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Concierge.com

Vietnam Nightlife

Apocalypse Now
2B–D Thi Sach Street
District 1
Ho Chi Minh City
Vietnam
Tel: 84 8 825 6124

A local institution with a bipolar personality, this beer garden/disco is a favorite haunt of expats, louche travelers, and twentysomething Vietnamese, including a large contingent of, ahem, taxi dancers. There's a pool table off to the side and ESPN on the flat-screen TV of this warehouse-style space, but the crowds are primarily here to hit the postage-stamp dance floor while the house DJ drops Gloria Gaynor, Jay-Z, and…Vanilla Ice? Arrive before 10:30 pm and you'll be outnumbered by the battalion of efficient waiters, who ensure a steady stream of 333-brand beers at about $3 a pop. Check your pretension at the door and enjoy the goofy fun of it all.

Open daily 7 pm to 2 am.

Before & Now
51 Le Loi Street
Hoi An
Vietnam
Tel: 84 510 910 599

The heroes of the revolution—at least judging by the murals adorning this converted two-story shophouse—include Che, Lennon (John, not Vladimir), and U2's Bono. The two-for-one happy hour, from 6 to 8 pm daily, draws an early crowd of travelers and locals, who often hang out until closing. The front tables are best for people-watching on the pedestrian-only Le Loi Street. The back of the house holds a standard-issue pool table and a foosball game. Vietnamese and Italian food, including bruschetta and pizzas, can be ordered in the quieter second-floor dining room.

Open daily 9 am to 2 am.

Hotel Photo
DMZ
60 Le Loi Street
Hue
Vietnam
Tel: 84 5 482 3414
littleitalyhue@gmail.com
www.dmz-bar.com

A Hue institution since the early '90s, this corner pub recently moved several hundred yards east on riverside Le Loi Street. The central pool table and a soundtrack of Dylan, Guns N' Roses, and Oasis attract a large, mixed crowd, which grows more local after midnight. The bar strives for ambience with wooden tables and folding chairs, as well as colorful silken lamp shades—an effect somewhat undercut by heavily grafittied walls and a TV tuned to Premier League soccer matches. However, the beer is cold and cheap ($1.25 for imported Tiger), while the DMZ daiquiri (Vietnamese rum, lime juice, sweet syrup) is lethal.

Open daily 7 am to 3 am.

Dragonfly Bar-Lounge
15 Hang Buom Street
Hoan Kiem District
Hanoi
Vietnam
Tel: 84 4 926 2177
www.dragonfly.vn

An everyday hangout for twenty-something expats and Vietnamese alike, this friendly two-floor bar has Hanoi's most ambitious drink list (247 cocktails, and shaking) at the thirst-quenching price of 40,000 Vietnamese dong (about $2.50). It's not long before the antic meld of music—everything from anonymous house to Jamiroquai and even Cher—seems to make sense. The ground floor contains a dance area and backroom pool table. Upstairs there's a lounge stocked with games like Jenga and a hookah bar where Hanoi hipsters toke tobacco spiced with apple and mint.

Open daily 10 am to late.

Guava
17 Biet Thu Street
Nha Trang
Vietnam
Tel: 84 5 852 4140

On Biet Thu's backpacker strip, this laid-back establishment stands out for its loungelike vibe, which appeals to expats, young travelers, and hip Vietnamese vacationers. The large, open-air bar is stocked with comfy club chairs while an inner courtyard has couches beneath palms and banana trees; when conversation lags, try your luck on the free billiards table. There are daily drink specials: two-for-one Bloody Marys on Sundays, for instance, and free guava shots on Saturdays. DJs spin funk, soul, disco, and deep house Thursdays through Saturdays. Open late, though most midnight-hour action shifts to Sailing Club.

Open daily 10:30 am to 1 am

Highway 4
5 Hang Tre Street
Hoan Kiem District
Hanoi
Vietnam
Tel: 84 4 926 0639
www.highway4.com

This rollicking bar brings a taste of the countryside to the masses. Though it's thoroughly Vietnamese, some expats and in-the-know travelers easily join in the karaoke-free fun, and few seem to be able to leave without downing at least one shot of Son Tinh, a rose-apple liqueur distilled especially for the bar. The ground-floor bar of this former French-era home has lacquer-top tables and chairs upholstered with hill-tribe textiles. Upstairs, the low tables and floor cushions of the open-air terrace are the approved spot for happy hour cocktails or sundowners, often taken with exotic, down-home dishes such as whole grilled sparrows, crocodile tail with ginger, or locusts roasted with lime leaves. But please pass on the thit cho hunk hoi (sautéed dog meat).

