Bizarre cocktails

Bingham and Natasha were in town from England so despite CELTA work looming we decided to have a night out sampling cocktails around town.

We began with Bar Betta (34C Cao Ba Quat near the Fine arts museum) – My photos don’t do it justice (I shall return) as it is definitely one of the most eclectically decorated bars in Hanoi – antiques, pop art, and an insane number of empty bottles. One almost wonders where the drain pipe trouser men of East London are…

Service up on the roof terrace was painfully slow, but very good margaritas and some rather peculiar beer cocktails. I had not been aware that such a thing existed…

a shot glass in a beer – too bizarre

On to Highway4 on 25 Bat Su, on the west side of the old quarter. I had loved the original Highway4 which I ate at when I first came to Hanoi in my gap year almost ten years ago. Back then it was far more obscure and rough around the edges with a short menu on a piece of paper listing only truly rural fare such as crickets and frogs and other little creatures one. Now it has become a big commercial venture with its wide variety of rice wines (which are considerably more palatable than those actually available in remote Vietnam), huge, colourful laminated food menu, and several restaurants dotted around town. After a visit to the Xuan Dieu branch I had feared the charm and quality was gone entirely, but post our visit to Bat Su I was pleasantly surprised. It is incredibly popular with large groups of young Vietnamese and while very bustling over several levels, there is also a tiny roof terrace. We feared service might go out the window due to us literally sitting out through the window, but it was attentive and spot on. Sadly, the light was a bit poor hence few food pics. The catfish spring rolls and rolled fillet filled with Enoki were delicious. They have also rather cleverly converted many of their fruit flavoured rice wines into cocktails. Unsurprisingly the snake and scorpion rice liquors have been left off the cocktail list…

Fried catfish in rice paper rolls

The rice liquor cocktails

Finally back to Southgate (28 Tong Duy Tan) for a final nightcap – who knew that a 2 for 1 happy hour also seems to lurk on Saturdays between the hours of 10 and 11. As always the guava chili margaritas are amazingly tart, spicy, and strong – definitely the best in Hanoi. The talented Danish bar man can of course make anything off menu too.

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