Luong Van Can, Hoan Kiem
If it’s all in a name, well here its all in a number - two of them in fact, 51 & 58. Not exactly conventional opticians - the rows of shops here do sell frames with lenses and have basic eye-testing services - but if its sunglasses with brand names super-glued on top, here is the place.
Thu Ha Kinh Thuoc
134 Ba Trieu, Hai Ba Trung
Tel: 3943 4570
Free eye testing in this well-known, German-trained opticians that also doubles up as a medical clinic and pharmacy specialising in eye problems. Sells a range of branded and non-branded spectacles and sunglasses. Located opposite the National Hospital of Ophthalmology.
48 Hai Ba Trung, Hai Ba Trung & 231 Nguyen Trai, Thanh Xuan
Tel: 3736 5505
Chain of opticians, glasses and sunglasses stores selling a range of branded and Chinese-imported frames starting at VND100,000 a go and rising to over VND2 million. The in-store optometrist gives free eye tests. Helpful, English-speaking staff.
Cuc Phuong Guest House
396 Quoc Lo 14, Dong Xoai, Binh Phuoc
Tel: 0651 387 9764
Accommodation here is quite basic, but this place offers a good deal in relation to the other places around, if you want a place to sleep before a long day of park touring.
Cuc Phuong National Park
Cuc Phuong, Nho Quan, Ninh Binh
Tel: 030 384 8006
Park accommodation, in modern rooms, stilt houses and detached bungalows, includes basic amenities and comforts in proportion to prices, which range from VND100,000 to VND500,000 per night. Rooms available at park hq, the park centre, and on the road linking the two.
Thanh Thuy Guest House
128 Le Hong Phong, Ninh Binh, Tel: 030 387 1811
Refurbished in 2004, this has big, clean rooms that are great value for the money. There is an in-house restaurant that will make it redundant to eat elsewhere. Prices range from VND100,000 to VND400,000 for a double deluxe room. The staff speak very good English.
Thuy Anh Hotel
55A Truong Han Sieu, Ninh Binh. Tel: 030 387 1602
This hotel is slightly more expensive than its neighbors, but the reason is apparent once you walk in. The rooms in the newer building are especially nice and, together with the better than decent restaurant downstairs, this one can make for a good stop over.
Huyen Tran Guest House
2 Hoang Van Thu, Lai Chau. Tel: 0231 387 5829
Offers reasonable guesthouse-style rooms with air conditioning, some of them with balconies. Take a look at the rooms before you rent as the quality may vary.
Khach San Dien Bien Phu
849 Duong 7-5, Muong Thanh, Dien Bien Phu
Tel: 0230 382 5103
Pretty much what it sounds like: a Dien Bien Phu guest house. Rooms are made for sleeping and not much else, but at good prices. Cleanliness and comfort are acceptable and about average for this type of establishment.
Muong Thanh Hotel
25 Pho 1, Muong Thanh, Dien Bien Phu
Tel: 0230 381 0043
This Soviet-era hotel has a unique style that makes it one of the most visited. So, despite its size, it may be a good idea to book in advance. There’s a charge for the swimming pool, even if you’re staying there. But, hey, there’s a pool. The rooms are better than average and have satellite TV.
Son La Trade Union Hotel
4 Duong, 26-8 Rd, Son La, Tel: 022 385 5313
The explanation of the name is a mystery, but with 100 rooms it could probably house a mid-size union. Not the cheapest place in town, but the rooms are extra large and fairly well-kept. If you want to spend some time with satellite television, this is your place. Price range is VND500,000 to VND600,000, breakfast included.
53 Duong 26 – 8, Son La
Tel: 022 385 8798
Sunrise makes for a decent stay for those travelling between Hanoi and Dien Bien Phu. In relation to the other hotels on the road, the rooms are very clean and the staff helpful. A night here will run around VND400,000.
