The Northern Thai city of Chiang Mai is not only more relaxed than its Bangkok counterpart, it is also home to some of the countries most talented musicians. If you’re looking for the best live music venues, look no further than our tried and tested bunch of the city’s most rockin’ places.
The North Gate Jazz Bar
If you love jazz this is the perfect venue for you. “North Gate” attracts locals, expats and tourists alike, serves a good selection of cheap drinks and has excellent jazz musicians to boot. Local artists play regularly with international acts dropping in while they are in town. The atmosphere is energetic and exudes a community vibe. Tuesdays are open Jazz Jam Sessions where anyone can play. Come early to get a seat as the bar gets packed and you don’t want to end up across the road sitting on the Old Town wall, or maybe you do?
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Boys Blues Bar
Boys Blues Bar is considered one of Chiang Mai’s finest live music venues. Nestled in the middle of the city’s Night Bazaar up a rickety staircase you’ll find Chiang Mai’s most revered guitar player, ‘Boy.’ The bar attracts Thai and expats with a mutual appreciation for good music and cold beer. Mondays jam night invites visitors to pick up a guitar and join in, if you are so inclined.
For a unique experience with a local flavour head to Tawang Dang. This huge concrete building is home to hundreds of whiskey-drinking Thais, strobe lights and portraits of communist leaders and pop culture icons. The ska-like Thai country or Isaan folk music is foot-stomping good and accompanied by scantily clad dancers.
Tawan Dang, Su Thep, Mueang, Chiang Mai, Thailand, +66 5340 0801
Roots Rock Reggae
Join the crowds of backpackers at the Zoe and Yellow complex, nicknamed the “Square of Despair.” Find your oasis away from the madness at Roots Rock Reggae, a Chiang Mai institution that has been gracing the Chiang Mai bar scene for decades. The Thai musicians play reggae, rock and ska music to an enigmatic dancing crowd. Beers, cheap shots and buckets of Thai whisky are served by Thai Rastas.
The Riverside Restaurant and Bar
Riverside, as its affectionately known, is a great place to come and enjoy delicious food and a few cheeky sundowners. Stay on until the live cover band come on, who not only do fantastic renditions but also manage to summon quite a crowd.
Riverside, 9-11 Charoenrat Road, Chiang Mai 50000, Thailand, +66 53 243 239
Good View Bar and Restaurant
One of Chiang Mai’s most popular live music haunts is the Good View Bar and Restaurant, located a short distance away from “Riverside” on the banks of the Ping River. The “Good View” draws a mixed crowd and plays an eclectic combo of jazz, blues, American rock, British pop and Thai country music. The Good View also has a huge food and drinks menu to keep you entertained for hours.
Looking for some rock ‘n’ roll? Look no further than Inter Bar. Located in the busy tourist area of Tha Pae Road, Inter Bar has live rock ‘n’ roll every day of the week. Headbang the night away to your favourite Nirvana, Green Day or AC/DC renditions and relive your youth.
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