July 13, 2016
When night falls, the roaring madhouse of Saigon fades into a beautifully lit metropolitan gem – lined with jazz, cocktails, and laughter. Whether your perfect evening is colored by the melodies of a swooning saxophone or the rush of a pulsing beat, Saigon has an adventure for you. Below, we list five Editor’s Choice destinations for nightlife, each promising a different type of evening.
Located on 208 Nguyen Thai and newly launched in 2015, The Penthouse is a on a mission to bring hip-hop back to HCMC. The joint houses a range of international and local DJs, and spoils visitors with sleek décor, sweeping views, and an art gallery. While it offers an enjoyable drink menu, what makes the Penthouse really unique is its renowned selection of Shishas – which mixes with its other offerings to create a truly distinctive atmosphere. That atmosphere can get very organic, as the great music and homely surroundings may give guests the urge to jump up on sofas and let loose. Famous visiting DJs include Jay-Z’s former tour DJ Neil Armstrong, and Singapore favorite Stanley Chan.
Freshly renovated in 2014, The Observatory is HCMC’s premiere offering of underground techno. The décor is dark and dingy, earning it a reputation as the city’s best alternative venue. You will find both international and local underground DJs guiding a tranced crowd of mostly young expats and tourists. We love it particularly because it is great place to mingle with other foreigners – their hunger for a great time can lead some parties well past 6 AM. If the electric atmosphere becomes too much, you can head out to the outdoor balcony which overlooks the Saigon River. It serves as a great place to chat and people watch without getting caught up in the hassle of street vendors. Arrive before 11 pm if you want to avoid the cover charge – but the real sparks don’t light up till midnight.
Pay a visit to Chill Skybar if you want to experience the best view in HCMC. The glitzy joint is located on the 25th floor of the New World Building, and offers a cantina, dancefloor and an outer bar that boasts a 360 degree view of the city. Garnished in neon lighting, Chill emits a chic vibe that attracts some of the city’s most affluent locals and expats. Arrive at 17:00 for a view of the sunset to the tune of down tempo, chill out music. Or come after 22:00 for an explosive evening on the dance floor. Happy hour runs from 17:30 to 20:00, when cocktails, beers, and wines are half the price. For something unique, try their signature twist on the mojito, which is made with a splash of champagne instead of soda. Given the upscale nature of the bar, do check their website for dress code and make a reservation beforehand if you want a seat.
The nocturnal palace of the young and beautiful, Lush boasts a neon décor, trance-like animations, and HCMC’s most crowded dance floor. Fridays feature some of the city’s best hip-hop DJs while Saturdays spew international funk – ensuring a house packed with both locals and foreigners. You will find an outdoor bar and garden as well, where you can relax and grab a bite before entering the party. The first beats drop at 20:00, with vibes really ramping up around 21:30. Ladies nights are on Tuesdays, when women get all drinks free until midnight.
Sax n’ Art Jazz Club
Listen to Vietnam’s best jazz while taking in smoky vibes and carefully mixed cocktails. The swanky bar is owned by Vietnam’s foremost saxophone player, and offers live music every night of the week. Expect to find a vast array of visiting artists and an excellent house band, which sways between classic jazz and avant-garde experiments. Many of our readers consider this to be one of their best musical experiences in HCMC, with some even claiming to have involuntarily wept to specific tunes. Go before 21:00 if you want a good seat. You will find a cover charge of $5.00, but that fee is justified given the affordable and ample drink menu.