Hoi An is renowned for many things, but its nightlife is definitely not one of them. Despite beer being cheaper than water in a number of eateries around town, there are only a handful of western bars that provide decent cocktails and feel-good vibes within the city. Having been here for almost a year, I’ve had a chance to sample a number of drinking spots. Although there are a number of great places to sit back and watch the world go by outside of those I’ve included, I feel that each of the bars featured – Marimba, Mango Rooms and Dive Bar – offer a very different atmosphere and experience to one another, despite all being based within the city centre. Here are my top three nightlife spots in Hoi An.
61 Tran Cao Van, Hoi An
Marimba has recently moved from its An Bang beach location to the city centre, but it has managed to bring its beach vibe along for the ride. I visited Marimba on their opening night and instantly fell in love with their fairy lights and, my favourite feature by far, bar swings. The Marimba team moved a lot of their old décor to the new location – including bamboo fences – to create a chilled-out drinking space close to Hai Bà Trưng, one of Hoi An’s busiest streets.
The drinks at Marimba match its’ great personality, with trendy twists on classics such as cucumber G&Ts (they add a pinch of pepper) and their very own caipirinhas; ‘Marimba Caipis’. I’m yet to drop by in the daytime as I get the feeling Marimba may be more of an evening place, especially as their happy hour runs from 5-8pm, but I’m happy to be proved wrong.
111 Nguyễn Thái Học, Hoi An
Outside of Marimba it’s often hard to get a good G&T in Hoi An, let alone a decent cocktail, but Mango Rooms has the answers to my drinking prayers. Situated on the riverside in the Old Town, Mango Rooms has created a colourful drinking retreat for cocktail lovers. Made with high quality spirits and decorated with beautiful, edible flowers, Mango Rooms create delicious cocktails that are equally as pleasing to look at – win, win!
The Mango Rooms venue is as decorative as its cocktails, with the option of sitting facing the river on a contemporary twist of traditional floor seating (think cushions and candle light), or facing the hustle and bustle of Old Town in the dining area.
The restaurant/bar’s happy hour runs daily from 5-7pm, with half-priced cocktails and various deals on beer, some of which are sourced from Pasteur Street Brewery.
88 Nguyễn Thái Học, Hoi An
During the day, Dive Bar is a relaxed bar/restaurant and one of Hoi An’s top spots to book Cham Island diving tours. By night, it transforms into a busy drinking hub full of people and is especially popular with backpackers. Offering more of a party vibe than the aforementioned drinking spots, Dive Bar provides free shots every 45 minutes and is a great place to go if you’re looking to get a bit tipsy. The bar’s menu features a number of different drinks, with a selection of fairly average cocktails at pretty standard prices for the city centre.
Although Hoi An’s nightlife scene isn’t as wild as larger Vietnamese cities, there’s still a lot going on here. If these bars don’t take your fancy and you’re looking for a night out on the dance floor, then places such as Mr Bean Bar and Tiger Tiger are for you. If you’re looking for a truly local night out, there’s a short strip of late-night coffee shops along Nguyễn Duy Hiệu, as you head away from Old Town, that are packed full of locals on the weekends. Alternatively, there are plenty of karaoke bars around if you feel like getting your Taylor Swift on…
Photos: Shot by Shaun Photography