Known for its storied history, magnificent architectural sites, and picturesque landscapes, Riverside, the largest city in California’s Inland Empire, holds a nightlife scene as mesmerizing as its day-time beauty. The city transforms as the sun dips, revealing a vibrant and engaging world of bars, clubs, and lounges.
From the bustling Downtown Riverside brimming with trendy spots to more relaxed and low-key venues in the Canyon Crest Towne Centre, Riverside has something for every nightlife enthusiast. An eclectic blend of local haunts and hidden speakeasies, Riverside’s nighttime offerings ensure a memorable experience for both residents and visitors.
Whether you’re seeking a craft beer tasting in a historic downtown brewery, looking to dance the night away to energetic beats in a bustling club, or yearning for a relaxed evening at a wine bar, Riverside has it all. With a dynamic nightlife scene that continues to evolve, this city ensures every evening holds a new experience.
In this guide, you’ll find comprehensive information on the best places to party, tips and advice for a safe night out, as well as an overview of the costs associated with Riverside’s nightlife. So, gather your friends, dress up, and get ready to navigate through the electric world of Riverside’s nightlife.
Where to Party in Riverside
Riverside’s nightlife is sprinkled across its bustling districts, ensuring diverse experiences:
Downtown Riverside: The heart of the city, it’s home to a variety of bars, clubs, and brewpubs along with many of the city’s most popular landmarks. This area is perfect for those looking to engage in lively chatter over drinks amidst the city lights.
Canyon Crest: A quieter, more laid-back neighborhood known for its chill lounges and relaxed atmosphere.
Arlington: Located in the western part of the city, Arlington is a historic district that houses a mix of classic pubs and modern hangout spots.
University District: Near the University of California, Riverside, this area is full of college bars and venues offering student-friendly prices and vibrant energy.
Riverside Nightlife Tips and Advice
Riverside is generally a safe city, but it’s always wise to be alert and aware of your surroundings. Don’t leave your belongings or drinks unattended.
The legal drinking age in the US, including California, is 21 years, so be ready to present your ID.
While tipping is not mandatory, it’s customary in the US to tip 15-20% of the total bill if the service is satisfactory.
Public transportation in Riverside includes buses and Metrolink trains, but service can be limited late at night. Rideshare apps like Uber and Lyft are widely available.
Most venues have a casual dress code, but some high-end venues may require a dressier appearance. When in doubt, opt for smart-casual attire.
Cost of Partying in Riverside
Drinks: Expect to pay around $5-8 for a beer, $8-12 for a glass of wine, and $10-15 for a cocktail at most bars and clubs in Riverside. More upscale venues may have higher prices.
Cover Charges: Some nightclubs in Riverside charge a cover fee, which typically ranges from $10-20, possibly including a free drink.
Rideshares: Prices will vary depending on distance and time of day, but expect to pay around $10-20 for a short ride within the city center.
Best Bars in Riverside
The Menagerie is a lively and colorful spot in Riverside that stands out for its commitment to the LGBTQ+ community and its vibrant nightlife. With its flamboyant decor, spirited drag shows, and high-energy dance floor, it’s a place that celebrates diversity and inclusivity. The bartenders at The Menagerie are known for crafting delicious cocktails, and the DJ lineup keeps the beats going well into the night. Regular theme nights, karaoke sessions, and community events make The Menagerie a dynamic and beloved venue in Riverside.
Named after a prominent Riverside settler, W. Wolfskill offers a luxurious setting for cocktail lovers. The bar features dark wood interiors, leather seating, and a detailed menu that pays homage to the classics while incorporating modern twists. The bartenders are masters at their craft, providing both curated and customized cocktails that tantalize the taste buds.
Lake Alice Trading Co.
Stepping into Lake Alice Trading Co. is like taking a step back in time to a classic American saloon. This iconic Riverside spot offers a warm and inviting atmosphere with rustic wooden decor, vintage memorabilia, and lively entertainment. Known for its extensive beer selection, delicious burgers, and live music performances, Lake Alice is a favorite for locals and tourists seeking a genuine, down-home experience. Whether you’re in the mood for line dancing, watching a live band, or simply enjoying a cold brew with friends, Lake Alice Trading Co. provides the perfect setting.