Crowne Plaza West Hanoi
Lot X7, Le Duc Tho, My Dinh, Tu Liem, Hanoi Tel: 04 6270 6688
My Dinh’s first five-star property, this 24-storey, mixed use complex lies next to My Dinh National Stadium and close to the National Convention Centre. Boasting 393 guest rooms (including 40 suites), two swimming pools and a spa and fitness centre, Crowne Plaza also has some of the best meetings and conference facilities in town.
51 Xuan Dieu, Quang An, Q Tay Ho
Tel: 04 3719 8877, Fax: 04 3719 8811
Strategically located in the Syrena Centre on Xuan Dieu, Fraser Suites is ideal for expatriates who desire a home close to work, and yet offers repose from the bustle of the city. The gold–standard serviced residence is in the Westlake district, an enclave preferred by foreign executives and their families and close to a good selection of quality restaurants, gourmet food shops and decent bars.
Hanoi Backpackers’ Hostel
48 Ngo Quyen, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 04 3828 5372
The cheapest European–style place in town, with bunk–style beds in mixed or single–sex dorms starting from US$6 a night plus a small selection of double and twin rooms for US$40. A place to meet like–minded travellers, also has a second hostel at 9 Ma May, Hoan Kiem (Tel: 04 3935 1890) close to all the late-night Old Quarter bars and eating spots.
1 Le Thanh Tong, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 04 3933 0500
Located next to the Opera House, this five–star is not to be confused with the famed “Hanoi Hilton” that once housed American POWs. Reproduction colonial architecture is matched by an elegant and spacious inside area. Has all the standard facilities of a top–end hotel as well as an attractive, courtyard pool area. Presently undergoing extensive renovation.
Hong Ngoc Hotel
14 Luong Van Can, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 04 3826 7566
With four locations right in the Old Quarter, this is a good no–frills option close to Hoan Kiem Lake. Friendly staff can help you with any detail like renting a car, motorbike, or bicycle. Rooms are compact with small but clean bathrooms and all have the quality amenities of a proper hotel. Either ADSL or Wi–Fi connections available.
5 Au Trieu, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 04 3938 1048
Just on the side of beautiful St. Joseph’s Cathedral, this is a good, comfortable mid–range hotel. Each of the 10 rooms is fitted with cable television, Wi–Fi and a mini bar. The staff is quite helpful and can arrange tours and tickets to many destinations surrounding Hanoi. With room fees starting at $40 a night, and topping out at $50, the small boutique–style hotel offers quite a deal.
Maison D’Hanoi Hanova Hotel
35-37 Hang Trong, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3938 0999
Just a short walk from Hoan Kiem lake, Maison d’Hanoi provides an elegant respite from the traffic and noise of the city. They have 33 comfortable guest rooms, 18 deluxe, and four luxurious suites. All rooms have Wi–Fi access, and the cozy lobby has both a gallery and a piano bar. Prices range from US$120 for a guest room to US$220 for a suite.
15 Ngo Quyen, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3826 6919
The finest hotel of the French colonial period is probably still the finest in today’s Hanoi. Anyone who is (or was) anyone has stayed at this elegant oasis of charm, where the service is impeccable and the luxurious facilities complement the ambience of a bygone era. Definitely the place to put the Comtessa up for a night.
Bhaya Cruises, Halong Bay
52 Hang Trong, Hanoi
Tel: 04 3944 6777 (Sales Office)
194 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Street, Q3
Tel: 3933 0077 (Sales Office)
Bhaya combines oriental style with contemporary luxury, offering tours of beautiful Halong Bay aboard reproduction wooden junks. Two or three–night trips are available and customers have a wide range of cabin styles to choose from: standard, deluxe or royal.
Cuc Phuong National Park
Cuc Phuong, Nho Quan, Ninh Binh
Tel: 030 384 8006
Vietnam’s first national park and home to the well-known national primate centre, the accommodation here is in modern rooms, stilt houses or detached bungalows. Includes basic amenities and comforts in proportion to prices, which range from US$5 to US$25 per night. Rooms are available at park headquarters, the park centre and on the road linking the two.
