If your favorite time of day is after dark, you've come to the right place—Almaty and Astana stay up late. Nightclubs in Kazakhstan's major cities don't start closing until around four a.m., some stay open until dawn and sashaying through the doors before 11:30 p.m. is way too early.
The hours between midnight and six a.m. are the most happening time of the day for Kazakhstan's new breed of young and beautiful. The country's nightclubs are also the place to get noticed for dressing in the latest fashions. Astana and Almaty's nightclubs may be filled with go-go dancers wearing next to nothing, but that doesn't go for the patrons. If you're going to go out here, you want to look your best. If you don't, you might not get past the dress codes and "face control" – also known as pretty people only – practiced by the higher-end clubs. But don't worry too much. If you're obviously a visitor to the city, the clubs will often give you a pass.
In Astana, you can head out into the night at the Art Gallery Nightclub, which has a bowling alley in addition to a restaurant, bar and dance floor. The friendly El Karnak, in addition to its dance floor, has a lounge, Karaoke and a space for live Rock 'n' Roll every weekend. And intimate Azhur targets a crowd looking for chandeliers, luxury and theme parties.
But while Astana's nightlife scene is just starting to emerge, Almaty has been partying for a long time. There you can find everything from internationally renowned DJs, to 1980s retro to Latin-style clubs. So put on your best shirt and head out into the night. Just don't show up too early.