Restaurants, nightclubs and cinemas showing English and Arabic films can be found in the main towns.
Within the capital city, Manama, 'nightlife' generally refers to eating out with friends in some of the city's excellent restaurants, particularly in the Adliya district. Pick up a copy of the Bahrain Hotel & Restaurant Guide for an exhaustive listing. There are also several fashionable nightclubs, mostly attached to hotels, which offer a mix of world music, house, R & B, hip hop and even the odd samba club. Live shows are advertised in the Nitelife section of Bahrain This Month and in the English-language newspapers.
The Bahrain International Exhibition Centre features traditional music recitals and the five-star hotels often host quality acts from abroad. All top hotels have attractive bars featuring happy hour and live jazz or piano music.
Bahrain has relatively liberal laws regarding alcohol and has long been a favourite getaway for visitors from Saudi Arabia and other nearby "dry" countries; don't be surprised to see Arabs in thobe and gutra sipping cool beers as they watch dancers strut their stuff in the hotel nightclub. However, since May 2007 all this debauchery has been restricted to five-star hotels, and you will not find regular restaurants offering alcohol.
Manama has a busy nightlife by Gulf standards. The main districts are Adliya, Hoora, Juffair and Business District.
If all you're looking for is a relaxed atmosphere to knock back your favourite beverage, try the Rugby Club. Usually you would have to be signed in by a member, but there are many open days (about once a week) where for a fee of BD1-2 ($2.50-$5), you can pretty much have the run of the club.
There are also some very good pubs in Bahrain, most of them equipped with the now standard pool tables, dart boards and multiple screens to watch international sports. The better pubs are invariably packed to overflowing when major European soccer or rugby games are being shown live.
One hotspot that has remained popular with the nightclub circuit for many years is The Warbler. It has a typical British pub atmosphere and has a well equipped kitchen that offers every type of pub food you can think of. There are events and promotions on at the Warbler practically every night. Ladies night on is on Tuesdays, where ladies only pay a BD2.50 ($6.60) entry fee and drink for free all night. Another very popular watering hole is the Irish themed pub JJ Murphy's. There's a resident DJ who entertains every night playing a wide variety of music and they have two quiz nights a week. JJ's is the ideal place to meet if you're planning on going on to a club afterwards as there's a connecting door from JJ's to Bahrain's most well known nightclub, Barnaby Joe's.
Wrangler's (Best Western Juffair Hotel) is an American-themed bar and dance club, popular with expatriates and US sailors.
Rock Bottom, which always have a live band playing, is a huge place where you will find pool tables and snooker at one end and the dance floor at the other. Rock Bottom provides just about everything you could want, it mixes the pub and club scene and is definitely big enough to pull it off.
Live bands are a regular feature at many nightclubs, and the choice of music is quite good, from Ethiopian and Arabic bands to Indian, Filipino and Western, though jazz is poorly represented. Harvesters is a very popular pseudo-British pub offering cold beer, pub grub and a Filipino band distinguished more by the singers' skimpy outfits than musical talent.
One of the smaller clubs that caters for more specific tastes is Likwid. It's about great music that's not commercial, set in a unique and cosy atmosphere. Likwid has become popular because of its varied music programme and of course the international guest DJs that visit the club on a regular basis.