Happy hours are typically created for those alcohol hounds chasing ways to maximize drink intake for money spent. The very best happy hours, however, isn’t just about scoring cheap liquor.
This review of two happy hours in Saigon aims to give a bit more than just a practical treatment of the happy hour scene. If you want booze delivered cheaply down the esophagus, Bui Vien and its surroundings offer best deals, but ambience, milieu, general cheerful vibe all matter for this version of an enjoyable happy hour. We are epicurists, men and women of good taste and refinement, after all. So without further ado, here’s a taste of the burgeoning classy cocktail happy hour scene in Saigon.
Still my favorite happy hour place in Saigon, and I’m shocked it’s not piled high everyday with visitors. Shri’s lack in business is my gain, I suppose.
Shri is a colorful interior space and rooftop restaurant and bar situated above the Centec Center on the 23rd floor, with terrific views of the Saigon skyline. It’s connected by a glass walkway to the Social Club, set atop the Mplace hotel, which has a gorgeous infinity pool and a different angled view on the city. The happy hour at Shri is still a better deal than M Place’s, however, and nothing beats seeing the sun set color up the skyline of the city as you gently sip on your Peach Bellini or bubbly cocktail of choice (Shri has many captivating options of bubbly cocktails). It’s a good life with a very good price.
My favorite drink here is the Saigon Old Fashioned, a brown sugared and uniquely slanted rendition of the traditional Old Fashioned. This version trades the strong citrus taste for an amber smokeyness that aptly captures the sun setting on the city. I am not by trade or passion a photographer, but I have on occasion snapped a few shots of this amber Old Fashioned in foreground of a gentle Saigon sunset, just to instagra(i)mpress potential followers out there.
From 3 – 8 PM it’s half price off all items on the drink menu: a potent deal considering the fantastic view and extensive list of drinks. There’s also great nibbles if you’re willing spend a little more cash.
A lamp lit, cozy dedication to good taste and mellow fruitful drinking. The space is a mixture of cracking stony Buddhist heads and dark wooden high rise tables. You can imagine settling down here for a nice chat with a friend, as the music is typically toned down. The Old Fashioned globular ice cubes are on point, though you can tell they’re not hand carved. Try the New York Sour, a layered twist on the Whiskey Sour that’s refreshing and satisfying. Occasionally you’ll see popping in on the scene an incongruous, sexily dressed beer girl marketing Heinekens, but I suppose it can be explained by the fact that Shrine has expanded to become a sports bar on the second floor, where tapped beers and screens showing football (soccer for Americans) is the norm. The option to choose either scene is good and I like being able to have drinks from both areas, regardless of where I choose to sit.
From 3 – 7 PM it’s half price off all classic cocktails. Don’t waste it by getting a Screwdriver, Cosmo, or Long Island Ice Tea, please.
7-10 PM buying one signature cocktail gets you another one free.
Pics: Tuan Phan