Enrico Adolfo Pantano 54) that is making waves at the moment. Alongside craft beers and pizzas, the extensive cocktail menu divides into Aperitif, Anytime, Dinner, After Dinner and Long Drink & Muddle sections. For local flavour, order an Etna Kir (spumante rosé, cherry liqueur, hazelnut crust).
For entertainment in Palermo, meanwhile, head to Bocum (Via dei Cassari 6) and choose between the ground floor’s wines and charcuterie, and the first-floor mixology bar.
In Sicily’s coastal towns such as Cefalù, Sciacca and Marsala, the best nights out simply involve finding a seaside bar, ordering a glass of the local tipple and watching the sun go down.
Syracuse and Modica also do a good line in convivial establishments, where locals come each night to watch football or sit bare-armed in the lamp-lit squares. We call it entertainment in Sicily; they call it la dolce vita (the sweet life)!