Saigon is filled with bars, and it seems like new bars pop up everyday. There are all kinds of bars in the city: bars with live music, bars with trivia, pubs, taverns, and even a saloon. Quite a few rooftop bars are also sprinkled throughout the city. These happen to be my favourite, because there is something so cool about being on a roof. Here’s a rundown on what I think are the top rooftop spots in the city.
The title of Coolest Rooftop Bar in Saigon would have to go to Chill Sky Bar, which is the brand new addition to the 26th floor of the AB Tower on Le Lai Street. Everything about this bar screams ‘too cool for you’, including the dress code, impressively lit outdoor bar, comfortable lounge seating, and extra high prices. I mean it, the prices here are pretty steep for HCMC standards, with most cocktails priced at more than 150,000 VND, but I guess you’re paying for the real estate. And while it may be tough to swallow the fact that you’re paying two to three times more for a drink than you would be at another bar, it’s worth a stop if only to check out the great view of the city and to experience the most modern and hip establishment in Saigon.
If you want some food to go with your rooftop drink head to Shri, just behind Diamond Plaza on top of the Centec Tower. A 23rd floor watering hole, Shri is also well known for offering delicious food from a well-priced, Japanese-inspired menu. They have great tempura and lamb shanks, plus I’m also quite partial to their non-alcoholic smoothies. Shri also has a decent view of downtown from a slightly different angle, since it is slightly outside of the downtown area. This is one of the better and, dare I say, romantic spots in Saigon to simply sip a drink and watch the sun set.
The most iconic of the rooftop bars on my list, the Saigon Saigon Bar, sits right in the heart of downtown as part of the Caravelle Hotel. Although it has been somewhat modernised, the bar still carries some of the charm it had from its days during the war and some great pictures on the wall. Being smack in the middle of downtown gives it some great panoramic views of some of HCMC’s famous landmarks, like the People’s Committee Building and the Saigon Opera House, which in my opinion is aided by the fact that it is only on the ninth floor, so it doesn’t feel like you’re looking at a miniature city. Besides not inducing vertigo to customers they also make a good drink and host occasional live music.
There are certainly more rooftop bars in the city that are also solid choices: the bar at the Rex Hotel with its quirky décor and the Sheraton’s Level 23 and its own fine city view quickly come to mind, for instance. However, if you’re looking to make a night out of it and hit as many rooftop spots as you can during your stay, these should be the first stops (and they could be your last!)
Chill Sky Bar
Level 26 & 27, AB Tower,
76A Le Lai, D1
T: (08) 2827 2372
Level 23, Centec Tower,
72-72 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D1
T: (08) 3827 9631
Saigon Saigon Bar
Level 9, Caravelle Hotel,
19 Lam Son Square, D1
T: (08) 3823 4999
By Angela Schonberg
Last updated on 16th December, 2014.