There are a few good places to head to in Chiang Mai’s Old Town, hidden away down sub sois there are guesthouses playing host to the backpacker set who are generally game for a drink or two. It has a more subdued vibe to it than say the Riverside or the Night Bazaar but nevertheless has potential for meeting people, enjoying a few drinks and the promise of live music. Fringing the Old Town there are a some lively pubs with pool tables and big TV screens showing sporting matches and the odd Rasta bar where the vibe is literally laid back with cushioned floors and cheap beer.
Most Popular Nightlife
All Nightlife in Chiang Mai City
The most impressive vinyl collection in Chiang Mai is on the Huay Kaew Road. A muso's paradise, feel free to sit yourself down on the comfy seats and enjoy the great music.
- Opening Hours: 16:00-late
- Address: 30/7 Huay Kaew Road
Tha Chang Café Chiang Mai
Tha Change Café Chiang Mai is an outdoor bar popular with Thais. The entrance has a row of surfboards lined up to make a wall and inside there is a large tree with bright lanterns hanging from the branches. It is located about 5 minutes north of the old city near Chiang Mai's JJ market. While Read More...
- Opening Hours: 18:00- 00:0
- Address: 45, JJ Market Project, Assadathon Road
- Tel: +66 (0) 5324 0123
Chiang Mai Saloon
Catering to the American crowd, this is an old-west themed beer and burger joint. The food is good and the portions are American sized. 55 baht margaritas are among the many drink specials.
- Opening Hours: 12:00-late
- Address: 80/1 Loi Kroh Road
- Tel: +66 (0) 84-175 350
C.M. Entertainment Complex and Muay Thai Stadium
C.M. Entertainment Complex is an entire warehouse dedicated to adult nightlife – a lot of fun but not the best place to bring your family. Easily spotted by the glowing red neon sign that says “Free Show”, the complex houses some 30 girlie bars with pool tables and loud, throbbing music. There’s also a cabaret show and an excellent Muay Thai (Thai kick boxing) stadium in the middle where matches are staged on most nights. Some nights there are free exhibitions but on weekends there is usually genuine bouts and they will charge an entry fee, although this is much lower than the price charged in other tourist areas such as Bangkok or Phuket.
- Opening Hours: 19:00 – 24:00
- Location: Loi Kroh Road, on the way to Night Bazaar
After opening half-a-dozen highly successful branches in Bangkok, it was only a matter of time before HOBS (or ‘House of Beers’) made its way north. The brand have kept everything pretty much the same as in the capital, with a trendy location (inside the swanky Kantary Terrace shopping mall), live music, and, true to its name, a very long menu of beers from around the world. Expect to pay 200-350 for a beer, which is generally the going rate in Thailand to drink imported brews.
- Opening Hours: 18:00-24:00
- Location: Nimmanahaemin Road, 2/F Kantary Terrace, Chiang Mai
- Tel: +66(0)53 289 313
Definitely a place to go if you enjoy elevated seating, this rooftop bar is the sort of place you can get stuck in for hours it’s that nice, with the soft breezes and friendly staff. You can either relax, talk and not get drowned out by overbearing music. Enjoy yourself within the spacious social area, good for dancing and meeting people. During calmer weekdays they have been known to show films. John’s bar is a long-term favourite with Chiang Mai’s locals and expats.
- Opening Hours: 17:30-01:00
- Address: Moon Muang, between Thapae Gate and Loi Kroh Road.
Of course being an Irish bar they have Guinness on tap and a lovely open beer garden in which to drink it. Expect a good crowd at this lively pub that sits behind John’s bar, just inside a soi off Moon Muang, to the south of Thapae Gate. Visitors should also note that the pub is regarded as having one of the best burgers in Chiang Mai – a sobering thought.
