Sofia, the capital city of Bulgaria, is an excellent place for architecture and digital nomad hangouts. But many fail to realise how amazing the Sofia nightlife is! And alcohol is cheap! So you won’t be spending a fortune! Sofia is really a great night out which is fuelled by the big student and international population. If you’re staying in the Bulgarian capital, make sure that you have at least one good night out on the town!
Sofia Nightlife – How cheap is it?
The great news is that you can have a brilliant night out in Sofia without breaking the bank. Drinking in Sofia is excellent value for money as far as European capitals go. You’re looking at spending:
- A small beer – approx £1.20 or $1.50
- Wine by the bottle – £5-10 or $6-12
- Wine by the glass – £1.50-£2
What to wear on a Night out in Sofia
Jeans and a nice top with shoes is fine for casual drinks and most bars. However, if you want to glam up a bit you won’t be out of place in Sofia! You will get away with short skirts and glitzy dresses here as Sofia is quite liberal. Some nightclubs have dress codes and may refuse you for wearing jeans and trainers, so it is always worth checking in advance.
Best Bars and Clubs in Sofia
Introducing Sofia’s ‘speak easy’ – an amazing Private candle lit bar called The Barn. It is not one that you can easily find, and is a private Bulgarian pub, so you are allowed to smoke inside. You will hear about how this was a meeting point for people who wanted to overthrow the communists. In fact, if you Google this place, it is even still on the wrong place on the map!
This next bar is one of my favourites, and also one that was recommended to me by my friend Megy from Rila Shuttle. The bar is called the apartment and is an essentially a large converted house with a real kitchen providing homes made Bulgarian snacks and nibbles. The main rooms in the apartment have different themes, such as in the movie room. It’s great to sit and blog in during the daytime and it gets a bit livelier at night!
Art hostel bar has an excellent bar with a diverse crowd, as it is in a hostel, but people not staying at the hostel are also welcome. The walls are covered in Graffiti and barrels double up as tables. It’s a great place for meet international travellers and the perfect place for pre-clubbing drinks.
Sofia Pub Crawl
I went on the new Sofia pub crawl which truly was an amazing night.
When you go on the pub crawl, walk down 6 Septembri towards the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral and go left at the end where you will see a big park, Crystal Park. Walk into the centre of the park and look for the big head statue of Stefan Stambolov. There will be one or two guides standing in front of the head talking very loudly in English and welcoming you, asking you where you are from. I was met by the wonderful Catherine and Penny, to Sofia-based Bulgarians who speak excellent English.
In front of the statue of Stefan Stambolov, you will hear the story about it how he was one of the first presidents after the Ottoman empire and quite a controversial figure. You will be asked where you think that you can find images of Stefan Stombolov today. I am not going to give it away, but it is something that you use on a daily basis!
When you pay your 20 Bulgarian lev, you will get a receipt and a wristband so that it is official and so that the guides know who they are looking after throughout the night.
The guides are very friendly and if there is a large group they will split it into. They are good with checking numbers before moving onto the next bar, so you do not need to worry about getting lost or left behind!
What to Drink in Bulgaria
My three favourite traditional Bulgarian drinks that you should try are Kamenitza Beer, Rakya and Raspberry Wine.
A Kamenitza beer makes an excellent first drink.
In Sofia, make sure that you try the classic Bulgarian alcoholic drink Rakya. You will get it in a shot glass. But be warned, it is probably too strong to do as a shot. Most Bulgarians sip it!
We tried a gorgeous Rasberry wine at the Apartment. On the pub crawl, you purchase your own drinks in the apartment to support the pub, but you do get a sweet desert which is a little bit like a chocolate ball containing fruit.
If you enjoyed this article you might also like to read my Bulgaria 10 day itinerary.