The best night spots in Chiang Mai Old City include an interesting mix of venues. Within the relatively small confines of the ancient city walls, you can find live music, nightclubs, chilled-out beer gardens, backpacker bars and refined wine bars, often within a few streets of each other. The result is that, no matter what kind of evening you’re looking for, you’ll almost certainly find it here.
With our list of the best places to go at night in Chiang Mai Old City, we’ve tried to cover as much of this broad range as possible, from the swanky to the simple, the laid-back to the loud and lively. We have covered all of the different facets that make the town such a great place to visit, and perhaps show that there’s more to Chiang Mai than just temples and handicrafts.
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 away. Inside there is a tree-lined courtyard where you can sit down with a beer and strike up easy conversation, but Zoe in Yellow is most fun when you are in amongst the crowd with your hands in the air. After a certain hour the party moves into an indoor section which can be sealed off to keep the noise down, and if house and trance isn’t your thing, there are some other smaller bars behind playing reggae and rock music. Food served until late. Read More...
- Opening Hours: 17:00-2:00
- Address: 40/12 Ratvithi Rd, Old CIty
- Tel: +66 (0) 84 222 9388
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
Loi Kroh Chiang Mai Hot Street
Just south of Tha Pae Gate, the short strip leading towards Night Bazaar is a jungle of girlie bars, massage parlours and go-go pubs with their prettiest staff members outside beckoning patrons like sirens. While some have labelled this area a little bit in-your-face, it’s the place to go if you’d like some easy company. The bars are all similar with a row of girls with drinking games like Connect Four and possibly a pool table. They are all located next to each other so you can walk (or even stagger) from one to the next.
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
- Address: 24-24/1 Ratchawithi Road, Old City
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. Read More...
- Opening Hours: 19:00 – 24:00
- Address: Loi Kroh Road, on the way to Night Bazaar
If the neon graffiti lining the staircase doesn’t tell you what kind of place this is, then the throbbing drum and bass tunes certainly will! THC Rooftop Bar is extremely popular with backpackers with cushions on the floor, low tables, and a tree-house vibe thanks to lots of bamboo flooring. Partially covered but open-air, the views from the fourth floor rooftop look out over Tha Phae Gate and the moat for a classic Chiang Mai cityscape. Those who want to dance congregate around the live DJ, while others prefer to chat the night away or even lie back and sink another cocktail bucket. Beers are very cheap, starting from 65 baht. Read More...
- Opening Hours: 18:00-late
- Address: 19/4-5 Kotchasarn Road (opposite Tapae Gate, outside the moat)
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.
Considering Chiang Mai is so chilled out it’s not surprising there is a small but lively reggae culture here. For those interested in the Rasta bar scene, the best place to find it is behind Zoe in Yellow bar and club, just off Ratvithi Road in Old City Chiang Mai. Bars like Roots Reggae and Babylon have live bands performing every night, as well as cheap beers, bucket cocktails, food and pool tables. Although the convergence of sound systems can make the area sound like a battle of the bands, this area has a great Bourbon Street atmosphere, with patrons carousing from bar to bar.
- Opening Hours: 19:00-24:00
- Address: 40/12 Ratvithi Rd, 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: 12:00-24:00
- Address: 141/3 Rachadamnoen Road
- Tel: +66 (0) 0538 14187
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)
- Address: Chaiyapoom Road (just north of Tha Phae Gate)