If this article was written just a couple of years ago, the list of bars and clubs to visit would have been much smaller. Now, thanks to Myanmar/Burmaâ€™s rapid rise in the international community, there is a variety of places you can go to experience the nightlife and the people in Yangon, depending on your interests.
For a (Relatively) Quiet Drink
If you want to meet the local expats and be kind to your wallet, here are some places to get the feel of a sophisticated bar without paying the kinds of prices that usually go with them.
The first is the Gallery Bar at Traderâ€™s Hotel where the bar is fully stocked with local and imported wine, beer, and spirits to accompany the Western food on the menu. The daily 2 for 1 happy hour starts at 7:00pm and applies to almost any drink at the bar where the elegant furniture, dark wood paneling, and soft lighting make imbibing there a pleasant experience.
To meet more locals and engage in more talking, go to The Strand Bar on Friday nights for their happy hour of half priced drinks from 5pm to 11pm. Expats, government workers, and tourists come to network, relax, and have a few drinks.
For a bar that caters more to expats than business people, the 50th Street Bar is the place to go. With their Wednesday happy hour special of beer and wine half priced until 10pm and their all day happy hour on Sundays, this sports bar is a home away from home, with a pool table and many TVs broadcasting different sports all day.
Gallery Bar, 223 Sule Pagoda Road, 95 0124 2828; Daily 1pm-1am
The Strand Bar, 92 Strand Road, 95 0124 3377; Daily 10am â€“ 11pm
50th Street Bar, 9/13 50th Street, 95 0139 7060; Mon-Fri 11am-Late, Sat-Sun 10:30am – Late
For Dancing and Drinking
If youâ€™re looking for more than just a quiet drink and sitting at a table or a bar, and would rather listen to live music and dance, there are also plenty of options in Yangon for that as well.
Pioneer Club has a cover charge of 6 USD, but for that you get two rooms to dance in with DJs playing international pop and dance hits and plenty of beers and drinks that are fairly cheap. Both locals and expats come here to dance the night away.
For something a little bit more upscale, The Music Club in the basement of the Parkroyal Hotel could be what youâ€™re looking for. You also have to pay a cover charge of 6 USD, but you get to listen to live bands and DJs and take complete advantage of their fully stocked bar.
If the usual playlist of dance and pop isnâ€™t the scene you want, ABC Country Pub could be your answer. Their barâ€™s band plays covers of popular country music songs Thursday to Saturday.
And finally, if you want to dance to popular tunes from years past, the live band at Paddy Oâ€™Malleyâ€™s Irish Pub in the basement of the Sedona Hotel is the place to go. Their cover fee is 5 USD but you get a drink included for that price as well.
Pioneer Club, 44 Ahlone Road (next to Yangon International Hotel); Mon-Sun 10pm-3am
The Music Club, 33 Alan Pya Phaya Road, 95 0125 0388; Daily, 7pm till Late
ABC Country Pub, 404 Mahabandoola Road, 95 0137 7558;Â Thurs â€“ Sat, hours not available
Paddy Oâ€™Malleyâ€™s Irish Pub, 1 Kaba Aye Pagoda Road, 95 0166 6900; Mon â€“ Thurs 7pm-1am, Fri-Sat 7pm-2am, Closed Sundays
For Cheap Drinks and People Watching
One of the best ways to get to know a new city is to go out at night, drink with the locals, and just see what happens. These places will definitely not have a cover charge to â€œget inâ€ mainly because theyâ€™re right on the street.
Throughout Yangon, after the sun sets, there will be little areas along the street that set up with plastic chairs, wobbly tables, and poor lighting. These are the beer stations of Myanmar. Sit down at one of these and expect to pay only 2000 Kyat for a glass of whiskey or 500 Kyat for a beer. One of the famous areas for these beer stations, as well as some of the most delicious and cheap barbeque you can find, is 19th street in Yangonâ€™s Chinatown area.
If you want loud music to go along with your drinks, Sport Bar next to Mya Yeik Nyo Hotel is the place youâ€™re looking for. Locals like to frequent this area, and as the night goes on, the more interesting and energetic the crowd gets. Youâ€™ll probably make friends here whether you want to or not.
Sport Bar, 20 Pale Road, 95 0170 4428, Open until around 3 or 4am
For Posh Drinks and People Watching
If you want to see how the celebrities and high society people go out, these bars will get you up and close.
The Water Library only just opened this year, but itâ€™s presented a fine level of dining that not many other restaurants can match. They offer a wine selection of over 400 unique wines, as well as cigars. The cocktail bar has an outdoor lounge, where you can admire the architecture of the 100 year old villa youâ€™re in.
To try your luck and see if you can meet some Burmese celebrities, look no further than Escape Gastro Bar where their mixologists have created some of the most unique and delicious cocktails in the city. The Gastro Bar also offer shisha to those who want to unwind in a more exotic setting.
Water Library, 83/95 Corner of Manawharri and Pyay Road, 95 0122 1721; Lunch 1130am-2pm, Dinner 6pm-10pm, Bar 5pm-2am
Escape Gastro Bar, 31D Kan Yeiktha Street, 95 0166 0737; Daily10:30am-11pm