Broma: Not a Bar

Broma Not A Bar provides a comfortable lounge atmosphere and is especially renowned for its beautiful rooftop views and it’s music themed parties. Offering more than 30 beer varieties, Broma also serves one-of-a-kind signature cocktails.

Broma is a popular bar on weekends with expats and it is similar with the Observatory. It will attract similar DJs playing minimal, deep house and techno songs. We consider it is one of the best bars in Saigon.

You can also read: Saigon Nightlife.

GALLERY

East West Brewing Co.

The first thing you’ll notice entering East West Brewing Co. is the gleaming machinery towering overhead.

As the doors close behind you, shutting off the din of downtown District 1 and Ly Tu Trong street, your ears will be greeted with the cavernous acoustics of something like to a museum. The floor plan is open permitting a clear view of the Ho Chi Minh City brewer’s pièce de résistance: the mammoth gleaming tanks on two floors that make up the beer maker’s in-house brewery.

east west brewing

Show, Don’t Tell

In response to why the brewhouse was built to be a public-facing operation, East West Brewing Co.’s founders explained that craft beer’s relative newness and novelty in Vietnam created an opportunity for them to present the drink in a more intimate way.

At the time of writing, East West remains the only place in Saigon where the city’s thirsty can drink a craft beer made on site. Brewery spokeswoman Mimi Truong said that explaining the broader motivation of craft beer—the process, the reasons behind making it and drinking it versus a Tiger or Heineken— is a bit like telling a story.

east west brewing

Like all stories, it benefits from a visual aid.

Mimi used an analogy to explain. “Let’s say you’re eating street food outside. There’s some kind of relationship when you visually see them cooking and the hard work that goes into that process.”

“If we didn’t show the general public upfront what craft beer was about, then the understanding wouldn’t be there”, Head Brewer Sean Thommen said. “That’s the biggest challenge that we have as a country that doesn’t really have a craft beer culture behind it.”

“We could just be brewing the beer elsewhere and using the location as a taproom”, Mimi said. But “to actually have it laid down in front of you ... it introduces the concept of real brewers brewing real quality beer. It creates this relationship that’s more personal.”

“It’s one thing to tell you, it’s another to show you”, Mimi said.

How It’s Made

The untrained eye might get lost in the chromy gleam of the open brewery. The four tanks at the top are seated on another five polished 1,500 litre tanks at the ground floor.

It’s like looking at the engine of a car: the industrial beauty is enhanced by the mystery of how the Rube Goldberg machine-like invention works.

East West Brewing Co. offers tours of its brewery to learn more about how they make the beers.

During the tour, you might learn that the brewery is not just a two-storey machine, but also contains a third at the very top. It’s here that the recipe begins, crushing the grain in preparation for the mash.

From there, the malt moves to the second “hot” floor where the ingredients are combined with boiling water and cooked to specification. Then the liquid is moved to the kettle and boiled. This is where one of the most important steps for perfecting flavour happens: adding the hops.

east west brewing

Unfinished beers leaving the second floor are sent to the bottom to cool and condition in the 1,500 litre tanks standing at attention adjacent to the dining room floor. Depending on the style of beer, the unfinished brew could be in fermentation for a long time—the malty, pronounced Independence Stout calls for a resting period of a month and a half—or a short one, like the Summer Hefeweizen, which is ready for kegging and bottling in just over two weeks.

The brewery is built in levels like this to have gravity do the work of moving the tremendous liquid volumes from the top to the ground floor where the beers enter the fermentation stage, the last step in becoming drinkable, finished brews.

Changing Tastes

As Saigon’s beer lovers are getting to know East West Brewing Co., the brewer is also getting to know it’s audience and it’s shifting preferences better.

For example, when the microbrewery opened a year ago, the top seller was the Saigon Rosé. The light, fruity raspberry wheat beer was a popular first foray into craft beer for the local drinkers, a crowd typically doused with light lagers like Tiger and 333 at other places.

Then, “in just six months the palette changed so quickly”, Mimi said.

