Pricey drinks but oh what a view
AB Tower, 76 Le Lai, Ho Chi Minh City
T: (08) 3827 2372
Chill Skybar offers a gorgeous view of Ho Chi Minh City from 26 storeys, though the panorama comes at a price with some of the most expensive cocktails in the city.
Upon entering AB Tower where the bar is located, you can tell it means business. Manning a jet black podium, a well dressed hostess will greet you and give what one can only describe as “the Manhattan”. No snootiness here. She’s just making sure that you adhere to the dress code: no shorts, singlets or sandals allowed. Once you’ve passed the test, the black velvet rope is unbuckled and you are directed to another hostess down the hallway who will escort you into the elevator and even press the button for you.
After a very quick ride to the 26th floor, you will be greeted by another set of hostesses in a chic yet dark room. To your left is the 27 Grill, a restaurant that unsurprisingly specialises in grilled meats and seafood. To your right is Chill Skybar.
The bar is split into indoor and outdoor areas. Wooden stools and plush couches dominate the red squiggly lit indoor area. While the stools are a bit hard and uncomfortable, the couches are comfy and are recommended seating if you plan to stay awhile. The outdoor patio is where most of the action takes place. The crowd radiates around the central circular bar, which glows deep red at night. Both areas have commanding views of downtown District 1 but most people opt for the patio with the panoramic setting.
Prices are definitely sky high with a bottle of Corona running 180,000 VND and signature cocktails almost double that — and keep in mind that prices are exclusive of service and VAT. Cheaper offerings can be had during their happy hour, which is Monday to Friday from 17:30 to 20:00, when cocktails, beer and snacks are half price. It’s popular with the expat crowd and locals with the place filling up after 18:00 when offices close. If you are willing to stay and pay full price, the bar’s resident DJ spins all sorts of tunes depending on the night of the week.
While the prices and ostentatiousness of the bar may put most travellers off, the al fresco experience is hard to match in Ho Chi Minh City. Our recommendation is to start your evening out to take advantage of the cheaper (kinda) drinks. Just remember to show up before the office workers arrive to get a seat with a view to witness the hypnotic ebb and flow of Saigon’s rush hour.
By Vinh Dao
Last updated on 30th August, 2014.