strait street valletta

Strait Street in Valletta

  • May 8, 2021 of the city's most vibrant streets

In the past decade, Strait Street in Valletta has quickly become one of the city’s most vibrant streets. It’s easily the narrowest street in the city (the whole street is 665 metres long and 3.5-4 metres wide), but it’s also one of the most popular city hotspots, with a historical reputation that precedes it.

Strait Street’s History

Strait Street is a Valletta institution as it represents a unique era in the islands’ history. The street served as a space where individuals of various nationalities, classes and backgrounds intermingled. It was an intercontinental hotspot, and unlike other areas in the city, Strait Street served as an example of inclusivity and multiculturalism. The sheer number of bars, musicians and entertainment bolstered the street’s atmosphere of indulgence and debauchery. 

Strait Street was also known as a musical hub – particularly when it comes to the national jazz scene. The various interesting characters that haunted the streets served as an inspiration to Maltese or Malta-based artists – as foreigners brought records from abroad that inspired Maltese musicians to pursue the groove-based sounds that were a staple of Strait Street’s countless bars. 

This street’s hedonism contrasted with Malta’s heavily Catholic lifestyle. It served as a space of liminality, where rowdiness, sex work, music, cross-dressing, artists, barmaids, dancers, and drunkenness existed side by side, and were accepted. This organised confusion led to its nickname – “The Gut” – coined by the British sailors that frequented the street.   

Malta’s independence led to a decline in British and American servicemen visiting the islands, leading to the street’s demise. Strait Street struggled with extreme neglect from the 1970s onwards. In the past decade, efforts were made to regenerate this street. The Valletta 2018 was instrumental in leading these efforts: the agency appointed artistic director Dr Giuseppe Schembri Bonaci, a Valletta-born artist, to supervise this regeneration project. Valletta 2018, Schembri Bonaci and the Valletta Rehabilitation Project worked together to bring to life Strait Street in the 21st century.

Bars & Restaurants in Strait Street

Strait Street is now known for its excellent bar and restaurant scene. Eateries such as StrEat Whisky & Bistro, Loop Bistro Bar, Yard 32, Ortygia Food Experience and Tico-Tico Bar are some of the spots that are popular with locals and visitors alike. 

Where To Stay in Valletta?

Situated just three minutes away from the infamous Strait Street, Casa Ellul is one of Valletta’s leading boutique hotels. This luxury hotel has been lovingly renovated by the Ellul family, who managed to establish it as a Valletta staple that fuses traditional Maltese architectural elements with universal, modern commodities. With nine exclusive suites that embrace upscale sophistication, the hotel is the epitome of Maltese hospitality standards. Without a shadow of a doubt, Casa Ellul is the place to stay while visiting Malta’s capital.