Real nightlife is hard to find in Hanoi. There are some discotheques which are alright. Then, there's Hang Hanh street, a narrow street at the upper left corner of Ho Hoan Kiem. You'll find many places that are ideal for tourists to enjoy a drink - such as G.C., Polite Pub and so on. They are all ok, and I won't try to recommend a specific one as everyone expects something different from a good bar. Another good place to hang out is Hanoi's Irish Pub in Hang Da street (I believe it's Hang Da - at least it's just around the corner). It looks like an Irish Pub is supposed to look and you get a good selection of drinks, good music and a little bit of irishness...
What's strange about most of Hanoi's bars is the way they change at 11pm. Curfew starts at 11pm and all bars that want to stay open for a longer time have to camouflage themselves. This usually means that they close the curtains at the door, sometimes also that the lights are turned down while everything else stays the same. But for the police that occasionally come to force the bars to close, it's now a game of hide-and-seek...
Dress Code: Casual
This one is right in the heatrt of old Hanoi. On the northern tip of Hoam Kiem lake, in front of the fountain rotunda, there lies a rather unattractive 5 storey building that looks like a layered wedding cake. Take the lift to the rooftop on the 5th floor, and you will be offered a fine view of the lake and its temple islands.
Fantastic spot for a panoramic dinner with your partner or friends whilst the bustling city below honks and zooms in manic fashion. It's also close to one end of the night market, so have a bite here before venturing there.
Dress Code: Smart casual
This bar which has recently opened. Room is small, but has 2 floor. 2 nd floor has soft music, 3rd floor has DJ play room. Sadly, this bar not has food menu. But they has hot music & very friendly staffs. And, what is better, we can drink till late at night!
The Spotted Cow Pub is the gathering place for the Hanoi Hash House Harrier's and other ex-pats. Every Saturday afternoon you climb aboard the Hash culture bus outside the infamous Spotted Cow Pub and ride to the hash site. The Spotted Cow has a friendly staff, good food, cold beer, and a great place to meet people, especially local and ex-pat hashers.
Dress Code: Hashing and other casual attire.
We never thought we’d be listening to jazz in Vietnam. Flipping through our guidebooks for things to do one night, we found Minh’s Jazz Club owned by Quyen Van Minh, Vietnam’s best-known jazz musician and self proclaimed creator of Vietnamese jazz. Mr. Minh himself was there, and boy could he wail on his sax!
The club had an international crowd, and spring rolls were tasty.
Dress Code: Casual. There didn't seem to be any kind of dress code.
It sometimes plays R&B, but varies depending on the DJ. The Lighthouse Dancing Club used to be the Barracuda Bar.
Its no longer under under Australian management, but it is one of the few places that the police/neighborhood does not enforce the curfew. Therefore ic can be open very, very late, sometimes all night depending on the crowd.
Don't let the shady neighborhood deter you. I went and had a good time. At the time of day that this place is open, the alleys will be full of ex-pats and people so you will be perfectly safe.
" We have no idea how they manage to get around the local laws, but it may have something to do with the dastardly location -- in the red-light district, on an alley off and alley off Phuc Tan Street across a highway that is nearly impossible to cross on foot, to the east of the Old Quarter. Luckily, most locals know where it is by either its present or former name and definitely hire a taxi to get there -- you'll be rewarded with reasonably priced drinks and room to strut your stuff to the tune of thumping hip hop and R&B."
Hours: 10:00 'til very, very late.
Dress Code: There is no enforced dress code.
Big and red, with comfortable seating and ample people-watching possibilities, Le Pub is a notable spot for pizza and other western fare. While it isn't party central in the evenings, it's worth dropping by for a relaxed evening drink. Popular with expats and travellers alike, it's a fine spot to meet others.
A nice friendly bar in the middle of the Old Quarter. Great beer at reaonable prices and great tunes playing all night. Of course there are the ubiquitous "bar girls" plying their trade but once you showed no interest in "practising English" with them they disapeared. I cannot comment on the food as I didn't eat there.
