Ta Hien Street – The Heart of Hanoi’s Nightlife

Ta Hien Street Hanoi
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Ta Hien Street, located in Hanoi’s Old Quarter, is often referred to as the heart of the capital’s nightlife scene. Over the past few decades, this narrow street has transformed into a bustling area packed with bars, restaurants, and street food stalls that come alive after dark.

Ta Hien Street Hanoi
Ta Hien Street Hanoi

Introducing Ta Hien Street

Ta Hien Street is only about 100 meters long, but it packs a lot into this small space. It’s located right in the dense maze of streets that makes up Hanoi Old Quarter, with its historic architecture of skinny buildings dating back hundreds of years.

Back in the day, the Old Quarter streets were each known for selling particular goods – from silk and fabrics, to herbs and medicines. Ta Hien Street was the area for ceramics and pottery. Nowadays, however, it’s better known for beer and street barbecues than clay pots!

History of Ta Hien street
History of Ta Hien street

The street runs parallel to the charming Dinh Tien Hoang Street. It connects the hip Hang Buom area in the northeast to the more touristy Hang Dao Street in the southwest.

While Ta Hien has developed a reputation as a raucous late night spot, earlier in the day it makes for an atmospheric wander. You’ll find locals going about their business, kids playing, and shopkeepers lounging in doorways.

Come sundown, the street transforms into a lively epicenter of Hanoi nightlife. The Vietnamese grab after-work beers here, travelers take a load off, and tourists come to experience it. Neon lights flash, music pumps out of bars, smoke and smells waft from the street grills…let’s explore some of what makes Ta Hien such a popular hangout after dark.

Ta Hien Street Opening Hours

Opening hours of Ta Hien street
Opening hours of Ta Hien street

Ta Hien Street is open and accessible 24 hours a day in theory. However, opening hours vary for individual businesses along the street.

  • Morning (6am – 12pm) – Street food stalls, some cafes and convenience stores may be open. The street is generally quiet. Locals may be passing through and some shops are open.
  • Afternoon (12pm – 5pm) – More activity, but still relatively quiet. Most businesses are closed during these afternoon hours when Vietnamese typically siesta at home. Some food stalls and convenience stores remain open.
  • Evening (5pm onwards) – Ta Hien comes alive! Food stalls fire up their grills and set out plastic stools. Bars open their doors, display drink specials and pump out music. Locals drop in after work for casual beers. Happy hour specials run from around 5-7pm. The lively atmosphere continues late into the night.

On weekends, the action goes later than usual. However, most food stalls close around midnight and many bars shut around 2 am due to city regulations. Nevertheless, some establishments stay open into the wee hours if you know where to look!

Ta Hien Street Directions

Map of Ta Hien street
Map of Ta Hien street

Ta Hien Street is located right in the maze of narrow streets that make up Hanoi’s Old Quarter. It connects Dinh Tien Hoang Road and Hang Buom Street.

The street doesn’t show up on Google Maps so navigation can get confusing. One useful landmark is St Joseph’s Cathedral – a neo-Gothic church dating from 1886. It sits on a little square just next to Ta Hien’s southwestern end.

Here are some ways to find Ta Hien Street when out and about in Hanoi:

  • From Hoan Kiem Lake walk north on Dinh Tien Hoang Street for about 400m. Look for the bright lights and turn right down the small alley.
  • From Hang Dao Street walk southeast for about 100m. Pass Church Square on your left and Ta Hien will be the second narrow alley on your right hand side.
  • From Hang Buom Street walk 140m southwest down Dao Duy Tu alley. Turn left when you reach Ta Hien.
  • Another handy option is to ask any taxi or xe om (motorbike taxi) driver to take you to “Pho Ta Hien” or “Ta Hien beer street”. It’s famous enough that most locals know it!

Pro-tip: Download the Grab app for affordable on-demand transport to Ta Hien Street. The alley is too narrow for cars, so drivers will drop you at a nearby intersection.

Ta Hien Beer Street Hanoi

Bia hoi Ta Hien street
Bia hoi Ta Hien street

Ta Hien Street is often referred to by tourists as Beer Street thanks to its huge selection of bars, pubs and street-side drinking spots focused mainly on serving cold beers, ciders and cocktails.

Bia Hoi Culture

Many bars serve up fresh draught “bia hoi” beer which translates literally to “fresh beer”. It’s a very light Vietnamese style lager that’s cheap even by local standards, usually from 5,000 VND (20 US cents) up to 10,000 VND per glass depending on the venue.

Bia hoi is designed to be consumed in social groups right after brewing. It has an alcohol content of around 3% so drinking it is more of a social than wild night. You’ll often see groups of Vietnamese friends chatting over jugs or buckets of the foamy, refreshing beer like it’s no big deal.

The Ta Hien Beer Scene

Ta Hien beer
Ta Hien beer

Dozens of beer joints line Ta Hien Street, most with low plastic stools spilling out onto the pavement. Popular spots include Bia Hoi Corner, Beer Cap, and Cama ATK. Look out for traffic cones placed to reserve tables – a Ta Hien tactic!

