Hanoi's drink and dance offerings are less diverse than its racy southern sister Saigon, but there are plenty of places to keep energetic, thirsty, gregarious travellers entertained by night. Keep in mind the expat bar scene in the West Lake area too - especially for long nights out on the weekend.
Hanoi’s embrace of nightlife has been far more tentative than its southern sister Saigon. BMWs, Bentleys, Louis Vuitton and cosmetic surgery seem to be welcome signs of the city's emergence from the gloomy days of central planning. But the bar scene has been more fraught. Things open. Then they close.
Too many customers and the official attention that brings, can be as deadly to a business as too few.
Beer corner is now something of a Hanoi nightlife institution and continues to draw in big crowds of alfresco drinkers before 12 - when the shutters come down. You’ll need to head down there and get amongst the young locals for at least one cold beer. There are also lots of bars in the Ta Hien St area - but they too shut down at midnight.
If you want to kick on beyond twelve, you’ll need to head out of the old quarter. There are a few places on Hanoi’s dyke road as well as the West Lake expat ghetto area that stay open late.
The West Lake area,where many of Hanoi's expats live, is an increasingly important part of the city's culinary and nightlife scene. If you're in the city longer than a night or two, or planning a long night out, this area is definitely worth a visit.
We list a number of West Lake venues in our recomendations.