Follow the millennia-old axiom: When in crisis, bacchanal.
Austerity, what austerity? The Greeks don’t let a little financial catastrophe kill their natural buzz. Start your trip with the requisite afternoon stroll up to the Parthenon, where you can pick up some Alpha beers at a street kiosk (Greece is very lax on open-container laws), and keep walking to Philopappou Hill, the shrubby knoll southwest of the Acropolis offering the best views of both ruins and Aegean Sea. Around dusk, knock back some Mai Tai Blues and rock out to the Ramones at the kitschy Tiki Athens club (tikiathens.com). For an even rowdier time (especially if there’s a big cricket or soccer match), clink pints with expat Brits and Aussies at the Athens Sports Bar (athenssportsbar.gr). Do dinner in Kolonaki, a fashionable neighborhood dominated by open-air cafés and restaurants that turn into clubs around midnight. Continue the party at the surprisingly sleek Hilton Athens (from $268; hilton.com), whose rooftop Galaxy Bar attracts a steady stream of Athenians apparently unaffected by fiscal uncertainty.
OR: Concentrate your energies on singles who speak your language.
Brisbane’s booming bar, restaurant, and art scenes mean it’s no longer playing third fiddle to Sydney and Melbourne. Start at the Gallery of Modern Art (gaq.gld.gov.au), which has an exhibit of contemporary New Zealand art coming May 1 and a hot-ticket Valentino retrospective starting August 7. The gallery-concert-venue hybrid the Fort (thefort.org.au) displays local artists and stages live bands. For dinner, you’ve got options: There’s Beccofino for spicy pizza bianche (beccofino.com.au); the Buffalo Club for a foodie-stalked fourteen-course degustation menu ($160; thebuffaloclub.com.au); and Bar Barossa (purplepalate.com) for the stellar local wine list and views of Brisbane’s Story Bridge. Order flights of martinis at La Ruche Bar & Supperclub (laruche.com), followed by shots at mega–bar complex Cloudland (cloudland.tv). Last rounds are at the rooftop lounge of the Limes Hotel, where you can ask for a late-night check-in for $99, less than half the standard room rate (from $249; limeshotel.com.au).
Go clubbing in artsy quartiers in Partytown, Canada.
Arrive thirsty: Montrealers view drinking cheaply as their birthright. Case in point: Apportez votre vin (Bring your own wine) restaurants are spiking in popularity with the still-sluggish economy. Guzzle your own red—bought at the closest government-run wine purveyor, SAQ store Mont-Royal (514-521-8230)—at the new Le Quartier Général (514-658-1839) in the Plateau district, where the blackboard menu is scribbled with tasty oddities like rabbit saddle with sunchokes and mustard sauce. In the same neighborhood, watch the sunset on the rooftop patio of super-loud Muzique (muziquemontreal.com), which, like many Montreal clubs, is characterized by French élan, Ibizan D.J.’s, and Canadian friendliness. The current party central is in downtown Montreal, at the Opus hotel’s Koko Restaurant & Bar (kokomontreal.com), where you can get juiced on hibiscus-laced cocktails ($12) and then sprawl out on low-backed chairs and eye Francophone models and their fabulous friends as they stumble down the lime-green runway. (A recent patron: Lady Gaga.) Crash at Le Westin (from $169; westinmontreal.com), which opened last spring in the former Gazette printing-press building with a great martini bar, called Reporter, in its mezzanine.
OR: Count on the Eastern Bloc for stiff drinks and an edgier scene.
Going out in Eastern Europe’s nightlife capital begins at one of eight secret pubs behind the street address Nowy Swiat 22. The coolest one, Pewex (myspace.com/pewex_club), fills up quickly, so show up early. Later, head to bustling diner-bar Zakski Przekski (48-22-826-7936) for vodka and herring in the once-grand wartime Hotel Europejski. Party-hop within the Palace of Culture and Science, a Stalin-era landmark that houses Klub 55 (klub55.pl), an electro club/tango milonga (depending on the night), and Café Kulturalna (kulturalna.pl), a vernissage and concert space with an excellent outdoor area. Sleep it off at Hotel Rialto (from $135; hotelrialto.com.pl), one of Warsaw’s first boutique properties.
Find a happy hour every hour—without the Bourbon Street mobs.
In the months without massive festivals (Mardi Gras in February and Jazz fest in April), tourist traffic to New Orleans drops—as do prices at many hotels. Go then, and avoid the slog down Bourbon Street by widening the scope of your bar crawl. Start in Marigny, where the Spotted Cat Music Club (206-337-3273) stages at least two jazzy bands a night. D.J. Soul Sister and an excellent late-night tapas menu are a double draw at nearby Mimi’s (myspace.com/mimisinthemarigny). At R Bar, $10 buys you a shot and a haircut on a Monday (royalstreetinn.com). Things get a little more upscale at the year-old cocktail bar Cure in Freret (plain old “uptown” to the locals). In the Central Business District (or “CBD”), the ramshackle Victorian house turned drinking den Circle Bar (504-588-2616) is a must-hit dive, while, by the Riverbend, Snake & Jake’s Christmas Club Lounge (snakeandjakes.com) is a New Orleans specialty: the sketchy but endearing roadhouse saloon. If you’re a sound sleeper (or have really good earplugs), book the “We Will Rock You Suite” at Loft 523 in CBD (starts at $79; loft523.com). The suite’s above a thumping bar, so you get a $50 bar tab to sweeten the deal.
OR: See the trickle-down effect of young liberals in power. (Bars!)
D.C.’s nightlife impresarios have capitalized on the influx of young Democrats by opening cocktail bars and dance spots in formerly downtrodden neighborhoods. Watch begoggled Hill staffers blow off steam at the Spike Sundays pool parties at the Capitol Skyline Hotel (capitolskyline.com), which has Top Chef-er Spike Mendelsohn on the grill, electro-dance music on the sound system, and Las Vegas in its blood. Roam the burgeoning H Street NE corridor, where the speakeasy Little Miss Whiskey’s Golden Dollar (littlemisswhiskeys.com) is just three blocks away from H Street Country Club (thehstreetcountryclub.com), a bar-restaurant with a mini-golf course. Foodies have adopted the Logan Circle neighborhood, alighting on Masa 14 for Asian-Latin fusion and the ChurchKey (churchkeydc.com) for combos like shrimp corn dogs. A room at the W (from $399; starwoodhotels.com) grants you coveted access to the Point of View rooftop bar, whose cocktail menu was curated by Sasha Petraske of Milk & Honey.