Malta

Our Guide to Malta

Intro
Verified Bars
City Guide
Map

The clash of cultures and effect of tourism define Malta’s drinking scene. Malta is a tiny island and there is a reasonably big brewery based there which does a tidy range of beer, Cisk, an unexpectedly decent tasting lager (think Sam Smith’s Taddy), Blue Label, a very old fashioned (not in a good way) bitter ale, Hopleaf, a rather rank pale ale and finally a low gravity milk stout amusingly named Lacto.

It’s a range more akin to a working man’s club in Bolton in the 1970s than an island on the Mediterranean, but Malta is an oddity and this unusual quirk is just one of a series that come, gradually, to define the place.

There are a series of ex-pat type bars across Malta which as usual are over-the-top, garish, rather too filled with England flags, and run by the kind of people you’d see bare chested on EDL rallies in Dagenham (while, with no self-awareness, colonising other countries).

Due to the sleepy and backward nature of the traditional drinking scene you may have to slightly hold your nose at times and enter in.

The Maltese themselves seem to prefer smokey drop-in type bars which are not dissimilar to those found in France.

This isn’t to say Malta is without any standout places. There are some atmospheric bars to be found in central Valletta if you’re out at the right time of the evening. Additionally, the craft beer scene has hit Malta, and even Gozo features its own microbrewery (though good luck finding those beers in most venues).

Otherwise, expect mainly the same row of generic cafés in the squares and marinas along the coast offering Cisk.

Ratings Key (0-10)

Bars marked (*) will take you to our full profile write-up!

 

 

 

 

 

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Café Jubilee * Valletta 6 8 8 6 7 8
Ollie’s
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Valletta 6 8 8 5 6 8
Mdina

A historic city with only a handful of inhabitants, the silent city will certainly feel that way if you make any effort to hang around after 8 o clock in the evening.

Sliema

pop. 19,798

This port town is now really a continuation of the marina, harbour area of Valletta, regularly accessible by boat in either direction. With a host of hotels and apartments, you will find a supply of bars here, a mixture between generic European and slightly tacky British expat pubs.

Valletta

pop. 383, 938 (metropolitan area)

When Valletta was selected as European City of Culture, it served its purpose, belatedly reminding the continent that here was a city with a spectacular history and some of the most beautiful and atmospheric monuments in Europe.

Malta is such a melting pot that the rules and rhythms are difficult to get to grips with, perhaps even for those who have lived there years. Valletta is similar – while on the face of it the whole city may look like it has gone to sleep by about 8pm, the action is really barely starting down a couple of choice backstreets. Our favourite is Café Jubilee, a tidy art nouveau bar with a distinctive character and atmosphere, but you will also find some pleasant, perhaps a tad more contemporary venues on the backstreet artery running from south west to north east of the old town. You will find Valletta worth your while visiting.

Victoria

pop, 6,291

The island of Gozo is a china doll miniature of Malta, though try telling them that. Victoria is without doubt a beautiful city and worth visiting from the ‘mainland’. Outside of the regular drab cafés and dubious ex-pat pubs, keep a lookout for their own branch of Café Jubilee and anywhere selling Gozoan craft beer.