The many beer gardens that once fringed the banks of the Mekong have long been closed down by the government, who felt them too unruly and likely to attract an undesirable crowd. However, the timber-built Sala Sunset Khounta boat still remains intact, alongside a handful of riverside drinking venues, providing the perfect spot for Beer Lao-laden sunsets. To drink the national beer as fresh as it comes, head on down to the Salakham Beer Garden 12 km outside of central Vientiane. This is where the Government Brewery resides, equipped with its very own thatched-roof beer garden.
Blue Sky Bar
Geared towards backpackers, Blue Sky Bar offers a great place for a sunset drink at the rooftop bar. Stretching over four floors, Blue Sky is also a good place to catch up on the latest movies playing on a loop throughout the day. Bar snacks are available as is a range of cheap beer, making for an amiable easygoing place to relax and meet fellow travellers.
- Opening Hours: 08:00-22:00
- Location: Junction of Setthathirat Road and Chao Anou Road
- Tel: +856 21 216368
Déjà vu Bar
A trendy cocktail bar that plays hosts to jazz nights, Déjà vu offers an interesting menu of original drinks and unusual liqueurs. The bar is small and enjoys a cosy, warm vibe with multi-lingual bar staff who pride themselves on offering drinkers a superb service. The place may be small but the customers are some of the coolest and nicest around, plus the bar is conveniently located next door to L’Opera restaurant.
- Opening Hours: 18:00-23:30
- Location: Nam Phu Fountain Square
- Tel: +856 021 244288
Loud and busy, Future Nightclub does not have a dance floor; instead partygoers dance where they stand. Locals make up the biggest crowd here and Future gets busy most days of the week, becoming very crowded over the weekend. Popular drinks include sharing a bottle of Johnnie Walker Black Label or a few bottles of Beer Lao. To get here head towards the Mercure Hotel – Future Nightclub is close by.
- Opening Hours: 17:00-01:30
- Location: Luang Prabang Road
Lunar 36 is situated on the roof of the Don Chan Palace Hotel attracting a vibrant crowd seeking out techno music and neon lighting. You dance where you stand in this busy venue – one of the most popular nightclubs around. Lunar 36 is best visited over the weekend or on a Wednesday night; on other nights it opens its doors as a karaoke spot where rooms can be hired privately.
A sophisticated cocktail bar offering their very own specials including a Lao Lao Shooter and a flaming hot Fire and Ice vodka-based mix. It has Salsa dancing on Thursdays with party nights on Fridays when a DJ plays all manner of tunes to get people moving. There is also a two-for-one cocktail happy hour Monday to Wednesday from 18:00 which are also the movie nights in the top bar.
- Opening Hours: 17:00-24:00
- Location: Nokeo Khumman
- Tel: +856 020 7529638
On The Rock
Playing rock music from the 1980s, On The Rock nightclub is usually full of young locals enjoying the live bands. The club may well be stuck in a time warp but that doesn’t stop anyone from having a great time. Doors usually stay open a lot later than advertised as On The Rock continues with its long-held reputation as a great place to see a live rock show.
- Opening Hours: 19:30-24:00
- Location: Luang Prabang Road
Sala Sunset Khounta
Constructed from old boat timber, the Sala Sunset Khounta is fantastically located on the riverfront and is a great place to enjoy a beer as you watch the sunset. There are a few different bar snacks on offer and the owners are very welcoming. This bar has long been considered a Vientiane institution.
- Opening Hours: 11:00-23:00
- Location: Three Elephants Statue by the Riverfront
- Tel: +856 021 1251079
A good spot to catch live sport; that is if you don’t mind watching it in a smoke-filled lively bar. The Samlo Pub gets busier towards the end of the evening when all the other bars have closed as it often stays open beyond closing time until the early hours. Packing in expats and backpackers, there is a good selection of beer and spirits, a daily happy hour, bar snacks and a pool table.
- Opening Hours: 16:00-23:30
- Location: 101 Setthathirat Road
- Tel: +856 021 222308
Relaxed yet upmarket, the riverside Spirit House is a quiet comfortable bar catering to a mainly expat crowd. Enjoy a chilled glass of wine as you watch the sunset over the Mekong or savour a beer in the garden with its good views. There is also plenty of food to choose from and as the name suggests, an excellent assortment of spirits.
- Opening Hours: 07:00-23:00
- Location: Beau Rivage Hotel, 09/093, Fa Ngum Road, Baan Seetarn Neua, Sikhottabong District, Vientiane
The Jazzy Brick
The Jazzy Brick is a dress-up venue serving a cool selection of cocktails to a classy crowd. Chilled music and an expensive drinks menu, this is the bar for those who have a more refined taste. The décor is stylish and the cocktails are varied and well made. Beer is available but this is not really the place to come to for ale. A dress code of no shorts or sleeveless shirts is enforced.
- Opening Hours: 11:00-24:00
- Location: 34/01 Setthathirat Road
- Tel: +856 020 2449307