Well, I've only been out three times so far, and two of the times I nearly fell asleep at the table from tiredness, and one of the times I was otherwise similarly incapacitated. But I will try to mark down what I have gleaned, through bleary, half-open eyes and with a weakened, slowed mind:
1. Elephants don't serve beer through their trunks.
I think a common misconception about Thailand is that elephants are raised and biologically altered from a young age to become gigantic stills for beer and other malt beverages, with their mammoth (Ha!) stomachs as a keg of sorts and their trunks as the taps. This, from what I can tell, is not the case, and I don't know where this rumor started.
Really, you have two options for drinking. One is the American way, buying drinks at the bar. I'd say a mixed drink probably goes for between 3 and 6 dollars, and a beer can be anywhere from 1-3 dollars. You might be surprised to hear (seriously) that almost every bar is sponsored by a brand of whiskey or Scotch--the brands whose posters and flying flags I see the most are Johnnie Walker, Benmore, and 100 Pipers, with bottles costing about 12 dollars in the club. It is common for a group to buy a bottle of whiskey, a bucket of ice, and several bottles of club soda, and just go to town on it. When you are finished, you can take it home with you. No open container laws.
What is special to Thailand (or at least, different from most American bars) is the option to BYOB. This allowance seems counter to what the moneymaking strategies of any bar should be, and yet it seems to be universally accepted and practiced. Whereas I understsand that being caught with a hidden flask in your back pocket could be grounds for expulsion, suspension, or a ban from a bar or nightclub, here it seems the norm: I nearly fell into a culture shock after swaggering past the bouncers of a club while flagrantly brandishing a half-finished bottle of Whiskey in my left hand.
Apparently these clubs make money off of mixers and ice. Seems like they could make even more money off of, I don't know, being the only alcohol option available. I'm not complaining; but then, I don't own a bar in Thailand.
2. My Fellas Don't Dance, They Just Pull Up Their Pants
The big dance craze in Chiang Mai seems to be standing around a table and bobbing your head up and down. No grinding, no freaking, no butt-rubbing, no vertical coitus, no peripatetic waistline intermingle; just do the pigeon-head and you'll fit right in.
PDA (Public Displays of Affection, for my audience outside the target demographic) is not to be seen here. The most affection I ever see is a guy with his arm around his girl's shoulder. Thais are very affectionate people; just not with their tongues on a barstool at 3 in the morning like Americans are.
3. Your Skirt Can Be Mini If My Pants Can Be Mickey
Despite the total absence of public sexual skankiness, dressing like a skank is totally acceptable. Hike up that skirt, bare that shoulder...um...do something sexual with your chin. Though you may be socially interacting like one, there is no need to dress like a frightened Mennonite.
So, I hope that answers the three most common questions I've gotten about the Thai night life. If you have anymore, drop me a message, and I will be more than happy to begrudginly answer them for you.