Emeraude Classic Cruises, Halong Bay
Tel: 04 3934 0888
This comfortable yet accurate reproduction of a 19th–century paddle steamer trawls around Halong Bay in colonial style, with onboard overnight accommodation in small but impeccably maintained cabins. They also offer transfers from Hanoi itself. A great, classic experience.
La Ferme du Colvert
Cu Yen, Luong Son, Hoa Binh , Tel: 018 382 5662,
This eco–village in Hoa Binh caters to visitors in search of nature. 30 rooms of varying design in 10 houses are surrounded by rice fields, lakes and hills. Has its own spa and restaurant.
La Vie Vu Linh
Ngoi Tu Village, Vu Linh, Yen Bai
Tel: 04 3926 2743 (Freewheelin’ Tours)
Located 170km northwest of Hanoi and on the banks of Thac Ba Lake, this bamboo-constructed eco lodge close to Yen Bai is situated in one of the most tranquil and visually stimulating areas in Vietnam. Set in a Dao Quan Trang ethnic minority village, accommodation is either in the main stilt-house area or in the rammed earth rooms and starts at US$12 per night. Offers a whole host of activities including lake cruises, mountain biking, motorbike tours and walking trips into the surrounding mountains.
Mai Chau Lodge
Mai Chau Town, Hoa Binh, Tel: 0218 386 8959
Located in a lush valley home to indigenous Vietnamese minority groups, the Buffalo Tours-owned lodge is a luxurious alternative to the stilt house homestay accommodation offered close by. Has all the usual western amenities in a beautiful setting and every room has a view of either the mountain, lake, pool or valley.
Cat Cat Guesthouse
Cat Cat Road, Tel: 020 387 1218
Notable for having probably the best view in town from its bar restaurant, Cat Cat Guesthouse has plain rooms at very reasonable rates. A fairly steep set of steps leads to the block of rooms, most of which have big windows and balconies, and, for the cold winter, log fireplaces.
24 Muong Hoa, Sapa, Tel: 020 387 2404
For the environmentally conscientious, the only place to stay in Sapa is the Topas Ecolodge. 25 individual lodges are located on the hills overlooking the valleys. Employing solar technology and a wastewater facility give it eco–cred. Topas also organises treks and bicycle tours. It takes over an hour to get from Sapa to the lodge; transportation is provided.
Tel: 020 387 1522
Topping the list of Sapa resorts, the Victoria is not priced for the backpacker (rooms range from US$135 to US$250 per night). The many amenities include satellite TV, in–room coffeemakers and safes, and a hilltop health club, tennis court and pool. The entire resort is tastefully decorated with panoramic views of the town below.
JAPANESE / FRENCH
10 Chu Minh Trinh, Q1
Tel: 6291 0447
11.30am to 1am
A restobar where France meets Japan, this innovative and bold four-floor venue mixes Gallic flair with all the nuances of the Land of the Rising Sun. With lime green in the stairwells, maroon on the ground floor and orange moving up to the subtly lit top-floor terrace, the bar areas and dining spaces are complemented by two games rooms for playing board games, Wii and X-Box. The menu encompasses the same eclectic mix, with ika kappa maki sitting next to baked clams gratinee and beef carpaccio. A bit of something for everyone.
INTERNATIONAL / RESTOBAR
195 Pham Ngu Lao, Q1, Tel: 6291 5424
Summery, Ibiza-style beats rock through this recently refurbished Backpackers’ Area icon, mixing in with the bamboo-style décor, deep red walls and ethnic minority upholstery and place settings. Serving a mixture of Thai and western cuisine (from VND80,000 to VND140,000 a dish), the late-night party atmosphere is bolstered by the first-floor DJ pumping out tunes into the early hours.
INTERNATIONAL / PAN-ASIAN FUSION
5 Nguyen Sieu, Q1
Tel: 3825 6257
10am to late daily
Swathed in deep red and with dark wooden lightbox panelling, the addition of black and white Saigon street-scene photos gives this three-storey restobar an atmosphere of an upscale, sleek equivalent in New York or London. Choose between the shared-table downstairs bar area or the more traditional upstairs seating and a menu that blends small fusion cuisine style plates with larger mains and excellent gourmet pizza.
