The only cafe that doubles as a cinema
45 Bui Vien, District 1
T: (08) 3920 4090
When the humidity goes up and the mercury rises, doing anything outdoors in Ho Chi Minh City can be unbearable. When I can no longer stand the punishment I often find myself ducking into one of the city’s numerous cafés. Bobby Brewers, one of my favourites, has a few locations scattered about the city but the establishment I frequent is slightly off the beaten path, on 400B Le Van Sy in district 3. Bobby Brewers is a fun and inexpensive place to jump out of the heat and relax and what makes it special is that it combines three things I hold dear: coffee, food, and movies.
As a coffee shop, Bobby Brewers has the feel of a trendy internet café. Grab a chair at one of the many tables, open your laptop and enjoy free WiFi as you sip on your beverage. Drink prices are in the city’s mid-range, at 30,000 to 60,000 VND per cup — not as cheap as you could find on the street but not as expensive as in one of the more established Western chains.
The menu provides a limited range of Vietnamese and Asian dishes as well as Western sandwiches, burgers, pastas, and salads. While the food may not be anything to write home about, it is adequate and nothing on the menu costs more than 95,000 VND.
But what truly makes this one of my favourite hangouts is the third floor movie theatre, which offers free movies to paying customers. Order anything from the menu at the downstairs kiosk, including popcorn and drink combos, and grab a seat in one of the roughly 10 comfy, two- or three-seater couches in the screening room. The movies play on a three-metre screen in surround sound. While it’s not perfect cinema quality, it is perfectly free.
Show times vary as the single screen plays multiple movies in a day, instead of repeating a single movie. Showings consist of current new releases, Chinese new releases, and an occasional contemporary classic, with schedules on their website or at every table in the café. Get there early, as seating is limited for walk-ins, or call to reserve a space.
By Angela Schonberg
Last updated on 27th December, 2015.