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Vientiane's Best Bars


Vientiane’s drinking scene is growing up. Here, four spots to linger with a cocktail. By Emma-Kate Symons

Published on Oct 19, 2011

+ I-Beam
Vientiane’s first  “tapas concept bar” is a welcome casual addition to the Le Silapa empire. Located on the main high street, with large windows affording views of the passing parade, it has an airy feel, superb savory hors d’oeuvres of giant olives and quails eggs, and even chocolate-laden “dessert tapas.” Setthathirath Rd. opposite Ongtue temple; +856 21 254 528; drinks for two US$8.

+ Jazzy Brick
For pure, understated sophistication, this dimly lit cocktail bar on Vientiane’s main drag, takes first prize. The extensive drinks list changes weekly, but it’s hard to go past time-honored staples such as Dirty Martinis and stiff Negronis. Perch at the ground-floor bar and enjoy the (piped) ambient jazz, or venture upstairs to relax on 1950’s retro furniture pieces that evoke the Beat Poets’ Greenwich Village. Xieng Nguen Village, Setthathirath Rd.; +856 21 771 1138; drinks for two US$10.

+ Loft Lounge Bar
Vientiane meets Paris, New York and London at this expansive yet intimate red-themed lounge. Soirees feature live jazz or modern Lao musicians and DJ’s pumping out local grooves and beats. Explore the dazzling wine list filled with top French bottles of 2006 Crozes Hermitage “les 3 lys” or Grand Cru drops of Chateau Marg

+ The Spirit House
Despite the construction of a flood-protecting embankment along the Mekong, this relaxing riverside drinking hole still has plenty of charm. The wine list includes Chilean and Australian Sauvignon Blancs and Merlots. Traditional and updated cocktails are a highlight: try the East & Tonic, dry gin infused with Japanese green tea and Lao honey. 09/093, Fa Ngum Rd., Sikhottabong district; +856 21 243 795; drinks for two US$8.


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