Open daily 10 am to midnight.

Lush
2 Ly Tu Trong Street
District 1
Ho Chi Minh City
Vietnam
Tel: 84 8 824 2496

Locals as well as homesick expats love this little slice of Clubland at the outer limits of District 1. The owner, a former computer-graphics artist, has decorated the walls with floor-to-ceiling anime illustrations, while the open room features a central bar girdled by low booths and ottomans as well as an intimate second-floor gallery. DJs spin the latest techno and hip-hop at chat-killing levels, and the fact that there's no dance floor doesn't deter the young and restless throngs. Conversation is best attempted in the outdoor courtyard fronting the dance room, where a full à la carte menu (catered by Xu restaurant), including wonton noodle soup and seared-tuna salad, will also satisfy the peckish.

Open Sundays through Thursdays 5 pm to 1:30 am, Fridays and Saturdays 5 pm to 2:30 am.

Mao's Red Lounge
7 Ta Hien Street
Hoan Kiem District
Hanoi
Vietnam
Tel: 84 4 926 3104

There's nothing particularly loungelike about this small Old Quarter space. The look is college-dorm bohemian (well-used sofas and stools, pith helmets and baskets hanging on the deep red walls), drink prices (about 65 cents for a beer) hover in the starving-artist range, and the rock music hails from back-in-the-day. But Mao's little nightspot still draws a loyal, diverse crowd of young expats and local characters, who come for the unpretentious, neighborhood-dive vibe and Mr. Mao's friendly banter. No AC to speak of on muggy evenings, but ceiling fans stir the smoke.

Minh's Jazz Club
31 Luong Van Can Street
Hoan Kiem District
Hanoi , Vietnam
Tel: 84 4 828 7890
www.minhjazzvietnam.com

If you crave incongruous cross-cultural experiences—say, a Vietnamese jazz sextet knocking out a slightly stilted cover of "The Girl From Ipanema"—take the handiest cyclo to this long-standing Old Quarter nightspot. Proprietor Quyen Van Minh, a sax instructor at Hanoi Conservatory, has decked the walls with pictures of fellow reedsmen like Stan Getz, John Coltrane, and President Bill Clinton. Tables nearest the bar offer the best views and acoustics. There's no cover charge inside this low, smoky space, but the relatively stiff drink prices—customers are charged separately for booze and mixers—seem to have priced out many locals and expats.

Open daily 10 am to midnight.

Q Bar
7 Cong Truong Lam Son
District 1
Ho Chi Minh City
Vietnam
Tel: 84 8 823 3479
www.qbarsaigon.com

The diva of Saigon's demimonde, Q Bar's unbeatable Lam Son Square location and red-eye hours make it a crossroads for sharply dressed night crawlers of all passports and persuasions. The long bar stocks nearly two dozen single-malt whiskeys and every fruity Absolut infusion known to man. The truly decadent will try a Cyclotini (Tanqueray gin, dry vermouth, and absinthe). Despite the blend of dance and techno music, the low ceilings and lighting in this subterranean warren of rococo rooms make for more of a chill vibe.

Opens daily at 6 pm.

Saigon Saigon
Caravelle Hotel
19 Lam Son Square
District 1
Ho Chi Minh City
Vietnam
Tel: 84 8 823 4999

With commanding views of downtown Ho Chi Minh City, this breezy, tenth-floor bar is a favored sundowner site among the city's business travelers and upscale tourists. Far above the maddening traffic of Lam Son Square, the panoramas of Notre Dame Cathedral and the Hotel de Ville are sublime. Ceiling fans, rattan furniture, and vintage photos aim for old-time ambience, although signature cocktails like the $7 Saigon Saigon (a martini glass aswirl with Smirnoff vodka, Cointreau, cranberry, and lime juice) sport thoroughly modern price tags—as do the branded gift-shop coasters, polo shirts, and teddy bears. A bit commercial, but still worth at least one sunset.

