Chiang Mai bars and pubs

Live music can be great or really awful!

Live music can be great or really awful!

Getting out at night in Chiang Mai is a relaxing and easy affair, with many great bars and pubs located within walking distance of the Night Market or Old Town. There’s plenty of themed pubs in Chiang Mai catering to tourists and you’ll find a busy atmosphere on most nights during the tourist season.

Chiang Mai bars provide something for everyone, whether you prefer a quiet whisky over a tête-à-tête, live sports, or funky lounge music. Drinks prices are far more sensible than Bangkok or Phuket, but vary wildly from roadside ‘cocktail combis’ to plush luxury hotel bars. Punters looking to find female company for the evening should browse our page on go go bars.

Updated and correct: January 2013

Music and lively bars in Chiang Mai

Rasta Cafe (previously Rasta Bar): Popular, laid-back outdoor place now located in the Night Bazaar area along Charoen Prathet Road (right next to the one-way Iron bridge). Features live music nightly - mostly reggae and ska along with a sprinkling of jazz and rock. Open: 19:30 to midnight, 73/10-11, Charoen Prathet Road, tel: 081 690 1577, 084170 6072.

The Brasserie: Serious music venue featuring legendary blues and rock local Tuk, who gets going after 23:00 on weekends. Recently moved to Chaiyaphun Road (eastern outer moat road).

Roots Rock Reggae: Chiang Mai’s premier riddim venue is busy most nights with a mixed crowd of dreadlocked Thais and backpackers with reggae and ska sounds rocking the house. Kad Boonyoo, Small lane arcade off Ratwithi Road (Old Town), live Music: 21:00- 01:15 tel: (053) 418 424.

Northgate Jazz Co-op: A small bar & music jamming venue with bohemian crowd and atmosphere (when bands are playing), with mid-priced drinks and a mixed crowd of Thais and foreigners. Open: 21:00 to midnight; Tuesday night open jam; Sripoom Road (next to Chang Puak Gate), tel: 08 6797 2176; email: northgatejazzcoop@gmail.com.

Pubs in Chiang Mai

The Writers' Club and Wine Bar: Popular with local writers on Friday nights, with friendly owners, great wine selection and good food specials. Stop off here while strolling the Sunday Walking Street. Open: 12:00 to midnight (Sun to Fri), 141/3 Ratchadamnoen Road (near Wat Chedi Luang), tel: (053) 814 187.

The (UN) Irish Pub: A Magnet for the local expat crowd; serves good pub food, multiple sports channels on big screens. It’s hardly Irish but hosts quiz and live music and is busy during big sports events. Open: 09:00 to midnight but earlier for live sport. 24-24/1 Ratvithi Road, tel: (053) 214 554.

The Pub: An ageing, but very reputable, English-styled pub that is popular with the older, long-standing expat crowd. Located out of town between Nimmanhemin and Canal Roads. Open: 07:00 to midnight189 Huay Kaew Road, tel: (053) 211 550, email: grahame@thepubchiangmai.com.

Pubs, bars and clubs rock nightly in Chiang Mai

Pubs, bars and clubs rock nightly in Chiang Mai

O'Malley's Bar: Air-conditioned Irish pub with several good beers on tap and comfy interior. Has good pub grub and is conveniently located in the Night Market area. Open 09:00-23:00, 149/14-15 Chang Klan Road, Anusarn Market (near Night Bazaar), tel: (053) 271 921.

The Red Lion: Conveniently located in a central spot within the Night Bazaar, this long-running favourite serves a good selection of food and drink, including draught Guinness and Tetley’s bitter (rarities in this part of the world) to weary shoppers and locals alike. Drink and dine indoors or outdoors in British Pub tradition. Open 09:30-23:30, 123 Loi Kroh Road (Night Market area), tel: (053) 818 847, email: Kevin@redlionpubchiangmai.com.

The Olde Bell: A genuine English Pub situated on Loi Kroh Road near Raming Lodge and run by congenial Welshman Pedr. He puts in plenty of effort to keep his menu British and has a well stocked bar. Quiz nights and Sunday roasts keep the expats coming back. Open 09:00 to midnight, Loi Kroh Road, tel: (087) 811 9468, email: oldebell@gmail.com.

Bachelor Bars in Chiang Mai

Number 1 Bar: One of the most popular places in town, featuring lots of pretty waitresses, though not an in-yer-face 'girlie bar'. Number 1 is the main distributor of Belgian and Craft beers in the north of Thailand (www.belgianbeerschiangmai.com) and also has an outlet alongside the river to the south of town. Open 12:00-02:00, Soi 1, Loi Kroh Road (down first lane on the right past the main Loi Kroh girlie bars), tel: (053) 206 724, mobile:08 9850 0961 (English081 034 2417 (Thai), email: number1bistro@gmail.com.