AUSTRALIAN / INTERNATIONAL
40 Lily Road, An Phu Superior Compound, Thao Dien, Q2
7.30am to 11pm daily
The river plays a big role in this spacious, slightly gentrified restobar in An Phu on the banks of Saigon’s largest waterway. The cuisine here ranges from small plates through to salads, sandwiches (from VND95,000), premium burgers (from VND195,000), pizza, pasta, pan-Asian, seafood dishes and steaks (VND450,000 for the Australian premium rib-eye). Has an international wine list and Sunday afternoons play host to live music and the occasional mini festival.
Boston Sports Bar
INTERNATIONAL / RESTOBAR
28/4 Bui Vien, Q1
Tel: 6656 6338
This inviting, all-hours-god-sends multi-storey restobar with its rectangular, bare-brick bar area is the only place in the Backpackers’ District showing all the live sport. And here we certainly mean the word ALL. TV screens are everywhere. Also in the mix is the coldest aircon in town, reasonable (although slightly pricey) pub food and friendly female staff.
7 Thao Dien, Q2
3pm to 12am daily
Tucked away in An Phu, this long-standing establishment provides great food and drinks at reasonable prices. With a long bar, pool table, darts, live sports, good music, and friendly staff, it’s easy to relax and have a good time. A variety of cuisine is offered, from beef pies and burgers to beef tenderloin, spare ribs and Swiss-style fondue. Quiz night on Wednesdays, ladies night on Tuesdays and live music every first Friday of the month.
LOUNGE BAR / INTERNATIONAL
Lancaster Building, 22 Le Thanh Ton, Q1
Tel: 3823 8733
8am to 12pm. Sunday 5pm to 12pm
When the plush but chic Cepage opened its doors, its décor and concept caused a stir thanks to its lounge-style seating, eye-catching subtly lit bar area, upstairs restaurant and glass-fronted wine cellar. Then there was the international, Japanese-influenced food menu, put together by German Andreas Ertle, one of the city’s best chefs. More than three years on this comfortable but well-priced restobar still hits the spot, and also boasts one of the most creative cocktail lists in town. Check out their black box lunchtime deal.
INTERNATIONAL / RESTOBAR
212 De Tham, Q1
Tel: 3836 9946
This hard-to-miss Backpackers’ Area restobar, terrace and nightclub declares itself loud and bold with its massive, snorting buffalo signage, a symbol that has undoubtedly appeared in thousands of photos of Saigon. A daytime happy hour, pizza, pasta, Asian cuisine and international mains make up the mix, with the beats pumping on the first floor until late.
Bread & Butter
INTERNATIONAL / COMFORT FOOD
40/24 Bui Vien, Q1
Tel: 3836 8452
11.30am to 2pm, 5pm to midnight. Closed Mondays.
A miniscule, two-floor restobar with a homely, slightly rustic feel that is the only place in town pushing the excellent, Hue-brewed Huda beer, always served cold. A free book exchange, an everyone-knows-your-name kind of atmosphere and mains from tuna steak and bangers and mash through to burgers, schnitzels, burritos and sarnies make up the formula here. Does a popular roast from 5.30pm every Sunday.
INTERNATIONAL / RESTOBAR
187 De Tham, Q1
Tel: 3836 9575
A corner location, retro, slightly grungy décor, banging indie and popular rock tunes downstairs, never ending drunkenness and late-night partying make Go2 one of the watering hole destinations in the Backpackers’ Area. Popular with tourists and expats searching for late-night drinking and dancing options, the food menu includes Thai, Vietnamese and western cuisine with mains costing between VND75,000 and VND110,000. DJs bang out the beats upstairs until late.
AMERICAN / TEX-MEX
38 Ton That Thiep, Q1
Tel: 01252 382728
11am to late
Small but homely, this everyone-knows-your-name Old Market area venue offers authentic tacqueria Mexican food together with jugs of margarita, Corona, San Miguel, tequila nights and foosball. The Baja fish tacos are a must try as are the combos and salsa. The food along with the happy hour, funky decor (check out the toilets) and regular DJ make Gringo’s a hip hangout spot.
