525 Cocktail Bar is the culmination of a dream that Andrew Sykes had for more than 30 years. From a young age, Andrew had a passion for hospitality, and when asked what his perfect day would consist of, instead of saying "Seeing the Northern Lights" or "Kayaking down the Amazon" he would always answer "Spending an evening with all my very best friends, laughing and sharing stories while eating, drinking and dancing into the small hours". After leaving behind the corporate companies he had worked in for nearly 20 years, Andrew travelled around Southeast Asia, and by pure luck landed in Luang Prabang, Laos, for what he thought would be a short sojourn en route to Siem Reap, Cambodia. However, after seven weeks in the sun-soaked, tropical Laos town, he had fallen in love with its ways, its scenery and its people, so he decided to stay. Two years later, he had completely transformed a large house into a luxurious cocktail bar and restaurant featuring a beautiful garden complete with fire pits.
Naming something is not an easy thing to do, but when you've had a dream for so long, arguably it's the hardest part of all. Andrew wanted a name that was distinct, easy to remember, understandable in any language and meant something personal to him. When he worked in London, as a tough day was drawing to an end, a friend would look over and point to his watch and mouth the words "It's 5 to 5" (4:55 p.m.) indicating that they deserved a drink or two and should head directly to the nearest pub. At that very moment, he knew the fun was about to begin, so the name 525 is a nod and a wink to everyone who has had a hard day of work, travel or play and is ready to drink, eat and be merry with family and friends.
Once the vision was created, it was time to build the team. After holding open auditions, a core group of Lao staff were selected to breathe life into 525 Cocktail Bar. After combining their existing skills with months of intensive training, we had the building blocks for what would go on to become one of the top-rated bars and eateries in Luang Prabang.
On a weekly basis, we continue to provide training to our staff in service and cocktail creation, to ensure that we continue to be the premium cocktail bar in town.
We're proud of the rave reviews we've received from guests and journalists alike who have visited 525 Cocktail Bar. Here's a sampling of a few of our favorites. After stopping in for a drink, we encourage you to leave us a review on Trip Advisor or Google. Maybe we'll even post it here!
"Coming from Singapore, which is home to some of the world's best bars, I am pleasantly surprised to find a rival-worthy cocktail bar just down the road from renowned hotel Satri House. Run by Briton Andrew Sykes, 525 is located in a repurposed house with a beautiful, lantern-lit front garden and plush couches on the inside.
Its menu of classic and bespoke cocktails is exceptionally well-made. Try the New Old Fashioned, made with Lao honey, which gives the strong whisky drink a sweet finish while taking the edge off. It is so good, I go back twice."
Read Anjali Raguraman's full article here.
"Settle in for gourmet tapas for the peckish (the pulled-pork sliders are great) and full cocktail repertoire at Brit-owned 525."
Read Claire Boobbyer's full article here.
"It wasn’t my immediate plan to start drinking this early in the list endeavor, but trust me—this bar is sooooooo irresistible. Andrew J. Sykes, having worked in the hospitality business for most of career, decided to pick up his life and move from jolly ‘ole England to the beautiful town of Luang Prabang, the city he fell in love with and the new home of his dream bar. 525 was chosen specifically for its importance to happy hours around the globe: 5 minutes to 5 (pm), in other words “it’s time to drink” after a long day’s work. Hipster, stylish, hip-chic…and everything else nice you could name this cozy bar, manages to still offer and extensive range of premium spirits, liquors and cocktails from all over the world! But, before getting your drink-on, do not forget about the food. Tapas. You will be getting the tapas here, because believe me, this place beckons its patrons to enjoy her bread and butter while sharing with good friends making good times, joy."
Located in a quiet area of the UNESCO World Heritage Town, 525 is modern lounge with a long bar. With its stylish modern decor as well as garden front seating outside it is not to be missed. The owner and staff are super friendly, professional and welcoming. 525 serves great cocktails, surprising shots and also features a small but popular tapas menu. We highly recommend their ‘ultimate’ G&T.
525 Luang Prabang is a swish new addition to the town’s bar scene. Occupying a corner in a local neighbourhood just outside the centre, the outdoor garden with its fire pits are a treat in the cold months but the air-con interior is the place to be the rest of the year with its inviting, sophisticated decor. Settle into the banquet seating, at one of the high tables or at the luxe bar to admire the glowing selection of bottles or chat with the friendly proprietor. Whether you choose a classic or fancy cocktail (we’re smitten with their “new” old-fashioned, with a hint of maple syrup and cinnamon), it all goes down very easy, as do the delectable tapas.
