It is hardly surprising that newcomers may wonder how the original owner of a rather fetching Green Vespa managed to ‘park’ on the roof of this Riverside pub of the same name.
For those of us for whom the impact of this novel gimmick and eye-catching sign has worn off, there still remains an allure.
If you are one for statistics, the mere fact that the Green Vespa came a lofty 9th out of a significant 136 entries in a Best of British Pub competition might draw you in.
The Empire Bar and Restaurant opened recently without fanfare. Business partners Niall Crotty and Bruce Douglas have set out to create a comfortable chilled out space, drawing inspiration from the Manchester bar scene Niall experienced in the noughties (remember that decade?). They seem to have achieved that, both in the ambiance of the venue and its diverse clientele.
It’s hard to do contemporary well in Hoi An, as the seventeenth century central region UNESCO recognized world heritage site positively reeks of the good old days, with schoolgirls floating by in white traditional ao dai on bicycles, merry jewel coloured lanterns hanging from roof eaves, and obligatory bas (grandmothers) hawking fruit from backbreaking carrying poles or selling local street food specialities worth dying for.
The name of bar reminds me of the late 70s and early 80s, when the Czech Babetta motorbike leisurely ran on the roads of Hanoi. At that time, only a rich family had enough money to buy these bikes, with the remainder making do with bicycles. Young men in white shirts and black trousers, a pretty girl bashfully leaned on this back, traveling down a road full of falling dracontomelum flowers. So the image of the Babetta belongs to nice memories past.
With bars, cafes and restaurants in Hanoi’s Old Quarter playing up their gritty, Old Hanoi faux-French colonial credentials, it comes as a pleasant surprise to find a place that is willing to grasp modernity, comfort and the tastes of home as their guiding principle.
Sports Bar. Ladies, are you still with me? Don’t go away. It’s just possible that you’re going to enjoy ‘Score!’, a new venue from Pascal Plamondon and his wife Srei Oun, the owners of ‘Liquid’ and ‘Flavours’. Its early days (the place has only been open a week) but Pascal and Srei seem to have pulled off an interesting trick. They have created a Sports bar that appeals equally to women. Yes, I know it sounds oxymoronic. I can’t work it out either.
The Loft Lounge is a combination of a Wine Shop in the front and a huge living room style bar in the back. Designed in red and white with a nice brick wall it takes you into a nightlife place you wouldn't expect here in Vientiane. It is quite stylish, and mostly younger middle class people gathering from 10 pm on. But take a 0,5 liter of red wine during happy hour from 7pm to 9pm or try the finger food like spring rolls.
The Blue Dragon which opened four months ago must have one of the best locations in Phnom Penh. Situated on street 184 it commands an amazing view of the Royal Palace. It also has views of the river and is very close to the National Museum and Silver Pagoda.
The Chairman is back...
Having missed the official opening party on Monday it was time to check out the latest addition to the Phnom Penh bar scene.
Mao’s commands the corner of street 106 and Sisowath Quay on the riverfront.
According to a press release, In the 1920s, Mao’s previous owner was a Chinese rice trader. His landing stage for his products on the Tonle Sap was only a few meters from his door. Some years later the headquarters of a Chinese business association was added.
On first sight the bar is just about as plain as plain can be. On second sight too.
A shoebox of a place, deep and narrow. Simple wooden bar, aluminum stools, some boothish tables with padded wooden benches. A basic selection of beers and spirits - Lao, Tiger, Angkor and the like. Another glance around reveals a bit more trimming - a few rock & roll posters - Kiss, Led Zeppelin and ELP - the Stars and Bars emblazoned with a Lynyrd Skynyrd skull & crossbones tacked high, some splats and stars adorning the walls. Still nothing to write home about, at least quite yet. Elbow up to the bar or stretch back into one of the booths and the service is right there, often with limited English, but earnest and ready to please, hinting at the homey space this is.