| |

Vietnam Nightlife: Top 20 Places to Spice Up The Nights

vietnam nightlife hanoi vs ho chi minh city

Vietnam’s nightlife scene has been thriving with walking streets, speakeasy bars, lively pubs, and hidden clubs. In big cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City or tourism hotspots like Halong Bay, Da Nang, Nha Trang, Mui Ne, Phan Thiet, and Phu Quoc, it is not difficult to find fun and exciting things to do at night – that is, if you know where to look!

In this article, I will walk you through the best of Vietnam’s nightlife gems and show you why these top Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh nightlife places are adored by locals, ex-pats, and tourists!

🛎️🏨How CHEAP can LUXURY be? Check out these 5-star hotels and resorts in Vietnam with affordable price tags and learn about the common scams to watch out for!

Is Vietnam Good for Nightlife?

Vietnam is one of the best destinations for those looking for fun at night. There is a huge variety of entertainment options, including bars, clubs, discos, and cultural performances. The cost of going out in Vietnam is very reasonable, so you won’t have to worry about spending too much money on a good time. The culture is so welcoming that if you don’t have a big group to go out with, you’ll find yourself making new friends in no time.

Which places have the best nightlife in Vietnam?

It’s not easy to name one city that has the best nightlife in Vietnam because every place will give you a different vibe and experience. In beach towns like Da Nang, Phu Quoc, and Mui Ne, you will find relaxed bars and lounges along the beach. In Hoi An ancient town, you will find trendy bistros, live music bars, and folklore entertainment performances along the riverside. However, if you seek the most diverse experiences, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City have the most offerings for you to choose from!

Which is better: Ho Chi Minh City Nightlife or Hanoi Nightlife?

Ho Chi Minh City has long been known for its bustling nightlife, but Hanoi has recently upped its game. Both cities have their unique offerings, and although I enjoy the rooftop bars and vibrant vibe of Ho Chi Minh City nightlife, I slightly favor Hanoi more for its hidden bars and delicacy in craft cocktail flavors.

Nightlife in Hanoi, Vietnam: Best Bars, Clubs & Activities

In contrast to the noisy and somewhat chaotic Hanoi in the daytime, Hanoi at night brings in a charming and romantic beauty. In this list, you will find a mix of the top 10 Hanoi nightlife spots.

1. Bee’Znees 1920s – Speakeasy Bar

Bee’Znees is a speakeasy bar hidden behind a vintage reading room at 163 Phung Hung Street. You will have to find a clue on the bookshelf in order to open the door and head upstairs to the 1920s-theme bar. I could tell you how to get in, but I have decided not to because I don’t want to rip you off that fun experience trying to figure it out on your own! Every time I took a new group of friends there, it was always hilarious seeing them scrambling and looking for clues. They all said it was the best part!

I’m not actually a big fan of Bee’Znees’ drinks (there are other bars that I go to for the gastronomic experience and I will show you below), but Bee’Znees is a great place to hit up with friends. You can order a Tequila Roullette set for a fun drinking game. Roll the dice to see what number it ends on the Roulette, and you will get a different flavored tequila.

Best for: Group of Friends.

2. Nê Boongke – Bar with Food-inspired Cocktails

Nê Boongke was opened by Vietnam’s World Class Bartender Winner in 2012 – Pham Tien Tiep. He is famous for crafting signature cocktails that are inspired by Northern Vietnamese dishes. The most popular cocktail at Nê Boongke (also my all-time favorite) is “Pho”, which surprisingly has a very distinctive taste and aroma that resembles the national dish.

If you haven’t tried “Pho”, I’d suggest you eat that first before trying the cocktail in order to appreciate the cocktail flavor. Pho is a Vietnamese soup made of broth, rice noodles, herbs, and different cuts of beef. It is a popular food in households, street stalls, and restaurants throughout Vietnam – really is a must-try dish. You will be surprised how the “Pho” cocktail resembles the dish. It is really mind-blowing!

Nê Boongke always knows how to spice it up with seasonal drinks that resemble Vietnamese dishes. So who knows, maybe they will come up with a “banh mi” inspired cocktail on your visit!

Best nightlife spot in Hanoi for: Drinkers who appreciate the creativity of craft cocktails

3. Unicorn – Themed Bar with Live Music

Unicorn Bar is also one of my favorite nightlife spots in Hanoi. It is a themed bar about the roaring 20s and it typically has live music on the weekends. Unicorn offers a mix of creative craft cocktails infused with local ingredients, including a Pho cocktail and other cocktails inspired by Vietnamese staple snacks such as Omai and Young Rice.

