Wine has always had a bit of a money problem in Ho Chi Minh City. Exorbitant import taxes reaching as high as 100 percent mean the refined tipple has been out-of-budget for most local drinkers. But things are starting to change. Bars dedicated to all types of vintages are starting to crop up in the city, from cheap and cheerful through to indulgent addresses. Here’s our guide to the best wine bars in Ho Chi Minh City.
Located in the heart of D1, just steps away from bustling tourist magnet Ben Thanh Market, Baravin offers exclusivity among the masses. It’s hidden away, set covertly above the popular French bistro Cocotte – and while its secretive location and limited seats alude to high-end prices, it’s anything but, serving up a curated menu that balances quality and affordability. The wines are predominantly French, paired with cheese and charcuterie boards from downstairs, making it a tastefully inexpensive spot to sample a selection.
Set on bustling Pasteur Street in the heart of D1, Le Padam has an old-world charm about it. Styled after the classic wine cafés of Paris, the spacious setting is a tasteful blend of wood-and-brick furnishings, retro ‘60s chairs and an impressive cheese fridge, transporting wine-lovers to a bygone era. The wine still flows freely here, with a focus on old-world vintages by the glass or bottle, and paired with rare cheeses flown-in weekly from France, Italy and Switzerland.
Just north of D1’s Japan Town, Booze plays double-duty as both an impressive wine store and a scaled-back bar serving select vintages by the glass. Pull up a chair at one of its barrel tables and let Booze’s passionate owner offer up his personal monthly choices, be it Sicilian whites or South African reds, paired with a tasty selection of house-made tapas. With a two-for-one happy hour everyday till 8pm, plus an incredible Monday deal of a bottle plus a cheeseboard for just VND500K (£16.65), it’s one of the most affordable vino spots in town.
There’s nothing particularly fancy about Brix – nothing upscale or incredibly swank – but that’s a large part of its charm. Opened in 2016 and set on the grimier side of Pasteur Street in D1, Brix attempts to remove the snobbishness that surrounds the world of wine, instead infusing passion back into varied menus and unpretentious light-wood decor. Dedicated winemakers, exciting vintages, quality bottles and some tasty dishes to pair it all with – it’s the perfect place to grow your wine knowledge.
Cork & Bottle has a name as simple and straightforward as its chic, focused concept, where the wine-obsessed gather over its 200 bottles on offer. Prices here run the range of indulgences – from affordable selections for casual nights out and value-for-money bottles ideal for tastings, all the way up incredibly rare vintages saved for special occasions. There’s food too, a small menu of cheeses and meats that pair perfectly with your chosen bottle (rather than the other way around). The quality service, central location and of course, impressive wine menu all add up to a stylish place to indulge.
Passionately run by two young Japanese wine obsessives, this cozy wine bar is set down a quiet private alley on hip Pham Viet Chanh in Binh Thanh, just across the river from D1. The wine menu here is all about passion, a dedicated selection of both old- and new-world vintages. Paired with a Japanese-focused (read: lighter) selection of cheese and meat platters, and served up on its intimate terrace, Lozzi is the ideal date spot for true oenophiles, a place to indulge away from the snootiness of most wine bars.
Bootleggers, set in District 2’s expat area of Thao Dien, strives for a singular ambition across its entire concept. From the carefully handpicked wines, through to the stark décor and the affable staff, their aim is true: to create a friendly neighbourhood wine spot, with a choice selection of exclusive vintages sold by-the-glass or bottle. Both a bar and a shop, they source styles you often won’t find anywhere else in the city, including an impressive range of natural and organic wines, free of flavourings and other nasty bits. Paired with a cheeseboard and some foie gras, it makes for the perfect cheeky weeknight wine spot.
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