Nov 23 2011

Saigon’s top rooftop bars

Published by at 7:14 am under Bars & nightlife

Saigon is filled with bars, and it seems like new bars pop up everyday. There are all kinds of bars in the city: bars with live music, bars with trivia, pubs, taverns, and even a saloon. Quite a few rooftop bars are also sprinkled throughout the city. These happen to be my favourite, because there is something so cool about being on a roof. Here’s a rundown on what I think are the top rooftop spots in the city.

This place is cool...too cool.

This place is cool...too cool.

The title of Coolest Rooftop Bar in Saigon would have to go to Chill Sky Bar, which is the brand new addition to the 26th floor of the AB Tower on Le Lai Street. Everything about this bar screams ‘too cool for you’, including the dress code, impressively lit outdoor bar, comfortable lounge seating, and extra high prices. I mean it, the prices here are pretty steep for HCMC standards, with most cocktails priced at more than 150,000 VND, but I guess you’re paying for the real estate. And while it may be tough to swallow the fact that you’re paying two to three times more for a drink than you would be at another bar, it’s worth a stop if only to check out the great view of the city and to experience the most modern and hip establishment in Saigon.

There's a rooftop bar up there, I swear!

There's a rooftop bar up there, I swear!

If you want some food to go with your rooftop drink head to Shri, just behind Diamond Plaza on top of the Centec Tower. A 23rd floor watering hole, Shri is also well known for offering delicious food from a well-priced, Japanese-inspired menu. They have great tempura and lamb shanks, plus I’m also quite partial to their non-alcoholic smoothies. Shri also has a decent view of downtown from a slightly different angle, since it is slightly outside of the downtown area. This is one of the better and, dare I say, romantic spots in Saigon to simply sip a drink and watch the sun set.

It's two o'clock somewhere!

It's two o'clock somewhere!

The most iconic of the rooftop bars on my list, the Saigon Saigon Bar, sits right in the heart of downtown as part of the Caravelle Hotel. Although it has been somewhat modernised, the bar still carries some of the charm it had from its days during the war and some great pictures on the wall. Being smack in the middle of downtown gives it some great panoramic views of some of HCMC’s famous landmarks, like the People’s Committee Building and the Saigon Opera House, which in my opinion is aided by the fact that it is only on the ninth floor, so it doesn’t feel like you’re looking at a miniature city. Besides not inducing vertigo to customers they also make a good drink and host occasional live music.

There are certainly more rooftop bars in the city that are also solid choices: the bar at the Rex Hotel with its quirky décor and the Sheraton’s Level 23 and its own fine city view quickly come to mind, for instance. However, if you’re looking to make a night out of it and hit as many rooftop spots as you can during your stay, these should be the first stops (and they could be your last!)

Chill Sky Bar
Level 26 & 27, AB Tower,
76A Le Lai, D1
T: (08) 2827 2372

Level 23, Centec Tower,
72-72 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D1
T: (08) 3827 9631

Saigon Saigon Bar
Level 9, Caravelle Hotel,
19 Lam Son Square, D1
T: (08) 3823 4999

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4 responses so far

4 Responses to “Saigon’s top rooftop bars”

  1. Peteon 23 Nov 2011 at 11:45 am

    Hey Angela,
    We like to go to the rooftop at the Majestic in the evening. Definitely not as high up as some of the other places but a great view over the Saigon River. Just love a cocktail up on that little platform on what must be their 7th or 8th floor!!

  2. Steven Scotton 23 Nov 2011 at 3:05 pm

    The rooftop bar and restaurant at the Rex is a must for returning vets. The history (albeit including a good bit of embelishment over the years) of this bistro is that it was the hangout for all the American generals and colonels who ran the war. They were an unappreciated group by us “grunts” in the field….both for their lavish lifesyle and also their poor leadership. Also, part of the story is that the Rex waiters were Viet Cong agents who eavesdropped on our American generals whose lips were well lubricated by alcohol. The potted plants, furniture, elevator, and the iconic white elephant were alleged to be festooned with hidden microphones…to listen in on our war plans which were openly discussed over diner.
    I visit TP HCMC yearly with humanitarian medical teams from Vets With a Mission and we always have returning vets who want to have dinner there…foods not bad, with a very touristy menu. And….the maitre’d will sing a very good rendition of “Wonderful World” for a $5 tip!
    I have a standing offer to buy dinner at the Rex for any vet who finds an old hidden microphone on the premises…..and I’ll extend the offer to any of your readers…..except former American colonels and generals who should have been looking for them in the 60’s

  3. […] Hanoi has some cheap beer on the street, and Saigon is no different. While HCMC has some cool rooftop bars, and cheap drinks in general, an additional thing to keep an eye out for — at least for women — […]

  4. […] Besides observations decks and helipads, Bitexco is also a place to stop for fine dining. This will be topped with the opening of Strata, which occupies the floor just above the observation deck. Like the Sky Deck, at Strata you also get great views but pay a high price; this is a bit of a running theme in some of the city’s higher spots. […]

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