For me, it is the ability of staff to recognise the needs of the customer, put those needs first and create that really special atmosphere for playing pub sports, watching your favourite team and enjoying good beer. We are blessed in Ho Chi Minh City with many great venues to choose from. Whilst nowhere is perfect, these are my favourites:
55 Thao Dien, Thao Dien, D2 +84 28 3519 4138 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. every day except 10 a.m. to midnight on Sundays
This is probably the busiest sports bar in District 2 these days, thanks in no small part to the terrific Sunday roast deals and the new management, who prioritise sports. This is a great place to watch any sport, especially English Premier League football, F1 racing, Rugby and Aussie rules football. They have plenty of good quality TV screens and excellent meals and bar snacks. There is also a pool table for those who prefer to play rather than watch. Overall, a terrific, family-friendly sports bar.
The White House
Nguyen U Di, Hem So 4, Thao Dien, D2 +84 28 6681 3023 4 p.m. to midnight daily
The White House is the new kid on the block for sports and plenty more. With one pool table downstairs, two superb competition-quality pool tables upstairs, darts, TV and a huge projection screen, this is one of the best in the city. The comfy sofas in front of the big screen are like watching the game from home, only with better service and lovely bar snacks. A truly classy venue, beautiful grounds and a swimming pool to boot. The recent addition of no less than eight craft beers are a big plus.
The Buddha Bar is one of the best bars in the city, full stop. It should be my favourite in which to watch my football, but the staff never prioritise sport. Two good pool tables create a great atmosphere on pool nights. Plenty of TVs and two big screens. It has great music nights on as well, which is all well and good, but takes away from the sports bar ranking. Good quality bar snacks and a craft beer bar, sets up a good evening.
Phatty's Sports Bar & Grill
46-48 Ton That Thiep, D1 +84 28 3821 0796 8 a.m. to midnight daily
One of the oldest established bars in the city, Phatty’s has been serving cold ones and showing games for years. Acoustically challenged and packed more often than not, it is always extremely loud. But the atmosphere cranks up a treat for the big Aussie Rules footie games. Excellent food and ice cold beers are the norm here.
115 Ho Tung Mau, D1 +84 28 6251 9898 8 a.m. to 1 a.m. every day except 8 a.m. to midnight on Sundays
This is an extremely popular bar in the centre of town. Game On gets huge crowds in for the big games, but again, it can get annoyingly loud in here even when there’s hardly anyone in. With a little more thought paid to turning the sound down, this would be one of the best for me. It is, however, still excellent, with two good pool tables for those wishing to play.
R1-49 Hung Gia 3, D7 +84 16 6231 6000 3 p.m. to 1 am
The best sports bar in D7 without a doubt. There are three great pool tables, top pool teams, friendly locals, a great alfresco area and TVs behind the bar for watching sports (there is a strong rugby focus). The South African management run the bar superbly and serve food all day.
24 Ngo Van Nam, D1 +84 123 821 7125 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. daily
Again, this bar suffers from the staff preferring music to sport. I have been in here to watch a match when the only clientele were there for the football (I know, because I asked). Still the staff would not turn the music off. Shame, because it’s my favourite place to watch, when they get it right. Besides the fact that it has the best TVs in town (great for watching football, cricket and rugby), it’s central location makes it a convenient place to meet friends from all over the city. Plus, it has good food as well.