Feb 16 2013

Review: Alto Heli Bar, Ho Chi Minh City

Published by at 10:58 am under Bars & nightlife


Bitexco Financial Tower is in a league of its own when it comes to Saigon’s skyline. When the tower first opened, the only way to the higher floors without paying rent was to hit Skydeck, Bitexco’s high-priced 50th floor observation room. Now you have more options, one of which is grabbing a drink at Alto Heli Bar.

Dark and mysterious.

Dark and mysterious.

On the tower’s 52nd floor, Alto Heli Bar has the distinction of being Saigon’s highest bar and at such prestigious real estate, it’s no surprise that it’s a rather trendy place. Equipped with all the trappings of a modern watering hole, like sophisticated recessed-lighting, fancy metal-backed chairs and tapas, you’ll feel a whole level cooler just walking into the bar. The menu has a wide variety of drinks, ranging from beer and wine to spirits and cocktails. For those who don’t drink the hard stuff, you’ll also find some mocktails and soda.

You could spend as much money as you want to drop here, especially if you rent their VIP room in the back, but starting prices here are affordable; beer starts as low as 60,000 VND a glass and spirits can found for as little as 70,000 VND. While you can certainly drink cheaper elsewhere in the city, compared to Ho Chi Minh City’s other high-end establishments, it’s a bit of a bargain.

They don't want interior lights to distract you.

They don’t want interior lights to distract you.

While the drinks are reasonably priced and of good quality, the real reason to come to Alto is for the view, which at twice the height of the majority of Saigon’s rooftop bars is one of the best in the city. From the 52nd floor, the same floor as the tower’s famous helicopter pad, your view seems only stopped only by the day’s air quality or the curvature of the Earth. The view is so good that two floors down the Bitexco Tower’s observation deck charges 200,000 VND for a look. Now, I’m no mathematician, but if I could go two floors higher and have a drink or two for less I think I’d be seeing you at the bar.

Gaze upon the bustling streets below.

The bustling streets below.

Now as Alto is a rather hip place you may feel out of place in a backpacker uniform or if you’re towing kids around — so do dress up a little.

If you’re afraid of heights other watering holes around town that will be happy to have your business. Chill Skybar, about a five-minute drive away, is half the height and possibly even trendier, serving drinks at much higher prices. Nearby Xu Restaurant is a ground-level similarly hip place to get a drink, or for something a little different, you could catch some live music at Acoustic on the edge of District 3.

Alto Heli Bar
52nd floor, Bitexco Financial Tower
2 Hai Trieu, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
T: (08) 6291 8752

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