There’s a world of luxury and relaxation high above Ho Chi Minh City’s busy streets. A lively rooftop bar scene is often a key attraction of most large cosmopolitan cities. And Ho Chi Minh City is no exception, with many hotels and bars turning their top floors into slick city hangouts. But unlike most cities around the world, if you want to watch the sun set over old Saigon with a drink in hand, it won’t cost you the price of the earth. You’ll find drinks are similar to average western prices (250,000 VND/£8/$10 for a cocktail), and happy hours are big here, which offer some great deals through the early evening.
With the wide choice of rooftop bars in Ho Chi Minh City comes great variety too, from ultra modern club like bars with their neon lights and flashy decor to more relaxed and understated bars as well as those with a touch of historic charm, there’s certainly a lot to explore. During my time in the city I went to a few different rooftop bars each night, so got a good flavour of the different types on offer. What makes a good rooftop bar is obviously down to personal preference, but if like me, you prefer a setting more character filled and relaxed than glamorous, read on to discover my favourite rooftop bars in old Saigon, that have offer a more classic experience.
Set at the top of an office block, Shri Restaurant & Lounge is perfect for lazy afternoons and mellow evenings. Inside, there’s an industrial feel to the bar area, with low hanging lights, exposed pipes, and dark tones, creating an understated and relaxed ambience. This nonchalant feel continues on the outdoor terrace. Carrying a simple yet timeless style, a mix of chairs and tables sit among fairy light laced trees and plants, to provide a classic spot to enjoy a drink or two. And Shri’s drinks menu is certainly impressive. With a generous choice of cocktails, featuring a good mix of classic drinks and some of their own inventions. There’s also lots of wines, spirits, and beers on offer, as well as a lovely little internationally inspired menu of bar snacks.
Happy hour: 25% off drinks, 3 pm – 7 pm daily
Photo credit: www.google.com/maps
Resting on top of the Caravelle Hotel, Saigon Saigon bar is a classic rooftop bar with a story to tell. Opening in 1959, the bar played a prominent role as a haven for wartime journalists in the 1960s and has since remained a welcome retreat for the city’s guests and residents throughout the years. As the city has grown upwards around the Caravelle, Saigon Saigon doesn’t have the best view in town anymore, yet its iconic history gives the place a wonderfully elegant charm that you just won’t experience at the newer bars. The decor is simple yet classic, featuring a checkerboard tiled floor, wooden chairs and tables and wooden shutter doors that open out onto the rooftop terrace. The drinks follow suit, with a menu of traditional cocktails to choose from, as well as some signature drinks, spirits and beers; all served with complimentary nibbles and snack.
Happy hour: 50% off drinks, 4 pm – 7 pm daily
Photo credit: caravellehotel.com
Connected to Shri by a slightly scary glass suspension bridge, we stumbled across this bar by pure and happy accident. Set on the rooftop of Hotel des Arts Saigon, Social Club brings the spirit of a tropical beach bar to the city. With wooden decking, marble standing tables, wicker stools and comfy cushions, the bar’s natural and soft design create a timeless and relaxed setting – only further enhanced by the secluded infinity pool in the corner. Social Club is quite small in comparison to most rooftop bars in the Ho Chi Minh City, but this only adds a nice sense of exclusivity, like you are in a little blissful bubble hidden high above the streets. The bar is ideal for laid back drinks in the early evening, getting more lively later on, and with all the cocktails, beers and spirits you’d expect to find, plus a good choice of wine.
Happy hour: 50% off selected cocktails, wines and beers, 5 pm – 8 pm daily
Photo credit: hoteldesartssaigon.com
Breeze Sky Bar
Similar to Saigon Saigon, Breeze Sky Bar is not just a bar but an iconic landmark. Perched on top of the colonial Hotel Majestic Saigon, it is the place where Graham Greene wrote his famous war novel, ‘The Quiet American’. Today, it’s large patio terrace, wooden furniture, art deco bar and old French architecture create a calm and classic spot to sit back and enjoy a cold beer. Yet it is the unique and spectacular view of the Saigon River, Opera House and city skyline beyond that makes this bar so special. Drinks menus here feature a lot of signature cocktails, as well as a selection of luxury wine and spirits and a mix of beers on tap. The only downside is Breeze Sky Bar doesn’t do a happy hour for non-guests anymore, although the full prices are still worth it for the view.
Photo credit: majesticsaigon.com