Hanoi offers a growing array of places to enjoy a night out of live music. Here are some of our picks.
Hanoi Rock City is up there as one of the best venues in town. The offerings are varied, from international rock bands to acoustic sessions, and if you’re travelling with your banjo and fancy playing to a crowd you can rock up to their Wednesday night open mic night, which kicks off around 21:00.
Madake, round the corner from Hanoi Rock City, is a similar venue in that it has a bar, a courtyard and an indoor music-playing space. It’s smaller than HRC and has more DJs than live bands, but does very occasionally host a live band. Both HRC and Madake stay open until last man standing or the police show up.
In Old Quarter, Rockstore on Ma May Street hosts both DJs and live bands. We heard one of their regular bands there the other week, and they were very good, churning out top-notch rock covers.
CAMA ATK, down towards Vincom Towers, is a tucked away yet well known “speakeasy” owned by the guys that run the annual CAMA festival. This cosy place hosts an eclectic range of performers and serves good beer and delicious cocktails from Wednesday to Saturday evenings.
Nearby District 9 offers several live music spaces in a cool converted warehouse complex, including Barbetta Republic. It’s supposedly a temporary space, and its future may have been further limited by a recent fire, but for now it’s probably worth checking out.
Our final pick on the bar/club circuit is rock-focussed Polygon Musik Cafe, a longstanding small venue which attracts mostly local talent and a local audience, as well as hosting the occasional expat and international bands. It’s on Nui Truc Street which runs off Kim Ma.
Plenty of restaurants and cafes have music nights as well. Kitchen, in its new location on To Ngoc Van Street, has started hosting live music nights upstairs and down on Xuan Dieu; Dieu’s Cuisine often has a band playing on a Friday night in the garden; and The Hanoi Social Club in Hoan Kiem district also puts on live music from time to time.
Cover charge for live music nights varies from free to 200,000 VND, but is usually around the 100,000 VND mark.
Big events are usually publicised a few weeks in advance and might show up in Word magazine, which is available at various locations around town, or on posters and flyers at places like Puku, Hanoi Social Club and of course the venues themselves. Other than that, the best place to find out what’s on is the events page or the individual venue spot pages of TNH usually the week before, or by checking out the venue’s online info.
Hanoi Rock City
27/52 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho District
T: (0163) 316 6170
By Sarah Turner
Last updated on 6th December, 2013.