Open daily 11 am to midnight.

Hotel Photo
Sailing Club Nha Trang
72–74 Tran Phu Street
Nha Trang
Vietnam
Tel: 84 5 882 6528
www.sailingclubvietnam.com/scnhatrang.php

In Nha Trang, any night out ultimately leads to Sailing Club, which has anchored the beach since 1994. The hippest spot on the strip provides 24/7 amusement: a yacht-chartering service, a trio of restaurants serving gourmet beach fare like barbecued prawns, and a thatched-roof bar that concocts drinks like the Sailing mojito (Sambuca, grenadine syrup, orange juice, mint, and a splash of soda water). For those so reclined, the club has thoughtfully set out lounge chairs and beach blankets. The dance floor gets moving after 11 pm, especially on weekends when Saigonese come to party. The cover charge (40,000 Vietnamese dong, or $2.50) includes one cocktail. Once a month on the full moon, the place ramps it up even further with all-night "Insomnia" parties that showcase live music and international DJs.

Open daily 10 am to 2 am.

Sax n' Art Jazz Club
28 Le Loi Street
District 1
Ho Chi Minh City
Vietnam
Tel: 84 8 822 8472
www.saxnart.com

There's nothing else in the city quite like Tran Manh Tuan's brick-walled, bohemian boîte. The talented saxophonist—the first Vietnamese graduate of Boston's Berklee College of Music—picked up an abiding love for American jazz while studying overseas. From 9 pm to midnight, Tran leads a talented house band through a repertoire that samples Fats Waller, John Coltrane, and Ray Charles as well as his own compositions, which incorporate melodies of the Montagnard, the ethnic minorities of the Central Highlands. The club's second-floor balcony has the best acoustics, though there's not a bad seat inside the long, narrow space. Drinks are a bit pricey (about $4 for a draft beer), but there's no cover charge. If you play music, pack along your sax or your ax; visiting musicians are encouraged to jam with the band.

Open daily 9 pm to midnight.

Tam Tam Café
110 Nguyen Thai Hoc Street
Hoi An
Vietnam
Tel: 84 510 862 212
www.tamtam-cafe.com

The ground-level restaurant serves French and Vietnamese food, but the real attraction of this large former tea warehouse is its second-floor bar. Thick-planked floors, high ceilings, rattan furniture, and vintage black-and-white photos give the room historic heft (check out the old sign with the structure's original colonial-era address: "28 rue des Cantonnais, Annam, Faifo''). Expert margaritas, cheap draft beer, and free Wi-Fi draw Hoi An's small expat community. There's up-tempo music, but the pool table and board games like Scrabble and backgammon make this more of a hangout bar.

Open daily 8 am to 2 am.

Tan Hai Van
162 Nguyen Trai Street
District 1
Ho Chi Minh City
Vietnam
Tel: 84 8 839 9617

After an evening of revelry or second-shift work, peckish Vietnamese clubgoers and insomniacs flock to this no-frills eatery to carbo-load Chinese noodle dishes and dim sum munchies. Hearty portions of wonton soup or rice porridge cost little more than $1, as does a cold can of nuoc yen ngan nhi, a popular Vietnamese beverage whose key ingredient is bird's nest. Stick with local 333 or Larue beer instead. There's an indoor, air-conditioned dining area, but grab a sidewalk table for optimum people watching.

Open 24/7.

Tet Bar
2A Ta Hien Street
Hoan Kiem District
Hanoi
Vietnam
Tel: 84 4 926 3035

Once a grungy bar known as Le Maquis, this hole-in-the-wall spot got a style upgrade—complete with tile floors, terra-cotta-colored walls, and mood lighting—without losing its chill vibe and French-expat fan base. The living-room size makes it always seem busy, yet intimacy is just a few steps up a narrow spiral staircase that leads to a loft and a tiny, futon-equipped mezzanine. The signature house cocktail is a mojito-like concoction of rum, vodka, and lime that tastes even more illicit when sipped to Buddha Bar music during a post-midnight "lock-in."

Open daily 7 pm to 7 am.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.