Best nightlife spot in Hanoi for: Drinkers looking for creative cocktails, a nice theme, and live music

4. Old Quarter Area – Night Markets and Bars

Hanoi Weekend Night Market serves as a bustling, lively gathering of street stalls and local food vendors every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from around 7:00 pm onward. It starts from Hang Dao Street and runs through the Old Quarter to Dong Xuan Market. I usually get off the taxi at Trang Tien Plaza and walk my way up the Old Quarter Night Markets, then end on the other side of the lake at Apricot Hotel or Hanoi Opera House to catch a taxi home.

Many locals and tourists are drawn to the old quarter at night because the pedestrian streets and historical sites around Hoan Kiem Lake are illuminated with lights, making it an ideal place to take pictures. Shopping-wise, you can find many Vietnamese souvenirs and international brand knock-offs at a cheap price.

5. Metropole Le Club Bar – Hotel Bar

Metropole Le Club Bar offers Hanoi’s legendary cocktail lounge experience, overlooking a beautiful hotel garden courtyard. Where Le Club now stands used to be the former Metropole Hall, the venue that hosted the first gala meeting of the Nouvelle Entreprise Cinématographique and the first movie ever shown in Indo-China in 1916. There is live jazz music every weekend from 8:00 PM to 11:45 PM!

6. Sa Pa Love Market – Casual Traditional Vietnamese Highland Style

Sa Pa Love Market in Hanoi is a casual drinking spot with the theme of a love market in Sapa. Sa Pa’s love market has been a unique and valuable aspect of the culture of the Mong and Dao ethnic groups for a long time. On Saturday nights, guys and girls from all villages come to Sa Pa to meet one another. They talk, sing and play different games according to their ethnic groups’ tradition. The night brings couples together and many of them become husbands and wives in the spring. That’s why it is called a Love Market!

When you hang out at Sa Pa Love Market in Hanoi, you will get a feel of the architecture and vibe of Sa Pa while tasting some of the best traditional food and drinks of the highland.

7. Hai Xom Beer Restaurant – Authentic Vietnam Drinking Style

Hai Xom is a favorite drinking spot for many Vietnamese men after work, so you will see that it is very crowded at night around 5:00 PM and 8:00 PM. The signature drink here is the steam beer, which is a fresh beer that has a lower alcohol concentration than the average standard, about 4.5 degrees. It is brewed by bottom-fermenting lager yeasts at ale temperatures, resulting in a distinct flavor. Service at Hai Xom is not particularly great (mainly because it is too crowded and the staff can’t be too attentive), but rest assured that their craft beer, drinking food, and Vietnamese street food-style tapas are amazing!

8. Bia Hoi Corner – Hanoi Nightlife Spor for Backpackers

Bia Hoi Corner or Bia Hoi Junction is one of the most popular destinations for young locals and foreign tourists. It is an area from the beginning of Ta Hien Street to the intersection of this street and Luong Ngoc Quyen Street. As the night falls, small bars and cheap beer shops in this area will bring plastic chairs and tables out to the street. The peak time is around 10:00 PM to midnight when it would seem so crowded that you may think there are no seats available. Don’t worry, just ask any host and they will bring more tables and chairs out for you!

9. 1900 Le Theatre – Fun Night Club

Located on Hanoi’s non-sleeping street towards one end of Bia Hoi Junction, 1900 Le Theatre bar has been a popular hangout spot for young people thanks to its good mix of DJs playing house, EDM, and hip hop. It has a huge dance floor and a stage where it hosts many sexy dance shows throughout the week. The club stands on the ground of the old Quang Lac theatre (meaning spreading joy) that collapsed over a century ago.

10. Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre

Vietnamese Water Puppet is a unique art originating from the Red River Delta of Vietnam in the tenth century. It was a form of celebration for the people in this area post-harvesting.

Water puppetry was created by farmers who spent their days in flooded rice fields. They discovered that the water provided an excellent medium for puppetry since it concealed the puppeteers’ rod and string mechanisms as well as created exciting effects like waves and splashes. Watching a water puppetry show is a great way for you to learn about day-to-day living in rural Vietnam.

Nightlife in Ho Chi Minh City/Saigon, Vietnam

Whether you are looking for a glitzy and glamorous nightlife or a chill evening in a rooftop bar, Ho Chi Minh City won’t disappoint.

11. Nguyen Hue Walking Street

Nguyen Hue Street is a popular walking promenade right in District 1 city center. Along the street, there are multiple cafés, restaurants, bars, but that’s not all. In the alleys along the street, you will find some street food stalls and more hidden valleys that lead to the entrances of restaurants and dessert shops on the higher floors with a view of the walking street.

Although vehicles are only stopped from entering Nguyen Hue Street during Saturday and Sunday evenings, there is a walking block in the middle of Nguyen Hue Street that is open daily.