Hard Rock Café
AMERICAN / LIVE MUSIC
Kumho Asiana Plaza, 39 Le Duan, Q1
Tel: 6291 7595
11am to midnight
The rock memorabilia, cowboy-like, rock-centred American food menu and branded décor at the Saigon version of this international branded café provide for one of the city’s few, medium capacity downtown music venues. The nightly live music is accompanied by a pricey (for Saigon) food menu that includes burgers, hickory-smoked BBQ ribs, fajitas, sandwiches and salads. Puts on regular events – check their website for details.
Hoa Vien Brauhaus
28Bis Mac Dinh Chi, Q1
Tel: 3829 0585
8am to midnight
Set in the same building as the Czech Consulate and decorated in wood panelling and brass finishing, this enormous Czech-styled bierkeller popular with stout burghers from both the local and expatriate communities was the first microbrewery in town (1995) and remains one of the best. The excellent home–brewed Hoavener beer, which comes in dark, red or blonde, is served out of huge steins and is complemented by a food menu that mixes Vietnamese fare with Central European staples such as schnitzels, wurst and much more.
La Fenetre Soleil
JAPANESE / INTERNATIONAL
2nd Floor, 44 Ly Tu Trong, Q1
Tel: 3824 5994
10am to midnight
Bare brick walls, art-deco repro furniture and a parlour-like elegance that brings with it all the glamour of old Saigon puts La Fenetre Soleil in a class of its own. Serving up a range of cocktails, imported beer, coffee and smoothies together with a Japanese-Vietnamese fusion menu, atmosphere and the slightly-off-the-main-drag location makes this a great spot to while away those afternoon hours or catch a night-time drink. Does a set lunch menu from 11.30am to 2pm.
CUBAN / MUSIC BAR
6 Cao Ba Quat, Q1
Tel: 3829 5180
10am to 1am
Cuban–themed bar and restaurant selling a tasty range of Cuban and Spanish cuisine. The signature seafood–based paella goes for VND330,000 for two people and a big selection of tapas starts at VND40,000 each. Also has a small German menu featuring favourites such as curry wurst and Weiner schnitzel. Does excellent cocktails, and,three–course lunches, including a drink, for under VND200,000.
Latin Cafe Bar and Restaurant
17 Dong Du, Q1 Tel: 3827 9095 10am to midnight
This cozy slither of a two–storey venue is one of the few down-to-earth watering holes left in downtown Saigon. Offering a great dining area upstairs and easy-on-the-eye bare brick décor throughout, the menu includes tapas, salads, pasta and sandwiches and mains such as roast chicken with pomery mustard and bangers and mash. Also has flatscreen TVs for the sport and a general, laid-back but amiable atmosphere.
INTERNATIONAL / RESTOBAR
175/22 Pham Ngu Lao, Q1, Tel: 3837 7679
9am to 1am daily
Swathed in deep red with dark wooden seating and attractive, art-themed décor, Le Pub remains one of the best restobars in the Backpackers’ Area thanks to its friendly service, good atmosphere and tasty international and Vietnamese cuisine. Prices are reasonable, too. Shows the live sport, has a Tuesday night pub quiz and also runs daily specials on drinks.
FRENCH / RESTOBAR
#003 / 207 Bui Vien, Q1, Tel: 3837 2704
6pm to very late, Tuesday to Sunday
Now in its third incarnation, the French-run Long Phi has been serving the Backpacker’s Area since the late 1990s and has swathes of mainly Gallic regulars to prop up the bar. Not to say that this place only caters for the French community – far from it. But Ricard and other similar fare including the excellent cuisine (sold until the early hours) are very much in evidence here. Occasional live music.
