I just spent two weeks in Hanoi and I must say I was pleasantly surprised by the nightlife.

When I was living in Saigon, people kept telling me that Hanoi was a conservative town with unfriendly people, a curfew at midnight and a suffocating weather.

In fact, I found barely any differences between the two cities, and particularly at night. Saigon is in my Top 3 party destination in Southeast Asia, and Hanoi is not far behind.

The hundreds of bars, clubs, lounges, spas and karaokes in Hanoi range from extremely basic (4 walls and a stool) to world-class sophisticated venues. You'll rarely pay an entrance fee for any nightclubs and the drinks are usually cheap, even in the more upmarket spots. The crowd is usually young, with many travelers and backpackers on a budget. They are in the city to have fun, and you'll meet people very easily even if you come by yourself.

This review is a summary of my findings during my stay: The best bars, the best clubs, the best places to stay, and how to socialize. If I forgot something important, please don't hesitate to leave a comment at the end of the post.


Hotels near Hanoi Nightife

You can read my article Best Hotels near Hanoi Nightclubs for more details about the best places to stay in the city.

If you don't have time to read it, here is a quick summary:

The best location is anywhere near the Saint Joseph Cathedral. It is walking distance from almost everything including the airport shuttle, the train station, the Hoàn Kiếm Lake, the Opera and the Old Quarter. 80% of the bars and clubs listed in this review are also within 2 kilometers.

Some of the best accommodation in this area are
→ More than $100 per night: The 5-star Apricot Hotel (home of Playboy Club)
→ Between $50 and $100: The Chi
 Under $30: Church Legend Hotel
→ Backpacker: Chien Hostel and Hanoi Backpacker Hostel are famous for being party hostels.

Nightlife Areas in Hanoi
To make things simple, I would say there are 3 major nightlife areas in Hanoi.

→ The Old Quarter is where most backpackers, tourists and Vietnamese students hang out. It is cheap, cramped and messy.
→ The West Lake is where expats and trendy Vietnamese party. It is naturally more expensive and the crowd is older.
→ The Historical Center, from Hoàn Kiếm Lake down to Tran Hung Dao street, is a posh area, particularly around the Opera House. You'll find mostly bars and clubs targeting rich Vietnamese/tourists.

Old Quarter: Tourists and Young Vietnamese
Old Quarter nightlife
A dense, action-packed district with at least 200 nightlife spots, most often small bars selling cheap draught beer (Bia hơi - as low as VND4,000 or $0,17 per glass). It is popular with a young Vietnamese crowd (mostly students) and foreigners (backpackers, tourists). 95% of the venues close at 1AM (official curfew), but if you poke around you'll find hidden bars to party until at least 3AM.

You can start your evening at the intersection of Tạ Hiện and Lương Ngọc Quyến streets, also called "Beer Corner". It reserved for pedestrians and from there you can just walk from one place to the other.

Many bars seem to have been inspired by the Communist ideology: Identical design, identical product, no name (only a number) and little attention paid to customer service. That said, getting drunk on those tiny stools is still a fun local experience. You'll notice that a lot of people are breathing into balloons of laughing gas. Those are not illegal in Vietnam and they cost $1 or $2. They give a mild euphoria or a feeling of numbness for a few minutes. I have the impression that they make your hangover worse on the next day though.

On your pub crawl, you may include some more proper bars and clubs, for instance:

Bars:
Factory 47: A foreign-owned, hipster bar. Better music than elsewhere but also more expensive. Open from 10AM to 3AM.

Local, next to Beer Corner, it has a DJ playing Top 40/EDM and a dance floor.

Clubs:
1900 Le Theatre: My favorite club in the Old Quarter. A modern venue with live music (usually in Vietnamese) and DJs playing commercial EDM and Hip Hop. Mixed crowd. Recommended for meeting new people. Closes at 1AM.

The Opera: This club is more oriented towards Vietnamese groups, with DJs playing mostly Vina House. There is an entrance fee and prices are quite expensive.

👌 Food: A great way to explore the Old Quarter is to join the famous Hanoi Street Food Tour (#1 activity on TripAdvisor). In 3 hours, you'll have a chance to try about a dozen delicious Northern Vietnam dishes.

West Lake (or Tây Hồ District): Expats and Trendy Vietnamese
In this neighborhood, trendy and chic venues are spread out, principally on the east side of the Lake. The crowd is mostly made of expats and rich Vietnamese. To go there, I advise you to use Uber (only VND50,000 from downtown).

Some of the best venues are:

Bars:
Standing Bar: One of the hip bars in Hanoi at the moment. It is built on two floors with an outdoor area from where you can see the lake. They serve 16 types of craft beer, local and imported, for around VND80,000-90,000 per half-pint. You can also eat some tapas. Events include stand-up comedy and live music.

