Hanoi has decided to allow restaurants and bars in the downtown Hoan Kiem District to stay open through 2 a.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, easing a midnight curfew that has somewhat diminished the city's thriving nightlife.
Officials said at a meeting Wednesday that the new hours will take effect from the beginning of September, and may be applied to weekdays after the trial phase.
The businesses will have to follow regulations including age limits and noise levels.
Currently all restaurants, cafés, nightclubs and karaoke parlors in Hanoi have to close at midnight though bars and clubs at top-tier hotels and resorts are allowed to stay up until 2 a.m.
Foreigners at a sidewalk beer shop in Hanoi's Old Quarter
Nguyen Duc Chung, Hanoi's chairman, said certain bars have been breaking the midnight curfew, so giving them two extra legal hours will facilitate management and make sure tourists are properly served.
Chung alluded to a possible extension to the midnight curfew at a national tourism conference earlier this month, saying that many foreigners consider the night life in Hanoi “a specialty,” and the city should offer more of it.
Many tourists in the capital, as well as Ho Chi Minh City, have complained about the lack of night activities, with some saying they have nothing to do other than drink beer on sidewalks.
Hanoi, a 1,000-year-old city, has become a popular travel destination. It has been named the best value destination by TripAdvisor for three years.
The city received around 3.3 million foreign visitors last year and hopes to get 5.7 million by 2020.