Nowadays, the brewery is now equally known and renowned for the Summer Hefeweizen, a citrusy, zesty take on the classic German wheat ale recipe, as well as their Far East IPA, and its flagship East West Pale Ale, a polished, hoppy beer that acts as ”a nice bridge” out of the land of industrial scale lagers, Mimi said.

east west brewing

The beer that carries the brewery’s name is an abridged reimagining of the company’s story. The East West Pale Ale combines hops from the US with hops in New Zealand. Similarly, East West Brewing Co. is the lovechild of a marriage between craft beer—a western convention—to a vision formulated by a US-raised Vietnamese entrepreneur Loc Truong and Sean Thommen, a US native leading the brewing operation.

“If they can come in and see it, smell it … they can understand why it’s not just a product”, Thommen said. “We have to show them that it’s … an experience, there’s a science behind it.”

Most importantly, he added “it’s fun.”

Your meal prep routine will forgive you if you head to East West Brewing Co. for lunch. With a wide selection of Saigon & San Diego based dishes ranging from VND50,000 to VND175,000+, your wallet won’t likely mind either. Choose from a menu that includes appetizers like the Lotus Root Palm Heart Salad or Steak Watercress Salad and a main course, like the Spicy Garlic Tiger Prawn Tacos, California Burrito, or Teriyaki Salmon.

Come back on Saturday and Sunday morning for brunch. For VND750,000+, you can indulge in the brewery’s Kegs N’ Eggs Weekend Brunch package, which includes free flow craft beer as well as creme brulee french toast, california eggs benedict, and carne asada steak tacos.

GALLERY

Chill Skybar

The original open-air rooftop club and bar in Ho Chi Minh City, Chill Skybar is a Saigon staple, attracting crowds of stylish socialites, businessmen, party-goers and tourists looking to let loose 26 storeys above ground.

Few have not heard about Chill Skybar. AB Tower’s crown jewel occupies the entire 26th floor, covering both an indoor lounge and an outdoor bar-and-party space.

Chill Skybar Saigon

Attracting big-name DJs, global artists (singers, dancers, mixologists) and brand ambassadors and with a constant flow of themed international events, Chill Skybar is relentlessly pumping out new reasons to visit its exclusive vantage point, at any time of night – from ladies nights to weekly SHOWSTOPPER events and hip-hop takeovers.

One of the most popular promotions at Chill is an exclusive offer to all female guests! Every Wednesday, check out Beauty & Essence. From 9.30 p.m. till late, all ladies can enjoy exclusive cocktail special offers for a night of high class drinking and dancing fun in the Saigon sky.

Party in the most seductive way, every Saturday at Soirée Champagne Shower and take advantage of the daily Panorama View Happy Hour from 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., where you can enjoy delicious drinks and snacks, starting at just VND 88,000++.

In addition to superb promotions, Chill Skybar offers the very best in nightlife entertainment in Saigon. In particular, don’t miss the weekly Friday SHOWSTOPPER events - expect the unexpected with incredible ‘show stopping’ performances for the ultimate in nighttime enjoyment.

Ambiance

The main draw has always been – and will always be – Ho Chi Minh City’s million-light skyline, with the sail-shaped Bitexco Tower looming over and the outstanding views dominated by the twisting traffic and teeming life below.

AB Tower has a knack for shaping venues around distinctly chic concepts. Chill Skybar is somewhere between the 90s trance scene version of the future and a vodka commercial. Even the bathrooms can be mistaken for miniature clubs, with profuse LEDs and utopian architecture.

Chill Skybar Saigon

Music transitions from recorded chill-out music from 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. to late night live DJs playing hip-hop, EDM and Top 40 commercial hits.

Service

With grand views and grandiose décor comes great [monetary] responsibility. It’s much easier to get the socially-attuned staff laughing along with you if you come with company and occupy a table, or if you arrive with ticket-in-hand, than if you simply want a peek at the skyline.

Bartenders themselves are selected for Chill, based on experience and panache alone and are highly trained to produce the very best beverages for every guest. Each expert bartender has at least four years of experience under their belt.

Chill Skybar Saigon

Service is prompt and professional, albeit somewhat cool when compared to something more low-key. But it’s what’s expected, the closer you get to space.

