Dec 16 2012
Vientiane’s nightlife may not be the most raucous or exciting in Southeast Asia but if you know where to look there are a few great little spots to be found away from the backpacker haunts that serve up Beer Lao and little else.
While most of the city’s nightlife is based along the river and the nearby roads, Deja Vu has a spot in Nam Phu fountain square, next door to L’Opera Restaurant. Despite its seemingly prominent location, it manages to be barely noticeable, with just a sign on the door saying ‘yes, we’re open’ to reveal itself as a bar and entice you in.
It’s well worth stepping away from the riverside locales to find this chic nightlife spot (a difficult thing to find in Vientiane). Deja Vu is a tiny space and, somehow, even if you’re the only customer, the atmosphere is welcoming and fun. Perhaps it’s the entertaining barman and owner, an engaging Laotian who speaks several languages including English and Japanese (though is very modest about his abilities) and is easy to chat to, or perhaps it’s the friendly and laidback clientele the bar tends to attract.
Like all the city’s best watering holes, Deja Vu has a speciality which, in this case, is cocktails. The dimly lit venue is dominated by a long bar and bottle after bottle of every liquor you would expect from a well-stocked cocktail bar in the likes of London and New York. The drinks menu is an overwhelming selection of cocktails, which will all set you back 50,000 kip. But if, like us, you’re too lazy to scan this monstrous menu, we suggest pulling up a stool along the bar, telling the barman the kind of thing you like to drink (strong, sour, no creamy liquor) and let him rustle you up something delicious.
Trained in Tokyo, he has some exotic and exciting mixes up his sleeves. Watch out, though; many of the cocktails are served in an asymmetrical glass which may make you drink a little more speedily than you intended. A second warning: The barman also has the occasional habit of offering you a shot of absinthe on the house to see you on your way back to your hotel. Hiccup.
Nam Phu Fountain Square, Vientiane
T: (021) 244 288
Open Mon-Sat 18:00–23:30
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