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76 Yen Phu, Tây Hồ, Hanoi
“A restaurant with a strange name in a strange place. "Tivoli Cafe" and yet there is no Italian food. Coffee, I guess? And the Hanoi Club is just odd. Is it a hotel? A country club? Social club? And yet, the food here is actually good and cheap. Seen a foreign chef milling about. Looke...”
Vuvuzela is definitely a very unique concept. It has inspirations from Hanoi street bia hoi, Czech beer hall, and Hooters. The place is modern looking and has a good variety of beers ranging from Tiger beer on tap to very premium Belgian trappist beers. My favorite is the Zamky on tap, a Czech beer which is cold and goes down nicely. The food is also very good and is among the best pub food that I’ve had in Hanoi. It is no surprise seeing that the group that owns Vuvuzela also owns Sumo BBQ, Kichi Kichi and other chains.
The prices here are on the high side for drinking beers in Hanoi (40k + for a glass of beer on tap) but you do get what you pay for. Service is generally good and the beers are always cold. Another plus is the men’s bathroom, which has a vomit sink and a cool glass wall. This glass wall and urinal design is the first of its kind that I’ve seen in Hanoi – you can only see from the inside out and not the other way around. Some tables are located very near to this glass wall, literally only a few inches from the urinals on the other side of the wall so it gives the impression that you are peeing on the poor folks sitting on the other side. Word of advice: do not sit on the ground floor outside the man’s toilet. Other than that it is a very nice place to go when you feel like drinking cold beers.
This place us UTTERLY undiscovered by the expat community. That is a shame, because this might be the nicest bar in Ha Noi. It's a huge place, impeccably clean and with a totally western feel. They serve Zamky--a nice Czech lager--on tap along with the usual suspects (Tiger, Carlsberg, etc.) This place is really rocking around happy hour time with young Vietnamese professionals. The service is first-rate and, ironically, even though no western people seem to come to this bar, the few times I have been there, I really feel like it's a little refuge from Ha Noi--at least in the decor, the feel, etc. So, in summary, if you're looking for an expat bar, stay away. If you are looking for a very hip and cool place to quaff a good beer (or two or three), this is the one. A little tricky to find, it's in Hai Ba Trung about 5-6 blocks south of the opera house.
(Later . . . ) Just an addendum. I came here about a month or more after the original review for "happy hour". Place was rocking, god whoever owns this place is getting rich . . . a hundred or more young VN professionals and . . . one white dude (me). I had one beer and got sick--almost passing out--from a combination of some stomach problems, extreme heat, blah blah. Ten people probably could see right away, totally took care of me and, well, it was embarrassing but they REALLY took care of me, got me a bucket, helped me lay down, got me medicine for my stomach, got me a taxi home . . . a bad Vietnam moment but the staff (and some nice customers) really . . . this is a nice place. I just hope I'm allowed back!
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