Many venues also serve up European, Asian and craft imported beers. Prices rise to around 30,000 VND for a bottle.

Happy hours with discounted drinks run from around 5-7pm at various bars. Weekends tend to get especially packed and lively. Solo travelers looking to meet fellow drinkers should have no problem striking up conversations here.

Street Bars vs Rooftop Bars

In addition to the low key street bars, Ta Hien also boasts some beautifully-designed multi-level rooftop bars. While drinks are pricier, you’ll get gorgeous views over Hanoi’s rooftops while sipping cocktails or wine.

Some of the best include Funky Buddha Bar, The Note Coffee Live Music Bar, and Cuba la Casa del Mojito with its outstanding daiquiris! Dress codes apply so don’t show up in shorts and flip flops expecting to get in.

Ta Hien Street Food

Ta Hien Street Food
Ta Hien Street Food

Beyond its famous beer scene, Ta Hien Street is a top spot to sample delicious Vietnamese street grub and watch the sizzling BBQ action. Locals, tourists and bar-hoppers all flock here hungry for tasty snacks and local specialties into the early hours.

Street Food Stalls

Pavements fill with low plastic stools as food stalls set up makeshift grills and tables along the street. Expect to try favorites likes like:

  • Grilled meat skewers
  • Barbecued seafood like prawns, squid and snails
  • Nem cua be – crunchy deep fried crab spring rolls
  • Banh cuon – steamed rice rolls with minced pork and mushrooms
  • Pho cuon – fresh rice paper rolls filled with veggies and meat
  • Bun Cha ca la vong – thick Hanoi-style noodles topped with fish slices
  • Bun dau mam tom – vermicelli noodles with fried tofu and shrimp paste
  • Plus plenty of snacks, dips and sides!

Atmosphere & Prices

Ta Hien Street food stalls open around 6 pm daily, with many running through until 1 or 2am on weekends. It’s very casual seating – just grab one of the low plastic stools on the pavement or narrow shop interior.

Food here represents terrific value – most dishes go for 30,000 to 50,000 VND (just over $1). Pay as you order directly with the vendor. And be prepared for smoke from the sizzling grills enveloping the whole area – all part of the atmosphere!

Favorites to Try

Some of the most popular and long-running street food stalls to check out on Ta Hien Street include:

  • Bun Cha Dac Kim – famous for Vietnam’s iconic bun cha grilled pork with vermicelli noodles dipping sauce
  • Banh Cuon Gia An – renowned for delicious banh cuon steamed rice rolls
  • Pho Cuon Ngan – huge array of fresh rice paper rolls and dips
  • Bun Boi Xeo – specializes in Vietnamese-style pancakes with crispy rice dough

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Ta Hien Street known for?

Ta Hien Street is renowned as Hanoi’s backpacker bar street and one of the city’s liveliest nightlife hotspots. It offers a huge selection of casual bia hoi open-air beer joints through to rooftop cocktail lounges. Ta Hien also draws hungry locals and visitors with its buzzing atmosphere of street food stalls firing up BBQ grills every evening.

How late is Ta Hien Street open?

While a few hardcore spots stay open until dawn, most Ta Hien Street bars shut around 2 am due to city regulations. Street food stalls tend to close earlier around midnight. Weekend hours are generally later than weekdays.

Is Ta Hien Street safe?

Yes – Ta Hien Street maintains a pretty safe reputation compared to other nightlife zones around the world. However, solo female travelers should take usual precautions like avoiding leaving drinks unattended. As with anywhere that serves alcohol, things can get rowdy late at night, so keep your wits about you. Violent incidents are extremely rare though.

How do I get to Ta Hien Street?

Ta Hien Street is located in the heart of Hanoi’s Old Quarter, running between Dinh Tien Hoang Road and Hang Buom Street. The nearest landmark is St Joseph’s Cathedral on Ta Hien’s southwestern end. As the alley is narrow, most visitors reach Ta Hien Street on foot, by taxi or xe om (motorbike taxi).

What is there to do on Ta Hien Street during the day?

Ta Hien Street is much quieter before the nightlife pops off. It can be nice to stroll and check out some of the historic French colonial architecture. You’ll see locals going about their business and some shops are open. It’s also interesting people watching from an Old Quarter cafe. The street really comes alive after dark though!

Conclusion

Ta Hien Street has developed over recent decades into one of Southeast Asia’s most iconic nightlife enclaves. Its free-spirited atmosphere offers something for all tastes and budgets – from local-style bia hoi joints to slick rooftop cocktail bars, and street food stalls to high end international cuisine.

Beyond the drinking and dining, the area gives visitors a glimpse into Vietnamese social culture – friends chatter over icy beers, locals banter with the street stall teams, and travelers swap stories between bar hops.

While parties rage well into the night, Ta Hien still makes for an atmospheric wander before the action kicks off. This short pedestrian strip encapsulates the buzz and grit of Hanoi’s Old Quarter.

So if you’re exploring the Vietnamese capital and want to experience some lively revelry with a local twist, then a pilgrimage to Ta Hien Street is a must! The beers are chilling and grills smoking…

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