8 Vietnamese bars make it onto world’s 500 best list

By Hoang Phong    November 25, 2023 | 06:58 pm PT
Six spots in Ho Chi Minh City and two in Hanoi have appeared on the list of 500 best bars in the world as aggregated by AI from the opinions of industry experts, journalists and influencers.
8 Vietnamese bars make it onto world’s 500 best list

Nestled inside a small alley that is home to food stalls on Hai Ba Trung Street in HCMC’s District 1, Enigma came in 237th on the list.

The bar opened its doors in September 2022 after the Covid pandemic was put under control.

Unlike traditional bars or clubs, Enigma stands out with its innovative design that takes inspiration from a futuristic library in France.

The bar serves 30 signature cocktails made from locally sourced ingredients such as Hoa Loc mango, Dak Lak sarsi and Tay Ninh shrimp salt.

Due to its hidden location inside the alley, the bar is often overlooked by foreign tourists.

Customers often visit Enigma after dining at nearby establishments, as it is the only cocktail bar in the area.

It is open from 5 p.m. until midnight, with prices ranging from VND290,000 to 1 million (US$12-41) per drink.

The Top 500 bars list was compiled using AI, which gathered information from over 2,000 reviews and rankings in over 20 languages contributed by industry experts, journalists, and influencers.

The ranking was powered by Le Cocktail Connoisseur, a social media blog dedicated to bartenders and cocktail bars around the world. This year’s ranking of 500 bars involved 122 global cities.

8 Vietnamese bars make it onto world’s 500 best list

Located on the second floor of an old building on Dong Du Street in HCMC's District 1, Layla Eatery & Bar came in 279th.

Founded by Australian bartender Jay Moir and a Vietnamese partner, the bar carries modern designs, displaying contemporary artwork and a variety of ornamental plants.

The bar overlooks Dong Khoi Boulevard, one of the city’s busiest tourist streets that is home to luxury hotels and restaurants.

Past the bar, there is also a cozy covered garden terrace, decked out with wooden furniture and plants.

​It is open from 4 p.m.

8 Vietnamese bars make it onto world’s 500 best list

At 296th position on the list is The Haflington in the attic of an old house on Hang Ma Street in Hanoi's Old Quarter, which opened in March 2021.

Its designs are inspired by a private museum with typical European architecture, featuring fossils and rows of old books. There are rows of glass vitrines and a whiskey-tasting counter with an adjoining Gentleman's club-style smoking lounge.

One of its biggest highlights is a conspicuous three-meter-long dinosaur skeleton suspended above the bar.

Its cocktail menu is inspired by cultural stories from around the world, from South America to Africa.

The bar opens from 3 p.m. until 1 a.m. with prices ranging from VND250,000-300,000 per drink.

8 Vietnamese bars make it onto world’s 500 best list

Located on Nam Ky Khoi Nghia Street in HCMC’s District 1, Rabbit Hole ranked 394th on the list.

Inspired by an American speakeasy aesthetic, the bar features an “L”-shaped counter, restrained decor and dim lights while the lounge space features groupings of low tables, mid-century style armchairs and plush banquettes.

Prices starting from VND300,000, and the bar is open from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m.

8 Vietnamese bars make it onto world’s 500 best list

Tucked inside an alley in Hoan Kiem District of Hanoi, Polite & Co ranked 398th on the list.

Inspired by classy nightclubs for gentlemen in the 1920s, its interior exudes luxury and coziness.

The cocktail menu changes every six months, incorporating 25 cocktails from around the world as well as concoctions reminiscent of Hanoi flavors.

One of its signature cocktail is The Street Vendor prepared through a recipe of Gin soaked in chrysanthemum, with layers of fruit and floral flavors.

The bar is open from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. with prices ranging from VND100,000-550,000.

8 Vietnamese bars make it onto world’s 500 best list

At 418th on the list is Firkin Bar on Mac Thi Buoi Street in HCMC’s District 1. The bar started business in late 2017 and focuses on personalized bespoke cocktail services.

Located in the heart of a busy nightlife hub near Dong Khoi, Firkin Bar has a less outstanding façade than other bars, with a narrow stairway leading to the dimly lit bar space.

Taking inspiration from the classic whisky bars of Tokyo, the interior decor of the bar features dark timber and luxurious leather furniture.

Behind the bar is a whisky collection that comprises hundreds of bottlings of aged and rare Scottish and Japanese single malts, American whiskeys, and bourbons.

The bar is open from 6 p.m. until midnight, with prices starting from VND200,000.

8 Vietnamese bars make it onto world’s 500 best list

Located on the second floor of an apartment on Ly Tu Trong Street in HCMC's District 1, Summer Experiment was 422nd on the list.

The bar opened in 2019 and is decorated with ornamental plants, giving visitors a cool and relaxed ambiance.

Close to Ben Thanh Market, the bar serves guests with custom-made bar stools, together with high tables for groups – and the outdoor garden terrace for smoking.

Its cocktails focus on both locally sourced seasonal ingredients and on-premises grown botanicals and herbs.

In addition to cocktails, the bar also treats guests with dishes like grilled calamari and baby mustard green salad.The bar is available from 4 p.m. with prices starting from VND100,000.

8 Vietnamese bars make it onto world’s 500 best list

Stir Bar, on the first floor of an apartment building on Le Thanh Ton Street opposite Ben Thanh Market, ranked 456th on the list.

With a capacity of serving 40 guests at a time, the bar has a patio overlooking a night market at Ben Thanh market, one of the southern metropolis' tourism symbols.

The bar is open from 5:30 p.m. until 2 a.m., allowing guests to party hard or watch HCMC skyline with a cocktail.

The bar serves guests with cocktails such as jackfruit sticky rice, Jasmine Negroni and Truffle Martini and Vietnamese traditional dishes like banh mi, pho and mangosteen salad with shredded chicken.

Maybe Sammy in Australia was the best bar in the world, followed by Double Chicken Please in the U.S. and Paradiso in Spain.

Photos courtesy of the bars

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