The high level of service at Chill Skybar continues even with the security staff, who are friendly, courteous and professional - always focused on the safety and well-being of each customer.

Experience

Your experience largely depends on the night’s event, crowd and what’s playing. Certain factors are constants however, and build the base experience, no matter what night you come. Namely, the cocktails and service. Since the latter has been covered, let’s dive into Chill Skybar’s primary motivation – mixology.

Signature house cocktails all snuggly fit into a “fusion” category. Which in Chill’s case would be predominantly Western spirits and ingredients mixed with traditional Vietnamese elements.

Chill Skybar Saigon

Western ingredients would include things like: classic spirits, rosemary, cardamom, thyme and pink peppercorn. Vietnamese ingredients would be along the lines of: lemongrass, ginger, mango and other tropical fruits.

If you desire, the skilled bartenders are also flexible enough for custom cocktails, if you have a recipe or flavour profile in mind.

Asian Temptation

Their signature cocktail, Asian Temptation, is one of the top choices at Chill Skybar. The creative combination of Vodka, Sake and Passion Fruit is sure to make you and your friends order a second round. This sexy signature cocktail is included as part of Chill Skybar’s Happy Hour.

Chill Skybar Saigon

13th Street Daiquiri

Only available during Chill Skybar’s cocktail promotion “Shaken or Stirred - Artistry Mixology” from 8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., the 13th Street Daiquiri is a delightfully designed cocktail for a refined palate. This beverage is known as a ‘trolley cocktail’, since it is quite literally created and served to you direct from a trolley by your own personal mixologist.

Chill Skybar Saigon

Dining

For when partying works up your appetite, just head up the LED stairs to the fantastic Chill Dining on the 27th floor. With an emphasis on superb steak and seafood, choose from a modern a-la-carte menu, including the addition of 34 brand new, mouthwatering dishes.

Chill Skybar Saigon

Using premium ingredients from around the world, offerings such as Angustus Platinum Ribeye, Kagoshima “Kamichiku” Wagyu, and Chill Private Label Caviar by Kaviari are sure to delight your taste buds. Add in paired fine wines, premium spirits and champagne, plus the gorgeous backdrop of the stunning Saigon city views and you will have an exceptional culinary experience at Chill Dining.

What People Say

Reviews on TripAdvisor are mixed, but mostly fall between Very Good and Excellent. Near unanimous praise is given for the expansive view and drink reviews range from good to great. There are only a couple of complaints on the dress code (Chill Skybar allows shorts, but still no gym or sports shorts, tank tops, or flip flops. They do, however, lend shoes free of charge). Otherwise, people enjoy the vibe and the music at Chill Skybar. Some label it as their favourite nightspot in Ho Chi Minh City.

GALLERY

Air 360 Sky Lounge

Not far across from its sister club, Chill SkyBar, the Air 360 Sky Lounge is the newest addition to the Capella Entertainment family. More adult and more business than Chill, Air 360 centers around a multi-level, lounge-like space with plenty of seating and a 360 degree view of the city. In a nutshell, Chill entertains, Air 360 helps unwind.

Ambiance

The venue is split into roughly four levels, starting from the Sky Pool, where guests can reserve a private event space with a swimming pool. The Sky Deck and indoor area sit on the next level, offering an outdoor bar similar to Chill’s but with a bit more space to sit and lounge around. The Sky Gallery is the walkway between the upper level and the Sky Deck. Finally, the upper level offers a higher vantage and a more private space for intimate groups to chat. The Sky Pool runs “Dining by the Pool” from 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. with modern Vietnamese cuisine that focuses on fresh seafood, meat and vegetables.

Air 360 Skybar

Not as crowded or noisy as its sister venue, those who prefer Chill’s indoor area and generally an environment suitable for after-work mingling will enjoy Air 360’s multi-level options. Those who prefer indoor area will find a classy, quiet lounge to dine and wine in. The crowd consists of professionals, more mature couples, artists and creatives, and more; a more adult audience in general.

