Bars, nightclubs, restaurants, and music venues give Lahore a distinctive nightlife scene. The culture here is unique: It unites the often-regal beauty of Pakistan’s architecture with modern elements to create an enticing agenda of things to do in the capital of Punjab.
Bustling markets transform the streets of Lahore into vibrant shopping districts come nightfall. Pricing and offerings range from low-end to upscale, meaning there’s a distinctive variety among these crowded stalls. The jewelry at Sooha Bazar Shalami is credited by visitors as the cream of the crop—in fact, the area inside the ancient walled city carries only the most high-end, reputable silver and gold jewelry available.
Other areas include Anarkali Bazar, which is known as the oldest such outfit in all of South Asia. Fortress Stadium scales the heights of modernity: One of its focal points is a colorful McDonald’s with a children’s area. There are also barbecue restaurants and chic boutiques throughout. Liberty Market tends to draw very young crowds, and visitors comment on the high number of teenagers simply standing around waiting to chat up one another.
Dining out come nightfall is one of the area’s prime activities. Restaurants abound on M M Alam Road Gulberg, which is home to everything from local street vendors, to Chinese eateries, to upscale establishments. For much more casual meals, visitors pop into Fortress Stadium on Upper Mall Road for a quick bite.
One of the best places to experience traditional Lahore street food is on Mozang Chungi. Fish is one of the most popular dishes, typically served with chutney and naan. The Gawalmandi Food Street masquerades as an unassuming retail district by day. When the sun sets, though, it transforms into a vibrant foodie’s paradise that visitors praise for its open-air setup. The key here is inexpensive food at its best, though many warn that it’s also quite spicy. Word to the wise from the experienced: Simply ask if you want a non-spicy meal, but be prepared to experience a little heat anyway. Visitors also recommend dressing appropriately, as short skirts on women may be deemed inappropriate or draw unwelcome attention.
There are also some extremely casual options, including ice cream shops and cafes whose décor is largely simple and obscure. These are the places visitors call home when they want an easy meal or simply wish to people watch in a safe environment while listening to some music or even dancing. Note that many of the cafes do not sell alcohol, but it’s not uncommon to see someone smoking. Visitors recommend dressing up just a bit—it’s better to err on the side of formal than overly casual. A nice top and a pair of slacks are perfectly acceptable in the evening, or a dress and tights.
Editor’s note: The information contained on this page was compiled using real traveler reviews about areas to nightlife in Lahore.