Chill Sky BarMeet Saigon’s New Sky Bar, Chef & Mixologist
In many ways Saigon is the perfect place for a sky bar. For a start, the city’s pancake flat topography means that the view from up on high is far more impressive than anything witnessed at ground level. However, perhaps more pertinently, an elevated drinking perch is an ideal metaphor for a town with lofty ambitions. In a manner of speaking, Saigon is going up in the world and so are its drinking venues.
No one venue exemplifies this shift towards the stratosphere than the soon-to-open Chill Bar. Situated at the very crown of the AB Tower next to the New World Hotel in District 1, the bar is undoubtedly the most upwardly mobile bar project, both in height and in scope. Designed by acclaimed architects DWP Thailand, the firm behind the world-renowned Sirocco in Bangkok, the two-storey bar features a state of the art sound system, a private VIP room, an outdoor cigar lounge and an absolutely awe-inspiring view of this fair city.
It also features some heavyweight talent behind the scenes in the shape of Aussie head chef Andy O’Brien and German mixologist Bernardo Bernard. Both have eye-catching pedigrees. Andy, who will be running the show in the venue’s gourmet restaurant, has worked as a personal chef for Madonna, Bon Jovi and The Who among others while Bernardo – who is something of a legend in the bartending industry – has tailored his tipples to stars including Sir Paul McCartney, P Diddy, Lady Gaga and Snoop Dogg.
On the eve of the bar’s public unveiling, Wednesday the 12th October, we caught up with the pair to talk exotic flavours, diva-esque demands and their thoughts on their new life in Saigon.
Can you both tell us a little bit about your impressions of Vietnam?
Bernardo: A lot of friends back home have been asking me, "so what is so special about Saigon?" For me it is hard to describe. I have traveled around the world and somehow when I think about this city and its people my eyes start to shine. I just feel very comfortable here…it is like coming home.
Andy: Firstly Vietnam is a candy shop for me in terms of new flavors. Chill is a place where the concept will offer something new and different in many ways.
You have both had hugely successful careers in your chosen fields. Can you tell us what your proudest moments have been so far?
Bernardo: I have been working at the MTV Music Awards since 2006 so I have met a lot of celebrities during the functions. My most proud moment was when I met Sir Paul Mc Cartney in 2007/2008 again and he remembered me and sang a German song for me. He has a special relationship to Germany. The Beatles career started in Hamburg in the 60´s. He is so cool and relaxed - incredibly down to earth although he has been in the music business for over 50 years now.
Andy: I don’t know about my proudest moment but my most satisfying moments are always when I cook something, somebody enjoys it and wants more.
Both of you have experience of working with several A List celebrities. Did you ever encounter any outrageous demands?
Bernardo: Of course – you have to know that some celebrities are very very special with their wishes! Everybody wants to be a part of their glamorous world so of course they are often stressed and just want to have their peace.
I always try to treat them like “normal” people. Just be friendly and give them all the attention they need.
Andy: I haven’t got that many tidbits. Jon Bon Jovi likes to eat chicken noodle soup every day though!
What can we expect from Chill on the Cocktails & Culinary side of things?
Bernardo: We have created several Signature drinks for Chill. Examples include the Chill de Luxe, which is a combination between a classic ‘bar’ style and a ‘cuisine’ style. It combines feminine elegance and a special fruity herbal taste.
Andy: One of the things we would like to do together at Chill is develop some food and cocktail pairings. Something different to the usual wine and food pairings.
There has been a lot of hype about Chill as it promises to be one of the most unique and high-end venues in Ho Chi Minh City. What kind of pressure does that bring and how confident are you that your input will make the venue a success?
Andy: You hope the pressures and your own input bring out the best in everybody.
Bernardo: Chill is unique and special. That gives me confidence.
26 & 27th Floor Rooftop, AB Tower,
76A Le Lai, Dist. 1, HCMC
Grand Opening Wednesday 12th October
Opening to Public from 10pm