2 Lam Son (Martini Bar)
Park Hyatt, 2 Lam Son, Q1, Tel: 3824 1234
4pm to 1am. Fridays and Saturday until 2am.
Contemporary international décor blends seamlessly with local themes to create the most lavish but tastefully designed bar in the city. It may mean you have to pay five-star prices – the cocktails here go for over VND200,000 – but the monied-up punters still come in their droves. Easy listening, dance-style music plays over the sound system while drinks go from a range of Martini-base cocktails through to spirits by the bottle and 15 wines by the glass.
First Floor, 59 Dong Du, Q1, Tel: 6291 3686
3pm to midnight
A small but atmospheric, living-room style London meets New York lounge opposite the Sheraton Hotel. Has chilled out tunes during the late afternoon and more funky vibes at night. A pleasant meeting place for the latest cocktails, a good coffee and a glass of wine. Also has an extensive champagne list with probably the largest offering of champagnes by the glass available in town. Holds regular events.
TECHNO / HIP HOP
Windsor Plaza Hotel, 18 An Duong Vuong, Q5
Tel: 3833 6688
9pm to late
Once the largest nightclub in Vietnam, this 2000-capacity venue is located in the An Dong Plaza complex in District 5. Pumping out 30,000 watts of sound, this club also possesses one of the loudest nightclub sound systems in the city. A popular nightspot for the local and Viet Kieu crowd, with resident and guest DJs playing thumping dance and techno tunes and a separate room for those who prefer hip hop and R&B. Expect to pay the usual nightclub prices for drinks, but look out for the regular specials on bottles of spirits.
MIXED POP MUSIC / NIGHTCLUB
2C Thi Sach, Q1, Tel: 3825 6124
7pm to 2am
One of the oldest nightclubs in Saigon, the foreigner orientated Apo nonetheless draws in a healthy mix of tourists, expats and locals who intermingle on the club’s two floors and outdoor terrace every night of the week. Now charging a VND150,000 entrance fee on Fridays and Saturdays (which includes a free drink), the DJs here cater to the more populist side of music. Cue mainstream hits by the Black Eyed Peas, Usher and golden oldies by Wham!, Bon Jovi and even The Smiths (on occasion!). A place for singles to meet singles and lonely hearts to get less lonely.
AUSTRALIAN / SPORT
31 Ly Tu Trong, Q1, Tel: 3824 3483
4.30pm to midnight
Although run by a Vietnamese couple, this boozy, outback-themed sports pub just off the main drag is quintessentially Australian. The down-to-earth atmosphere is added to by a great pool table, darts and all the live sports, with a particular focus (not surprisingly) on Aussie Rules and Rugby. Also shows the Premier League. One of the longest running watering holes in town.
Saigon Sofitel Plaza, 17 Le Duan, Q1
Tel: 3824 1555
7am to 1am
AC WI-FI DJ
Composed of The Conservatory, a daylight-drenched loft area, The Salon, a plush living room with baroque and exotic accents, The Cigar Room and The Library, with its sleek champagne tasting counter, the Boudoir Lounge is a haven for executives and lounge adepts alike. Live International DJs perform Fridays and Saturdays. Open daily for breakfast, lunch and evening bouchées.
LOUNGE BAR & TERRACE
6th & 7th Floor, 2bis Cong Truong Quoc Te, Q3 Tel: 0948 343399
5.30pm to late
Set above Gloria Jean’s just behind Diamond Plaza, this two-floor venue with an upstairs terrace and garden space comes from the same people who created Velvet. It marks the latest trend in Vietnamese bars — stylish, comfortable decor, an extensive wine menu to complement the cocktails and top-shelf spirits, and music played at a volume still conducive to conversation. A place to be seen.
TECHNO / DANCE / HIP-HOP
3A Ton Duc Thang, Q1, Tel: 0919 206461
7pm to late
One of the smaller nightclubs to grace Saigon, the neon-lit Fuse is popular with the young, fashionable and affluent Vietnamese set. Blaring techno and dance music envelopes the dance floor as large fruit platters and bottles of whiskey and cognac are consumed. A lack of space means this place gets packed easily, especially on the weekends, so look to arrive relatively early to grab a table. Even better, book in advance.
79 Tran Hung Dao, Q1, Tel: 3824 2525
8.30pm to 2.30am
This Singaporean-run super club, located in the Dai Nam hotel, is just as popular with the locals as it is with the foreigners. A friendly, communal atmosphere and attentive service helps Gossip to stand out from its contemporaries. As expected, tinnitus-inducing levels of techno and house music blare throughout the two-tiered club with a large, raised dancefloor that fills out instantly. ‘Dress to impress’ is the nature of the clientele here so don’t turn up in shorts and flip-flops. The entrance fee is VND120,000.