Air 360 Skybar Saigon

Service

Service can be expected to be on par with Chill, albeit more accommodating for those who simply want a drink and a view, and not an all-night bottle session. There is little pressure to purchase anything and staff is smiley and accommodating.

Air 360 Skybar

Drinks

Like its sister venue, Air 360 features a number of custom cocktails that incorporate elements of Vietnam with Western spirit practices. During our time we tried three signatures, recommended by the head bartender:

Air 360 Skybar HCMC Drink

White Night

Gin, cucumber, ginger, sugar, lime and port wine make up the White Night, one of Air 360’s infusions of Western and Eastern ingredients. The gin and cucumber make for a fresh, cooling palate, and the lime and port make for sour-sweetish element that give this drink an added kick. Gin lovers will be pleased.

Chocolate Martini

There is no vermouth, vodka or gin in this martini – but as this is Vietnam, regular naming conventions may not apply. Instead, you get a nice mix of dark rum, cacao liqueur and a chocolate liqueur, resulting in a Black Russian of sorts, a bit creamy and sweet.

Sexy Bar

A tropical blend, fruit juice lovers will find this up their alley with its well-masked alcohol. Rum, mango juice, orange juice, coconut, vanilla syrup and lime juice create a more-sweet-than-sour blend that goes down easy. It may be too sweet for some, but those who like fruity cocktails will enjoy the Sexy Bar.

What Can Be Improved

The signature drinks are more on the sweet and sour end. Those who prefer old fashioned, less-saccharine options will not find as many choices.

What People Say

With a little over 20 reviews at the time of writing, Air 360 Sky Lounge has a solid four bubble rating, with many people praising the experience, atmosphere and service. The 360 degree view seems to be a consistent favorite.

GALLERY

GEM Lounge

With its sophisticated and relaxed setting located at the exquisite GEM Center, this modern lounge has something for everyone. From the decorations to the menu, all aspects of the GEM Lounge are centered around the creation of a warm and inviting ambience. Whether stopping by for a quick coffee on the way to work, for a lunch break, an afternoon tea or as a meetup spot after work, the GEM Lounge caters to all interests. The carefully crafted food, juices and drink options bring together a diverse group of seasonal favourites. Unwind from a day’s work, indulge in a delicious drink and relish in the live piano music from 7pm to 10pm everyday.

GALLERY

Whiskey & Wares

What makes Whiskey & Wares special? The drinks are reasonably priced (but not excessively cheap); the atmosphere is comfortably casual yet also refined and stylish; and the service is friendly, attentive and laidback. And once you see the cozy, couch-filled upstairs lounge, you’ll see that it’s an ideal bar to visit with friends.

whiskey and wares couches

Located just off of Bui Vien on the much more reserved (yet still busy) De Tham Street, Whiskey & Wares offers patrons quality drinks at great prices. True to its name, one side of the menu is filled with constantly rotating whiskey choices, which are organized by country of origin (brands from Japan, Ireland and the U.S. are only a few among the selection) rather than price. Derek Jay, who co-owns the bar with Wan Winters, said was an intentional choice. “We want people to try really good whiskeys they haven’t tried before. So the nice whiskeys are still affordable.” Cheers!

Whiskey and wares couches

If you’re not in the mood for whiskey, there’s plenty of other options. There’s an extensive list of local craft beers as well as a large selection of original and traditional cocktails with an Asian twist. If you have a weakness for whiskey sours, be sure to give their Tamarind Whiskey Sour a try. The most notable drink, however, has got to be the Saigon Whiskey Collins, a well-balanced mix of tac (Vietnamese kumquat), star anise, ginger and whiskey. Keep an eye on this list – each month a new cocktail will be added.

Whiskey and wares bar

Don’t just go to this bar for the drinks, though. Also stay tuned for the locally made art the owners continually showcase, the weekly live music, the soon-to-be-added food items (barbecue banh mis! Texas-Saigon beer chili!) and the rooftop patio that might be opening up in the near future. However, smokers accustomed to ashtrays indoors beware: while there’s a balcony and chairs out front, smoking is prohibited inside the bar itself.

GALLERY

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