Heroes Restaurant & Brewery
A celebrated establishment in Riverside, Heroes Restaurant & Brewery is a haven for beer lovers and food enthusiasts alike. This spacious venue boasts an impressive selection of house-brewed beers, ranging from refreshing lagers to rich stouts, complemented by a hearty menu of American pub classics. The lively atmosphere, complete with sports memorabilia and big-screen TVs, makes it an ideal spot for game day gatherings or a fun night out with friends. Heroes’ commitment to quality brews and generous portions has earned it a loyal following among locals and visitors.
The Hideaway Cafe
Tucked away in the heart of Riverside, The Hideaway Cafe offers a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. This cozy cafe by day turns into a lively bar by night, featuring an array of specialty cocktails, fine wines, and craft beers. With its intimate setting, vintage decor, and relaxing outdoor patio, it’s the perfect place for a date night or a quiet evening with friends. The Hideaway Cafe’s live acoustic performances and art exhibitions add a touch of cultural flair, making it a hidden gem in Riverside’s nightlife scene.
Known for its urban-chic atmosphere, The Brickwood offers a unique blend of craft beers, artisanal cocktails, and gourmet bites. With its exposed brick walls and stylish decor, it’s a popular spot for locals and visitors to unwind. The venue hosts live music, trivia nights, and special events, adding a lively dimension to Riverside’s bar scene. Whether you’re meeting friends for a casual evening or looking for an upbeat weekend hangout, The Brickwood serves up a satisfying experience.
Art’s Bar & Grill
A true neighborhood staple, Art’s Bar & Grill is the place to be for classic comfort food, cold brews, and a friendly atmosphere. Featuring an extensive menu of all-American favorites, this laid-back bar and grill provides the perfect setting for watching the big game, enjoying live music, or simply catching up with friends. The welcoming staff, cozy interiors, and down-to-earth vibe make Art’s a beloved spot in Riverside’s nightlife scene.
With a strong focus on sustainability and craft beer culture, Beerfarm is more than just a bar – it’s an experience. Specializing in house-brewed ales, IPAs, stouts, and lagers, this farm-to-glass establishment offers a tasting journey like no other. The rustic, open-concept space, complete with reclaimed wood and vintage farm decor, creates a relaxed atmosphere that beer enthusiasts will love. Regular brewery tours, tastings, live music, and farm-to-table dining options make Beerfarm a unique and must-visit spot in Riverside’s burgeoning craft beer scene.
Best Nightclubs in Riverside
Aurea Vista stands as a multi-level entertainment hub, offering various dance floors and musical styles. The rooftop patio provides stunning city views, while the interior levels cater to different tastes, from electronic beats to Latin rhythms. Weekly events and guest DJs keep the energy high and the nights unforgettable.
A lively Mexican-inspired bar, El Calentano is renowned for its colorful ambiance and array of tequilas and cocktails. Enjoy authentic flavors and regular live performances in a festive setting that celebrates Mexico’s rich cultural heritage. Whether it’s a classic margarita or traditional Mexican fare, El Calentano promises an unforgettable night.
Riverside Nightlife Conclusion
Nestled in the heart of Southern California, the Riverside nightlife scene stands out as a melting pot of experiences. Every corner of the city offers a distinct vibe – from the inviting warmth of local breweries, where craft beers tell tales of tradition and innovation, to the electrifying pulse of nightclubs that dance to the latest beats.
Both locals and travelers find themselves drawn to the allure of Riverside after dark. With this guide as your companion, not only will you navigate the eclectic nightlife effortlessly, but you’ll also discover hidden gems and popular hotspots. As the sun sets, Riverside transforms into a realm of vibrant lights, rhythmic music, and unforgettable memories. Dive deep into the city’s nocturnal tapestry and let Riverside’s charm envelop you in an evening of enchantment and excitement.