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One of my favorite little after dinner spots in Chiang Mai is the North Gate Jazz Co-Operative. Located on the main road inside the city walls and within eye-sight of the crumbling North Gate itself, the Jazz club cannot be missed. Its frontage opens out onto the street and due to its small size, patrons spill out all over the pavement on almost every night of the week drinks in hand as the bands or random open mic musicians play to a bohemian crowd. With its diminutive and tricky to reach bar, limited seating and faded signage it offers great atmosphere, reasonably priced beers, wines and spirits and loud live music to a welcoming mix of locals, ex-pats and those passing through. Get there early and if you’re willing and able you can climb a short ladder up to a small mezzanine loft space with barely enough room for six people, which overlooks the stage and the huddle of miss-matched chairs, stools and sofas below. Started in 2009 by a saxophonist called Odor and his percussionist friend Russell, the place somehow has a timeless and very settled vibe (as if it had been around for decades).
Open from 19h00-24h00
91/1-2, Si Phum Road, AmphoeMueang, Chiang Mai, 50200
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If Jazz isn’t your scene, but you still enjoy live music, then Boy Blues Bar is another venue in town that really should be searched for on a night out in Chiang Mai. Situated inside the Kalare Night Bazaar and reached by a staircase that leads to a rooftop looking out across the market stalls below, Boy Blues Bar is always busy and you’ll soon realize why. The music is far more varied, starting in the early evening with classic 12 bar blues from local bands (with the owner Boy himself who opened the bar in 2010) and often progressing later into more funky, disco numbers that a merry crowd like to join in and sing along to. The staff are attentive and come to serve beer, wine and a selection of excellent cocktails at your table. The music goes on late into the evening and the setting is particularly pleasant as its outside but under cover making it perfect in all weather.
Open from 19:00-01:00
Soi 6, Changklan Road, Kalare Night Bazaar, Chiang Mai, 50200
Photo: Dave Schumaker