Although Vietnam still doesn’t legally allow gay marriages, it doesn’t criminalise the community either. In fact, it’s one of the most LGBT-friendly countries in Asia. This inclusive society has provided Vietnam, and Saigon’s gay community the freedom to love, without any fear of getting into trouble.
Image source: oivietnam.com
Therefore, it’s only natural for the community to have their preferred hang out spots, as well as dedicated events for them to meet and mingle.
Although, there are currently no establishments entirely devoted to the community, there are venues that are gay-friendly, or regularly host gay-themed events. This article will feature some of the popular spots, as well as related events to look out for.
With a newly-refurbished interior, the lounge features a very modern setting. There is a large variety of food and drinks available for patrons regardless of their sexual orientation. You can find a menu featuring Asian fusion, Italian and Mexican dishes, with cocktails such as their dangerously addictive kumquat mojito.
The music starts getting louder after 10 p.m. and on nights, Thursday through Saturday, there are drag shows that can get pretty wild.
With live DJ sets, mostly filled with EDM top-40 bangers, accompanied by drag shows, the establishment attracts some of the finest looking young people you can meet on this side of the rainbow. Although the crowd is predominantly local, you do get the occasional foreigner or two. Do take note that they get really busy on weekends.
Another establishment just a short walk down the road, at 224 Đề Thám Street, Thị Bar attracts a mix of young and trendy international and local patrons. The two-storey LGBTQ-friendly venue tends to get packed, mainly due to the excellent live music performances that happen almost every day of the week.
On Fridays and Saturdays, the venue hosts themed gay parties that attract a sizeable crowd, with happy hour offers before 9 p.m.
Image source: facebook.com/thibarsaigon
Although it can be quite a bit of a squeeze due to its size, online reviews generally praise the venue for its positive experience, excellent live music and a very friendly and inclusive crowd.
Whiskey & Wares
Located at 196 Đề Thám Street (are you seeing a pattern here?), Whiskey & Wares is owned by two American guys and is well-known for their extensive collection of whiskeys, cocktails and a very handsome dog which usually lingers around the staircase area.
The industrial-style decor and the layout of the tables give the place a very homely and welcoming vibe and the drinks are really affordable, which may surprise the whiskey aficionados considering the brands that are available. Unlike the previous two establishments on this list, you can find a higher proportion of foreigners here.
Image source: facebook.com/WhiskeyandWares
Patrons are generally friendly and this is a good place to have a conversation or even a date. However, do take note that when it gets crowded, especially on weekends, it can get unbearably loud on the first floor due to its enclosed layout.
But if you’re just looking for a place to chill with some of the best affordable cocktails you can find in the city, and possibly meet someone new, then this place is perfect.
Long Room Bar
If you’re not anywhere near District 1, then Long Room Bar at 97 Thảo Điền Street in District 2 is a suitable alternative for you.
A very gay-friendly bar with a friendly staff, you can get amazing Balkan food here with drinks at really reasonable prices. A notable dish that often gets rave reviews is the chevapchichi, a type of skinless sausage. There is also a decent selection of wine.
In other words, an excellent place for a dinner date.
Image source: facebook.com/LongRoomSaigon
Popular LGBTQ Events in Saigon
There are an increasing number of LGBTQ events being organised in Saigon and although not exhaustive, this article will feature three of the most popular events in the city that attract a healthy mix of locals and foreigners. They are also extremely fun, entertaining and open to anyone regardless of sexual orientation. The keyword here is fun.
An extremely colourful series of parties, Full Disclosure doesn’t take itself seriously, and neither should you. The monthly LGBTQ event features outrageous drag shows, excellent DJs playing late into the night and your best chance to see the city’s queer family expressing themselves loudly and proudly.
Image source: queerintheworld.com
The show generally starts around 10 p.m. and it can get really busy as the night progresses. You can check their Facebook page for the latest updates on their events.
Les Come Out
Also considered Saigon’s first queer women and trans-inclusive event series, you can find drag kings, burlesque shows, performance art and plenty of glitter in these fabulous events.
Les Come Out and Full Disclosure have also collaborated to organise a party in June called Pynk Power—another sign of the community’s family spirit.
More than just a regular disco party crew, GenderFunk also serves as an avenue for the community to showcase their creativity. From mind-bending make-up artistry, to film screenings and fashion shows, GenderFunk has been gaining more and more fans, regardless of sexual orientation.
Image source: facebook.com/GenderFunk
They also actively support fund-raising events, with their queens performing to raise funds to provide education for homeless young Vietnamese boys. You can find out more about them here.
Although these venues and parties are primed towards the gay community, they are open to anyone and everyone with the focus on fun, creative expression and more importantly, to create a close-knit family spirit regardless of who you are.