BirdCage is probably one of the most unusual late-night spots in Hanoi. In order to get there you have to turn into a small dirt road off Au Co, and drive down a field. You’ll all of a sudden see the lights and hear the music. There is a curtain of vines that you walk through before entering the bar, that with its off-the-beaten-path location, really makes it feel like you’ve discovered a hidden gem.
When you walk in, you’ll notice a good mix of expats and locals sitting on old bike seats, which have been recycled into bar stools. There’s a foosball table, and people dancing to a live DJ in the back. On the right night, you can see some folks relaxing in the pool.
The people behind Sidewalk decided to open a new location for revellers who weren’t quite ready to call it a night. They have maintained their eco-friendly style by using recycled pieces all over the bar, from car doors as bathroom doors, to wheels as tables, and, yes, there is a large birdcage.
They are currently open Fridays and Saturdays but they are looking to change that.
“We want to open on Sunday afternoons, because we have a wet and dry sauna too. We want to make this a place where people can come and unwind after the weekend,” says Huong Lan, one of the owners.
I would describe Birdcage as a getaway with cocktails by day, and club with a pool by night. The particular location also allows them to throw foam parties, and other water-themed parties, to cool off during the summer.
The name was inspired the 1990s comedy starring the late Robin Williams and Nathan Lane.
“When I saw that movie, I thought, that is what I want. I want to open a place that is non-judgmental. You can be whatever you want here,” says Mao Luong, another owner. That idea is carried into one of the walls of the bathroom, where there are framed pictures of fierce women, men and gender non-conforming individuals.
The drinks are pretty standard beers starting at (VND30,000); cocktails like a Long Island or a Black or White Russian will run you VND90,000. They also sell mixers, shots, cigarettes and balloons.
It’s incredible how just a short drive from a bustling street, you can instantly get a sense of tranquillity, driving through a field. It is also kind of cool to feel like you are going to a secret club that no tourist knows about. The night I was there, the DJ was playing some sort of electronic flute. Everyone was dancing having a great time, it was definitely a friendly vibe.
If, like me, you don’t like to drink and drive, the staff will help get you a cab at the end of your night, if there isn’t one already waiting outside.
BirdCage is at 264 Au Co, Tay Ho, Hanoi. Turn into the alley and at the first junction make a right. You can find them online at facebook.com/birdcagehanoi