Best Venues For Live Music in Saigon
Whether you’re a DJ junkie, a clubbing fiend or a lover of live music, Saigon after-hours is a maze of musical possibility.
As a city that never sleeps, Vietnam’s commercial centre and one of Southeast Asia’s top backpacker hotspots, it’s no wonder that Ho Chi Minh City is home to such a diverse number of top music venues and artsy people. There is no excuse for staying home here - Saigon has something for everyone.
Are you a bit of a slower-moving night owl? Ok relax - chill out at one of Saigon Outcast’s evening music jams. Or are you more of a cigar puffing lover-of-all-things-unique? You hipster, you. Don your leather shoes and red lipstick and get yourself to Broma.
But what if you’re more of a wiggler? Like to party? Dance the night away at Lush nightclub, or shake it in the flashing lights of Saigon’s Chill Skybar.
And finally, are you a fan of a good honest classic? Well why not enjoy "a bottle of white, a bottle of red, perhaps a bottle of rosé instead?" as you kick back in Acoustic Bar’s smoky interior and thank the lord for Billy Joel.
Honestly, no matter what your nighttime music scene is Saigon surely has the answer. There are just so many great places to spend an evening in this city, and as a bunch of party animals, rock music whiskey sippers and guitar strumming hippies, we would like to recommend:
28 Le Loi, D1 | 0288 3822 8472
If jazz is your weakness, if saxophones make you giggle, if a room with red wine, good people and cozy low lighting is your idea of a top evening, then the Sax’n’Art Jazz Club is definitely your kind of place.
Image source: facebook.com/saxnart
Come and tap along to the Sax’n’Art band jamming on saxophonist Tran Manh Tuan’s own charts, a fusion of contemporary jazz and traditional Vietnamese music, and get soulful with the classics from the legendary Charlie Parker to jazz icon Sonny Rollins. You can find out more about the Jazz Club at their website.
224 De Tham, D1 | 028 2210 2929
Thi Bar is not only conveniently located - slap bang in the middle of Saigon’s tourist strip - but it also happens to house a quality cover band and a crowd of friendly, chilled out staff. Although beer is offensively expensive compared to the VND 10,000 draft just around the corner, it’s worth every zero for the raucous good time you will find inside. The bar also has an excellent ‘buy two get one free’ happy hour special for beer and cocktails from six to nine p.m., which continues all night on Wednesdays.
Join the cheerful band and crowd of beery expats, backpackers and the odd Vietnamese for a night of good, honest fun.
22 Nguyen Thi Dieu, D3 | 028 3933 0577
Founded nearly two decades ago, YOKO is one of Saigon’s most respected and established live music venues. This is a place for musicians to meet, perform and share their creative ideas. Most evenings artists put their own twists on classic songs, but other nights YOKO plays host to some unique international artists.
Image source: i.ytimg.com
InterContinental, Corner Hai Ba Trung & Nguyen Du, D1 | 028 3520 9099
Chic, romantic and cosy, Purple Jade is one of the quieter music venues. If you want somewhere to sip an expertly crafted cocktail while enjoying the occasional saxophone or piano performance, this place will delight you. The appetisers are huge, so if you want a quick snack with your cosmopolitan, the bar snacks are well worth a look.
Image source: citypassguide
AB Tower, 76A Le Lai, Ben Thanh, D1 | 093 882 28 38
If you’ve been to District 1 in Saigon and your ears work as they should, you’ve probably heard the distant pumping of Chill Skybar’s well-known DJs as you wander the streets below. And if you have a pair of closed-in shoes and long pants, you may have even ventured up to this rooftop slab of flashing lights and futuristic decor to spend far too much money on a beer, and on one of the best views in Saigon.
To be honest, the views and the quality of the drinks here make all that spending worth it.
