While Karon Beach is not nearly as brash, loud and over the top as Patong just a little farther north, it does have some decent nightlife and is a good option for anybody that wants to combine sun, sea and salacious entertainment, albeit to a much lesser extent. However, if partying and drinking is your main interest at night, you’d be well advised to try nearby Patong or even Kata instead, as Karon doesn’t really have that much variety to offer in terms of night time entertainment.
There are two main areas in Karon where the bars, pubs and restaurants are located. The first is central Karon around Patak Road, just further down the road on the left past the roundabout at the northern end of the beach. Soi Islandia is the hub of the action here, where you can find various beer bars, pubs and restaurants. The most well known establishment is undoubtedly the Irish pub Angus and Arfur O’Tool’s, a convivial local hangout and the ideal place to sip a Guinness or two. Close by is the Gun Bar, a typical beer bar with very attentive Thai women and quite a local favourite hangout, and the friendly sports bar Skylight 2.
Two kilometres further south, Luang Poh Chuan Road is another small nightlife area that runs between Patak Road West and Patak Road East. It’s sometimes called Karon’s answer to Bangla Road in Patong, but the comparison isn’t really justified as it’s merely a collection of small girly (or ladyboy) bars, which all remain fairly quiet during the low season. In this street, the Plaza contains numerous bars, shops, guesthouses and pubs.
Karon is by no means the busiest place in Phuket (its close neighbour Kata is more lively at night) but it’s a wonderful location for a quieter holiday and there are a few enjoyable places to go in the evenings. It’s no surprise that many people prefer to stay here rather than Patong, as it offers the best of both worlds and can be reached quite easily.
Bars in Karon Beach
A small selection of some of the best and most popular bars are mentioned below. Most of the girly bars are not listed, as they change ownership regularly and they nearly all feature the same ingredients (beer, girls and pool tables). Such places are not as wild as in Patong, but it’s possible to find some quite racy venues around Karon too.
Angus and Arfur O’Tool’s
This locally renowned traditional Irish pub serves great all-day pub food and has a fine selection of international beers and ciders such as Guinness, Kilkenny, and Magners. The venue has a very friendly atmosphere and is a great place to escape from the onslaught of bar girls and excessively loud music. All the major sporting events such as football and rugby are shown on large TV screens and there is regular live musical entertainment throughout the week. For anyone that appreciates good honest food and hospitality, there’s no better place to enjoy some draught beers and meet the locals.
A small and intimate bar that has loud music, some semi-attractive girls and a big screen TV with sports and movies. It may not be the most original concept in Phuket, but what more could you want? As the name implies, it could quite easily be anybody’s bar in any corner of Thailand!
This small and easy to miss nightspot is just off the beach road (Patak Road West) in Luang Poh Chuan Road. There’s an ever-changing collection of open air girly bars with stools, pool tables and chairs outside and eager to please staff. A good place to hang around for a few hours and move from bar to bar, whilst being chatted up by the girls.
Where: Small cul-de-sac in the middle of Luang Poh Chan Road
Gun Bar is a rather typical but entertaining drinking hole with super-friendly girls and loud music. There aren’t too many surprises here, but you could do worse than down a few beers and enjoy talking with the staff at this favourite hotspot.
Where: Patak Road, Karon Centre near The Little Mermaid
The Little Mermaid
The Little Mermaid is a hotel and restaurant in the centre of Karon, but it has a nice little bar and is a good place to watch the various comings and goings in the street outside, most notably at the bars opposite.
Where: 643 Patak Road
Tel: +66 (0) 76 396 580
Skylight 2 is a sports bar, restaurant and guest house that is quite popular with the local expats. Cheap beers are served all day and they have English, Thai and international food on the menu. As sport is the theme, there’s a big screen TV and a pool table. The in-house band plays live music on most weekdays, from 9pm until late.
Soi One Man
Near Karon centre is a small street called Soi One Man, filled with open sided girly bars with names such as Cherry Bar, Lucky Bar, Mona Bar, and Happy Elephant Bar. Nearly all have identical décor with bar stools, pool tables and a few girls that get progressively more inebriated as the night goes on (as long as you’re the one buying the drinks).
Where: Patak Road, around 250 metres from the roundabout