EXPAT BAR / DARTS
54 Dong Khoi, Q1, Tel: 3822 2664
3pm to 1am
Despite its slightly run down veneer and smoky but lively atmosphere, Ice Blue remains a popular haunt for many of the city’s older expats as well as a not–so–regular crowd of tourists. Known for its amicable service and lively, beer-drinking ambience, this long-running waterhole is also famed for its darting prowess, with two well set-up dart boards claiming pride of place.
6 Cao Ba Quat, Q1 Tel: 3829 5180
10am to 1am
If it’s mojitos and well-mixed cocktails you want, spiced up with nightly live music and a Latin atmosphere, La Habana is the place. Run by a Chinese-German couple, this attractive, long-running Cuban bar and restaurant is one of the few watering holes in the Thai Van Lung / Le Thanh Ton area to serve up a regular dose of all things live. Also has HB beer on tap, an excellent food menu and weekly salsa classes.
DANCE / HIP-HOP
5/8 Nguyen Sieu, Q1, Tel: 0933 998389
9pm to late
With its illusory and decorative style, shisha pipes, eye-catching laser displays, and impressive DJ sets, Lavish is a prime place to both unwind and live it up on the weekends. The hanging chandeliers and red velvet curtains exude a luxurious vibe that’s also reflected in the drinks prices. However, on Ladies’ Night every Tuesday from 8.30pm to 11pm, ladies can enjoy two free drinks such as cocktails, beers and soft drinks.
PROGRESSIVE / MAINSTREAM
2 Ly Tu Trong, Q1
5pm to late
With its downstairs tear-shaped bar and lounge-style seating running right up to the bar space, Lush may not have a dedicated dance floor. But when it comes to all things progressive, this often controversial venue remains one of the city’s leading lights. Overseas DJs, ladies’ nights on Tuesdays and a cosmopolitan clientele merge seamlessly with the red velvet and cartoon-style decor to create one of the city’s iconic bars. Also has a more chilled bar space out back.
TECHNO / VIETNAMESE POP
Nha Rong Port Area, 5-7 Nguyen Tat Thanh, Q4 Tel: 6269 6999
9pm to late
Following the demise of the now near-mythical Starwars, Ocean Club has filled the void with a sensory overload of neon lighting, outlandish décor and a booming soundsystem that tests the limitations of what the human can take. A couple of thousand people can easily squeeze into the huge club hall with dozens of tables, booths and VIP areas dotted throughout. The solar system print on the ceiling and futuristic designs will have your eyes darting every which way whilst a relentless playlist of trance, techno and house is mixed by Vietnamese DJs. Then there’s the live Vietnamese music, too. Make sure to dress the part for the catwalk, this is Vietnamese clubbing at its most contemporary and luxurious.
COCKTAIL / LOUNGE BAR
3rd Floor, Moevenpick Hotel, 253 Nguyen Van Troi, Phu Nhuan. Tel: 3844 9222
5pm to 1am
Located opposite Centrepoint, Slate takes its name from the dark grey tiling covering the floor. Merging black and silver with turquoise, and with touches like semi-private sofa beds, the offerings here include over 30 martini cocktails, a barbecue menu and perhaps one of the most contemporary yet tasteful watering holes in town
The Drunken Duck
SPORT / SHOOTER BAR
58 Ton That Thiep, Q1
Tel: 3915 2853
4pm to late
A shooter bar, with over 15 down–in–one cocktails on the menu boasting names like Aquackalypse Now and The Duckinator, this striking, subtly lit space has a downstairs pool table, a long wooden bar and an upstairs lounge with a large, pull-down projector screen. The watering hole also shows live sport on the weekends courtesy of three flatscreen TVs. Try the shooter challenge and get a t-shirt and your name and time engraved on the wall. Also has a reasonable bar menu.
EVENT / PARTY VENUE
The Square, 74/7D Hai Ba Trung, Q1
Tel: 3824 2888
4pm to 12pm (weekdays). Open late on weekends.
A paragon downtown party venue popular with expats and tourists that showcases a range of events from DJ nights through to cover bands and live music from overseas. Has a downstairs terrace area with a separate aircon room and two upstairs bars together with a stage for gigs and much more. Snack menu includes burgers, sandwiches, skewers and some of the best pizzas in town.
DANCE / HIP-HOP
26 Ho Huan Nghiep, Q1
Tel: 3822 2262
8.30pm to midnight
You will be hard pressed to find another club as extravagantly furnished and uber trendy as Velvet. It’s of no wonder then that most of its clientele are exceptionally well-dressed socialites, celebrities and fashionistas. As a result this venue has carved itself a reputation as being the place to be and to be seen. Has a ladies night every Wednesday.
SaigonStay – According to Wordhcmc