Chill Skybar is home to Saigon’s classiest of clubbers and is known as the party spot to visit when you come through the city. Inside is a sleek lounge and bar area which flows into a wide balcony from which you can marvel at the sheer expanse of Ho Chi Minh City and watch its ceaseless glimmering lights. Invest in a cocktail and sip it like the queen as you smile at the attractive people around you and wonder if you might start dancing soon. Chill Skybar is definitely more of a nightclub than a relaxing after-hours venue, but don’t let its confusing name stop you - wear something flashy and get on over to the party.
95 Hai Ba Trung, Ben Nghe, D1 | 090 902 82 93
Blanchy’s has only been open since 2011, but it’s got such defiant class that you’d think it had been open forever. DJs play the best charting hits and all your favourite dance classics, and the bar itself serves top-notch drinks. Blanchy’s works with local acts and international artists, from Grand Master Flash and D Ramirez to Bob Sinclar and Sebastian Gamboa. With a global market in mind, this stylish after-hours hub strives to cater to a more internationally integrated crowd, competing as an evening and music venue on the world stage. The most important thing to wear here is a smile, and the most important thing to do is enjoy.
If you are a lady, we recommend a visit on Wednesday evening to make the most of lady’s night - free mojitos from 10 p.m. to 12p.m.!
Hard Rock Cafe
39 Le Duan, D1 | 028 6291 7595
Ho Chi Minh City’s successful outlet of this well-known international chain is a favourite among expats and locals alike, and is our recommended go-to if you’re craving a bit of hearty Western cuisine, or some of their tasty Western-Vietnamese creations. Think burger and chips, and a bottle of iced larger.
True to its name, the Hard Rock Cafe in Saigon’s Kumho Asiana Plaza in District 1 has the last word on quality covers of your favourite American and British rock’n’roll classics in Ho Chi Minh City. A resident band plays nightly, and make sure you keep a look out for the bar’s regular guest artists both from the local and an international sphere.
76 Le Lai, Ben Thanh | 028 3824 3760
Catwalk is one of Saigon’s top karaoke venues, nightclubs and live music joints - all rolled into one. A classy city venue, this popular spot is frequented by the businessmen and higher end revelers of Ho Chi Minh City society, and regularly hosts parties, karaoke events and music acts.
Catwalk houses 14 private karaoke rooms, a spacious dance floor and a stage for the club’s Cuban and Vietnamese bands that perform international hits, with the skill of musicians who honestly love what they do.
One of the biggest attractions of this place is its female staff members, perhaps unfortunately, who give Catwalk an added allure to further stand out from the crowd. Smiling Vietnamese ladies will sing karaoke with you, beat you in pool, chat with you and serve you drinks.
13-15-17 Dong Khoi, D1 | 0909 771 925
Cozy, warm and ambient, Maxim's Club has been a highlight of Saigon’s after-hours scene since it opened in 1925. It is a popular spot for Saigon’s elites, and a live music favourite where the beautiful and wealthy of Vietnam’s commercial center dance the night away together in their glittering heels. Open from 7pm, a variety of musical genres are featured from the sultry Tango to the Rumba.
Downstairs, late night revelers whirl on the spacious dance floor, and upstairs the less energetic of Maxim's patrons relax in the Vintage Lounge or the Fine Dining Restaurant. Sip at one out of 10 delicious cocktails, and let the evening unfold.
2 Ly Tu Trong, Ben Nghe, D1 | 091 863 07 42
For the bright lights and blurry adrenaline you would expect from a quality nightclub, Lush is your Saigon number one. Featuring two levels - a crowded lower dance floor and a slightly less populated upper gallery - Lush is home to the members of Saigon’s most dedicated party scene. You will be squashed because that scene is surprisingly large, but we think that’s all part of the fun.
Lush prides itself on its range of quality international and local DJs, and is popular among tourists, locals and expats alike. Tuesday nights are ladies’ nights, with free drinks from 10pm to 12 pm for Saigon’s women, but the club is typically full of dance music revelers every night of the week. The upstairs gallery is usually less crowded but sometimes reserved for private parties.