Minh Kha Café (K Café)
28 Do Quang Dau, Q1
Tel: 0903 852956 (Paulo)
A French-style bistro and restaurant all in one, this Backpacker Area mainstay attracts a regular clientele made up of Gallic expats, tourists and more. An excellent food menu – think all things French – backs up the long bar area perfect for sipping on a Ricard or a beer or two. Daily specials board and French sports live on TV.
PAN-AMERICAN / TEX-MEX
50 Pasteur, Q1
Tel: 3825 1311
9am to 11pm daily
Known for their American-styled burgers, steaks and Tex-Mex, the two-storey Mogambo claims pride of place as one of the city’s longest running restobars. A well-known expat meeting spot, Savannah-esque, bamboo décor and booth seating make up the mix together with a pleasant bar space. Dishes run from fajitas and burritos through to chicken cordon bleu, pies, the coronary bypass burger, salad, soup, gumbos and spare ribs.
IRISH BAR / INTERNATIONAL
74/A3 Hai Ba Trung, Q1
Tel: 3829 3198
11am to 1am. Sundays 4pm to 1am
One the city’s longest serving bars, this well-ordered, two-storey Irish-themed watering hole sports a copper-topped bar area, bare-brick walls, dark wooden seating and good service to boot. Known for its excellent food menu, the international fare includes Irish stew, Cajun chicken, panini merguez, tasty pizzas, comfort pub grub and the to-die-for zesty beef roll-ups. Also has a great selection of whiskeys and an upstairs pool table.
SPANISH / EUROPEAN
97 Hai Ba Trung, Q1
Tel: 3825 6924
Legs of Iberian ham hang from the ceiling in the downstairs bar at this multi-storey, Spanish-styled tapas and bodegas. Decorated in tile-like, impressionist rounded reds, yellows and oranges, Pacharan’s location, regular live music and its ability to show its customers a good time have made it one of the mainstays of the downtown wining and dining scene. The food menu includes tapas, paella, larger mains and an extensive, Iberian wine list.
46–48 Ton That Thiep, Q1
Tel: 3821 0796
9am to midnight
Taking over from where the original Café Latin finally failed, the attractive Phatty’s has become the Australian-themed sports bar with its myriad of large screens and beer-guzzling but homely atmosphere. Showing all the live sport — from international cricket through to Aussie Rules, Rugby and even the occasional soccer (football) game — the punters also have access to an excellent pub grub menu taking in anything from hot dogs, sandwiches and burgers through to excellent grill options, pizzas and international mains.
WINE BAR / ASIAN FUSION CUISINE
110 Pasteur, Q1
Tel: 3915 2979
Saigon’s first wine bar, this slither of a place mixes dark brown and maroon décor with bar-style seating and comfortable dining areas out front and at the back. An extensive new and old world wine list is, of course, part of the offering, as is an awesome pan-Asian fusion menu boasting Asian tapas (from VND85,000), international fusion mains (from VND185,000) and gourmet, creatively topped pizzas. Has a highly rated massage parlour upstairs.
MEDITERRANEAN / INTERNATIONAL
93 Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: 3827 5198
7am to 12am
Creative, international-influenced Mediterranean cuisine is the focus at this airy, Buddha-inspired, sandalwood coloured restobar that is part of the Sailing Club chain in Mui Ne and Nha Trang. With a downstairs bar area, two floors of dining space and an upstairs terrace-cum-lounge bar, Sandals provides a pleasant, more laid back alternative to the standard nightlife and dining scene in downtown Saigon. Has a range of specials and happy hours on offer.
Sheridan’s Irish Pub
IRISH / INTERNATIONAL
17/13 Le Thanh Ton, Q1, Tel: 3823 0793
8am to midnight
All the charm of a traditional, booth-like, leather upholstered Irish pub with Celtic-themed décor and old family photos to match. Has nightly live music from 8pm and also does some of the best home–style pub grub in town with Irish stew and Irish breakfasts making an appearance together with more international fare. Has a large upstairs space as well as a separate smoking room while Guinness and a good range of Irish whiskeys completing the Emerald Isle theme. Probably the only genuine pub in Saigon.
