Warm Up Café on Nimmanhaemin (‘Niman’) Road is Chiang Mai’s most popular club, and by some distance. It’s big, noisy and usually overflowing with local university students, yet this nightlife institution is the undisputed King of Clubs in Chiang Mai, having been at the forefront of the city’s nightlife scene for over 15 years.
The multi-zoned venue epitomizes the whole Thai pub-slash-club experience, just on a bigger scale. Fronting the venue is an alfresco dining area – popular for the couples and pre-drinking students, while the back of the complex is where you’ll find a large room, complete with a stage and standing tables. There’s an additional smaller room that’s dedicated to house and techno music (popular with the curious foreign crowd) and an acoustic band also play most nights at the alfresco terrace.
The large room at the back is where the local bands belt out Thai pop, with each and every table almost tipping over, stacked high with whiskey bottles, buckets of ice, glasses and boxes of free popcorn. A DJ normally plays EDM in between sets and for the final few hours, although for more sustained bass-heavy music, its best to head to the small, almost soundproof dance room on the left hand side as you walk in.
One word of warning for those thinking about a night out here: the crowds. Arrive after 22:00 on a weekend and it’s almost impossible to get a table inside, and standing around in ‘no man’s land’ with nowhere to rest your drinks can be a bit awkward. Best to arrive early or book a table in advance (deposit needed).
Drinks wise, Thai-pub-favourites like Jonnie Walker, Benmore, 100 Pipers, and flavoured Absolut are all on the menu for around 1,000-2,500 baht, but expect the final bill to rack up as you’ll be overpaying for ice and mixers. If you don’t mind the small surcharge, you can also buy you own bottle and bring it inside with you.
Dining at Warm Up Cafe is best done as far away from the screaming Thai girls in the main room as possible. Luckily, the alfresco terrace makes a decent spot to indulge in all the usual pub grub classics like tom yam kung, som tam, pork neck, fried shrimp, spicy salads, steamed fish. Prices range from around 70-300 baht per dish.
For first time visitors, Warm Up Café can be an overwhelming experience; the crowds, the noise and the overall craziness of a Friday or Saturday night are all the trademarks that’ll either have you running for the nearest taxi or coming back for more the next night.
Warm Up Cafe
- Opening Hours: 18:00-02:00 daily
- Address: 40 Nimmanhaemin Rd, Chiang Mai
- Tel: +66 (0) 5340 0676