There are so many bars in Ho Chi Minh City that feature pub games, but which are the best places to play pool and darts in the city? Darts has a longer history here as the league has been established for almost five years whilst the pool league only started in 2014. The main venues for team play are spread across Districts 1, 2 and 7 in both sports and in many cases the same pubs provide the best venues for both. It is worth noting that if you are serious about your pool, the tables in the bars rather than the pool halls will be of international standard and well maintained. The pool halls tend to be a mishmash of dimensions and poorly maintained. Whilst they mainly have Carom Billiards, there are of course exceptions, but I would always recommend the bars. The new electronic dart boards are becoming very popular, these are referred to as soft darts.
Pool and Darts
The Emergency Room
59 Huynh Thuc Khang. D1
A popular hostess bar in the heart of the business district. This is a friendly well run place that sells great pizza, among other dishes, and good cold beers. There are two dart boards downstairs and a good quality pool table upstairs. The bar has a team in each of the leagues. Overall a well run and successful bar.
115 Ho Tung Mau D1
A very busy Australian sports bar in the heart of the city, Game On is a good venue for both pool and darts. There are two pool tables, one downstairs and one in a custom built upstairs room that is one of the best pool rooms in town. You may have to ask to see if the upstairs room is open in the quieter periods. Good food and a well stocked bar mark this place out.
6 Thai Van Lung, D1
Red Bar was one of the most popular bars in town; it used to have a prime spot facing the Bitexco Tower, but hyperinflation of the rent has forced them to relocate to a small street just of Thai Van Lung in the Japanese district of D1. With the move comes a name change also. It’s the same owners, the same staff and I’m sure the same old crowd. Only time will tell if it manages to keep its place as one of the premier bars. The new bar has one excellent pool table, two steel tipped dart boards and three soft dart boards.
7 Thao Dien, Thao Dien Ward, D2
The oldest established bar in D2, Buddha Bar has been around for as long as the expat scene. Two pool tables (though only one worth playing on) and a designated darts area mark this out as a top venue for both darts and pool. The league teams in both sports are well established.
D2 Sports Bar
55 Thao Dien, Thao Dien Ward, D2
The newest addition to the saigon pool and darts scene, this newly Al Fresco Group acquired bar is a real beauty. They moved the pool table from its previous spot and it has seemingly added much space to the venue. The dart boards fold away behind cupboard doors for when the big sporting events are on TV. It’s an excellent venue offering delightful surroundings in which to play.
The Fan Club
628C Hanoi Highway, An Phu Ward, D2 (in The Vista Condo Block)
The arrival of a superb pool table last year has set this out as a great place to drop in for pool and darts. The dart boards are of the electronic variety, which are proving highly popular at least with the locals. The pool table is one of the best in town and the bar has a great food and drinks menu.
38 Quoc Huong, Thao Dien Ward, D2
This German owned indoor/outdoor bar and restaurant has two very good pool tables both in a fully air-conditioned section of the bar. Open from lunchtime onwards, it is a great place to practise your skills, whilst enjoying very good German food and imported beers. The recently added dart boards add another dimension to this bar.
49 Hung Gia 3, Phu My Hung, D7
One of the best pool and darts venues anywhere in the city, this South African run bar has three pool tables, all of international quality and two dart boards. Designated space, in fact rooms are given over to both sports. The bar has no less than four pool teams in The Saigon Pool League and two darts teams in the darts equivalent. Guaranteed to find people to play with and great company.
R2-24 Hung Gia 3, Bui Bang Doan, Phu My Hung, D7
This is a very popular sports bar and restaurant in the upmarket area of Phu My Hung. The food and drinks menus are excellent and it has a strong committed expat clientele. The bar focuses on pool and darts. The darts team is well established and the addition of a pool table recently makes it another worthy venue for both games.
46-48 Ton That Thiep, D1
An Australian style sports bar, Phatty’s is one of the more established and certainly most well known bars in town. It’s a bustling noisy place, particularly when any of the Australian sports are on TV. It has a very nice dedicated area for darts and a thriving dart playing community.
70 Pasteur, D1
An amazingly busy little bar in the heart of the business district. All four of the owners are darts players and that has driven the bar along to be a favourite venue amongst the darts fraternity in the city. The bar also benefits from one of the best happy hour days in town. The staff are well trained and the bar has garnered a loyal group of expat locals.
89 Ton That Dam, D1
Situated in the middle of Saigon’s oldest market street, Chilli Pub has only recently moved here. It is a warm friendly bar with great staff and two superb dart boards in a dedicated area. There is always someone to enjoy a game with. This is a fun pub.
The Drunken Duck
58 Ton That Thiep, D1
A very popular bar in the business district. The pool area is at the rear of the bar and there is generally always a good group of people playing pool. This is a fun bar that is popular both in the early evening and into the wee small hours. They have a strong representation in the pool league and some very high standard of players.
24 Ngo Van Nam, Ben Nghe Ward, D1
This is a popular sports bar in the heart of the Japanese area of district 1. The decor is excellent and the layout superb. It has six of the best HD TV screens in the city and therefore gets busy for the big sporting events. The pool table is at the back and the early opening hours and great happy hour deals make this a terrific place to play pool in the late afternoons.
32 Tran Ngoc Dien, Thao Dien Ward, D2
Snap Café is a super venue in Thao Dien. It is almost like two completely different bars in one. By day a family fun pub and café, by night a bar and restaurant. The pool table is in a covered outdoor area and is one of the nicest settings in which to play, until the really hot season kicks in.
Thao Dien Man Cave
36 Quoc Huong, Thao Dien Ward, D2
Nothing more than an upstairs room in an old house, this is nonetheless a great place to practise and play pool. It really is just a pool table in a room with nothing much more other than a TV playing music videos and a refrigerator, well stocked with bottled beers. In the evenings a hardy bunch of expats gather to play pool and have a laugh.
Whether or not you are a serious player or just enjoy a game, these bars will all fulfill your requirements. If you want to take things more seriously, ask in any of the bars and they will point you in the direction of the relevant league organisers.