The hub of Chiang Mai cool can be a daunting place. Do it right with this guide to the street’s most-buzzing spots.
Nobody turns their attention to big chain coffee shops when on Nimman. There are plenty of little cafes that take the art of coffee brewing very seriously. Get your first of many cups at Ristr8to (Nimmanhemin Rd., between soi 3 and 5, 053-215-278). It's arguably the most happening coffee shop in the area and is always packed. We recommend the God Mother Mocha (B158), served in a skull shaped-glass, for its deep flavor of Brazilian cacao syrup. Another serious spot is Graph Cafe (One-Nimman, Nimmanhaemin Rd., www.fb.com/graphonenimman), who’ve possibly clocked up more Instagram shots than anywhere else in Chiang Mai this year. Not-to-miss concoctions like the Lost Garden (a nitrogen-brewed coffee infused with rose water, B125) use coffee from farms in Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai. The scrumptious-looking baked goods come from sister project Find Coffee. For something a little different, Koland (Nimmanheamin Soi 1, 085-444-2124) is a cafe-slash-tearoom offering drinks like sakura perfume tea with pomelo skin, and Koland Kumquat, honey lemon with Chinese orange.
For Western comfort dishes, Rustic and Blue (Nimmanhaemin Soi 7, 086-654-7178) offers things like Nuatella-stuffed French toast, acai bowls and rich eggs Benedict. They make their own chorizo, salami, feta cheese and sourdough in-house. Have lunch at Tong Tem Toh (11 Nimmanhaemin Soi 13, 053-894-701) or Hong Taew (Nimmanhaemin Soi 17) for traditional Lanna cuisine like spicy northern-style sausage and curries. At dinnertime, the small kitchen at Blackitch (27/1 Nimmanhemin Soi 7, 084-323-1952), comes alive on the second floor of ice-cream shop Gelabar. Here they serve nine-course tasting menus of entirely local ingredients for B1,800. Read our recent profile of the restaurant.
First on the list, of course, is Chiang Mai’s all-time nightlife institution, Warm Up (40 Nimmanhaemin Rd., 053-400-677). Don’t come looking for interesting music or great food, but it’s the one place you can guarantee a crowd both young and old on any night of the week. For something more fancy, Myst (6/F, Maya Mall, 061-5126768) began life on Bangkok’s Thonglor, and is good for shakes and molecular cocktails. The Beer Republic (28 Nimmanhaemin Soi 11, 053-216-568) serves craft brews amid a cozy, Tuscany-referencing atmosphere with 15 beers on tap. The speakeasy Nap Gastrobar (Nimmanhaemin Rd., 089-954-9614) also makes a sabai sabai spot for its dimly-lit industrial decor, local and imported beers and small wine list. At sunset, head to actor Ananda Everingham’s Hotel Yayee, where the Yayee Rooftop Bar (17/5 Sainumphueng Rd., 099- 269-5885) overlooks the mountains. For an alternative rooftop sundowner, check out the new Akyra Manor hotel’s pool deck.
BK Asks: What's your favorite place in Nimman?
Por Namwongphrom, Front Office Manager at Akyra Manor Chiang Mai
"Beer Lab (Nimmanhaemin Soi 12, 097-997-4566) because it has this perfect chill-vibe, great for when you just want to relax with a brew from the UK or Germany."
Dom Natthawut Khampeera, private tour guide
"Living Machine Bar (Nimmanhaemin Soi 7, 096-646-6294). They have the best playlist; I could sit and chill there for hours."
Kroongtana "Chang" Nimnu, chef at Bombay Hut
"My favorite restaurant is Kiat Num. It's a hidden Thai restaurant (Nimmanhaemin Soi 11, 053-218-530) where they cook quality, spicy Thai dishes."