Lake Como – Nightlife
Lake Como may be known for its aura of class and elegance rather than its raving nightlife, but don’t underestimate its nocturnal potential. Lake Como by night is a land of elegance, drama and glamour. Although there are always options for those who prefer a quieter drink, there is certainly no shortage of sophistication and excitement on Como’s dark shores.
One of the best ways to enjoy Lake Como’s nightlife is to stay in the restaurants. That’s right, unlike the English culture of chucking people out after last orders, a Como restaurant comes into its own after hours. This is often helped by a combination of cocktails and midnight lakeside ambience, as well as some of the best bartender conversation going. Most restaurants and bars on Lake Como tend to be situated within hotels, giving them a buzzing communal atmosphere late into the night; something reminiscent of Jay Gatsby’s parties. Most of Como’s towns will have something to offer, in particular Mezzegra, Varenna, Tremezzo, Griante and Cadenabbia for a classy quiet drink. For something a with a bit more pace, pay a vist to Lido De Lenno, in Lenno; this chic bar and restaurant has its own private beach and is so pretty that it’s a popular wedding venue in the area. Contemporary art-chic interiors are fused with warmly rustic decor, and the terrace and beach by lantern light is an unrivalled Italian night-time hang out. Add to this candlelit gazebos and a disco dance floor which will see you dancing on the beach on Friday and Saturday nights, and you’re onto a winner.
The Grand Hotel Tremezzo is another stunning venue; head for the piano bar on the second level for cocktails of a lifetime, all with a view of Lake Como. Meanwhile, Cantina Follie is an affordable option with a bustling atmosphere and a pretty portico location; a great Friday night feel. For a wild card option, Bar Ritrovo in Menaggio doubles as a bookstore and is usually full of local chatter and aperitivos in the evenings, ideal for an inquisitive traveller. La Divina Commedia is another quirky experience thanks to its Dante inspiration and surreal heaven, hell and purgatory themes with flair decor to match. Bar Vechia Torre in Griante on the other hand is a great little bar with table football and classroom decor, taking you back!
Bar Gabbiano in Menaggio has some delicious Italian ice cream, as well as liqueurs and Bar Tana tends to attract a younger crowd with its live music and DJ sets. If you fancy going all out then what better option is there than Lido Di Menaggio, complete with two pools, a beach and a brewery?! For a summer drinking spot, try Harry’s Bar tucked away in the back streets of Cernobbio.
Entoca Cava Turacciolo is a gorgeous little wine cave, ideal for pre or post dinner drinks. Not only will you find a fabulous selection of wine here, all tailored to your tastes by expert waiters, but there are also cheese plates to die for, including ones with honey infusions. Of a similar vein is Aperitivo Et Al Bar which is a cosy bar offering a homemade experience with a lovely drinks list, cheese and cold meat plates.
Another of Lake Como’s fortes is casinos. What with scenes of Casino Royale being shot in Villa Balbianello, it’s hardly surprising that the casino scene is lively! Forget Vegas, experience the real class and glamour of an Italian casino. Just a few include Casino di Campione, Casino di Lugano and Casino Mendrisio. Many of the casinos lie alongside Lake Lugano in Swiss territory, making the tax haven a superb location for roulette, blackjack and poker.
Nightclub wise, The Passion Club has a huge dance floor and regular theme nights for party lovers. Orsa Maggiore Disco in Lecco is popular with both locals and tourists and plays all sorts of music from house to Latin American, so get throwing those salsa shapes; but perhaps even more enticing, there’s a private beach where you can hire canoes and pedalos! Rockers will feel at home in Club 29 Dongo and there are often live bands performing. For other party animals seeking somewhere to dance until 3, there’s Tartaruga in Villa Guardia, about 15 minutes from Como. For an elaborate evening of decadence, drop by the Moulin Rouge nightclub in Colico.
Pure class can be found on the lake itself; there’s nothing quite like a moonlit boat cruise across Como. Begin the evening with some lakeside dining, as dinner is often the main event of a Como evening, before boarding your starlit cruise. Alternatively, head into Bellagio to enjoy some open air opera at the amphitheatre; it’s always worth checking out what’s going on as the wonderful acoustics host anything from Shakespearean plays to upcoming Italian music artists. Other spectaculars include the Jazz Festival in Tremezzino and the ‘Citta della Musica’ Festival in Como itself which stages six large concerts in the park of Villa Olmo.
These kinds of concerts go on well into the night but have a fantastic atmosphere, one that even the children will enjoy. Concerts are also often held in Como’s marvellous villas, such as Villa Carlotta. Lake Como is also home to some spectacular firework displays with its vivid fiery reflections in the rippling waters. For those seeking a quieter night, pay a visit to one of Como’s four cinemas and have an Italain ‘Cannes’ experience with a variety of art-niche and mainstream films to choose from.
Whether you wish to enjoy fine dining, feel the sand between your toes as you dance into the small hours, discover eclectically themed bars or experience the romance of Italy through amphitheatre outings, Lake Como is a nocturnal jewel.
For the young at heart ~
Tartaruga is in Villa Guardia a little town near Como (about 15 minutes by car). Here there are often live music shows and you can dance till 3 a.m. www.tartaruga.com
Lido di Lenno: This is a beach bar/restaurant about half an hour’s drive north of Como which on Friday and Saturday nights turns into a nightclub. The restaurant is open every day from midday to 11pm, and the beach bar from 10am to 4am. Entrance is free and drinks aren’t as expensive as in most nightclubs (5 euros for a beer, 6 for a cocktail, and like most places you pay first then get your drink). There is a covered dance floor with a bar, but there are gazebos on the beach with seats and candles, and people often dance on the beach.
Address: Via Comoedia 1, Lenno, CO, Phone: +39 0344 57093.
Directions: from Como, head north along the west side of the lake following signs to Menaggio. Once in Lenno follow signs to the lido. www.lidodilenno.com
Couples, Lovers & Gamblers ~
If you are looking for a more varied and slower nighttime experience, with food and entertainment then simply stroll to the waters edge in any of the local towns; Harry’s Bar in Cernobbio for example, or find tucked away restaurant in the back streets of old Como. Or maybe travel across the border to Lugano where you can sample the delights of elegant restaurants and window shop late in the evening.
If you want to spend a night in a different way it is possible to choose one of the many casinos situated near the Lake Como. In Campione Italia a world famous casino awaits you with its gaming tables and slot machines. Campione, even if it is situated in Switzerland, belongs to Italy. This Italian enclave can be reached in 30 minutes by car. Another casino is situated in Lugano, Swiss city on the lake having the same name, forty minutes from the border. The third casino, smaller and with a nine numbers roulette, is in Mendrisio, only fifteen minutes far from the customs of Chiasso.
In Como there are 4 cinemas:
Cinema Astoria-Via XX Settembre,5- 031262170 3 screens
Cinema Astra-Via G.Cesare, 3-031261234
Cinema Gloria-Via Varesina,72-031523995
Cinema Politeama-viale Cavallotti, 1- 031273000