Dodging motorbikes and backpackers on Hang Buom takes it out of you, and considering its central location, the pub is a sanctuary — with the famous Bia Hoi Corner just a stone’s throw away, most of the floppy-haired, flip-flop-toting travelling mob have their attention elsewhere. So, while the crowds are still in full swing outside, the pub’s atmosphere is sort of like a laid-back beer hall, but perhaps in the middle of a warzone.
Owners Khong Minh Dat and Olivier Waryn have made an effort to showcase beers from around Vietnam as well as the rest of the world, and have crafted an atmosphere that welcomes the most learned beer lovers and novices alike. The interior is a warm wooden and brick décor with TVs tactically placed to ensure maximum viewing when the football is on. This feels like a place you want to be when drinking with friends, and with over 30 imported beers, and eight on tap that cost between VND25,000 and VND95,000. If you like hops then you’ll feel right at home.
Among their arsenal are high profile Vietnamese crafts from Barett Brewery and Pasteur Street Brewery on tap for VND80,000 and VND95,000, and various European and American ales priced anywhere between VND85,000 to VND449,000. The alcohol strengths jump up and down the scale
The menu does a solid job at helping you choose your drink, with stronger beers labelled accordingly by a different colour skull and crossbones, an indicator of how much you could regret drinking them in the morning. If you’re feeling like a real mountain man, then opt for the Schorsch beer. At VND1.59 million for a 330ml bottle, this ABV 30% beer is one to treat with extreme respect.
Alongside building a solid reputation for good beer, the pub has also gained a loyal following of burger lovers, and has a reputation for serving up excellent burgers — come in on a Thursday for two-for-one burger night, or Monday to Wednesday from 6pm to 9pm for happy hour on beer.
Crafting the Atmosphere
This is a good place to come with a group of friends when you want to be in the middle of the hustle and bustle, but not have to get caught up in the backpacker party scene. The extensive selection of imported beers and an appropriate selection of bar snacks and burgers lay the foundation for a good time.
The pub’s sports subscription also makes it a prime place to be when a big fixture is on — the comfortable setting of the interior making it feel like a home away from home.
While you might be forking out more than you would at Bia Hoi Corner down the road, you can’t put a price on good service and a decent atmosphere.
Craft Beer Pub is located at 26 Hang Buom, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
Photos by Teigue John Blokpoel