Phuket Town Offers a Different Nightlife Experience
The bars in Phuket Town (officially now a city) can feel a bit tame when compared to the heady intensity of other places on the island such as Patong. For those who are looking for more authentic Thai style nightlife though, it is the better choice. Those foreigners who stay on the island long term tend to prefer the Phuket Town bars (especially the English teachers), and there are a number of popular expat hangouts. There is not that much going on in the bars during the day in the city, but things can get lively once darkness falls. The best live music on the island is arguably found in Phuket Town in one of the many venues on Yaowarat Road.
Bar Opening Times in Phuket Town
Those bars that cater mostly for Thais do not usually open until the late evening – usually around 21:00. The places where the expats congregate usually open in the afternoon. The closing time for bars is 01:00 and clubs 02:00. In other parts of the island they are more relaxed about closing time with some places staying open all night. The law tends to be more strictly enforced in Phuket Town with venues sticking to the legal closing time.
It is also important to keep in mind that bars in Thailand close on the run up to an election or on important religious holidays. Sometimes there will be more than one of these alcohol free days occurring around the same time, and this means that bars can be closed for the whole weekend. Up until about a decade ago some bars in Phuket would still serve alcohol discretely to foreign visitors during these times, but this is no longer the case.
Best Bars in Phuket Town
The best bars in Phuket Town include:
Timber Hut (aka Timber Rock) is a good choice if people want to listen to some live music – there are bands as well as a DJ. This bar does not offer anything too fancy – just rows of wooden tables spread out on two floors. Despite its simplistic style this venue is busy most nights of the week. The music here is a mix of Thai and western and there is a nice mix of locals along with foreign visitors. Whiskey tends to be the drug of choice at this venue. Those who are looking for an authentic Thai style night on the town should certainly consider the Timber Hut.
O’Malley’s Irish Pub
O’Malley’s is the oldest pub in Phuket Town, and it is a popular destination for the expat crowd and prospective English teachers (it is located near a TEFL school). Those who are expecting the usual paraphernalia and live music associated with the Irish Pub brand are likely to be a bit disappointed because the most Irish thing about this venue is the name. The drink is fairly cheap here though, and there is a certain ambience about the place. There is a pool table and they show live sports from the UK and US. They also provide free Wi-Fi. O’Malley’s Irish Pub is located on Montri Road about 5 minutes walk away from Rassada Pier.
Michael’s Bar is located on Takua Pa Road, and it is another venue that is popular with the expat crowd as well as passing tourists. All the major sporting events are shown here on giant plasma screens. There is also a pool table. Michael’s Bar currently (as of mid-2012) has a happy hour between 16:00 and 19:00 where all beers are just 60 THB. AT the weekends they have a buy one get one free special between 19:00 and 20:00. They also have a menu that offers Thai and western food.
Rocking Angels is a place where the young trendy Thais like to hang out. This venue is always welcoming to foreign visitors and these usually make up about half the crowd. It is owned by a Singaporean who also happens to be a talented guitarist. He performs live every night of the week. Anyone customer who plays an instrument is welcome to join in. Rocking Angels tends to be either busy or quiet with no in-between. The owner is a friendly guy to talk to during those quiet periods but this venue is a bit more fun when it is packed. Rocking Angels is located on Yaowarat Road (number 54).
Roxy Bar is located on Phang-Nga Road in the centre of town – not far from the On On Hotel (this place is famous because it was used in the movie The Beach). The Roxy bar offers a good selection of cocktails along with all the popular beers. They have plenty of events throughout the week including live music and pub quizzes. There are also two large screen TV screens. It is owned Karen – a Californian native.
Kor Tor Mor
The Kor Tor Mor Club is most popular with the local Thais but anyone is welcome. It can be found near Seahorse Circle. This is a trendy bar and they expect customers to dress suitably – those who turn up in a bathing costume might not get in. This place gets busy and those who arrive late might struggle to gain admittance. The music here is predominately Thai pop played either by live bands or a DJ. Kor Tor Mor is a great option for foreign visitors who want to experience something a bit different. It is open seven nights of the week from 21:00 until 02:00.
Fantasia is a girly bar where the customers are mostly rich Thais. The beers are relatively expensive here and despite the lavish decor some might find this place to be a bit on the sleazy side. This bar is regularly visited by foreign tourists and it can be an entertaining venue. There is a floor show that starts at 22:30. It is located on Montree Road.
Glasnost bar not only serves alcoholic beverages, but it is also a law office – possibly a combination that could come in useful. The owner of this venue is a jazz fan so this is a good option for those who like this style of music. There are musical instruments at hand and anyone who wants to play can just begin a jam – the owner usually joins in if he is not dispensing legal advice. This is a small establishment but still well worth a visit because of its quirkiness. Glasnost bar is located on Soi Rommanee.
Rom Dee Bar
Rom Dee is Thai for feel good and this is what this bar is all about – apparently. They offer live music every night of the week, and this is another venue that can get quite busy. A beer here is relatively expensive at 100 THB (as of mid-2012) for a small bottle. The Rom Dee Bar is located on Yaowarat Road.
Fever Corner is a Thai style beer garden that is located on Takuapa Road – near to Talingchan Bridge. They serve food as well as alcoholic beverages.
Sofa Pub is another live music venue, and it can be found on New Dibuk Road. The music here is predominately Thai with live bands. The Sofa Pub has nice décor and it tends to attract the fashionably rich locals. They also have a good menu offering tasty Thai cuisine dishes with grilled prawn and lime being one of their specialties.