Hanoi Rock City

THE music venue in Hanoi

What we say: 4.5 stars

The live music scene in Hanoi has been looking up recently. I don’t want to over claim — it’s certainly not London or Singapore — but it’s good to see new venues opening and the occasional visiting band.

I was tempted along to Hanoi Rock City for the first time on Saturday night by the promise of a visiting English band - The Lost Souls Club. Not that we’d heard of them before, but we listened to a few tracks online and they sounded OK. As I say, the music scene might be improving, but no sign of U2 yet.

The Lost Souls Club plays Hanoi Rock City

The Lost Souls Club plays Hanoi Rock City

Hanoi Rock City opened in December 2010 and is already making waves. So far it’s housed an eclectic range of both live music and DJ sets — not just rock music — and has been getting great reviews. They seem to be running events on Friday and Saturday nights with entrance fees 100,000-200,000VND. Their website is a work in progress so best to check out their facebook page or listings on The New Hanoian or Hanoi Grapevine for the time being.

So I showed up on Saturday and was impressed by the venue from the minute we walked through the gate. There’s a huge open-air seating area and, on this chilly night, a fire was burning and giving off welcome warmth. Drinks weren’t cheap but 30,000VND for a large Larue and 50,000VND for vodka and coke is on a par with the price you’ll pay at most tourist bars in Hanoi’s Old Quarter. It was busy enough to have an atmosphere and a really cool place to just sit and drink beer and chat. The crowd was mixed — mainly Western but a fair sprinkling of Vietnamese too. Importantly, the toilets were clean all night. These things make a difference.

Open-air seating at HRC

Open-air seating at HRC

The gig space itself is really unique for Hanoi . It’s spacious with a high quality sound system and very effective soundproofing, ensuring that if you prefer to spend the night outside just listening to recorded music you can. We mixed it up a bit, spending time indoors and out, and eventually headed home at about 01:00 — there were still a fair few people there so I’m guessing the fun police haven’t got it on their radar yet.

Hanoi Rock City

Hanoi Rock City

The only downside for tourists is its location. It’s on To Ngoc Van, at the far end of Xuan Dieu along the north of West Lake. It should cost roughly 80,000VND in a taxi from Old Quarter. But if you like live music and are around in Hanoi long enough to explore, it’s worth a look.

Contact details
To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho, Hanoi
T: (018) 87 487 426

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