- Opening Hours: 10:00-24:00
- Address: Moon Muang
Loi Kroh Road (Chiang Mai Hot Street)
Just opposite the moat, towards the Night Bazaar you’ll find a stretch of bars along Loi Kroh Road. This is Chiang Mai’s answer to Bangkok’s Nana Plaza. Each of the dozen or so bars on either side of the road has their prettiest staff members outside luring passers by like the Sirens of old. If you’d like some 'easy company’ this is the place to go, otherwise it’s an inconvenient gauntlet to run. Along Loi Kroh Road there are also a few bars that are worth a try for their music and cheap beer credentials while both Huay Kaew and Nimmanhaemin Roads have a selection of popular bars and clubs that attract Chiang Mai’s younger crowd.
Monkey Club Chiang Mai is a vibrant bar and club in the Nimmanhaemin area of Chiang Mai. This is one of the most popular nightspots in the whole city, with an expansive outdoor terrace area hosting live bands and a dark inside club section that pumps out house and trance to an excited audience of mostly Read More...
- Opening Hours: 22:00-01:00
- Address: Nimmanhaemin Road, Soi 9
- Tel: +66 53 226 997
North Gate Jazz Co-Op
North Gate Jazz Co-Op is the premier live jazz bar in Chiang Mai, with an immensely talented roster of live musicians. It is located close to the Chang Puak Gate on the north side of the moat in the Old City. Even though this bar lacks the views and the ambiance of the several Riverside Bars popular with jazz fans, we love North Gate Jazz Co-Op for sticking true to jazz classics and not watering it down pop standards as some places are prone to do in Thailand. The bar is a little run down and offers limited seats inside, so if you are lucky you might grab the sofa facing the band, but we enjoy the ambiance at the tables that spill out of the bar. Usually there are two bands every night, playing from 21:00 and finishing at 24:00. There are ‘free jam’ sessions on Tuesday nights.
- Address: Sri Phum Street, close to Chiang Puak Gate
- Tel: +66 (0) 81765 5246
OASIS Rooftop Garden Bar
Most of Chiang Mai’s rooftop bars are set a little outside the Old City – or just have no views at all. OASIS Rooftop Garden Bar is an exception to the rule, located just inside the northeastern corner of the old moat. Chill-out tunes compliment the excellent views over to Doi Suthep Mountain perfectly, even more so if you arrive as the sun sinks below the horizon (between 18:00-19:00). Emphasis is more on the cocktails rather than anything else, with a short but quality lineup of classics and signature mixes alongside your usual bottled beers and Thai-style pub snacks.
- Opening Hours: 17:00-01:00
- Location: 13/1 Soi Jang Sripoom 1, Sripoom Road, Amphor Muang (near Charcoa House Hotel)
- Tel: 081 693 5019
Thailand has a pretty high percentage of Rastafarian impressionists and in most towns and cities you go, there will be a community existing with a few bars where people tend to go when they want to ‘chill out’. This is Chiang Mai’s ‘Little Jamaica’and it’s pretty cool, a cluster of Rasta themed bars and a few galleries, generally part of the Bohemian vibe the area is so famed for.
It is a really cool space, great to meet people travelling through as well as locals and expatriates who have opted for the relaxed Chiang Mai pace of life. If you feel like shooting pool, watching a band, listening to music and having a few drinks or admiring some local art, it can all be accomplished here. This is probably as lively as it gets around the Old Town and a reason to venture down here in itself.
- Opening Hours: Generally from about 17:00 till late
- Address: Ratvithi Road (Behind the Irish Pub)
Spicy Nightclub is well known as the last place to close in Chiang Mai. Pumping out dance music late into the night it is loved and hated in equal measure, but if you don’t want to the party to stop this is the place to be. Spicy Nightclub in Chiang Mai is located on the outside of the moat, just north of Tha Phae Gate. Arrive before midnight and you will find a dark, empty room with pounding house and trance music, but once everywhere else closes it becomes packed with a mixed clientele including a large amount of ‘freelance’ girls. It’s not a sophisticated place, but it is a lot of fun if you are looking to dance and mingle late into the night. Every tuk-tuk driver in the city will know it so finding it should be easy. There is no cover charge, no dress code and drinks prices are reasonable. They also enforce a strict “no ladyboys allowed” policy.
