Expat hang out
9/13 50th St, Botahtaung Township, Yangon
T: (01) 397 060
50th Street Bar and Grill is a modern midrange option for Western food just outside the beating heart of downtown Yangon (Rangoon). Air-con, WiFi, excellent food, friendly service, local entertainment and quality alcohol are the offerings that bring the crowds here.
The building stands out among the traditional ones elsewhere on the street and will be hard to miss. While there’s a small touch of ‘old town west’ outside, inside it’s two storeys of modern, Western styling. It’s not centrally located, and taxi drivers likely won’t know where it is, but at least they can get you to the street. It’s on the lower block of 50th, so head south. There’s almost always someone to open the door for your entrance into an open, dimly lit restaurant with wondrous air-con.
Pasta, pizza, sandwiches and burger options make up the menu, and have Western prices to match their provenance. Expect to pay around 7,000 kyat for a sandwich and about 10,000 kyat for a main dish. I highly recommend the chilli cheese potato wedges for a hearty snack at 4,000 kyat — it’ll fill the cheesy taste void you’ll find in usual Burmese menus. Beer prices are normal Western restaurant prices, so catch happy hour when they drop down to a starting price of 1,500 kyat. If you’re having a big night or just have a few more friends with you, make sure to look into the pitchers as a cheaper option.
As of June 2013, they’re running two-for-one pasta dinners on Monday and the steak, wine and salsa Tuesdays tend to turn quite spicy on the dancefloor. All pizzas go for 6,000 kyat and are accompanied by a jazz band on Wednesday, and specials continue on through the week so check their website. Live bands play on Fridays and all-day happy hours on Sundays keep the local expats coming back.
50th Street is one of a small handful of places in Yangon that actually has decent WiFi; it’s as slow as most WiFi places in Yangon, but it’s at least hooked up to a quick responding back-up generator that keep things downloading despite the usual city power fluctuations.
Through the day a scattering of businesspeople holding meetings and freelancers occupy the booths, couches and tables. At night this place can be wall to wall with expats and bouncing floor boards. Good live music is the main draw, and here is where you can see some hometown heros’ musical talent. The pool table is rarely empty and the draft beer is poured as frequently as the huge selection of liquor and spirits.
While we love the street food and local specialities, if you’ve been travelling a while and you’re hankering for a taste of the West, 50th Street should fit the bill well.
By Christopher Smith
Last updated on 25th February, 2015.