Furbrew: Also a craft beer bar, owned by a Danish brewmaster, with an outdoor garden. Small beers (175ml) cost around VND45,000 and a pint (375ml) double this price. Closes at 11PM.

The Republic: Aussie-owned expat bar. Good for eating Western food and watching sports (NFL, AFL, football, rugby, etc). Popular hangout on Sundays. Lake view. Close early at midnight.

Unicorn: A dive bar that you could easily miss, but worth a try for their affordable cocktails. Perfect to start the evening.

The Kneipe: A laid back German bar with reasonable prices, decent pub fare and live music/DJ.

Clubs:
Savage: A new nightclub, bar and lounge in the West Lake area. It is owned and managed by 4 French based in Hong Kong. Popular with expats. Techno and non-commercial electronic music. Closes very late. Expensive. Good cocktails. My favorite nightclub in Hanoi.

Hero: One of the most popular nightclubs in the city with a mixed crowd of Vietnamese and foreigners. Good setup on two floors. Reasonable prices.

Hanoi Rock City: The main alternative event and art space in Hanoi, it features live bands, DJ performances, open-mic nights and exhibitions. Entrance is usually free but drinks pricier than elsewhere.

Historical City Center: Rich Vietnamese and Tourists
The Historical City Center (excluding Old Quarter) from the northern tip of Hoàn Kiếm Lake until Tran Hung Dao street is filled with upmarket restaurants, lounges, bars, and nightclubs. Many are targeting Vietnamese, and more particularly the high-society (Hi-So). You may see some expats and tourists in some specific venues as well.

Below are some of the current hot-spots:

Bars:
Cosa Nostra: A classy, minimalist bar with concrete floors and walls. Comfortable leather sofas. 2 floors including a small terrace. Cheapest beer costs VND100,000. Closes at midnight.

Kumqat Tree Hanoi: A speakeasy bar on 2 floors with live music or DJ events. Good for cocktails.

Binh Minh Jazz Club: Most famous jazz club in Hanoi. No cover charge but drinks are expensive.

Elsewhere
Outside of these areas, there are many nightclubs, KTVs and beer clubs targeting Hanoi's middle to upper class.

Vina House Clubs
Many of these nightclubs have a similar concept. They cater for groups of friends, and the entertainment consists of a DJ playing loud "Vina House", with some sexy dancers performing on a podium.

In case you never hear of it, Vina House, or Viet House, is a specialty of Vietnam which is just as remarkable as Banh Mi or Pho. It is a crossover between Pop Music and Techno with almost the same bassline on every track. Here is an example:
There are at least 15 Vina House nightclubs in downtown Hanoi, and I went to most of them. To be honest, it was a bit repetitive as they are not really different from one another.

Basically, they are all quite luxurious in appearance, with flashy lights, modern LED displays, high tables and a few VIP corners. Vietnamese come in groups, sometimes only guys, sometimes with girls whom I'm not sure if they are their girlfriends or lady companions.

There is a DJ, often a sexy girl, who mixes Vina House, and a male MC who shouts at the crowd between songs. The sound is always deafening (bring earplugs). In most places, you also have sexy dancers wearing a different uniform every night. The larger clubs have live bands, unfortunately singing very boring Vietnamese pop.

Dress code: Guys will be expected to wear shoes and long pants. For girls, high heels and skirts are recommended, but as a foreigner, you'll manage to enter without.

Those clubs are not recommended for clubbers who are 1) alone 2) penniless. Even though the entrance is free, you'll be expected to buy a bottle of alcohol (between VND1,000,000 and VND2,000,000 for the cheapest ones) if you want to get a table. The choice of drinks by the glass or by the bottle is limited and pricey (a beer will cost from VND100,000 to VND200,000). Typically, Vietnamese will also add a shisha and a fruit platter to their table. They don't really need it but it's all about showing off how much money you can spend.

The service is particularly attentive because all waiters expect a tip. Even when you go to the toilet the janitor will do everything he can to get a few dongs, from turning on the faucet to giving you a back massage.

The best Vina House nightclub I've been to in Hanoi is called Fame. It is packed any day of the week and features some of the hottest dancers in Vietnam.

Viet-Style Beer Gardens and Beer Bars
Unlike the ones in Thailand that are often laid-back, beer gardens in Vietnam resemble nightclubs and usually have a DJ/loud music. The only difference is that they are cheaper, they serve food and they are partially in the open-air.

The New Spinx Beer Bar is one of the most impressive I've seen in the whole country. It has a massive entrance resembling a temple, a staff dressed up with Egyptian costumes and a huge stage featuring live music acts, DJs and sexy dancers. Beer costs from VND40,000 for a glass of Tiger up to VND120,000 for imported Belgian beers. Sparta is similar, but with a Greek/Roman theme.

