Hanoi is the image of the usual tropical life in the morning, but stay awake long enough to watch its transformation at night and you’ll be in awe. Hanoi night life has the right adrenaline for every tourist wandering for their taste of booze. Be it a laid back or upbeat night out, the locals know how to throw a nice party.If you really want to get the complete Hanoi experience, you should check out the following places for your fix of fun.
1. Bia Hoi Junction
Bia Hoi is a local beer of Vietnam made from rice. It has to be drunk within 24 hours of production, thus sending locals on a drinking spree. If you’re looking for the quintessential place to experience the glory of Bia Hoi, you should head to the Bia Hoi Junction at the corner of Ta Hien in Old Quarter.
Bia Hoi Junction is every first-timers must-visit for a glimpse of nightlife in Hanoi. It’s quite overwhelming to see hundreds of locals, expats, and tourists sitting on plastic stools and having their glassfuls of Bia Hoi or just a late night snack. The stretch of the street is adorned with lots of makeshift bars and food stalls where you can get a tall glass of booze for just 35 US cents. Since Bia Hoi only has 4% alcohol content, you’ll have a long night if you’re planning to get wasted with some friends.
The junction is not much of a fancy place and it can be really squeezy at times and uncomfortable when raining. As much as you want to have a carefree Hanoi nightlife, I’ll advise that you mind your belongings for a hassle-free experience. The fun starts at 11 am until wee hours.
2. Binh Minh’s Jazz Club
Who doesn’t love the sexy jazz sound? If you like a more laid back place to spend the night, you can check out Binh Minh’s Jazz Club located behind the Hanoi Opera House near Hoan Kiem Lake. They have live jazz performances where you’ll get to see virtuosos on their saxophones as you find your spot in their cozy place.
Binh Minh is an accessible respite from the noise of the capital and the jazz jamming starts at 9 pm until 11:30 pm. The most sought-after act here is the famous Quyen Van Minh who had performed jazz all over the world. Aside from the music, the club has a wide variety of food and drinks including simple whiskey, imported beers, exquisite cocktails, and Vietnamese and foreign cuisines. With the dim lights complementing the minimalist design of the club, there’s nothing else you can ask for.
This club is a bit upscale so expect that prices are higher at a minimum of US$3. But it’s a little thing to cringe over because of the live performances and ambiance of the place.
3. Hanoi Press Club
Hanoi Press Club is an upscale place with live performances and a selection of restaurants and bars. They have a more upbeat atmosphere here but not too drowning. You can head here at 5 pm onwards and lose yourself on their gentleman’s bar. This Hanoi nightlife haven is located on the third floor of Press-Club Building at Ly Thai To Street in the bustling Hoan Kiem District.
Take note that the live music is only available from Thursday to Sunday. You can get a buy-one-get-one privilege on their selected drinks if you happen to drop by on a Thursday night. It has this old classic flair that you can observe on their sophisticated dining service. They have a Michelin-star menu at La Table Du Chef, which I think is enough to send me planning on my visit. Good food is a big part of a good night out.
If you’re intending to taste the good booze, go to La Plume Lounge and their bartenders will define what Hanoi drinks are. This side of the Hanoi Press Club is the most upbeat with a DJ exploding with party music.The place is the home of Vietnam’s finest journalists and writers and having this club in their space is a tribute. It’s open all day if you just want a different dining experience.
4. Legend Beer
Located in the middle of the busy Dinh Tien Hoang, Legend Beer has a three-storey nightlife experience. They brew their own drink, which means you can’t taste any of their good stuff in another bar. Also, they have a German-inspired menu like knuckles and sausages to pair your beer. It opens at 10 am until late hours, but if you want to see the spectacular view of Hanoi downtown in one of their low terraces, drop by at 7 pm onwards.
Legend Beer is also known as one of the Korea Town in the capital. You can get a beer for US$2 onwards depending on the size of the drink. You can sip it in one of their low terraces where you can see the view of Hoan Kiem Lake mixing with the buzz of the street underneath. Though it’s situated in the busy part of the capital, you can still feel relaxed on their nighttime atmosphere.
5. Vietnam Central Circus
The Central Circus is the place to be for a sober nightlife in Hanoi. I suggest that you go here with friends so you’ll have somebody to enjoy the live fire performances with as well as try the fairground games. It’s really a circus with clowns, animal performances, and acrobat shows.
