Intimate, friendly and well-priced
59b Hang Be, Hoan Kiem
T: (0972) 887 252
Narrow Blah Blah, on Hanoi‘s Hang Be Street, may be difficult to spot, but you’ll be glad you did: it’s intimate, friendly and well-priced. My first experience of Blah Blah bar was on Lunar New Years’ Eve (Tet) earlier this year and afterwards I had two memories of the bar: one, it was small and two, the Tiger beer was cheap. I went back again a few weeks ago because a friend-of-a-friend was running a quiz night there and invited us along. My memories now? Small, with cheap Tiger beer.
Of course, there’s more to it than that, or I wouldn’t be writing about it now and planning to go back again. So let’s start with talking more about the ‘small’ side of things.
It is, I am sure, the narrowest bar I have ever been in. Yes, there are narrow houses all over Hanoi — Cafe Duy Tri for instance — but not many are bars. This does not make it such an ideal place for a large group, as it’s difficult to sit across the table from each other, but smaller groups will do just fine. And on the more positive side, it adds to the intimacy of the place.
Also, while it may be narrow, it does have three floors. The ground floor is almost full with the bar and bar stools, which fill up quickly and spill out onto the pavement; upstairs is where the pub quiz — now a regular Saturday night feature — is held and has a mix of chairs and tables, sofas and balcony seating; and the top floor is an outside area, complete with hammock.
On to drinks, which are good value. Yes, the beer’s cheap but the spirits are reasonably priced too and cocktails and wine are also available. To top it off, the beer — which is already well chilled — comes with an iced glass.
Food is also served. The varied but compact menu lists a mix of Vietnamese and Western dishes, with the latter including comfort food like sausage and mash, pasta and an all-day breakfast fry up. Prices are on a par with similar places in the area.
Staff are keen and service is generally quick. For those sitting upstairs, a bell has thoughtfully been installed to alert the staff downstairs to your need for more refreshments. Commune could take a tip from that.
Overall, Blah Blah has a good vibe. The downstairs bar is welcoming and a good place to meet other travellers — you can’t help it — you’ll literally bump into them — and the rooftop will come into its own as the temperature starts to drop. It’s also open until late. Pop in when you’re next passing — recommended.
By Sarah Turner
Last updated on 17th September, 2014.