Jan 31 2012
The problem with this proliferation of venues is that there aren’t actually enough customers to go round. New bars open and, if they’re any good, they attract the crowds. But then many lose their shine, or the next new place opens, and the customers drift away. Either that or they become the popular place-to-be for the local crowd and just the tourists drift away.
One such example is Temple Bar on Hang Buom. Opened more than a year ago, it’s one of the survivors, but it’s clientele has changed: once the after hours place to be for backpackers, with a good mix of local and foreign trade, it’s now predominantly a locals’ haunt. Not that this should stop you going; if you like your bars crowded, dark and heaving to the sounds of
drum and base and dance music, you might have found your place.
Within the last few months a couple of multi-storey places have opened along Luong Ngoc Quyen. Market Bar has small bars on the ground and first floors, both of which host DJs, although upstairs tends to get busier. The slightly newer Amazon Bar has a bar with seating and a small balcony area on the first floor, and upstairs has more of a nightclub feel — its darker and louder, with regular DJs. Both places attract a local and foreign crowd.
Until recently, Hair of the Dog was on Hang Giay but rumour has it that it got shut down after too many late night police raids and it’s now re-opened on Ma May, in the building previously occupied by the short-lived Bucket Bar. Downstairs there’s a DJ, dancefloor and busy bar, and upstairs is a bit quieter, with an area given over to beanbags and cushions: perfect for enjoying shisha. At the time of writing it’s the go-to place for backpackers after the bar at Hanoi Backpackers’ Hostel (HBH) on Ma May closes.
More established places still exist of course. Dragonfly on Hang Buom has been around for some years: it’s dirty, crowded and full of youngsters, but if that’s your scene, go for it! The upstairs seated area is decent enough though. They have a new location on Phung Hung, too, called Dragonfly Lounge Bar.
Mao’s Red Lounge is still popular with tourists and expats and is a more chilled scene with better music — in my personal opinion — than many of the nightclub and bar options I’ve previously mentioned. It’s a tiny place so if you don’t get a seat it can feel very cramped but there’s always room for one more.
And if after all of that bia Hanoi you want more, there’s always Phuc Tan.
28 Hang Buom, Hoan Kiem District
T: (04) 6675 7908
Luong Ngoc Quyen (opposite the junction with Dao Duy Tu)
32 Luong Ngoc Quyen, Hoan Kiem District
T: (0944) 053 888
Hair of the Dog
32 Ma May, Hoan Kiem District
15 Hang Buom, Hoan Kiem District
Mao’s Red Lounge
7 Ta Hien, Hoan Kiem District
T: (04) 3926 3104
51 Phuc Tan
Travelfish.org always pays its way. No exceptions.