lifestyle • 23 Sep, 2016
Top 5 Craft Beer Bars In Saigon
Drinking beer: The Feature
Craft beer is in, and it looks like it’s here to stay. If it’s something that's so far passed you by don’t worry, there could be a craft beer venue in your neighborhood soon. "I expect the number of micro-breweries in Saigon to have doubled by this time next year," Travis Smith from Bia Craft told AnyArena. As someone who’s seen the growth of its popularity here first-hand (mostly from behind the bar), he should know.
Michael Rowland, co-founder of TeTe, a Belgian style range of wheat beers, says; "I think the reception of craft beer by the local market has been very positive. I’m not terribly surprised either. Vietnam already loves beer, so making better beer available seems like a no-brainer."
Fellow craftie and Fuzzy Logic co-founder Colin O’Keefe gave us his opinion on the 'craft beer' experience. “A great craft beer is an art. The ingredients are top quality, the brewing is done with care, and the flavors that result are much more balanced, wholesome, and complex.”
So there you go, you've heard it from some of the local players in the scene here. If that doesn’t whet your appetite for a delicious craft beer, hopefully our list of the Top 5 venues to get one in will. Here they are, we spent the last week 'exploring the market' to bring it to you. Poor us.
BIACRAFT - One for All and All for One
Vibes: Now in two locations, Bia Craft can give you the experience of an upmarket restaurant just outside the city (D3), or a down-to-earth beer-tasting with mates (D2).
The Brew: If you’re a fan of the all-in-one concept, this is also the place for you. Apart from their brews, which are delicious, no one else in Saigon can boast the same variety on tap or in bottles.
Don’t forget to order: Choosing a drink on the super-loaded beer menu could prove difficult, so why not start with the ‘Don’t F*ck with Me’ Pale Ale or the ‘Stupid but Stubborn’ Amber Ale. To eat, go straight for the mussels!
Best time to go: Don’t get caught at the non-existing after party at Bia Craft. Go there for an early lunch (half-one is too late) or to jumpstart a big night.
Address: 1 Le Ngo Cat, D3 and 90 Xuan Thuy, Thao Dien, D2
PASTEUR STREET BREWERY - Birthplace of a Revolution
Vibes: The first dedicated craft beer spot in the city is brought to life on a nightly basis by a lively crowd of regular city drinkers and visitors. Basking in some rave reviews online, it's hip location remains as popular as the great food and drink they serve.
The Brew: Aside from its award-winning staple of IPA’s and flavored infusions, Pasteur Street love playing with their recipes. On any given visit you’re likely to be asked what you think of their latest concoction. Warning: it’s likely to be good.
Don’t forget to order: Nothing says you’re drinking in the tropics like a Coconut Porter. It’s full flavored and has a rewarding finish. We also recommend the Imperial Chocolate Stout.
Best time to go: Straight after work if you’re in it for the long haul, or during the day for a lunchtime date.
Address: 144 Pasteur Street, D1
MALT - Destination Day Drinking
Vibes: Looking for a non-smoking pub in downtown Saigon? Enjoy playing games like shuffleboard and darts, inhaling tapas and downing reasonably priced beer? No? Are you alive? Yes? Well then, we think Malt is what you’re after.
The Brew: Craft beer can be pricey. Friends can be stingy. Life is tough. Malt has a fine selection of local crafts on tap, but still accommodates the cynics with inexpensive mainstreamers like Tiger and friends.
Don’t forget to order: The pork sliders are a must.
Best time to go: Malt has one of the happiest happy hours in Saigon. Prices are subject to significant discounts everyday from 9AM until 7PM. Just get there early.
Address: 46-48 Mac Thi Buoi, D1
PANAM THE BACKROOM - Keep Calm, Play Board Games
Vibes: “We want Backroom to be a chill place where people can hang out, have a nice meal, drink good beers and play board games,” co-owner Khiem describes. At the time of writing Panam was brand new, so hopefully you were at its grand opening on October 7.
The Brew: Choice is good, but sometimes we don’t feel like making difficult decisions. Whilst Backroom's menu isn't as big as some of our other headliners, there's something for everyone on their hand-picked list of options.
Don’t forget to order: Suckle on a TeTe first. The reimagined Belgian style ale will put you in the right mood for backgammon. Food-wise, keep it interesting by grabbing one of everything off their value-for-money menu. You won’t be sorry.
Best time to go: Whenever you’ve rounded up your friends. Backroom, as the name suggests, isn’t a big place, so it's best enjoyed with some buddies. Kick back and throw some dice.
Address: 91 Pasteur, D1
ROGUE SAIGON - Smells Like Teen Spirit
Vibes: Enter a backwards looking building in the center of town. Climb a flight of stairs. Play Arcade Ninja Turtle. Add an awesome rooftop and lifesize Jenga, and Rogue Saigon is exactly what it claims to be: an inner-city hangout for beer-lovers.
The Brew: Saigon Outcast's better looking sister offers you 16 different taps to choose from. That’s a lot of beer. It also serves a range of mixers and shooters that'll come in handy during their dare-to-do game of bricks.
Don’t forget to order: The 'Hot Chilli Cider' by Saigon Cider. It’s tasty AF.
Best time to go: After you’ve put the stationery away. It's play time.
Address: 2nd Floor, 13 Pasteur, D1
EAST WEST BREWING CO. - Honorable mention
AnyArena worked around the clock to get the skinny on the places that earned their spot on this list. At the time of publication East West Brewery wasn't open, but luckily, it is now, so naturally we went right ahead and wrote this after we interviewed its General Manager and co-owner Loc Truong. Check it out!
Address: 181-185 Ly Tu Trong Street, District 1
Words by jonaspin and Nick J