More cocktail bars are popping up in Hanoi, adding to the capital’s already booming nightlife scene. With most hidden away in alleys or street corners, it’s easy to miss out on some of the city’s most unique offerings. From bespoke cocktails to gin specialists, we round up eight of the most unique and experimental cocktail bars in Hanoi.
The Alchemist Cocktail Bar
A speakeasy-style bar with an intimate, dimly-lit setting, The Alchemist Cocktail bar is a great place for when you’re craving a tipple in particularly relaxing digs. Located on the second floor of an old building with classic French architecture, it can be tricky to locate at first without a designated signboard. “The answer perhaps is that we’re afraid of the light, and so are our beloved guests,” says the bar about their anonymity. Chat with the knowledgable bartenders about the large collection of spirits and whisky, and enjoy a bespoke cocktail based on your mood and taste, or one of their many classics – they make a mean Sazerac.
The Alchemist Cocktail Bar is located at 2nd Floor, 19 Nguyen Quang Bich Street, Hanoi, Vietnam, +84 96 871 34 42. Open daily 6.30pm – 1am.
Polite & Co
Inspired by gentleman’s clubs in the 1920s, Polite & Co (previously Polite Pub) is a bustling space for a rowdy evening with friends. Serving specialty coffee in the day, it transforms to a classy speakeasy at night. Known for its craft cocktails and extensive whisky list, there’s a drink to suit all tastes. A cheeky response to the recent outbreak, Polite & Co are serving up three specialty Antivirus Cocktails: try the Cure-All Negroni, a twist on the classic drink featuring ingredients with health benefits – like quinine, originally used as a cure for malaria during the days of colonial India.
Polite & Co is located at 5B Ngõ Bảo Khánh, Hanoi, Vietnam, p. +84 96 894 96 06. Open Mon-Thu 4pm – 12am, Fri-Sat 4pm – 2am, Sun 4pm – 1am.
Nê Cocktail Bar
Tucked away in Hanoi’s Old Quarter is Nê Cocktail Bar, a hip yet unpretentious space boasting several award-winning bartenders. Known for their unique Vietnamese-inspired cocktails, it’s a great spot for exploring local flavours. Most well-known is their signature creation, the PHO, a gin-based concoction featuring ingredients found in the beef noodle soup. The novel cocktail is prepared with an equally stunning performance, as the bartender mixes it over a tier of blue flames. Served with chopsticks, lime slices, and chilli, this is one cocktail that embodies the essence of Vietnam.
Nê Cocktail Bar is located at 3B Tống Duy Tân, Hanoi, Vietnam, +84 79 649 5988. Open daily 7.30pm – 2am.
From the same founders behind Polite & Co comes Mad Botanist – aptly named The Gin Specialist – a cocktail bar boasting one of the largest gin collections in Hanoi. The two-storey retro-style establishment also offers an amazing view of St. Joseph’s Cathedral, making it the perfect spot for a quiet drink on the weekends. With over 100 gins from around the world, you can mix and match your own choice of tonics and mixers to create your very own drink. One of their signatures? The Mad Spicy, a G&T-style drink with, you guessed it, chilli!
Mad Botanist is located at 3rd & 4th floor, 45 Ly Quoc Su, Hanoi, Vietnam, p. +84 24 2246 4123. Open Mon-Thu 5pm – 11.45pm, Fri-Sun 5pm – 1am.
Jigger Cocktail & Wine Bar
A hotspot for music acts and DJs, Jigger Cocktail & Wine Bar is a favourite hangout for music lovers. Its neon signs and dim lighting create a cozy, snug atmosphere to enjoy live performances while sipping on a cocktail. If you’re seeking a quieter atmosphere, head to the lounge upstairs. Their special menu is mystery-themed, with drinks classified into five categories: Suspect A, Suspect B, Suspect C, Detective, and Police. Order the Unexpected Encounter (Police), a cocktail featuring sous-vide Earl-Grey infused gin, with Giffard Peach, orange bitters, and aromatic Earl Grey-elderflower jelly.
Jigger Cocktail & Wine Bar is located at 59 Nam Ngư Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi, Vietnam, p. +84 94 888 84 20. Open Sun-Thu 6.30pm – 2am, Fri-Sat 6.30pm – 2.30am.
CLU Cocktail Bar
Stepping inside CLU Cocktail Bar, you’d think that it pays homage to TRON, the classic sci-fi cult favourite. Replicating the movie’s blue neon lights, this bar is as futuristic as they come, with cocktails that look out of this world. Their signature menu offers creative creations made with fresh house-made ingredients, and many of them are even named after famous film productions. The Headless Horseman, inspired by Tim Burton’s Sleepy Hollow, is impressive – a unique mix of Reposado Tequila, Green Chartreuse, Chocolate Absinthe, lemon, and chilli served up in a skull-shaped glass.
CLU Cocktail Bar is located at 6 Tong Duy Tan, Hanoi, Vietnam, +84 86 687 94 43. Open Mon-Thu 7.30pm – 1am, Fri-Sun 7.30pm – 2am.
Gallery Bespoke Cocktail Bar
New on the scene is Gallery Bespoke Cocktail Bar, which opened in June 2019. Hang out at the timber bar counter, or relax with leather armchairs on the second floor. One of the first bars in Hanoi to focus on the bespoke route, you’ll find craft cocktails to suit an individual’s personal taste. Try their Bespoke Bottles – purchase a bottle of gin, rum, whisky or vodka and let the bartenders work their magic, or pick from their signature mixes, classified by categories such as Sour, Herbal and Floral, Strong and Serious, and Adventurous.
Tucked away in a corner of Phung Hung Str is Bee’Znees, a 1920s speakeasy bar reminiscent of Prohibition-era America. Walking past, you might just miss it, with the entrance hidden behind a bookshelf that opens with the right ‘touch’. Awaiting you at the end of a narrow staircase is a tranquil bar with a fireplace and open balcony. Sip on classic cocktails such as the Manhattan and Old Fashioned, a nod to the era that influenced Bee’Znees, or try signatures like the Hanoi Mule, a sweeter, more oriental take on the Moscow original.
Bee’Znees is located at 163 Phùng Hưng, Cửa Đông, Hoàn Kiếm, Hanoi, Vietnam. Open 7pm – 12am daily.
Top Image: Gallery Bespoke Cocktail Bar
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