Holidays to Madeira might see nights slip onto the quiet side during the week, but it's the weekends where the energy spikes and the evenings come to life. The majority of nightlife in Madeira is gathered in and around Funchal, the island's capital, though you'll find little cafe-turned-bars wherever you go. In Funchal, get your night started at local bars before heading towards the waterfront where many of the clubs are clustered. Don't expect to come home before the sun rises – nights out here are the real deal.
The Madeira Rum House is just that – a house that's been transformed into a rum bar. It's one part museum and the other part makeshift cocktail lounge, in which the owner mixes up classic Madeira-based cocktails and gives a tour for your palate of rums produced in distilleries in the area.
Not exactly a hopping nightclub, Madeira Rum House is instead a quiet little spot to relax on the veranda with a cocktail, especially the island's local speciality, poncha. It's a sweet-tasting cocktail made from honey, lemon and aguardente de cana – an alcohol made from sugar cane – though sometimes it highlights other fruit juices instead.
Perhaps the most popular and well-known club in Madeira, Vespas is the island's big dog, found down along the docks.
Vespas is open from midnight until the sun comes up so it's where night owls go when the doors of other clubs shut and they just aren't ready to go home yet. Once a giant warehouse, it's now a hub for house music, and plays host to visiting DJs as well as live music and themed events during the summer. Cheap holidays to Madeira are all about the good times, and you're sure to find them here.
Jam is a disco that attracts party-goers of all ages, mostly because the music is a selection of feel-good oldies that everyone can get on board with.
There are house DJs that know the rules of the road here, but Jam is constantly welcoming guest DJs and entertainers to change things up. There's a dress code to follow, so check in advance what you're expected to wear. And word to the wise is that on most weekends, there's free entry if you arrive before a certain time. You'll also get your hands on drink deals.
A nightclub within the Casino de Madeira, Copacabana is a bit of a Madeira institution. The music here covers just about every genre you can think of, from pop to house music and oldies but goodies. Latin nights with pulsing samba beats are also held frequently. There's an outdoor space to catch your breath between dance-offs, plus, you'll have access to the casino in case you want to have a go at the slots.
Moynihan's is your neighbourhood Irish pub brought to Madeira. It's the only Irish pub on the entire island, but luckily it meets the challenge head on, and often attracts expats looking for a little taste of home. On offer here are TVs playing live sports, live music and special holiday events that make it a holidaymaker's home away from home. They also have a rooftop terrace, not to mention Irish food and cold pints of Guinness on the tap.