Mid-July in Yangon is something like mid-February in England: dark, wet and relentless. Now we’re not advising you to drown your sorrows but, in case you need somewhere to shelter from the rain with lots of cheap booze, here are some options. All the offers listed here apply to beer, wine and cocktails. (Anything else is frankly half-arsed.)
Blind Tiger (5pm until 7pm)
Yangon’s first speakeasy (pictured above) is a glitzy hole-in-the-wall in a nondescript apartment building on Nawaday Street. Their cocktail game is particularly strong. Try the gingagango ($7), a refreshingly tangy blend of ginger-infused vodka, lime and pureed mango. While not exactly downtown (it’s near Yawmingyi) it is close enough to walk.
Drinks deal: Buy one get one free.
Blind Tiger, Unit 111, United Condo, Nawaday Street.
Rangoon Tea House (4pm until 7pm)
The upmarket tea shop in a converted colonial building recently launched a half-price happy hour. It’s a beautiful but cosy place to wind down, with wooden furnishings, high ceilings and whirring fans. Their locally-inspired cocktails are both creative and delicious. Try Mr Aung’s Chai Beer ($5): chai tea, dry gin, spiced syrup and Myanmar beer. Also on the menu: Chaijito, Rangoon Julep, Dragon Martini.
Drinks deal: 50 per cent off. Weekdays.
Rangoon Tea House, Pansodan Street.
The Phayre’s Gastronomy (4pm until 7pm)
The clean and simple café on Pansodan Street, formerly Phayre’s Road, turns into comfortable, unpretentious drinking spot at night. It’s quiet and friendly, with comfortable couches upstairs and speedy wi-fi. They also show sports.
Drinks deal: Promotions on all drinks. Every day.
The Phayre’s Gastronomy, 292 Pansodan Street.
50th Street Bar and Grill (from 8:00pm to 10:00pm every day but Saturday)
For the later crowd there’s old standby 50th Street. This is perfect for getting out of work late. If combined with the 2 for 1 pizza and pasta night, it’s pure genius.
Drinks deal: 2 for 1
Gekko Restaurant and Bar (4:30pm until 6:30pm)
For an upmarket Japanese restaurant set in a restored colonial building, Gekko’s happy hour is surprisingly reasonable – if you want at least two drinks. Myanmar beer is $2.50 per pint while subversively strong and moreish cocktails (try the brandy-based Horse’s Neck with ginger beer) go for $6.
Drinks deal: Buy one get one free. Every day.
Gekko Restaurant and Bar, #535 Merchant Street.
Sule Shangri La Hotel (5:30pm until 7:30pm)
It may not be new or exciting but the lounge bar upstairs at Sule Shangri La Hotel does more of the most conveniently timed post-work happy hours. The wi-fi (free for an hour if you spend $5) is arguably the best and most reliable in town.
Drinks deal: Buy one, get one free Every day.
Sule Shangri La, #223 Sule Pagoda Road.
Vintage Luxury Yacht Hotel (5pm until 10pm)
There’s definite novelty value here, at the enormous yacht permanently stationed by the river near Botataung pagoda. To get to the bar, you have to wind through a maze of echoing corridors kitted out with old-fashioned dial-up phones and typewriters. It’s a bizarre and – in our experience – very quiet – place to have a drink. But there’s a decent view on deck for sundown and they have a well-stocked bar that stays open until 2am. Cocktails are around $9.
Drinks deal: 30 per cent off.
Vintage Luxury Yacht Hotel, Botataung Jetty.
Header photo: Blind Tiger on Nawaday Street / Blind Tiger/ Facebook
Others: Phayre’s Gastronomy / Facebook