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.
If you’re looking for that elegant yet cozy cocktail bar to slip away from the chaos and roughness that is Saigon at just about any hour of the night, it’s time you get your patooties over to Last Call.
Like other loyal customers, I was devastated by the loss of the Mojito Bar — a cocktail establishment that burst onto the scene last year and enlivened the streets behind Hang Ga Mall. But, from the ashes rises the unicorn, The Unicorn Pub, to be exact, the latest venture spearheaded by well-known Hanoi mixologist Pham Tien Tiep.