Everyone loves a good bar in Hanoi but like everywhere in Hanoi, the popular spots are always changing. Hanoi Bars open, close and change in popularity on a regular basis. But here is a list of TFV’ best bars in Hanoi that have really stood the test of time.
Ray Quan -‘Railway Bar’
8a Nguyen Khuyen, Dong Da District (at the railway crossing on Le Duan, turn right and follow the tracks)
Bars in Hanoi don’t get cooler than Ray Quan. This secluded bar that’s hidden down the train lines serves excellent Vietnamese food but most people come here to sample their jugs of super strong rice wine. From apricot to ‘walrus penis’ flavor there is something for everyone. It’s obligatory to do a shot of rice wine every time a train comes thundering past (just one meter from the door).
34 Cao Ba Quat, Dien Bien, Ba Dinh District
One of the best bars in Hanoi is a little off the beaten track, but Barbetta is a great bar to meet people. Sundays and Wednesdays are always popular because there is a free beer hour which unsurprisingly always draws a large crowd. The bar is cool, quiet and colourful and has been decorated by a number of antiques like old film reels and records. Be sure to check out the roof terrace in the summer!
Hanoi Rock City – HRC
27 To Ngoc Van, Quang An, Tay Ho District
While there are not many pubs in Hanoi, HRC is an ex-pat favourite in Tay Ho District. HRC can get pretty busy at the weekend where they often have lots of live music. However, it’s really famous for its excellent open mic-nights on Wednesdays which can draw some big crowds and great talent. It has a very friendly vibe and is a wonderful place to meet people.
Bia Hoi Corner
The intersection of Ta Hien street and Luong Ngoc Quyen, Hoan Kiem District
This isn’t a bar but a collection of ramshackle kegs of beer surrounded by tiny plastic chairs all owned by different vendors. Each of whom vehemently fights for your custom. You’ll find buzzing beer hoi joints all over the city. But this is one of the few where ex-pats, locals and tourists all mingle together and share in the joy of 25cent glasses of beer. It has an electric atmosphere and everyone is pushed onto the same little tables so it’s easy to make friends.
100/152 Thuy Khue, Tay Ho District
There are a few Bia 2KU bars around the city, but this one is the best! A cool place covered in graffiti overlooking the gigantic ‘West Lake’. Here you can relax in lounge chairs or relax outback in their big beer garden whilst sipping a giant flagon of dark beer.
Red River Tea Rooms
25 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho District
A classier bar with a great lake view, if you ever get fed up of Vietnamese beer (which isn’t easy) they have a large selection of Western and Eastern beers and even cider and sangria. This is one of the most popular expat bars in Hanoi. They host weekly quiz nights and are have a selection of board games available.
Hair of the Dog
32 Ma May, Hang Buom, Hoan Kiem District
This is another one for the young crowd. Mostly full of backpackers and very loud pop music. Hair of the Dog is a time proven favourite for anyone who wants a lively night, and the popular backpacker bar crawl nearly always rolls through here bringing merry people from all over the world.
Written by Alex Sinclair Lack for Teacher’s Friend – Vietnam. All rights reserved.