Compared with other cities, even in Spain, a night out in Santiago begins later and lasts longer:
Between 8.30 and 10 pm is the time for drinking a few wines. The wine bars are lively, noisy and, at this time, full. In most of them, wines are served with ‘tapas’, small, tasty snacks –of cold meat, cheese, Spanish omelette, etc- that go down well with a drink and, in the case of Santiago -unlike other places-, are free.
Apart from wine, people usually order ‘raciones’ –portions-, which serve as an informal dinner. The portions that are included in the menu –squid, octopus, omelette, ‘Padrón’ peppers…- are meant to be shared among several people. Normally, each person helps himself, using his own fork, directly from a common dish.
After 10 pm is dinnertime for those who want a more formal or tranquil option. Most restaurants accept reservations until 10.30 pm or even 11 pm, which means that the meal, including coffee -typically made in a pot- or spirits -coffee liqueur or eau de vie pure, toasted or with aromatic herbs-, may last until midnight or even 1 am.
Drinking time begins at 11 pm and lasts until 3.30 am, when the first bars close. From then on some places remain open, where you can have a seat and listen to music that is not too loud. However, this is the time of dance clubs, where people do not normally go before 1 am, unless they want to dance to Latin rhythms in specialised clubs.
The clubs close just when the discos are at their busiest and, after 5 am, the last bars begin to open. And at 6 am, you can have breakfast: hot chocolate with ‘churros’ –fritters- is the traditional breakfast, and also chicken for some.