One wouldn’t exactly visit Kathmandu for her night-life, but this in no way implies that Kathmandu isn’t without some super cool bars. Anything from establishments frequented by Everest submitters to those confidently serving Liquid Happiness, Kathmandu has a happening bar scene to suit the fancy for every happy drinker. 🙂 So here’s a list of what I think are the best bars in Kathmandu.
1. Sam’s Bar
Perhaps the oldest of the lot and popular among travellers and locals alike, Sam’s Bar is located in Thamel. This is also the only bar that strictly only serves drinks and you will not find any food on their menu, save for salted popcorns. If you’ve never heard of Sam’s Bar, chances are you will not stumble upon it as it’s inconspicuously hidden on the upper levels of an old building, a lone neon lit signboard as the only marker. The vibes at Sam’s is as chill as they come, complemented by a scrubbish décor you can’t go wrong if you step in here for a drink with your buddies.
2. Irish Pub
If football is your thing then the Irish Pub in Lazimpat is the place to be to watch your games – all the loyal football fans of Kathmandu gather in this dimly lit bar on match days. The grub served up here is pretty decent too, but it’s the chilled beer you’re stopping by for and note that right across the pub is Votoo, serving up the best newari cuisine in town. This is also a popular spot for people to hold private parties so if you’re lucky then you can probably crash a party or two while you’re here.
If you want to mingle with the top brass of the Kathmandu socialite scene then Mezze’s right up your alley. And for good reason too, they serve up wicked wood-fired pizzas and serve every concoction of cocktails and mocktails you can think of. The location helps too, Mezze is situated in Kathmandu’s swankiest address in Durbar Marg and has a view of the Narayanhiti Palace, where the monarchs on Nepal once lived. Most of the regular patrons prefer to sit on the outside so I would recommend you do the same too, and if you happen to run in Sadichha Shrestha (former Miss. Nepal), tell her I said Hello. :p
4. Jazz Upstairs
True to it’s name, you will actually find jazz being played upstairs on the 4th storey of a building across the French Embassy in Lazimpat. Representing Kathmandu’s Jazz scene is Jazz Upstairs and it’s the perfect place for musical getaway, Nepali style. The local Jazz band plays on Wednesdays and Saturdays and I guarantee that nowhere else in the world will you get to enjoy the soothing sound of Jazz with a plate of momos! On occasions you will also find Jazz musicians from various parts of the world performing here.
5. Rum Doodle
If good bar stories are the sorta thing that you look for to accompany your beer then there is no better place you’d rather be than at Rum Doodles. The first thing you’ll notice upon entering is the countless number of of footprint paper cutouts covering every inch of space. Might appear untidy at first, until you take a closer look and you will find scribbled on it the stories of almost every Mt. Everest summiteer who have walked the same hallways before you. It’s customary for Everest summiteers to stop by Rum Doodles for a beer and stamp their mark. Drop by here during the evenings and you will mostly likely run into a climber who’s just returned from a successful ascent of the mother of all peaks!
Counted as one of Kathmandu’s trendiest spots, Moksh has the perfect atmosphere whether you’re looking to enjoy a quiet brunch on Sunday mornings or a night out with the buddies for a drink. Moksh is also great place for listening to live music, but check up on their facebook page before you head there for live music because they also have DJ’s spinning on select nights.
7. Liquid Happiness
The newest kid on the block and proudly on several lists of the best bars in Kathmandu, Liquid Happiness is already making waves among seasoned bar-hoppers in Kathmandu. If there’s one thing you’ll notice while sitting on their eclectic Tiebto-newar themed bar stools, it’s the excellent selection of single malts proudly displayed on the bar shelves – courtesy of the proprietor, Prem, a whiskey connoisseur and a super-friendly host. If you’re sitting at the bar and Prem is around, I am certain he’ll drop by to say Hello – a slice of Nepali hospitality. The bar is an extension of the boutique hotel, Dalaila and the acoustic band that plays here on Tuesday nights are nothing short of spectacular.