Open since 1984, The Riverside Bar & Restaurant is nothing less than a Chiang Mai dining and entertainment institution popular with a hip local crowd as well as Thai and foreign visitors to the City and the occasional Thai celebrity. One night in this place a few years back I saw the current Miss Thailand accompanied by several well known Thai Models.
There are lots of things which make a visit to The Riverside Bar a great night out. Firstly, as the name suggests, this bar and restaurant has a fantastic riverside location on the Charoenrat Road. To get there from the Old Town its about a 1.4 km journey down the Tha Pae Road, then over the Nawarat Bridge, and then left 280 metres along the Charoenrat Road. If your staying in the Night Bazaar area (where most of the better hotels are located) then it’s an easy 13 minute stroll away.
If you want to sit outside and enjoy the riverside views then you have two good options at this restaurant. Firstly there are the terraces and garden.
Your second option is to take a river cruise on the restaurant’s own boat. Trips leave at 20.00 every evening, although you need to arrive and order about 30 minutes before the cruise departs. The cruise lasts around 75 minutes and costs a 150 THB per person on top of the price of your food and drinks.
Lively Bar Later in The Evening
Alternatively, you might decide to stay inside in the bar. One of the things I really like about this place is that as well as having great food (its not fine dining, but the food is good with a wide range of classic Thai and Western dishes) is that it is also a great music bar. The music starts around 19.00 with the house band, which consists of two very cool old Thai rockers on guitars, and from around 21.00 other Thai bands come and play sets. There is a very vibrant local music scene with lots of bands playing contemporary music – Thai and English language. Some of the bands are better than others but they are all great fun to watch. Some bands have a large following and on certain nights the bar becomes very lively with a large crowd from the local university.