I’m not much of a karaoke gal, and I certainly value a glass of cold ruou vang over a brewski any day, but luckily there’s something for everyone at Moto Saigon’s new haunt.
I’ve been to Spy Bar once before. I stumbled in through the heavy iron shutters after all the other bars in the Old Quarter had closed. It was a long, dark hole in the wall, packed to the brim with glassy-eyed revelers, and it reminded me of so many of my favourite dingy dives in New York City.
If you’re a city slicker, then it doesn’t get much more ‘urban’ than drinking draught beer in a former shipping container. That’s exactly what Container Pub is, a remodeled, refurbished and cleaned up container that’s just opened as a café-cum-bar in District 2. It also doesn’t get much more ‘An Phu’; immediately behind the expat-heavy Vista apartment complex, jutting up against the car park.
88 Lounge doesn’t have a cocktail menu. Instead, the drink menu features a varied list of spirits and lets you concoct a potion of your own. A testament to the lounge’s minimalism, this approach to cocktails allows the patron to take something modest and construct it into something special, something bold.
Only in Hanoi do you enter a rooftop bar by walking through a shiny Mini Cooper dealership. Veer to the right of the colourful lineup of cars and enter the magical glass elevator, where an attendant is waiting just to save you the chore of pressing the button.
Full disclosure readers; I might not want you to know about this bar. Let me explain why.
You’ll find many odds and ends strewn around The Sidewalk that seem as though they’ve drifted in from the adjacent highway. Then, you realise that everything — from the fluorescent traffic cones to the hubcaps — was placed with intention. Old soda bottles, house plants and flowers along the fences and cement walls; tyres hang in strategic patterns behind the reclaimed wood stage; and light bulbs within abandoned helmets illuminate the long bar.