Situated on West Lake, Rumors is one of those places I’ve walked past many times on my way to other bars and idly wondered about.
In the hurly burly of a developing city, change is part of the daily routine. So sometimes it’s nice to have some constants. In Ho Chi Minh City, where for the last 22 years towers have risen, urban rail systems have been commenced, stalled and re-commenced, and heritage buildings have been demolished in favour of the latest thing, Hien & Bob’s has been an oasis of the same. Surviving in the same central location it’s always been at, serving the same drinks it’s always had, and giving the same sassy attitude over the bar it’s famous for, it’s one of those places that people who’ve been coming here for years always come back to. It’s a touchstone and is unwavering in its simple philosophy. As owner Hien puts it, “Cold beer and good music, that’s it.”
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.