Craft beer, high-class wine, skillfully mixed cocktails – District 2 might be newer than some of the other parts of the city, but the bars running along Thao Dien and Xuan Thuy are as good as any you will find in Districts 1 or 3. For some alternative destinations for nightlife in Saigon, District 2 is one of the reasons why Saigon is known as one of the best drinking cities to visit in the world. With its rapidly expanding population and increasing value as both a residential and commercial area of town, it is no wonder that District 2 is fast becoming a new afterhours haven for Ho Chi Minh City’s partiers. This is reason enough for us to take you on a tour through D2’s best bars and party locations. Bottoms up!
Biacraft is a well-established craft beer chain restaurant in Saigon, with a broad selection of local and imported craft beer. Here you’ll enjoy a cozy, hole-in-the-wall atmosphere. The beer taps sit neatly in a row on the back wall and a few high tables and stools make up the rest of the bar.
In addition to their great selection of draft beer, they also sell about a dozen different types of bottled beer. Beers range from light, easy-to-drink pale ales, to the heavier, dark style of beers like porters and stouts.
This could be one of the best bars in District 2. It is a fantastic space and something refreshingly different. German-owned, it specialises in selling quality German food and world-renowned imported German beers.
BMV features two pool tables, a spacious indoor seating area and a large screen TV for big sporting events. The upstairs mezzanine area is a real plus. It’s a great hangout spot for expats and a fun getaway to the feel of a cosy pub in Germany.
This is one of the older and more well-established bars in Saigon. It can be unpredictable at times, as it never seems to have a hard-and-fast closing time and arriving late can be something of a lottery. It is, however, one of the best afterhours spaces in the whole city. This gem features a great layout with two pool tables and live music on the weekends. It also has a large screen TV and several monitors, ideal for watching sports.
Aperitivo is a small neighbourhood cocktail and craft beer bar with an Italian twist. Located in the middle of Xuan Thuy street, its central location and cozy atmosphere have made it a popular favorite for expats on weekends and weekday evenings after work. Though it’s a bit spendy, the quality of their signature cocktails and selection of craft beer make this trendy pub well worth the money. They also feature a variety of rotating DJs, so check their schedule to see when they’ll be playing some tunes you’re interested in while you chill with a tasty beverage.
Another well-known favorite in D2’s bar scene, the American-owned White House Saigon is housed in a superb three-storey villa. What it offers is no less than a three-in-one package: a bar on the ground floor, a comfy meeting space with a lounge feel on the first floor and one of HCMC’s nicest billiards rooms on the top floor.
Plus, there’s also the amenities: here you’ll find several local craft beers on draft, moderately priced snacks, electronic dart boards, a large screen TV airing sports, an outdoor swimming pool, a barbecue area and a gazebo. Basically, it’s the perfect spot for all occasions: family afternoons, late-night parties or simply for an after-work drink with your buddies.
Soma Art Lounge is a cozy cafe and bar that frequently hosts unique art-centric events, from lego sculpture exhibitions to “drinking and drawing” to one of Saigon’s most popular drag shows, Saigon is Burning, hosted by GenderFunk. Their eclectic events calendar is sure to have something that piques everyone’s interest. Apart from special events, Soma Art Lounge is a cute space tucked away in a quiet street, perfect for weekend brunch or a classical cocktail recipe at any time of day.
The D2 Sports Bar is owned by the Al Fresco Group, but it has a much more “local pub” feel than the popular Al Fresco chain restaurants. It’s an excellent place to catch up with all the latest in sports, while enjoying decent Western food and a terrific drinks selection. It is also a no-smoking venue, which makes a pleasant change for non smokers. Be sure to check out their weekly specials, including a full-sized Sunday Roast for 200k.
A delightful bar/restaurant, Cafe Evita is further into Thao Dien than the others and sits on a bend in the road by The British International School. Indeed, at lunchtime it is generally filled with both staff and pupils. At night they describe what they do as “bistronomie”, combining the feel of a comfortable, chic bistro with classic delicious offerings from the kitchen. This is a lovely bar with comfy sofas and a regular expat clientele. The arrival of a pool team gives it more of a bar feel on certain evenings.
In 2012, three shipping containers were deposited on a grassy piece of land in District 2. That this has developed into a premier venue in HCMC is the stuff of legend.
Music venue, cafe, bar, restaurant, film theatre and space for art exhibitions and workshops, Saigon Outcast almost defies definition. It even has a climbing wall! It’s a quirky, folksy, alternative lifestyle venue that has a capacity for 400 people and regularly fills it. Over the last few years it has carved out a great reputation as one of the best of Saigon’s entertainment scene.
Snap Café is like several bars in one, coupled with a small group of shops and businesses. Hugely popular at the weekends and in school holidays because of the children’s play area, it’s a busy bar/restaurant with a folksy feel to it. It’s eclectic with a great laid back music playlist. A popular venue with pool teams and the largest monthly quiz night in town, it switches between family fun bar by day, to a laidback venue for grown ups at night.
This is a very upmarket restaurant/bar that really could not have a better location: The Deck sits right on the southern bank of a long sweeping curve in the Saigon River. It’s a terrific place to sit and relax, have a few drinks and enjoy choices from an extensive menu.
It’s quite expensive, but the location and quality of the food are mostly worth it. This place is best for expats who wish to indulge in some fancy cocktails while enjoying a scenic view not available at any other venue.
Saigon’s restaurant and bar scene is constantly developing, so be sure to check back here again for the latest updates on our favorite bars in District 2!