Hanoi is a city with so many unique things to do at night, and is unlike any other capital in Southeast Asia or the even the world. While it won’t win over many plaudits for its nightclubs, there are a multitude of fun and interesting things to see and places to go.
- Bia Hoi Junction At the junction of Ta Hien and Luong Ngoc Quyen, Old Quarter (North of Hoan Kiem Lake)
This junction in the centre of the Old Quarter is the absolute classic night time activity in Hanoi. You really haven’t seen the city until you have spent a few hours soaking up the atmosphere and maybe sinking a few beers at the most famous Beer Hoi (Fresh Beer) spot in Vietnam. Several shophouses have plastic stools spilling out onto the streets, with beers being served for as little as VND10,000 (less than US$1) and street vendors serving steamed peanuts, beef jerky and other exotic snacks. The beer is quite weak compared to European standards, but for an all round experience it is quite something. Open throughout the day and late into the night. Opening Hours: 11:00-Late
- Water Puppet Theatre North east of Hoan Kiem Lake at 57b Dinh Tien Hoang Street
Another classic night spot in Hanoi and one for those who enjoy a more cultured evening, the Water Puppet Theatre is a must-do when visiting the city for the first time. The ancient art form of water puppetry has a long association but the original – and widely regarded as the best – theatre in town is the Thang Long Puppet Theatre. Puppets dance and slide gracefully over the water, depicting stories of ancient myths and folklore which are easy to grasp for foreign guests. Booking tickets in advance is highly recommended, especially on weekends.
- Minh’s Jazz Club 65 Quan Su Street, Hoan Kiem District
Minh’s Jazz Club is unparalleled as a place to witness the finest musicians in Hanoi. Live music fans will love the dark interior, which leaves all of the attention squarely on the talented performers on stage. Minh himself – widely regarded as the best Vietnamese jazz performer in history – is sometimes here in person, jamming with his immensely talented band, as well as international performers. Drinks are not cheap, but when you factor in the quality of the live entertainment, prices are more than fair.
- Funky Buddha Club 2 Ta Hien Street – a short walk north of Hoan Kiem Lake
Funky Buddha Club is renowned as a place to go in Hanoi for some bass heavy beats and a young crowd of foreign tourists, backpackers, and expats (and a smattering of Vietnamese). Located in the centre of the Old Quarter, this narrow, two storey bar and club plays house music all night long, with the music gradually getting louder until the fairly strict police step in. Drinks are reasonably priced and there is a live DJ every night. Opening Hours: 17:00-23:00 Tel: +84 4 32927614
- Hanoi Press Club 59 A Ly Thai To Street
Hanoi Press Club is an upscale bar offering excellent service and a sophisticated ambiance, both inside in their gentleman’s club style bar and out on the large, third floor terrace. A well stocked bar offers excellent wines and cocktails as well as some tasty bar snacks. There is live music from Thursday to Sunday and a special buy-one-get-one-free on select drinks every Thursday. Opening Hours: 11:00-15:00 and 17:00-Late Tel: +844 39340888
- Vietnam Central Circus Than Nhan Tong Street, Lenin Park (just south of Thien Quang Lake)
For some family-friendly fun, head down to the Vietnam Central Circus which features a big top tent, live performances and simple fairground games within a large park in the south of the city. Featuring clowns, acrobats and animal performances, the Central Circus in Hanoi follows a fairly predictable schedule, but it can be a lot of fun. Located next to Thien Quang Lake, it is a 10 minute taxi ride from the Old Quarter. Performances start from 20:00 six days a week (closed on Monday). Opening Hours: 20:00-22:00
- Hanoi Opera House Near Hoan Kiem Lake on August Revolution Squar.
The stunning Hanoi Opera House is one of the most spectacular examples of colonial architecture in Vietnam, and spending a night of culture at a live opera or musical performance lives long in the memory. Shows aren’t on constantly but be sure to check with the concierge at your hotel to see if any performances are scheduled during your stay. Advanced booking is imperative. Located in the centre of the French Quarter of Hanoi, it is worth going to appreciate the Hanoi Opera House at night, even if there is no performance scheduled.
- Legend Beer Northern Edge of Hoan Kiem Lake
Legend Beer is a third storey bar with a sweeping terrace overlooking downtown Hanoi and Hoan Kiem Lake. There is no where better in Hanoi to enjoy an ice cold beer and watch the night time escapades of Hanoi’s inhabitants. Due to the low level of the terrace, the fervent action of the streets below is almost at touching distance so you can feel part of the city, yet relaxed at the same time. Legend Beer brews its own drinks, with wheat beer, lager and a dark stout all available in several sizes. They also have a decent menu of German-style dishes such as pork knuckle and sausages. Opening Hours: 11:00-23:00 Tel:+84 4 3776 1666
- Dragonfly Bar Lounge 15 Hang Buom, Hoàn Kiem
Dragonfly Bar and Lounge is a longstanding night spot in the Old Quarter of Hanoi that attracts a fairly even mix of young Vietnamese and youthful expats. The music varies between hip-hop and party pop music and there is space to dance if you get in the groove, although most people prefer to mix and mingle. Perhaps due to the amount of backpackers that frequent Dragonfly, large cocktails are popular here and are noticeably good value. Head upstairs to enjoy a shisha pipe with a range of flavours available. Opening Hours: 10:00-23:00 (may stay open later if busy) Tel: +844 926 2177
- Sunset Bar at InterContinental Hotel 1A Nghi Tam St, InterContinental Hotel, West Lake
When the hectic nature of Hanoi gets too much, retreat to the chilled surroundings of Sunset Bar at InterContinental Hanoi West Lake. Relax on the comfortable daybeds and couches on a chilled-out wooden deck, complete with serene views overlooking West Lake. This is a superb designer spot to enjoy a cool evening cocktail far away from Hanoi’s crowds. Opening Hours: 16:30-24:00 Tel: +844 6270-8888