Posted by Selena Travel / 05 29, 2023
Even though Mongolia might not be popular for its music or entertainment values, there are handfuls of places where you can jazz up your nights. Be it in a small indie club with local youngsters or classy jazz club where professional musicians perform, one thing is for sure- there’s no way you can spend your few nights in Ulaanbaatar hiding out in your hotel room!
Most of the local UBers take their music pretty seriously. Most of the youngsters tend to choose their place to hang out depending on the music type or the quality of it rather than the taste of the food or its location. Speaking of location, it actually is negligible since almost all of these bars and lounges are located in 20-minute ride from each other at maximum. Now it doesn’t mean that Ulaanbaatar is filled with cafes and bars, the reason is simply that Ulaanbaatar itself can be considered pretty small, especially when we’re talking about the city center. So here are some of those alarmingly close, yet astonishingly different lounges for you to explore or more accurately, just chill in.
The Fat Cat Jazz Club
This one is an intimate little place for the ones who love jazz and coziness. The club was found out by Mongolian aspiring new musician, creating this little underground space for music lovers. As you can assume from the name, the place is just a perfect spot for those lazy days when all you want to do is just stretch around the home, laze around and get fed. However, since the fat cat is financed by a crowd, there is amazing intimate feeling. The only problem is that since its newly found and such a buzz for a small place, it might get too crowded at some times and the atmosphere might feel little too crowded and rushed.
Now this place’s target is definitely much younger age group compared to the other ones. Young Mongolian DJs play indie set, events for the hippie teenagers are held regularly, open mic nights are common here. Mongolian hip teenagers crowd around here if you want to experience the vibe of the “young and cool” group of the citizens. The music is great, price is relatively cheap, since the main customers are young as we have mentioned around million times here. So basically, if you’re over thirty, probably not a good idea to go there unless you want to feel older and sadder than you are now.
This is also a cool little bar with quality beer and food. Since the purpose of this place was to play music, not to be a bar, the music here is great with quality sound system. Occasional events are held here to play new sets or introduce a DJ. Another brand event they hold is movie nights, where they show academy- nominated art films and have discussions afterwards. The movie is usually shown in its original language, usually with English subtitles.
The green zone
This is where you are most likely to meet with your fellow expats. Almost all of the waiters here speak English, and the service is great. The atmosphere gives a cozy feeling but since the place is so small, not a place to go if you have a big crowd. It won’t be a lie to say that this place can hold 20 people at most, which can be seen as a pro and a con. The small space and chill music will give you a nice feeling of intimacy if you want a private time with one or two company in hand. However, if you’re alone or even have a partner or two and there’s a crowd with larger than five people, you might feel out of place as though you have broken into a private party you have not been invited to.
I’m not really sure if this place is still going or not, since it has been sort of facing problems when I last went there, but if it is, it’s definitely worth the time checking out. The menu is usual with beer and pizza with some authentic Mongolian food, including the nation’s favorite- tsuivan (which by the way, is a must try while you’re here in Mongolia). The atmosphere and concept of this place is the hook- once you got here, you would find various different types of board games where everyone is welcome to play. It used to be such an easy way to network, but it might have changed its business model now.
17 Sky Bar
This bar is not really underground or hidden, but definitely worth a mention for those who are looking for a nice, sophisticated evening with great view of the city. The bar is café and lounge during the day and turned into bar in the evenings. It’s situated right in the Central Tower’s highest floor which is located right in the heart of the city center. Since Ulaanbaatar is such a long and thin city, you can almost see the whole city from up here. The menu doesn’t contain that much of the Mongolian food, but the taste is great. Price is relatively higher than the places mentioned here.
There are tons more places with such a cool and chill atmosphere for almost every kind of situation including Dund Gol Vinyl Café for the authentic lunch for vinyl lovers, D.d/ h.z for the more buzzy nights and loud feels, Gandan Live House with its craft beer for those who like modern meets tradition setting, Republik for just a chill and ‘grammable night out and much more. Most of them are small places found by people who love music and food, so you would do both yourself and the founders good by paying them a visit while having a blast.
Written by Sainbilig