- Opening Hours: 22:00 – 03:00 (best after 01:00)
- Location: Chaiyapoom Road (just north of Tha Phae Gate)
Spotlight A Go Go
A pretty basic place located opposite Ta pae gate and easy to spot from the distance... One of the very few A Go Go in Chiang Mai, small room and small stage with 4 girls dancing. No show in here, so not much will happens but staff is friendly and drinks are on the cheap side, around 90 Baht for a beer, and entrance is free.
- Location: Near Tha Pae Gate
THC Rooftop Bar
If you want to kick your shoes off, lie down on some comfy cushions, get caned and listen to electronic music then the THC Bar is the place to head to. After climbing three flights of stairs this elevated bar feels like a loft conversion. Read More...
- Opening Hours: 18:00-late
- Address: 19/4-5 Kotchasarn Road (opposite Tapae Gate).
This place offers a nice escape from busy Moon Muang Road outside. You will find good service, cold beer and some good-quality Thai and Western cuisine at very reasonable prices.
- Opening Hours: 08:00-24:00
- Address: 127/9 Moon Muang
- Tel: +66 (0) 53 21 2717
The UN Irish Pub
Irish pubs are a ubiquitous sight in any tourist area, and the Old City in Chiang Mai is no different. I’m confident you know the score by now: oak and brass fittings, hearty pub grub, football on the telly, Guinness on tap – The UN Irish Pub isn’t reinventing the wheel but they are the best at what they do in Chiang Mai. The menu offers all those comfort foods Europeans miss from back home such as bangers and mash or a steak pie. Prices are slightly higher than many of the surrounding places on Ratwithi Road, but offer value for money. Saturday and Sunday nights The UN Irish Pub is popular for Premier League football fans, and on Monday, NFL takes centre stage. There’s a leafy beer garden out the back that has twinkly fairy lights and a small bakery open in the daytime. Free Wi-Fi.
- Opening Hours: 09:00-24:00
- Location: 24-24/1 Ratchawithi Road, Old City
The Writers' Club & Wine Bar
With a décor concept best described as ‘electronic colonial’ The Writers Club & Wine Bar is Chiang Mai’s unofficial press club open to anyone who enjoys good conversation and drinking with Chiang Mai’s media set. There is a constant influx of guests – from British authors to Burmese painters – who ensure a stimulating evening. The Writers Club & Wine Bar is located on Rachadamnoen Road, close to Wat Pan Tao in the centre of the Old City.
- Opening Hours: 12:00- Midnight.
- Address: 141/3 Rachadamnoen Road
- Tel: +66 (0) 053/814187
Wineways offers a large selection of affordable wines. Both a bar and a wine dealer, here customers can enjoy a bottle in house or at home. Wineways also guarantees the shipment of wine purchases within 48 hours clearance of payment.
- Address: 49/21 Huay Kaew Road
- Tel: +66 (0) 53 227 227
This is a popular English-themed indie lounge and one of the few none girly bars on the Loi Kroh Road,. A great indie bar with comfy couches and a pool table, good music, Friday beer specials and tasty, reasonably priced food.
- Opening Hours: 16:00-late
- Address: 15/2 Loi Kroh Road, next to 7-Eleven.
- Tel: +66 (0) 84 4816056
Zoe in Yellow
If you want to let loose and dance as if no one is watching then Zoe in Yellow is the best place to be in Chiang Mai Old City. This bar and club can be heard before it is seen, as house music is pumped out for an eager, mostly backpacker crowd to dance the night Read More...
- Opening Hours: 17:00-00:00
- Address: 40/12 Ratvithi Rd, Old CIty
- Tel: +66 (0) 84 222 9388