Cuba la Casa del Mojito
91 Pasteur St, D1 | 028 3822 7099
If you don’t mind the tight quarters, Cuba la Casa del Mojito hosts Spanish musicians the Mosquito Band every Friday and Saturday night at 10 p.m. The cozy bar resembles a freight car in both shape and the amount of personal space you’re afforded. If you can get a good seat, you’ll be getting pretty intimate with the band’s sonorous guitars and bold voices. Space be damned: there’s plenty of dancing, perhaps due to a menu heavy in tequila. Reservations are recommended but not required.
Image source: i.ytimg.com
43 Nguyen Van Giai, D1 | 012 2399 4260
One of Saigon’s newer venues, Indika is a delightfully weird bar/restaurant experience. With a broad and eclectic variety of musicians performing every week, and superbly crafted theme nights, special events and chill-out parties, Indika has become the hangout of choice for Saigon’s hip creative scene. The Sunday afternoon sessions in particular are well worth checking out.
Image source: anyarena.com
6E Ngo Thoi Nhiem, D3 | 090 3787 685
At the end of an alleyway behind a rustic wooden exterior, Acoustic Bar offers the best of Saigon’s covers and original music. A resident band plays all your favourite hits every night from 10pm until midnight, and before that a number of different local bands and acts play their music and their versions of popular songs for an audience of locals, expats and the musically minded traveler.
Image source: mtrend.vn
Inside the bar it’s smoky and dim, the ideal tavern feel for those with a nose for after-hours grunge, and its friendly atmosphere and cheerful MC make this notorious Saigon live music venue the ideal place to relax with a good honest beer. Or perhaps a mojito!
188 Nguyen Van Huong, Thao Dien, D2 | 090 236 57 80
Resting in the heart of District 2’s famed Thao Dien ward, Saigon Outcast is the resident “cool kid” on the music venue block. This open air venue, constructed from repurposed shipping containers, holds both intimate music gatherings and large festivals, and is known as one of the top live music spots in Ho Chi Minh City. It also sells home-brewed cider which, let’s be honest, seals the deal.
Wednesday night Jameson Whiskey sponsored acoustic jams break up the hum drum DJ’s spinning in the city and invite any and all to participate. Major recurring festivals like The Melting Pot call Outcast home and help display the best of Saigon’s art, music, food, and design scene. A life drawing workshop is now offered on Tuesday nights, and Outcast also runs a monthly Urban Flea Market full of local designers, artists and entrepreneurs.
La Fenêtre Soleil
44 Ly Tu Trong, D1 | 016 6582 547
Once you find the entrance, climb the creaky wooden steps in this old French building and locate the venue’s frosted glass door, you will probably have already fallen in love with the smoky ambience of La Fenêtre Soleil. The venue dominates the 2nd floor of 44 Ly Tu Trong, and its sweeping curtains are visible from the street below.
Artist space, chic café, or music venue, “the sunny window” holds favourably in the hearts and minds of both travellers and expats in this crazy city. From relaxing jazz nights, 50’s and 60’s DJ nights and raucous rock n roll shows, La Fenêtre Soleil is a surprising and beautiful place to kick off or end your night.
Image source: facebook.com/lafenetre.soleil.3
Hold your fine neat whisky in one hand and gesture with the other, as you postulate among Saigon’s bohemians in the haze of their night-time music haven.
25C Tu Xuong, D3 | 090 5316 456
Two short blocks from the Acoustic Bar, the RockFanClub hosts Vietnamese rock bands with live music every night of the week. They specialise in a kind of loud, energetic rock played at full volume alongside a well-stocked bar.
Image source: facebook.com/rockfanclub.rfc
Hard Rock Cafe
Kumho Asiana Plaza, 39 Le Duan, D1 | 028 6291 7595
Saigon’s Hard Rock Cafe of this well-known international chain is a favourite among expats and locals, and is our recommended go-to if you crave hearty Western meals and well-mixed house cocktails. A resident band plays nightly, along with occasional local and international guests.
Image source: 1.bp.blogspot.com
152 Le Lai, D1 | 028 3925 9838
Combining live music with a distinctly Spanish flavour, La Habana has built a strong reputation for quality tapas, Spanish live music and reasonably priced European and South American wines. The bands play every day except Monday, and it’s always an exciting and lively affair.
