Astana seems like an unlikely destination for partying. Yet, as the capital of Kazakhstan and the country's second largest city after Almaty, it has a decent nightlife with at least 3 popular nightclubs and dozens of bars.

This review will be quite short as I only stayed in Astana on transit for 2 days. Still, you should find here all the basic information you need for a great night out.  If you have a comment to add, please do so at the end of the article.

Update March 2019: Astana has changed its name to become Noursoultan.

Where to stay near the nightlife:
I would recommend staying in the area around the Bayterek tower, near the pedestrian Nurzhol Boulevard.

The best hotels in terms of comfort and location in Astana are the following:
- Under 40$ per night: Mini Hotel Sultan and Mini Hotel Bereket Dip
- Under 60$ per night: Best Western Plus Astana (Most recommended)
- Under 90$ per night: Sky Luxe Hotel
- More than 150$ per night: Hilton Garden Inn (near the 6/45 Resto Bar) and Ritz Carlton Astana

Those hotels are very central, but you'll still need a short taxi ride to go to most of the bars and clubs listed below. As you'll find out, the city is spread out and the cold makes it impossible to walk for too long during the winter.

What to expect:

When to Party?
During the week, nightclubs and bars are generally quiet, if not closed. During those days, it's better to visit pubs like O'Hara that stay open until 2-3AM. Things get better on Friday and Saturday, with bars staying open until 5AM and nightclubs until 6AM.

Dress Code
For the Zaza Club and Icon, it is recommended to wear pants and shoes. Elsewhere, it is more flexible.

ID Card
It is better to bring your ID with you as it is sometimes required to enter nightclubs.

Cost of Partying
It is generally affordable to party in Astana: For a full night out, you can expect to spend around 25,000 Tenge (65$).

The best clubs have an entry fee of around 3,000 Tenge (8$). A pint of beer will cost from 600 Tenge to 1,500 Tenge (1.5$ to 4$) and a glass of decent imported whiskey between 1,000 Tenge and 2,000 Tenge (2.5$ to 5$). A taxi ride will cost you 500 Tenge for 10 minutes (less with Uber).

When going to a nightclub, always consider buying a bottle to reduce your cost and to get a table.

Meeting Girls
Compared with Almaty, girls are predominantly Kazakhs (Asian type), with a minority of Russians. If you are decent looking, with a stable job, you should be able to gather considerable interest from most girls. An issue you may encounter is that many of them only speak broken English. If you know some Russian, it will certainly help you tremendously.

Another thing to know is that Astana girls are quite conservative. Yes, they are interested in foreigners, but rarely for one-night stands. For this reason, it will be more difficult if you are a tourist or only on a business trip. To those, I recommend making some contacts a few weeks before landing, for instance by changing your location on Tinder to Astana. You can also try Badoo and Mamba (Russian).

Meeting girls in nightclubs or pubs is not too difficult as long as you are not shy to go talk to them. Be careful when talking to girls that are part of a group led by a guy. He is probably paying for the drinks and for this reason, he might feel that the girls belong to him. To avoid problems, befriend him before making any moves.

Best Bars and Nightclubs:
You can click on the name of the club/bar to check their social media page. Make sure that the places are still open before heading there. 
This nightclub, opened by the Russian entertainment firm Sagrada Corp, is located near the mall Mega Astana. It is the largest in the city, with 1000m2 on two separate dance floors and a summer terrace (Belvedere). 

There is no entrance fee but you have a minimum spending requirement of 7,000 Tenge for men and 5,000 Tenge for women.

It's the most happening place in the city and packed on weekends. The crowd is upmarket, from the upper middle class to the elite. The ambiance can get pretty wild, especially thanks to the sexy dancers moving on the tables. They also have other forms of entertainment like live music or fashion shows. Each week will have a different theme.

Strict dress code. Music is the usual mainstream EDM/House.

Open on Friday and Saturday only from 11PM until 6AM.

This bar/restaurant is frequently recommended by locals. Just behind the Hilton Garden Inn, it is open on weekdays and somewhat busy, especially on Wednesdays. Fridays and Saturdays can be packed and very lively. No dancefloor. Good cocktails. Maybe the best place to meet Kazakh girls in Astana.

Newton Club
This is a less expensive venue, more easy-going and with a younger crowd (18-25). It has the advantage of being open during weekdays. Student night on Wednesdays. Entrance is 2,000 Tenge for men and 1,000 Tenge for women (free before midnight). Gogo dancers.

Zaza Club
Located on Imanov street, this club belongs to the Aria group, which is also the owner of Barley Bar/Restaurant and Mojo Bar (same location). It is one of the most exclusive nightclubs in Astana at the moment, and it is naturally where the Kazakh elite is partying. DJs play a mix of EDM and anthems. Sexy dancers, fashion shows, models and hostesses warm up the ambiance all night long. Entrance fee is 3,000 Tenge (free for girls before 1AM).

Open only Friday and Saturday until 6AM.
Barley's is a busy bar next to Zaza
O'Hara Pub
An Irish pub that would be unremarkable if it was located in Europe. In Astana, it is quite popular on weekends, especially with expats. The local beer is cheap (500 Tenge per glass). Good for newcomers who need to make friends. They also serve Irish food.

A cool drinking joint with a British theme. It got its name from the huge bus in front of the pub. Quality live music and food.

A bit out of the city center. It is open every day until 5AM. Basic but popular with a younger crowd. Live music and DJ.

The Boulevardier
Intimate bar with great live music and DJs. Open on weekends only.

Another Irish Pub, quite expensive and lacking charm. Live music.

A beautiful bar near the Bayterek tower. Not too crowded so fine for a drink after work.

This pub has cheap drinks (especially for members who get an extra discount) and snacks. Popular with a middle-class crowd. Very loud music (house, pop, rock, etc). Small dancefloor.

Intimate, laid-back live music pub and restaurant. Only 5 minutes away from Chechil. Open from Thursday to Sunday.

An Irish Pub, again, in Yesil district in the south of Astana. Modern design but quiet. Food and live music. See their events on Facebook.

A hipster burger restaurant serving beer. Popular with foreigners after it was featured in a Guardian article. Expensive but convenient. Check their Facebook for special events (live music, DJs). Shisha and foosball available. Open daily.

Best Saunas in Astana
Most saunas in Astana are family-oriented, meaning there are no sexual services offered there. A few of them, however, are a bit more naughty and they cater to a male crowd.

Some famous saunas are Marrakesh Spa, Home Spa, Cleopatra Spa or Euphoria Spa. They belong to the same group, they are open 24/7, and they offer similar services: Pools, jacuzzi, (Turkish) hammam, billiard, karaoke, restaurant, bar, hookah, striptease, etc.

The massage services range from traditional ones (Ayurvedic, Swedish, Aromatherapy) to erotic ones. They are designated with strange names so it's a bit difficult to guess what it offered exactly. For example, here is the menu for body massage from Home Spa:
Lady escort, private striptease, sushi lady (Nyotaimori) and double temptation (threesome) are easy to guess. For the rest, I invite you to ask directly at the spa for more details. What is clear is that prostitution is available.

You can check the following website for a complete list of saunas in Astana (in Russian but easy to translate using Google): It lists over 90 saunas in the city and you can book them online. The price varies from around 5,000 Tenge per hour for a small cabin (4 pax) to 15,000 Tenge for large cabins (up to 20 pax).

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