Sit outside stargazing on the terrace, inside at the long bar in low-lit style, or chill in the comfy lounge. Cocktails galore, glad rags, stunning photography on the walls and a sophisticated crowd.
If you're looking for a nice night away from the crowd or just want a real cocktail, 525 is the perfect place to go! Decor is elegant and posh and the staff are attentive and engaging. Tell the bartenders something you're craving and they will whip up a delicious cocktail!
I had a great night there recently, almost by accident. I went for a swift drink but couldn't leave for a while, as I was enjoying myself too much. The expresso martinis are pretty amazing, and were complemented by the best chocolate brownies I've had in a long time. The bar staff were full of great advice and really personable too. Great bar.
Felt like spoiling myself so went to 525 for one cocktail, ended up drinking many!! Very relaxing seating area outside with good music. Perfect place to unwind. Empanadas and quesadillas were scrummy.
My wife and I fell into this place on our first night of our week stay in Luang Prabang. The menu can be best described as very tasty, high quality bar food. We had two orders of pork sliders (3 in a serving) and a Greek salad (on the small side, but ingredients were fresh). For drinks we had a whisky sour (my wife said it was the best she's ever had) and I had the Belgian blonde beer in a bottle.
We went back two nights later when they were sponsoring a fund raiser for the local hospital. We ate two orders of the teriyaki chicken legs (smallish, but 5 pieces to an order), mac and cheese (3 ramekins to an order), and a plate of brownie bites (5 pieces) for desert. For drinks, whiskey sour again (of course), a "new" old fashion (made with honey and cinnamon), and several glasses of white wine, a crisp Spanish and an excellent Australian Sauvignon Blanc.
100% of the profits for the night went to the Luang Prabong Children's Hospital. The place was chock full of locals and tourist alike right to closing. A good time was had by all!
"The best array of top-quality spirits I've seen in Southeast Asia. A welcoming atmosphere, good tunes (VERY rare in these parts) and some killer cocktails. A great night out."
"Great little bar hidden away from the crowds of the main street! They have amazing cocktails and yummy tapas dishes. When you walk inside its like another world, I haven't seen anything quite like this in Laos so far."
"The cocktails were to-die-for—particularly the amaretto sour and the mojito! Food was gorgeous and just the right amount, and I highly recommend sitting in the garden. The atmosphere is a bit magical, with mellow music and twinkly lights everywhere. Thanks to the lovely staff too for being so attentive!"
"525 Cocktail Bar is a great place to have wonderful Western and Asian tapas—small dishes to share with friends. Their cocktails are delicious!!!"
Read more reviews and leave your own here.
525 Cocktail Bar is part of a close-knit community in Luang Prabang. We have a myriad of partners and friends who we recommend you check out. Here are just a handful of them.
MandaLao is an ethically focused elephant sanctuary, with its headquarters based in the centre of town. For the best, most environmentally conscious and intimate elephant experience, see their website.
Searching for somewhere to grab a bite before 525 opens? Novelty Cafe is one of the most delightful spots in town, with a scrumptious selection of food and drinks, and a book exchange to boot. Tell Nanta we sent you!
Located in the heart of the World Heritage Site on the banks of the Nam Khan river and featuring chic, spacious rooms, The Apsara hotel is the perfect place for temple visiting, shopping and just going with the flow. The world-class restaurant has an interesting modern Lao menu along with a well-chosen wine list.
Lao Friends Hospital for Children believes that every child has the right to a healthy and loving life, and they accomplish this by providing free, compassionate, international-quality medical care to the children of Southeast Asia—and by creating community health-education programs and training local health-care professionals. Find out more about their phenomenal work here.
We recently tasked this content creation duo with developing 525's digital archive, and we could not be happier with the results. The pièce de résistance is a video showcasing the town and the bar, entitled "A Day In Luang Prabang". You can check out the video and their other work here.
525 Cocktail Bar is an integral part of the vibrant and friendly Luang Prabang community. As such, we strive to draw the community together with our regular networking events. An important keystone to these events is often a drive toward collecting much-needed funds for local charities. Our most recent event on St. Patrick's Day resulted in $1,350 raised for the Lao Friends Hospital for Children. Stay connected through our social media channels for updates on our next event. Good times and contributing to fantastic causes—what more could you ask for?