It’s near the Thien Quang Lake which is just a 10-minute cab ride if you’re coming from the Old Quarter. The circus is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 8 pm to 10 pm. This nighttime destination started back in 1956 and considered as one of the oldest act in Vietnam.
The place has a 1500-seater space and can be packed during the weekends so don’t forget to be mindful of your valuables. Anyway, the entrance fee here is around US$9. A bit pricey for a Hanoi nightlife experience but I’m certain that it’s all worth it.
6. The Bank Hanoi
If you’re the party animal type, you can show your dance floor moves here at The Bank Hanoi. A very upbeat place luring millennial expats, tourists, and locals for an energetic night out. They’re located on the 6th floor of the Capital Building at downtown Hanoi.
Their music ranges from hip-hop, lounge, top 40 hits, and even deep house. You can groove while sipping a cocktail for US$7, or for more kick, you can get Budweiser for US$6. The club is open from 8:45 pm until 12:45 am only.
Anyway, they don’t have a dancing pool so you have to endure dancing near your table. Still, the DJs allow guests to gather in front to enjoy the dance. I guess that’s enough space for a decent night party.
7. Dragonfly Bar Lounge
If you’re from Old Quarter and doesn’t want to go far for a taste of Hanoi nightlife, you can head to the Dragonfly Bar Lounge. Dragonfly is an old-timer when it comes to night parties but they never fail to attract young expats, tourists, and locals to groove to hip-hop or pop music.
This lounge is also a backpacker’s favorite, the same reason why they have these big, tall glasses of cocktails. They have two floors, the first for the party and the second for shisha pipe session. If you like, you can head upstairs and try a few flavors.
During peak days, this Hanoi nightlife lounge is squeezy, which I think is understandable for a nightlife place. It’s open at early 8 am and closes at midnight with drink prices fairly cheap.
8. King Pirates Pub
King Pirates is another buzzing place in Hoan Kiem during nighttime. Get ready to be a drinking Pirate as you gulp down a glass of Captain Sparrow or Barbossa! It’s pretty obvious that the place has a contemporary pirate theme, a unique break from the typical bars across Hanoi.
The Lady Captain and their mixologist will entertain the night as they dare you to “Walk the Plank” for US$18. With that, you’ll need to drink 4-5 rum shots in succession but not in vain because you’ll go home with a King Pirates Pub exclusive t-shirt. Most of their drinks are rum or beer-based, but if you’re looking for a different taste, feel free to tell the crew what you like. Regular drink prices are reasonable ranging from US$2.5 to US$6
The place is open from 11 am until they close. You can find them at Hang Giay.
9. Fat Cat Bar
Another good choice for an upbeat nightlife is the Fat Cat Bar in Hoan Kiem. They have a variety of music where genres are dedicated for specific days of the week. Basically, it ranges from house to rock and roll. When it comes to drinks, they’re not going to disappoint.
Fat Cat has the right mix of loudness and smooth lounge. One of the owners, Olivier, is considered as the keyboard magician and makes sure to maintain their artistic menu. Many times, they hold a music fest for the guests with varying topics. There are many foreigners here too and you might meet a bunch of young American expats having a fun night.
If you don’t want to be in the middle of the crowd, you can get your spot on their first veranda while you refresh yourself with a lemon drink for just US$ 1.3. They’re open from 8 am to midnight.
10. Café Nola
If you want to have a very different kind of night, you can head to Café Nola. It’s far from the lounge or bar setting of most Hanoi nightlife staples and staying here might just give you the relaxation you’re looking for.
It’s an Old Quarter spot in Ma May Street, once you reach its narrow alleyway, you’re going to be transported in a French-Vietnamese setting. It’s an old mansion adorned with crumbly paint and the iconic axe-holding, iron, full body soldier armor.
Nola is a house setting where you can spend your time from 8 am to 2 am reading books, playing the piano or for backpackers, a humble inn. It’s a hidden paradise, though not as exquisite as the other establishments, Nola exhibits the old Hanoi beauty.
There are also snacks and drinks available here.
The Hanoi nightlife should be on your bucket list if you’re planning to visit. Many lounges and bars flood the capital, but this handful is the best picks for tourists looking for a friendly place to enjoy a night. But wherever you decide to go for a spree, remember to take everything in moderation. The overflowing booze is tempting, but save some for the remaining days of your stay.
Have you been to these places already? We’re interested to know your nightlife story!
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