Dress Code: Casual
If anyone remembers Singapore's Brannigans, this is a very close approximation of it.
A fun atmosphere from the word go, this place was recommended by a couple of the stewardesses on my Vietnam Airlines flight. Mixture of local yuppies and tourists, interspersed with the odd 'enthusiastic amateur' (well, semi-pro really).
Spacious enough to escape the music and dancing down one end if you want to, and chill out at seats or the bar counter.
Dress Code: Smart casual would stand you in good stead. It is in the Sheraton after all.
On our first night in Hanoi, we decided to finish off a night out with a beer at one of Hanoi's new Czech-themed beer houses, Gammabeer. Here we enjoyed half liter glasses of pils (we could have ordered 5 liter mugs! Yikes!) while watching rats scurry about the floors of the unoccupied sections of the restaurant. Yes, rats! At first it started out with a lone rodent, whose presence was amusing enough to us that I tossed peanuts its way. Occassionally, a waitress would saunter over to herd him/her out of sight, but he/she (the rat) was a brave little soul and never disappeared for long. However, once his claim to territory was established, he was joined by another and another until we had, at best count, six members of phylum rodentia cavorting on the hardwood. Needless to say, we killed any thoughts of ordering food, paid up and left. We were worried that, if we didn't depart quickly, we'd just be part of a scene that seemed to come from an Indiana Jones movie! So much for a Friday night in this socialist paradise!
This is a great little bar to visit in Hanoi. It’s perfect for a few beers before you hit the Bia Hoi. Sure, it’s not as cheap as a Bia Hoi, but its comfy and dry, nice décor, very friendly staff and owner and they speak English. Try the jalapeño beer. Good stuff!
Dress Code: No Dress Code here.
A great little bar in the old quarter, it was simply and tastefully designed by the owner, Mao, and plays some great music (a James Brown tribute was playing the night we visited). With an interesting mix of foreigners and locals, there is a nice atmosphere, with Mao mixing with everyone and making everyone feel welcome.
Sunday evenings are free food days – Mao was dishing out soup packed with vegetables and what looked like seafood to all who wished it.
Drinks are the standard fare, and I can personally vouch for the strength of the rum & cola, many of which conspired to ruin my next day's sightseeing!
If you like Western-style nightlife, there is a modern five-story building at the north end of Hoan Kiem Lake with numerous European and American bars and restaurants, including a micro brewery. Our favorite here was the City View Cafe.
Local, Vietnamese-style nightlife is centered around the little bia hois which are on almost every corner, especially in the Old Qaurter, also north of Hoan Kiem Lake.
If you are looking for something a little more exciting, there are a few rowdy bars like Apocalypse Now, full of all types of people.
Along West Lake and Truc Bach Lake (north of the Old Qarter), there seemed to be some ares that offered music and dance, but we didn't spend much time here after dark.
The City View Cafe is in a 5 story building just north of Hoan Kiem Lake, and across the first street. It sits at a major 5-way intersection with a rotary that will keep you entertained for at least 2 or 3 beers. There are several restaurants and bars here. The City View Cafe is a restaurant/bar on the roof that has open air dining and a fine view of Hoan Kiem Lake and the rest of the city.
From the outside, the place looks pretty cool, like a prison (as its name has already suggested) but inside, it's a complete atmostphere: very cosy! With the dimmed lights and very nice sofas, it's a perfect place for a date! Well, perfect when there's not many people there (around 8pm is fine).
If you want to have a quiet night, this is the place to go.
Dress Code: No dress code although I think casual is just fine, you don't need to get too dressed up
We booked 2 rooms and all of us simply loved it. We are given complementary drinks at the restaurant...more
This hotel is now called Hanoi Elegance Ruby. When I went to Hanoi in 1998, the only hotel I felt I...more
NOTE: I think this hotel is now called "Hanoi Elegance Sapphire" The staff here is outstanding! We...more