Our trip to Hong Kong unleashed a new niche interest for us: speakeasy hopping. Some research on the internet taught us that Ho Chi Minh has quite the hidden bar scene, so we’ve ranked our favourites based on atmosphere, location/entrance experience, and of course, the cocktails. So if you’re looking for a fun night out in Saigon away from the noise and debauchery of Bui Vien, this is for you!
To make things a little more interesting, Rose curated a speakeasy tour so Adam could have the true experience of finding places that shouldn’t be found. While these are only four of the many hidden bars in Ho Chi Minh City, we think we’ve hit a good range of atmosphere and experiences, so here we go. First stop (in order from worst to best) is…
On the rooftop of a seemingly normal office building in a run-of-the-mill neighbourhood lies Mary Jane’s Bar. For some reason, you always feel like a person who demands respect when you enter a place through an elevator.
The cocktails were just okay but getting into the place felt like you were part of a hip underground scene, and you really go to this bar for the view of the city and the vibey wall art.
3. Rabbit Hole
This speakeasy comes with a higher price point, but it’s worth spending a few extra dollars for the impeccable service and well-crafted cocktails. Not only were the bartenders creating (literally) gravity-defying, boozy milkshakes, but every time we went to the restroom, a staff person opened the door for us. Come on!
However, while we loved the decor of the place which was very sexy-forties Hollywood, this ‘hidden bar’ really wasn’t so hidden, just down a flight of stairs. But still worth the visit if you’re into cocktail culture. If you go, sit at the bar and watch the bartenders do their thang.
This bar had one of the coolest entrances we’ve ever seen! If you don’t look closely, you might mistake it for another one of the many ATM booths within the city, making it one of the most hidden bars we found.
It was a bit dark, which we think was the choice of the owner but it was taken a bit far. There was even a group of older women who needed help from multiple servers’ smartphone flashlights to read the menu. The service was a little on the slower side but very nice. It also took us forever to pay the bill but they were apologetic and it seemed like a busier night so no big deal.
The soundtrack was filled with great classics taking you back to a classier time. Even Billie Holiday’s song Crazy in Love came on (sometimes we refer to this as “our” song.) It seemed like the universe was letting us know that we had come to a good place.
Telephone Bar just has to be our number one, surprising as we didn’t find it on many Saigon Speakeasy lists, but everything about this place was perfect. To get into the bar, we entered through an iconic red London telephone booth and turned the dial of an old-timey rotary phone. Just like that we were whisked into yet another dark bar with photos of old mobsters on the walls and a playlist to match.
The bartender explained that they didn’t have a cocktail menu, but wanted to create a bespoke cocktail based on our specific tastes. We had basically died and gone to heaven. With a made-for-you cinnamon manhattan and an elevated classic old-fashioned in hand, we ended our speakeasy tour with the bar that would come to top this list.
And there you have it! We hope you enjoyed our Saigon Speakeasy Tour, and as always, we want to hear from you. Which internationally hidden bars do we absolutely have to check out next? Leave it in the comments below.
Check out our most recent post from Southeast Asia about the cool art we found in Saigon.