Nyaung Shwe’s Relaxed Night life offers the Perfect Coda to a Day on the Lake

By Lwin Mar Htun 23 March 2018

While visiting Inle Lake a few weeks ago we had the opportunity to experience the nightlife of Nyaung Shwe, the main town by the popular tourist destination, and found it to be better than we had expected. There are a lot of bars, pubs and karaoke joints and a night market as well.

Nyaung Shwe is a busy city in the day time but all the roads fall quite by the early evening.

That didn’t deter us, however, and by night we were ready to find the best spots to relax and have a drink after a long day touring Inle Lake.

We started with the Nyaung Shwe’s Night Market, which was a 10-minute walk from our hotel. The weather was lovely and cool.

While there were few people in the streets, the night market was busy with vendors offering a wide variety of food including Shan noodles, hot pot and grilled foods. Next to the market we found a fun open bar called ‘Peter Tapas and Grill’.

The bar is easily recognizable thanks to a caricature of the owner’s head that sits in front. There weren’t many guests at the time we arrived, because it was still early and they had set up few tables.

Some tables are designed with big tanks while small tanks are used as chairs. The fancy bar plays electronic dance music, which put us in an energetic mood.

A grilled food vendor in the Nyaung Shwe Night Market takes an order from a tourist/ Zaw Zaw/ The Irrawaddy

The waiter came quickly to take our order; the pub doesn’t distribute individual menus but you can find a big one in front of the bar. A drinks menu listed all the cocktails on offer and the prices.

The waiter said their Nyaung Shwe Big Bowl is popular but our group consisted of only three people and I had just ordered their signature cocktail—a gin-based drink called the “Inle Lotus” (2000kyats).

The bartender didn’t take too much time to whip up the drink and I got my glass. The cocktail was a little strong — you could probably get drunk after three drinks — but the taste was otherwise excellent.

The bar allowed patrons to bring in food from out side and my friends ordered porksticks from the night market.

The cocktails were cheap, ranging from 2000 to 5000kyats. The bar also has special seasonal cocktails like an avocado margarita, strawberry mojito and fresh juices a swell.

As for food, they offered only grilled meat and vegetables, but at reasonable prices. After an hour, we left the Peter with no regrets and headed off to find more adventure, as the night was still young and it was too early to go back to our hotel.

Visitors enjoy the food and drink at the night market/ Zaw Zaw/ The Irrawaddy

My friend from Nyaung Shwe recommended the ‘Pub Asiatico’ as our next stop.

If you want to forget about your whole morning on the water and visiting the lake side villages, this is the place to go.
The Asiatico was designed and decorated to a very high standard with the owners obviously putting in a lot of effort into the decor.

The pub has three floors, each with a different look. Customers can spend a lot of time at this quiet pub and its great roof top bar enjoying the view of the setting sun.

The pub plays dance music and also has a pool table. I wandered the place to inspect all its floors, which are decorated with a mix of local things like trishaws and old tanks.

From the long menu,we ordered their famous ‘Hawaiian Pizza’ (9000kyats), which came with a crunchy crust, fresh toppings and a good tomato sauce. The pizza was solid although habit more expensive than at other restaurants in Nyaung Shwe.

And I ordered Gin Tonic from their wide range menu and the taste was perfect.

Tourists take in the funky atmosphere of the One Owl Grilled Bar/ Zaw Zaw/ The Irrawaddy

Overall, we loved the décor and vibe of the pub although the staff could be more friendly. My companions and I had a good time and we’ll definitely go back.

Our last stop of the night was another of the town’s famous restaurants, ‘One Owl Grill,’ which is about a further 10-minute walk from ‘Pub Asiatico’.

The bar is famous for its skewers, while the location is good and the atmosphere friendly and relaxed.

A bartender from Peter Tapas and Bar makes a cocktail/ Zaw Zaw/ The Irrawaddy

But the bar was a little small and it had only a few tables. Nevertheless, the shop lived up to its name and was full of owl paintings, photos and art pieces, even in the bathroom.

The menu was not particularly extensive but the quality was quite good. We ordered ‘Chicken Mix Skewers’ (5800 kyats) and ‘Red Owl’ beer cocktails, which were made of beer, strawberries, lime and tamarind. I really liked these and had two to ensure I’d get a good sleep. The staff was pretty helpful and friendly.

The shop is popular with foreigners and has a good atmosphere. Prices are also very reasonable.

While there are other cool pubs in the area, such as Ginki Nyaung Shwe, Chillax Bistro, Minthamee Bar and Bistro, The French Touch, we decided the One Owl Grill was a good place to end our excursion into the nightlife of Nyaung Shwe.

The interior decoration of PubAsiatico’/ Zaw Zaw/ The Irrawaddy

At this point, it was around 9:30pm and most of the bars close around 10pm, except for ‘Pub Asiatico’, which stays open until 11pm. That’s one of the big differences compared with Yangon nightlife but we were not disappointed as we had had enough.

And if you need more entertainment and are with a group of friends, you can always buy a couple of beers and return to your hotel to bring a close to the evening.