Jan 25 2012

Minh’s Jazz Club in Hanoi

Published by at 9:02 am under Bars & nightlife

Quyen Van Minh is Vietnam‘s best-known jazz saxophonist, having fallen in love with the music some 30 years ago and developing his own style of Vietnamese jazz. Now he teaches young musicians at the Hanoi Conservatory and runs a popular jazz club in Hanoi.

Get there early to get a seat near the front

Get there early to get a seat near the front.

For years, Minh’s Jazz Club was on Luong Van Can Street in the centre of Old Quarter, then in 2010 it relocated briefly to Truc Bach Lake before moving to its current location on Quan Su, above the Hot Life Cafe.

The venue has exactly the feel and atmosphere I expect from a jazz club: lighting is primarily by candles (though that makes reading the menu a bit of a challenge), walls are painted red, its name — Binh Minh’s Jazz Club — is highlighted in neon behind the stage and the audience lounges in armchairs, chatting softly.

An amazing trio

An amazing trio.

Minh plays almost every night at the Club and on the night we attended his son, Dac, also played. We arrived in time for the second set — there’s music from 21:00 until 23:30 — which Minh kicked off with a couple of soft Vietnamese jazz pieces, bringing one of his young clarinet students on stage for part of the set. There’s no denying his talent, but simply due to personal preference, we were much more impressed by the set his son followed with: I’m no jazz expert so excuse my terminology, but it was more upbeat with some absolutely amazing riffs — how he managed to breathe I don’t know.

The evening ended with Minh joining the other two saxophonists on stage for some improvisation.

There’s no entry fee but drinks are pricey to compensate: a small Tiger beer is 69,000 VND and a cocktail  99,000 VND. It’s a bit of a walk from Old Quarter but do-able, otherwise it won’t cost too much in a taxi.

Minh often performs elsewhere in Hanoi and Vietnam, so keep an eye on the venue’s website if you’re interested.

Minh’s Jazz Club
65 Quan Su, 3rd Floor, Hoàn Kiem District
T: (04) 3942 0400

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3 responses so far

3 Responses to “Minh’s Jazz Club in Hanoi”

  1. Minhon 26 Feb 2012 at 5:41 pm

    This place was an utter disappointment. Thank you for my worst experience in Vietnam (I’ve been here for 8 months).

    The problem is that there are 2 menus – one if you are foreign and one if you are local. Since some of my friends and I are foreign Vietnamese we got the local menu. Once our other (not so Viet looking) friends came our bill more than doubled. That is completely, ridiculously (and obviously) dishonest especially for a seemingly nicer establishment in Hanoi.

    I know this is not rare as the Malaysian table in front of us had the same issue that night. It led to the staff yelling at us in the restaurant and in the street, man handling our personal belongings, and cussing at us for an extended amount of time. I felt small, disrespected, vulnerable, and cheated. Although Minh is a good sax player I don’t think this place deserves your money – go to the other jazz places popping up with talented artists around Hanoi.

  2. Deb Aronson replying for Quyen Van Minhon 28 Feb 2012 at 1:06 pm

    Dear Minh Chi Tran,

    Thank you for your letter of February 26, regarding your concerns about service and menu pricing.

    We sincerely apologize for the confusion created by providing the wrong menu at the Binh Minh Jazz Club.
    There are two different menus — one for the Hot Life Café/Restaurant on the 1st & 2nd floors; and a separate menu for the Jazz Club on the 3rd floor.

    We agree that the usual efficient and friendly standards of service were not met in your case. We would like to apologize for the errors made by our staff.

    The reason for the mistake was that the menus were incorrectly filed and stored, and new staff was not adequately trained.
    Our staff has been counseled and additional training is in process.

    We understand how frustrating and disappointing it can be when your expectations are not met.


    Quyen Van Minh

  3. lukasz_pulawskion 09 Feb 2013 at 9:30 pm

    Good article about Vietnamese Jazz. http://www.laboratoriummuzycznychfuzji.com/2013/02/felietorium-jazz-w-wietnamie-z-cyklu.html There’s a translation tool in the right top corner of the page.

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