From minimalist decor to the best hole-in-the-wall.
With a constant influx of tourists in Chiang Mai, the city has developed a wide variety of bars catering to all types of travelers. There are many that welcome backpackers and digital nomads. Here, we’ve selected ones oozing a stylish flair either as hidden gems or rooftop favorites.
Nophaburi – Best Hidden Gem
Neighborhood: near Suan Pung Gate
Nophaburi might just be our favorite bar in Chiang Mai because it’s hidden and it’s tiny. Every cocktail on the menu is made from local ingredients, so expects lots of lemongrass. As for the Wasabi Cocktail, you won’t regret it! The decor is full of vintage finds, including neon signs, old lamps, retro couch and chairs, local textiles, and stacks of books. There’s even a DJ spinning every night. This is made for those in-the-know.
The House by Ginger – Best Cocktail Bar
Neighborhood: Old City
Known for putting a modern twist on classics, The House by Ginger is in an ancient colonial mansion. Recommended to us by stylish locals, the sophisticated space is a mix of old and new that partners well with a menu which hails to be “exceptional cocktails into the 21st Century where craft bartending meets artisanal spirits.” Here, you’ll also find an artisan shop featuring paintings done by local artists and a boutique selling one-of-a-kind crafts.
The Service 1921 Restaurant & Bar – Best Hotel Bar
Neighborhood: near Miang Kham Village
Anantara’s hotel cocktail bar The Service 1921 exudes sexiness with a luxury resort setting. You can opt to sit inside the colonial bar where the British Consulate was located decades before, or sit on its outdoor terrace looking over tranquil fountains with seductive cocktails. Due to the location’s history, the bar menu pays tribute to the Brits, including: Tea Time (Vodka Infused with Earl Grey, Honey & Lemon black tea, Lemon and Ice Scents, Dehydrated Citrus), British Consulate ( Ketel One Vodka, Tangerine Infused Crushed Ice, Cherry Brandy, Angostura Bitter, Fresh Lime Juice), and Majesty (Gin, Cacao liqueur, Elder Flower, Fresh Lemon Juice & Aromatic Bitter Foam).
Caravan Bar – Best Stylish Crowd
A classy yet vibrant atmosphere, Caravan Bar is situated in the upscale Nimmanhaemin neighborhood. The chic yet relaxing ambiance suits well with the swanky area, adding a touch of richness and romance. The name “caravan” indicates a hub for travelers, but many locals looking for a trendy scene hang out here too. From mocktails to actual cocktails, the price is also accessible. If you find yourself in the fashionable Nimmanhaemin, this is a fantastic stop for a tasty break.
Looper & Co – Best Minimalist Décor
Neighborhood: Chang Moi
Looper & Co isn’t just a cocktail bar but an espresso bar too. The minimalistic design brings a bit of Scandinavia to Chiang Mai, which is a nice change from often seen colonial styles. A café during the day and a cocktail bar at night with dimmed lights, Looper & Co’s cocktails naturally infuse coffee in its drinks, so don’t miss coffee-infused Negroni. This royal warehouse is located in the newly trendy neighborhood of Chang Moi, where old warehouses have turned into cool shops and restaurants.
Sala Lanna Rooftop Bar – Best Sunset View
Neighborhood: East of Ping River
Cocktail by the roof at dusk is what you’ll get at the delightful Sala Lanna Hotel. As if gazing at a pink and lavender painting of Mae Nam Ping River, the hotel rooftop also boasts a magnificent infinity pool on deck. Thai whiskey? No problem. If you’re hungry for tapas, Sala Lanna also serves up Mediterranean favorites along with top martinis accompanied by lychee, lemongrass, or Thai basil. We highly recommend the Thai Sabai (Thai basil, whiskey, soda concoction), you won’t regret it!
Woods Bar Rooftop – Best Penthouse Ambiance
Neighborhood: Rin Village
Situated on the 12th floor of the Prestige Hotel, Woods Bar Rooftop also comes with a glistening swimming pool with a panoramic view of Chiang Mai. Prep for a casual dress code, as grabbing a drink here feels more like a private penthouse party rather than a pretentiously glamorous bar. Discover a wide variety of classic cocktails but keep an eye out for local craft beers provided by Chiang Mai Brewing Company. If that’s your jam, don’t miss the Red Truck IPA.
Jack Bain’s Bar – Best Whiskies
Neighborhood: near Wat Ket Karam
Inside a gorgeously renovated mansion made from teakwood, Jack Bain’s Bar is 137 Pillars House Resort’s glitzy gem. Plush armchairs and colorful textiles matched with black and white photos, this place serves up great whiskies. Make sure to order its most iconic drink: Aged Teak (Monkey Shoulder blended single malts, vermouth, fresh grapefruit juice, and cinnamon). The space was originally built in the 1880’s as Borneo Company headquarter, and nowadays, you can still indulge in its 19th century charm.
Parallel Universe of Lunar 2 on the Hidden Moon – Best Craft Beers
In the fashionable Nimmanhaemin area and on the 5th floor of One Nimman, a buzzworthy bar with a very long name deserves to be spotlighted. Parallel Universe of Lunar 2 on the Hidden Moon is known for its specialty in local craft beer on tap. They come from all over the world, but we ask you to try ones from Thailand and Vietnam, since they’re harder to find back home! Very cool to see Chiang Mai catching onto the craft beer game, and playing it quite well.
Myst Maya – Best Bangkok Vibes
If you’ve missed Bangkok’s rooftop bar scene, then Myst Maya is a must. A Chiang Mai younger brother to the Bangkok branch, Myst sits on top of Maya Lifestyle Shopping Center. The bar is known for utilizing the art of science in its mixology by using liquid nitrogen and flames! DJs spinning afterhour amps up the party vibe, which definitely takes us right back to the capital of Thailand.
Hotel Yayee – Best View Of Doi Suthep
Another chill spot on the roof is at Hotel Yayee, where you can gaze at the breathtaking view of Chiang Mai’s main attraction: Doi Suthep. And another unique plus, you can see planes take off and land at CMX airport! The cocktails here feature ingredients specifically grown in the Northern Thailand region, so order whatever is in season of the month and your cocktail will sure be fresh and boozy. Quite a peaceful yet stylish place to be, you can also work at the rooftop bar during the day or watch a romantic sunset at dusk.
OASIS Rooftop Garden Bar – Best Rustic Chic
Neighborhood: near Thai Farm Cooking School
For a less crowded atmosphere and switching over to a rustic feel, check out Oasis Rooftop Garden Bar. The intimate space offers a gorgeous view of Doi Suthep, and hence delivers a sense of tranquility and peacefulness. Less pretentious and far more laidback for a rooftop bar, we highly recommend the Tom Yum Mojito, a drink you won’t find on other cocktail menus. And no, it’s not a cold version of the traditional soup!