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Samoa Travel Guide

pool tables
enjoying a game of pool at an Apia bar

Nightclubs and Bars

A number of outstanding bars are in the rambling old wooden buildings facing Beach Road and the harbor between the New Zealand and Australian high commissions. After 2100 these clubs collect a cover charge and there's some wild dancing. Crabbers Bar (Monday to Saturday 1000 to midnight), below Sails Restaurant on Beach Road, has earthy Samoan atmosphere. You can get chicken or fish and chips, oka, and sashimi from the food concession. There are two pool tables in back.

Lighthouse on Beach Road is a safe, casual place to drink or play pool (go elsewhere if you want to dance). Their slogan is "work, hard, play harder." Food offerings include fish and chips, chicken and chips, sashimi, fish steak, curries, and stir fries.

Right next to Lighthouse is Bad Billy's (closed Sunday) with hamburgers and tuna steaks served upstairs. On the Rocks (Monday to Saturday 1130-midnight), a few doors west, is a popular cocktail lounge (no cover charge anytime).

Paddles Cafe (Monday to Saturday 1000-midnight, kitchen closes at 2100), on Beach Road toward the wharf, offers a bar, pool tables, and great sunset views from the balcony.

Apia's favorite watering hole for older local men is the RSA Club (Monday to Saturday 0900-midnight) on Beach Road in the center of Apia. The food bar here is open weekdays but you're better off buying takeaway fish and chips at the nearby fish market and bringing it in to consume with a Vailima. Whenever there's live music it's loud. (The RSA Band is rather uptight about piracy of their music, so talk to the manager before using your tape recorder, if you know what's good for you.) Foreign visitors are welcome here, there's ample seating, and active pool tables.

Upscale Le Fautasi Lounge, on Convent Street above La Taula Restaurant, is a popular venue among local expats. It stays open after the others have closed.

Hennie's Sports Bar (Monday to Saturday 1000-midnight), on Fugalei St. opposite Valentine's Motel, is popular for its pub food such as curries or fish and chips. It's run by a former Manu Samoa player and patronized mostly by older men who enjoy watching the five TV screens. A new two-story hotel with 20 rooms faces the bar.

The roughest place is the Mount Vaea Nightclub on Vaitele St., open Monday to Saturday 1600-midnight, Apia's meet market since 1968. It's fast and loud with the best band in town, and there are lots of boys/girls. Things don't get going until late, and drunks often spin into squabbles, so stay out of the middle and be really friendly to everyone. The trouble is usually between local Samoans, rarely tourists, and the huge bouncers intervene quickly. Happy hour is from 1600-1800, live music begins at 1900, and the cover charge is in place from 2000.

At the Apia Yacht Club (closed Monday), also out on the Mulinu'u Peninsula, you can get a great cheeseburger and a drink at happy hour Tuesday to Friday 1700-1900. All visitors are welcome with a member; polite, nicely dressed visitors without a member are invited in too.

The fa'afefine (transvestites) usually come in groups, so either they're somewhere or they're not. Drunken palagis often mistake them for women. The crowd also seems to shift from week to week.

In past Tropicana Nightclub (Monday to Saturday 1600 to midnight), at the west end of the sideroad beginning next to Tatiana Motel, has had a fa'afefine show Fridays and Saturdays at 2200 (S$5 cover charge after 1900).

At midnight the police begin making the rounds of the clubs and bars closing everything down, and by 0100 the city is dead. Almost everything except the hotel bars is tightly shut on Sunday and that day you're supposed to be a hotel guest to be drinking there.