Kingdom Beer Club
3 Ton Duc Thang, Ben Nghe, D1 | 090 466 45 673
Kingdom Beer Club sounds a lot butcher than it is. The venue, fronted with glass and two silk-clad doormen, should perhaps just be called ‘Kingdom’ since the kind of guests who visit and the vibes within are far from the connotations of a ‘beer club’. No rustic wooden stools or flagons of frothy brew here.
Kingdom is a popular local venue which attracts mainly Vietnamese patrons of a variety of local demographics. As it’s generally super crowded, we recommend that you book ahead and reserve a table with your group of friends. The bar has no dance floor and is instead one big area of high tables and the occasional stool filled with bouncing, snack nibbling, beer chugging twenty-somethings wearing skimpy skirts and smart dress-shoes. Beer is sold in large, communal vats which sit on your table and from which you can tap yourself a glass whenever you fancy. Many locals drink it with ice, and the club’s range of Vietnamese and Western snack foods are a tasty addition to an evening of partying.
Local and international DJs play a continuous set of pumping beats, and a variety of drinking competitions and special offers make a night here into a serious event. Get up and dance on the stage, or bop by your table and down a million glasses of delicious Saigon Red.
17 Nguyen Thi Dieu, D3 | 090 9014 608
The Fang Pub’s rise to favourite status among the local and expatriate communities is due in no small part to its consistent live music offerings. Except Mondays, the bar hosts a rotating cast of rock musicians who play on a lowered part of the bar floor.
Image source: i.ytimg.com
Broma: Not A Bar
41 Nguyen Hue, D1 | 028 3823 6838
“Broma” is Spanish for “joke”, but this place has a serious offering of live music that is nothing to laugh at. The rooftop bar hosts regular musicians and DJs, where performers play under a teardrop shaped disco ball rotating for maximum effect. It also hosts an open-mic night on Tuesdays, a live band on Wednesdays and a jazz act on Thursdays.
Image source: vietcetera.com
The Old Compass Cafe and Bar
3rd Floor, Apt 11, 63 Pasteur, D1 | 090 3900 841
During Friday evenings, The Old Compass Cafe and Bar transforms from a quiet, classy lunch spot to a live music venue with a selection heavy in folk music and singer-songwriters. Music there ranges from the quiet, reserved musical offerings of English writer and performer Claire Robbin to more lively rock and folk acts. Saturday nights belong to the ’60s and ’70s.
56A Bui Thi Xuan, Ben Thanh, D1 | 08 3925 5258
Top quality cover bands and a polished atmosphere make MZ a hot live music venue. This is very much a party venue, and the music befits the purpose. The drinks are expensive and rumours of bar girl scams abound, but the staff are generally welcoming and accommodating and the wine list is well-curated. Worth a visit on a special occasion.
8 Ly Tu Trong, D1 | 090 1354 787
Carmen Bar’s intended effect is that of a Spanish castle, which mirrors its nightly live music offerings: the bar prides itself as the go-to spot for Latin and gypsy music recalling sounds native to the Andalusia region.
Image source: travellingtovietnam.net
109 Tran Quoc Toan, D3 | 028 7307 8888
This strange cafe-come-wine bar is an excellently bizarre way to spend an evening. With its dim lights, delicious, fresh food and quality live music, Overture is less of a cafe and more of a night-time lair where you can sample the ripest of reds, and puff on one of their token cigars. Grow a mustache before you visit so you can twirl it as you puff.
The venue sees itself as a haven for music enthusiasts, particularly the trained musicians of Saigon. Visit Overture for their special Performing Arts evening on Saturdays and Sundays, and enjoy their choice live music brought to you by Ho Chi Minh City’s best singers, concert performers and music graduates.
Do you have one to add? Why not leave a comment below and give us an excuse to party.
Article written with the help of Seamus Supervivre.
By Kristian Goodchild, Zoe Osborne and Jesus Lopez-Gomez
Banner image source: lahabana.com