12. Bui Vien Drinking Street/International Crossroads

Bui Vien, also known as the International Crossroads, is located on De Tham, Bui Vien, Pham Ngu Lao, and Do Quang Dau streets in District 1. This popular nightlife spot is known as the backpacker area or Western area because there is a large number of tourists that come here from Western countries.

Here, you will find a wide variety of inexpensive restaurants, bars, souvenir shops, and hostels. In addition, there are street artists that perform nightly. The area is more spread out so it feels less crowded than Bia Hoi Junction in Hanoi. Many restaurants and bars offer happy hours between 4:00 PM till 6:00 PM, and the area starts getting lively after that.

13. Notre Dame Cathedral

Notre Dame Cathedral is one of the first addresses that come to mind of Vietnamese young people when choosing a hangout spot after dark. This is a place to gather, drink lemon tea or “sitting down coffee”, munch some snacks, and watch the busy Saigon.

It is called “sitting down coffee” at Notre Dame Cathedral because when you buy a cup of coffee, you will be given a newspaper to sit down by the garden.

14. Glow Rooftop Lounge – Skybar Saigon

Glow is a trendy rooftop sky bar that has gained massive popularity amongst expats and trendy locals since its establishment in 2015. Right from the moment when the staff greets you at the entrance of the building, you will feel like an exclusive guest. There is a host that will take you to the elevator and press the floor for you, then another host will take care of you as soon as you get to the rooftop.  

Glow Skybar offers expansive views of Ho Chi Minh City’s modern and colonial architecture, so prepare to take your camera out! Pricewise, Glow is on the high-end side, and the drinks cost between VND 130,000 and 300,000.

Although this is one of my favorite nightlife spots in Ho Chi Minh City, I don’t really recommend it during the rainy season. The rooftop bar is completely outside, so when the rain hits, the wind and the altitude make it feel very cold. If you plan to visit Glow Skybar during the rainy season, make sure you check the weather beforehand!

15. Chill Sky Bar

Chill Skybar is another rooftop hangout spot in Ho Chi Minh City, located on the 25th floor of the AB tower. It offers quite a different vibe from Glow Skybar. After 10:00 PM, the bar turns into a club and you pay a cover charge to enter. The cover charge includes one drink, and of course, you can buy more at the bar.  

There are both indoor lounge as well as outdoor area so you don’t have to worry about the rain. They do have a strict dress code here, so make sure you don’t wear flip-flops.

16. Dinner Cruise on Saigon River

Dinner Cruise on Saigon River is one of the most luxurious dining experiences in Ho Chi Minh City. You can enjoy dinner over a 2-hour cruise and admire the city’s riverside sights.

The multi-course meal is provided by a 5-star executive chef and planned by an experienced culinary director. There is also live music on board as you cruise past some of the most popular landmarks such as Vinhomes Central Park, Vinhome Golden River, Landmark 81, and the Bitexco Tower.

17. Qui Bar – Cuisine – Mixology

Cuisine Mixology is a concept of dining lounge. Qui has the vibe of an upscale bar, but you can enjoy dinners here. Located right on the crowded Le Thanh Ton street of District 1 and very close to little Japantown, Qui Bar is favored by many locals and expats.

18. Carmen Bar – Live Music Venue

Carmen Bar is a live music venue that features Spanish-speaking singers performing Flamenco songs with a Vietnamese band. The vibe of this bar reminds me of my experience in Cuba. Although the drinks are a bit more expensive to cover the entertainment charge, it’s not exorbitant.

19. Alley 8 – Casual Vietnamese Street Food & Drinks

One of the Alley 8 addresses was close to my office in Ho Chi Minh City and I passed by it almost every day. I had always been wondering while it was so crowded and popular, till one try made me become a regular here. Alley 8 offers a wide range of Northern Vietnamese drinking food and tapas with an accent of the Southern cooking style, making it extremely delicious. It is a great casual spot for eating and drinking with friends before hitting the disco!

20. Saigon Opera House

Saigon Opera House has a special architecture, bearing the Gothic style that was prevalent in France at the end of the 19th century. The opera house specializes in organizing and performing various shows such as drama, music, Vietnamese opera, and so on. After watching the show, you can go around the theater to check in and admire the landscape.

Key Takeaways: Vietnam Nightlife – Hanoi vs Ho Chi Minh City Nightlife

On your trip to Vietnam, you might be wondering where and how to spend the evenings. Even though many tourist hotspots like Phu Quoc, Mui Ne, and Da Nang have become more and more active after dark, it’s hard to beat Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City for the best vibrant nightlife in Vietnam.

Both of these big cities offer incredible experiences at night so it wasn’t easy to pick out a shortlist of favorites, but I hope my top 10 picks for nightlife hotspots in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City will help you narrow down and find the fun you are looking for!