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April 2, 2024


The European Nightlife Index: Where do Europeans Really Let Their Hair Down?

Martin Müller

Content Lead

Birthdays. Promotions. Weddings. What do they have in common? They all call for a party! But in which European country would you have the best chance of finding a club or bar to dance your shoes off? We know. And we’re about to share it with you.

This research is based on the % of clubs and bars from the total on-trade outlet count of each country. The % therefore reflect how big of a portion do these party-friendly places make of the total which is made of restaurants, cafés, bistros, fast-foods etc.

The data in this article are sourced from the Outlet Census Live BI tool for on-trade / HoReCa professionals from sales, strategy, analysis, sales support or field departments. Learn more about Outlet Census Live and what it can do for you specifically. Or access it directly with a free demo.

Outlet Census Live Direct Free Access

If you’re interested in even deeper insight, compare the results of this article with our previous research into the European on-trade culture:

Southern Europe: The Mediterranean Rhythms

The birthplace of flamenco - Spain - unsurprisingly leads the Southern pack with 23.24% of its outlets being party-centric. When Spaniards dine out, they're likely looking for a fiesta. Italy, often celebrated for its tranquil countryside and art, reveals its wild side with a close 23.21%. Seems like after a day of art and history, Italians are ready to let loose. Portugal, encapsulated in the melodic Fado, isn't just about serene tunes, contributing a lively 11.44%. 

Northern Europe: Cold Nights Ignite Warm Beats

Finland, often painted with images of tranquil lakes and the Northern Lights, emerges as an unexpected party titan with 10.35%. Perhaps those long winter nights are best spent dancing? Denmark isn't far behind, chiming in at 10.42%. Danish clubs mostly wake up after midnight, when all the hygge is finally done and people are ready to unleash their wild side. 

Norway and Sweden, with their pristine landscapes, offer 8.20% and 4.79% respectively. Particularly Sweden has a reputation as a country where club nightlife is enjoyed primarily by the social elite. The big cities tend to have more pubs and restaurants than clubs. And in the north, you will find mostly local drinking dens, a far cry from the cosmopolitan clubs of Stockholm. 

Central Europe: The Melting Pot

Germany, with its diverse culture, stands at 9.48%, reflecting big cities’ (especially Berlin’s) famous electronic music nightlife. Czechia has 8.84% of its outlets ready for a party, most of them concentrated in the party capital of Prague. Austria and Hungary, with their rich histories, present 12.18% and 11.63% respectively, indicating a Central European trend of blending tradition with revelry.

Western Europe: Daft Punk meets Johannes Calvin

France, synonymous with romance, leads Western Europe with 14.89%. It appears that post-dinner, the French transition from romantic dinners to lively dance floors. And it’s no surprise that one of the best dance music bands in history - Daft Punk - was formed in Paris, followed by other electronic music giants like David Guetta, Bob Sinclar or DJ Snake. 

Belgium seems to have a sweet spot for parties too, boasting 9.31%. The legal club age of entry is 16 years, but most places won’t let people under 18 in anyway. Most of the country's nightlife takes place in Brussels and Antwerp.

The Netherlands has 6.27% of its outlets as party hubs, which is quite a low number reflecting the fact that the only proper party city here is Amsterdam and the Dutch calvinist heritage doesn’t favor showing off or going obnoxiously crazy on the dancefloor (even though it of course happens all the time in Amsterdam clubs). 

Switzerland, often associated with tranquility, breaks the stereotype with a surprising 11.25% with most of the country’s nightlife taking place in West Zurich. Could it be that the Swiss mountains echo with more than just yodels?

Eastern Europe: Cold Shores Bring Cold Moves

Estonia leads Eastern Europe at 11.18%. The cobblestone streets of Tallinn, it seems, have more stories to tell than just history. Lithuania and Latvia, with their Baltic charm, contribute 9.01% and 8.63% respectively. Seems like the cold shores of the Baltic sea calms down some of the party passion. 

But what happened in Poland? The % of party places stands at a more reserved 2.56%. One of the reasons is the fact that Polish market is dominated by one-size-fits-all restaurants that serve both meals during the day and drinks in the evening, while proper clubs are bars being very rare. Every country is different, it seems. 

Data tell the truth

Europe's nightlife, much like its history, is diverse and layered. While some nations openly embrace the night, others hold their cards closer, revealing their party spirit in more subtle ways. But you’d be never able to tell the difference without precise data that uncover the truth hidden underneath prejudices and common misconceptions. 

That is the power of Outlet Census Live. Learn more about it including insight examples for various on-trade teams and professionals. 


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