Sax Pub: Popular with visiting German motorcycle crowds, with good music and a convenient location. 35/2 Moon Muang Road (opposite Thapae Gate), tel: (053) 245 740-1.

Chiangmai Saloon (2 locations): American-styled burger and steakhouse with great South-western food, friendly owner and staff, nice atmosphere, music videos and live sporting events on a large screen. Draft beer and the largest selection of margaritas in Chiang Mai and a kitchen open from breakfast until late. 80/1 Loi Kroh Road (150m from Night Bazaar), tel: 080 675 2169, and 30 Ratchawithi Road (inside the moat), tel: 08 1930 2212.

The Half Moon Pub: A long-established sports bar & restaurant situated on Moon Muang road. Good music, slate pool table and darts area guarantees a great time while enjoying one of the many local, and imported, drinks. Moon Muang, Soi 2, tel: 086 913 8190.

Hotel Bars in Chiang Mai

The Mix Bar (D2 Hotel): Perhaps Chiang Mai’s most sophisticated bar, located in the hip D2 hotel. Uber-chic bar-tenders and atmosphere, regular parties, a place to be ‘seen’. 100 Chan Klan Road (behind Chan Klan Plaza at the Night Bazaar), tel: (053) 999 999.

Silapathai lounge & Bar : Silapa Thai Lounge & Bar offers an  impressively extensive cocktail menu served by entertaining and interactive bartenders as well as DJ entertainment. Accompanied by a large selection of innovatively presented 'Thaipas', this lounge experience is truly unique and  is not to be missed. It also has the only 'Chef's Table' in Chiang Mai. Open: 18:00-01:00 (Mon to Sat); Shangri-La hotel, 89/8 Chang Klan Road (south of the Night Market), tel: (053) 253 888.

The Riverside is one of the most popular venues

The Terrace Bar & Cigar Louge: Either sip cocktails on the riverside in a posh environment or travel back in time with a G&T on the teak verandas of the historic colonial former British Consulate building. Open 17:00-01:00, Chedi Hotel, 123 Charoen Prathet Road, tel: (053) 253 385, email: restaurant@chedi-chiangmai.com.

The Horn Bar: For a really discerning experience, find your way out of town to the remarkable Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi in Sankhampaeng. Arrive before sunset and marvel at this extraordinarily-themed, five-star that has few equals in Asia. Open: 18:00 to midnightSankhampaeng (ask taxi driver), tel: (053) 888 888, ext. 8623.

Chilling bar lounges in Chiang Mai

The @ Living Room: A chic place with pool table, with a nice atmosphere when busy. This new, stylish bar is open until early morning and is a popular relaxing bar when most bars close, not far from Thapae Gate in Somphet Gold Place (near Spicy), and the friendly owners, Denis and Kung, certainly put in the effort. Open: 21:00-06:00, Somphet Gold Place, 70/20 Chaiyaphum Road, tel: 087 579 3301 (English), 080 676 4167 (Thai), email: at-livingroompub@hotmail.com.

THC Rooftop Bar: A bohemian place above a Hemp Shop, with good views of Thapae Gate and floor-level seating. Good for chilling out with funky tunes and cheap drinks, but sometimes gets very busy. 19/4-5 Kotchasarn Road (opposite Thapae Gate).

St Germain: The roof of this excellent and unassuming French Restaurant is an ideal place for a quiet and romantic time in big comfy couches, with a good cocktail menu and perfect lounge tunes in the background. Ratvithi Road (near Moon Muang Road/Moat), Open: 11.00-14.00 and 18.00-22.00, tel: (053) 289 557.

Bohemian central

Chiang Mai’s very own backpacker-cum-little Jamaica is a cluster of bars around a car park just off Ratvithi, down from the Irish Pub. Here you’ll find a lively collection of shacks or open air bars with several live bands, cheap beer and food. It’s downmarket but has character and is popular with beatnik locals and backpackers alike. Best bars include Zoe in Yellow (popular), Babylon Café (Irie), Roots, Rock, Reggae (live music) and Heaven’s Beach (pool tables).

Updated and correct: January 2013

About the Author

Andrew Bond is a travel writer who has been living in Thailand and writing about the region for more than 10 years, contributing to numerous local magazines and major web travel brands. He travels around South East Asia by tuk-tuk, bicycle, cyclo, jeepney, taxi, moto, elephant or foot in search of new smells, sounds, sights, and atmosphere. Share your travel bits with him on Google +

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