Karon is often referred to as ‘Patong’s little sister’ because has its own version of Soi Bangla – only on a smaller scale and it has its dining locations, only fewer than Patong. Most of the nightlife is centred in the bars off Patak Road near the northern traffic circle and three kilometres to the south on and just off Luang Poh Chuan Road.
Football, Clapton’s and Magic Bars
Coming from the beach and the traffic circle, the first turn off to the left leads to a warren of bars. The Terrace Bar, on the corner itself is upstairs and makes for a good people-watching spot. On the opposite side stand three bars – all so similar that they seem to be run by the same person – Football, Clapton’s and Magic – all serving drinks in a flurry of loud music, friendly hostesses and general bonhomie.
Location: Soi Islandia, Open: 18:00 – Late
Angus & Arfur O’Tool’s
This Irish pub is the only one of it’s kind in Karon – serving international ales, bottled beer and all-day pub food. There are no bar girls clinging onto you, and there’s no ear-splitting music. What you can expect is plenty of sports on the huge screens and a genuine pub feel to the place.
Location: Soi Islandia. Open: 10:00 – 24:00
The Little Mermaid
A restaurant that turns into a bar later in the evening, the Little Mermaid is open-sided to the road and therefore a good place to observe the goings on in the girlie bars across the road. Plus, you can order some inexpensive food while you are drinking. Rooms for rent upstairs.
Location: 634 Patak Road. Open: 08:00 – 24:00
Featuring a bunch of friendly girls that seem to be on permanent lookout for a new ‘friend’, the Gun Bar is unpretentious and another place to watch the rather more raunchy action across the street.
Location:Next o Little Mermaid, Patak Road
Does the name of this bar suggest something to you? Featuring fairly loud music and a large screen, Anybody’s could be anywhere.
Location: Opposite Gun Bar, Patak Road
Sutin is one of the few bars in this area that actually offers you something to do while sinking a few beers. That something comes in the shape of a pool table. Sutin also features a large screen and friendly staff.
Location: Further up Patak Road from Anybody’s Bar
Soi One Man
Diagonally opposite Sutin Bar is One Man, a soi containing a dozen girlie bars, among them the Cherry Bar, Lucky Bar, Kenny’s Bar, Sahara, Eva, September Bar and Bacchus. They’re all open sided, quite intimate yet pretty noisy but the good thing is that they stay open late and are suited to night owls. Some bars feature pool tables and have dartboards. The street is festively lit by overhead strings of bulbs and in high season it rocks.
Location: Off Patak Road, Karon Centre
Luang Poh Chuan
This road is located about three kilometres south of Karon Centre and it is Karon’s answer to Patong’s Soi Bangla.
Its nightlife is not as prolific as Patong but you can still have a good barhopping night out here.
This collection of shop-house sized bars is to be found on the right side of the road coming away from the beach. The soi is lined with bars and they’re mostly girlie or ladyboy venues. All are open-sided with extra tables outside featuring the occasional pool table and go by the names of Winner Bar, My Way Bar, Nan, Nightflower, Black Cat and Jinda. There’s more of the same all the way to the end of the alley, the only exception being Montana Music Bar situated in a sub soi to the right about halfway down. This is an air-conditioned place with a few chairs outside that specialises in retro music and is bar-girl free. Good area for barhopping.
A good, two-storey Friday-night live music venue with impromptu jams. Karma has been attracting a musical crowd for years now and holds some pretty interesting parties and events. Downstairs is a straightforward bar while upstairs, where a lot of the action takes place, is more of a lounge-like affair. Tasteful music, interesting videos, a genial host and English-speaking hostesses all add up to a bar ahead of the local competition.
Location: Corner of Luang Poh Chuan and Patak Road
Just before Karma Lounge there’s a U-shaped bar soi with bar after bar of unpretentious and friendly drinking holes. Amazon is a family-run place with sports on the box while a Reggae Bar is hidden in the back folds of the soi. The usual ‘halloa, where you goa?’ gang of provocatively-dressed ladies add to the atmosphere but the soi’s nowhere near as seriously charged as a Patong equivalent.
Location: East end of Luang Pho Chuan Road Farang, Asia, Phuket Bars
The girlie bar to end all girlie bars, Farang goes through transformations throughout the year, picking up pace at high season and limping through the low. Success breeds imitators so adjoining Farang Bar are Asia Bar and the mellower Phuket Bar.
Location: Diagonally opposite Karma Lounge on Patak Road, Karon’s ‘high road’
Open: Late afternoon – Late