This post is part of the ’10 things to do in Malta this summer series’. Use the link below to see the other 9 posts:
1) Venture off the beaten track, 2) Rent a farmhouse in Gozo and explore the island, 3) See a Caravaggio, 5) Dine in honey-coloured bastions, 6) Work on your tan, 7) Take a walk along a promenade, 8.) Get yourself on a boat, 9) Drive along the coast road, 10) Experience a true Maltese summer event
4) Party all night
If there is one thing that the Maltese know how to do well, it’s to party hard all weekend and all night long. Most of us have already found their way into their first club by the age of 14 and probably consumed a couple (understatement) of illegal drinks (the legal age for drinking is still only surprisingly 16) or got quite often totally pissed.
Most tourists flock to the Maltese epicentre of vice known as Paceville, whose name is literally translated as ‘Village of peace’. Of course, the minute you step into this seemingly endless concentration of bars, pubs, loud eateries and the occasional strip club, you realise that the name couldn’t make less sense. Well, my friend, once, a couple of decades ago, this was just a little quiet village, until the forces of capitalism, booze and debauchery found it.
Considering the fact that most Maltese started going to Paceville in their early teens, by the time they’re a little bit older they start looking for alternatives, because, put plain and simply, they just can’t stand it anymore. Nowadays, the place is more of a tourist attraction than a local hangout (excluding the Maltese teens who still use this place for their initiation as chronic party animals) and since probably even the odd Mongolian out there has heard of this infamous place, I shall discuss a different and to me fantastic partying venue, and the only club I visited during my short trip back to Malta. Called Gianpula, it’s situated very close to the old city of Mdina, and you’ll need some form of private transport to get yourself there. The entry fee is only 7 euros and drinks cheap by international standards. What is most important for me though is that there usually are no tourists in sight (which will change after this post, but I’m not living in Malta anymore). It’s not that I have something against tourists, in fact I absolutely love them. But people tend to do in clubs away from home stuff they never would in their country and you can see this every weekend in Summer in Paceville. It’s not really a pretty sight, unless you’re a horny guy standing below a drunk teenage foreigner dancing on the bar with a short short skirt and no panties.
At Gianpula, a crowd of mostly locals meant that there was very little eye-candy – I am sorry to say that I find Maltese men to be some of the most unattractive in the world – but there were no drunkards lurching in a corner and the music selection was perfect for some dancing with the girlfriends. The entire club is quite large and housed under a giant tent, with different areas to which you can retire. While the main, cock-fighting-pit-like dance floor caters for commercial music at the beginning of the evening and transforms into a techno space later, a smaller area under the starts focuses on hip-hop (danceable of course).
People here talk, dance, drink and have a generally good time without going too far. People get hot and sticky and bathrooms quickly start not to look like bathrooms anymore (so beware). Women waiting to visit the loo will also not be really willing to keeping to the queue, but I can also somehow live with that. The only thing I cannot shake off my head from my latest visit is the image of an extravagantly dressed professional dancer already performing precariously ok/not ok dance moves engaging, just for 30 seconds, in a totally nonsensical robot dance bit to the tunes of a commercial song. Whatever possessed her in those short/interminably long 30 seconds, I’m afraid, is beyond me.
P.S. Gianpula is a seasonal club, open only during the summer months (because as I’ve already said, it happens under a tent). Check out its website, www.gianpula.com, for more information.
-Text and Photography by Denise Pulis @www.theartofslowtravel.com