Closer from the tourist area, the famous beer club chain Vuvuzela has opened a branch near the Cathedral and another one in the Old Quarter. They close early though and they didn't seem to be so crowded when I passed by.

Meeting People in Hanoi
Online dating is your best friend for meeting new people  up in Hanoi as long as you use the appropriate websites/apps. Read my article Top Dating Apps and Websites in Vietnam.

Tinder and Bumble: These popular apps work well in the city with younger people, whether they are Vietnamese or foreign.

Vietnam Cupid: This website is the best for those who want to meet a Vietnamese girl but who are not yet in Vietnam. They have 500 to 1,000 girls online at any time, most of whom do not mind if you are staying abroad.

Seeking.com: The most beautiful girls are on Seeking.com, but they are looking for sugar daddies. If that's your thing, you'll be in heaven there.

You can also read: 15 Best Online Dating Apps and Websites to Meet Asian Girls.

12 comments to '' Hanoi Nightlife Guide - Vietnam (Updated 2021) "

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  1. Many thanks for your excellent article
    www.hanoistreetfoodtour.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. omg , i think he know abt vietnam so well :))

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  3. Just came back from an awesome 2 day trip from Hanoi. Wish I could have the chance to go back there again. The nightlife scenes in Hanoi is unbelievably lively. It’s truth that Hanoi is not as chic n hip as HCMC but it has it’s charm on it’s own. The drink prices are relatively cheap and the djs doesn’t play too much ‘vina’ house in clubs. I find 1900 Le theatre, hero bar are superb. It’s unbelieveble that they are packed even on Sunday and Monday as I was expecting for just a quick drink but it quickly turned out to be a full fun night out till 3 in the morning. Headed to craft beer pub for drinks to kick start the night. Beers are cheap with the lowest(35k) for a mug of Saigon beer. Then headed to 1900 Le theatre and was lucky that there’s a international dj spinning, hence was packed(youngsters mostly). Then headed to hero bar which I believe Is the most happening place in Hanoi after 2am. I do notice that most of the girls are out to have fun(not sure if they are freelancers) doesn’t need too much game to start talking and drinking with them. I would say that Hanoi is a fun place and it just added to my list of places of great nightlife, the list will go(if u guys even care): Bangkok, hcmc, Hanoi, Phnom Penh, chiang mai, Lombok,

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  4. If many vietnamese girls could not speak english,how can we commnicate with them?It also happened in bangkok.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Google Translate works very well. You just speak/write in your own language, and it translates well enough.

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  5. >Those clubs are not recommended for clubbers who are 1) alone

    So you weren't alone? Or drank one bottle..

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  6. Just visited Hanoi for a week, was looking for some girls in Hanoi and found that it is extremely difficult to have some fun. Those girls are only willing to dance, drink and chat with you in the bar/club, if you ask for phone number to contact, they normally wont give.
    Have tried the escort too, has a very bad experience. The escort service is vietnamdolls.com.
    Told them would like to have a girl that can stay overnight, I promise to take overnight if only the girl providing good services. However, when they girl arrive, she says not staying for overnight. After some argument, agree that she will stay until 12am and she will go back.
    After paid the money, have some fun, drink and the girl keep saying wanted to go back as early as 10pm. ( she came at 7.30pm) Fed up with those escort, my purpose writing this is to let more people know, vietnam escort service is not ethic. They will always ask for money first, once they have money, they will have a lot of excuses to go back, beware

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Why do you bother looking for prostitutes or escorts in clubs? You will only find Vietnamese girls who can't speak English and with no education... I come to Vietnam 3-4 times a year, and each time I find a sugar baby on SeekingArrangement. This site has cute, young, university-educated girls who are willing to spend a weekend or holiday with you as long as you help them a bit financially. Try it and then thank me!

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  7. thanks for that very good introduction into the world of Hanoi. over the last three days i have seen most of the clubs mention above (club-hopping is very easy because you find everywhere taxi and clubs are closed by). compare to Saigon girls are shy and it takes a while to find and start talking. Out of all clubs the worse i have seen was INFINITY in Hanoi (very small club, no dance floor and the crowd is sitting on theis booked tables the whole time). the club what you call the THE BANK doesnt exist anymore and now you will find the club THE TOILET in this place. AND the Playboy Club doesnt exist anymore. HERO was definitely the best club i have visit in Hanoi

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  8. where to find the best girl in Hanoi for over-night?

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    Replies
    1. If you want a pretty girl for a few nights in Hanoi, it's best to find a sugar baby. Check SeekingArrangement to find one, there are many many Vietnamese girls using it to find a foreign guy.

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  9. Tinder can be used on a Laptop and you need to include Bumble, it's a goldmine.

    ReplyDelete