INTERNATIONAL / RESTOBAR
111 Bui Vien, Q1
Tel: 3920 7670
11am to 12pm daily
Part of the Al Fresco’s Group, the original Spotted Cow bar was on Hai Ba Trung in Hanoi, a few doors down from the country’s first Al Fresco’s. Now revived and transformed into a full-on sports bar with Friesian black and white spots to match, this friendly watering hole has a good food menu to match – think pasta, pizza, burgers, baguettes and international comfort food mains. A range of happy hours and darts make up the mix.
DANISH / INTERNATIONAL
5B Nguyen Sieu, Q1
Tel: 3827 4738
10am to late
Named after a Danish cartoonist, this Saigon long-termer with its mural of Copenhagen taking up the length of one wall attracts a mix of Scandinavian and international punters, all enjoying the offerings from the well-stocked bar and the reasonably priced Danish-influenced pub grub menu. Dishes include Danish-style fried pork and meatballs, frankfurt sausages, a range of grilled fare, burgers and much more. Has three screens for the live sport and seating areas out back and upstairs.
43-45 Do Quang Dau, Q1
Tel: 3836 8310
7am to 3am
Swathed in deep red and with dark wood tables and paneling, this recent addition to the restobar scene has an extensive western and Vietnamese food menu, all complemented by daily drinks specials. Has an upstairs pool table and lounge area, outdoor terrace seating and a DJ every Sunday night. Also runs Wednesday night pool competitions. Many of the staff here used to work at Le Pub.
NEW YORK/ INTERNATIONAL
76 Bis Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Q1
Tel: 3821 3556
7am to midnight
Located in the stock market area in between the canal and Ham Nghi, this funky, Wall Street-styled restobar takes the concept of its name and mixes it with an ever-changing set of deals on drinks and cuisine. With cash-obsessed, comic strip style American artwork lining the walls and a great, curved long bar, the French-influenced American food menu includes pizza, hotdogs, salads, tartines and bracket kebabs. Great concept and a good place for more than just a beer.
ViBE Billards and Lounge
INTERNATIONAL / POOL HALL
102 Suong Nguyet Anh, Q1
Tel: 3925 2599
10am to 1am
A departure from the Saigon norm, this comfortably decorated, two-floor pool and snooker lounge mixes the attractions of a lustrous contemporary lounge bar with all the mod cons together with some of the best, imported pool tables available in town. Rental is by the hour, the seven pool tables costing around VND100,000 while the upstairs, full-size snooker table costs a touch more. A great place to go simply for a drink or to shoot pool with friends.
WINE BAR / TAPAS
The Square, 74/17 Hai Ba Trung, Q1
Tel: 6299 1315
10am to 10pm daily
The terrace out front acts as a great after work drinking spot at this well-known downtown wine shop. Up to 10 wines by the glass, a range of imported beer and a selection of mini, tapas-like dishes such as albondigas, chorizo, cheese plates, antipasti, jumbo olives and garlic tiger prawns make up the selection here.
Xu Restaurant Lounge
CAFÉ / LOUNGE BAR
Ground Floor, 71-75 Hai Ba Trung, Q1
Tel: 3824 8468
11am to midnight
The downstairs café-cum-lounge bar of this iconic downtown modern Vietnamese restaurant mixes subtle lighting with contemporary artwork ands design touches, a swathe of browns, cream, maroon, sofa-style seating and deep red upholstery. Serving a range of international fare together with Vietnamese dishes throughout the day, nighttime turns this venue into an upmarket, downtown bar. Known for its cocktails and extensive wine list.
41 Dong Du, Q1
Tel: 3822 7375
7am to 1am daily
Creative cocktails, an extensive wine list, a laid back atmosphere and a conversation-friendly bar area mix with a dining space out back and international fusion cuisine to make this one of downtown’s go-to destinations. Running the gamut from sake ‘n’ harissa marinated cod through to torchon of lamb, chicken souvlaki, a lemon pepper salmon salad, a chimichurri burger and a range of enticing desserts, the cuisine here is top-notch and the presentation excellent.