With most bars and clubs closed at midnight, Hanoi is not what you’d consider a “party town”. But, for foreigners, there is still an active nightlife scene, as long as you start early.
The heart of the foreign nightlife area is “Beer Street” (Bia Hoi Junction) near Hoan Kiem Lake in the Old Quarter. Adjacent to the Hanoi Night Market, the area is closed off to traffic at night and, in narrow alleys, are series of small bars where you sit on plastic stools and enjoy extremely cheap draft beer or bottles.
The area, as you’d expect, is overrun with backpackers, with hostels dotted between the various beer bars.
There also are proper bars that verge on clubs, with laser lighting and LED-lit entrances. Cocoon, one of the bars closet to the entrance to the party district, had some bad foreign karaoke blasting out on my visit there, so beware.
You’ll also find a few beer “pretties” about and while they are gorgeous, they’re a lot more reserved than their colleague in Thailand, outfitted in long-sleeved dresses of a respectable length.
You’ll also find a few discos with hi-so, young Vietnamese couples dressed to the nines and black-garbed bouncers keeping the flip-flopped riff-raff out.
With friends or a group, Beer Street can be a fun night, but for anyone on their own it may have less appeal if you’re not in the mood to strike up random conversations.