Life in Hanoi holds many secret pearls of joy – most of which aren’t readily available in the UK, but one of the more benign gifts this city has in store for you is the survival of happy hour, a long dead memory of better times for old Blighty. Given that summer has finally arrived to the nation’s capital and my swampy bedroom won’t be making it onto TripAdvisor anytime soon (this isn’t Vice, sorry folks) – here’s a breakdown of some of the top drinks deals that grease the wheels and lubricate the livers of Hanoi.
Polite Pub earned the status of cocktail institution through blood, sweat and tears – thankfully however none of these secretions make it into their cocktails. The fluids that do find their way into the glass are of a far finer calibre than anything ever produced by the human body. Dominating at the exquisite end of the market, Polite Pub bring their full repertoire of craft cocktails to the sweat-encrusted plebeian masses at discounted prices from 4pm to 8pm every single day of the godless week. This is ideal for those arising from an early afternoon slumber or anyone who’s idea of a good time is being waited on hand and foot by a smattering of well-dressed, well-trained mixologists.
I have a theory that these guys were bred in a lab as they seemingly exist purely to whip up fantastical libations, the likes of which Hanoi rarely sees. Any drink from the time-honoured classic cocktail list is VND80,000, but for just VND10,000 more, you too can indulge in the sort of luxurious signature cocktails that are usually reserved for bankers, the Monopoly man and members of the Gaddafi family.
Hanoi Taco Bar
Hidden amid the slobbering packs of feral backpackers, wild-eyed bicycle tuk-tuk drivers and other timeless scenes of Hanoi’s Old Quarter is the Hanoi Taco Bar. As the name suggests, the focus here rests on the food, but come for the tacos, stay for the margarita pitchers. There is a daily two hour window, from 5pm til 7pm that symbolises a very special time for the looser residents of this fair city.
It means that VND350,000 can ensure you and your friends – if you’re lucky enough to have any – can be dangerously intoxicated in a very short period of time. Two hours isn’t scarcely enough time to achieve much better with your life and for the sheer volume of quality tequila based beverages, Hanoi Taco Bar is worth finishing work early for. Buy one get one free on all cocktails, tacos and local beers – just in time for a post-work piss up.
Secluded – much in the way that billionaire’s lakefront properties tend to be, but without the robotic attack dogs and G-men security detail, DeN sits pretty on the banks of the West Lake. Overlooking the neon grin of the smile once the sun descends back into hiding, it’s a truly lavish spot to finally peel yourself from the buttsweat-slicked saddle of the motorbike and relax. DeN does more than just cater to that aching, howling liver – happy hour here is an all day affair.
VND100,000 gets you a bottle of beer and a pizza on any given Monday, Friday or Saturday – which, considering most places won’t even serve a cocktail for VND100,000 is a damned fine way to start or end the week, depending on your proclivities.
Ten hours is a long time for almost anything – the emphasis here though is on the “almost” – while ten hours of tilling a field is probably as fun as a sandpaper handjob, you need to be a special kind of killjoy before ten hours of drinking doesn’t sound amusing. Slap bang in the middle of To Ngoc Van, Green Mango offers not one, nor two, but ten hours in which to drink yourself happy – from 1pm to 11pm – for your debauched amusement.
Their buy one get one free deal is comprehensive to say the least, spanning from local beers to classic cocktails and even wine by the glass for those who like to get shitfaced in their Sunday bests. This daily deal has been known to dole out the damage, but is definitely a win for anyone looking to drown out the mortal terror of being human in 2018. Oh, and they do food.