TO COCKTAILS AND HAPPY HOURS
Hoi An is bursting with places to sit back and relax while you wet your whistle many offering generous happy hours. Prices range from shockingly cheap (3,000 vnd fresh beer!) to on par with what one might pay at home. Since prices are usually low, most visitors can afford to be discerning, and discerning you must be. Throughout my quest to find the best of the ‘Happy Hours’ in Hoi An I was met with the bitter taste of cheap, locally-distilled alcohol.
Now, one may expect this at the backpacker hangouts where “$5 ALL YOU CAN DRINK” and “BUY 1 GET 5” deals are found nightly. But I was surprised to find that many of Old Town’s ‘nicer’ establishments are trying to pass Hanoi alco-crap off as brand-name liquor. The operation is simple; restaurants, hostels, and bars collect their empty brand name bottles, pack them up on a truck bound for Hanoi, and a few days later the same bottles return, full to the brim with headache-inducing grain alcohol that is best reserved for cleaning motorcycle parts.
So, how does one avoid ‘fake-brand’ alcohol? Well, sticking with beer and wine is certainly one option. However, as a margarita lover I occasionally have the need for a liquor fix. So, unable to find a great list anywhere of places with great happy hours serving the real booze, we made our own (possibly to the detriment of our livers).
Hotel Royal Hoi An - The Deck
The Deck is a pool bar atop Hotel Royal Hoi An that offers the highest public vantage point in the city. It’s a knockout with panoramas on three sides. The majestic Thu Bon River is the centerpiece in the foreground and the blue mountains that mark the highlands inland to the north, south and west towards the Laos divide, distinctively define the horizon.
This bar is not to be missed. Contemporary house or funk creates a party atmosphere and a visit at happy hour makes the million dollar view affordable. And, if you kick on the doors don’t close till midnight.
Recommended Drink: Try a classic like a dry martini or a margarita.
Cocktail Price: 165,000 vnd; Happy Hour: 5.30 – 6.30pm; Deal: 2 for 1; Add: 39 Dao Duy Tu Street; Web: Hotel Royal Hoi An
Pure Coffee - Bar & Coffee House
Overwhelmed by the countless coffee shops and bars in Hoi An? Seek out new kid on the block, Pure Coffee, and you won’t be disappointed. It provides a complete package that will suit all tastes: modern tasteful décor, relaxed ambiance, killer coffee, experienced, well-trained staff, world-class cocktails at bargain prices, affordable quality Vietnamese cuisine, exemplary customer service and music from chilled cafe lounge to deep house.
Recommended Drink: Signature cocktails such as Puretini (Vodka infused Coffee Bean & Vanilla, Espresso, Kahlua, Baileys)
Cocktail Price: 110,000 – 125,000 vnd; Happy Hour: 4.00 – 8.00pm; Deal: 2 for 1; Add: 62 Nguyen Thai Hoc; FB: Hoian PureCoffee
Finally, An Bang locals have a real pub with a big long bar, sport TV and a glorious, soul-soothing ocean view that bowls you over as soon as you enter. Salt Pub & Restaurant has boules, deck chairs, cabanas and beach out back and inside there’s cruisey music, major sporting events and an ever-present, cooling breeze. It’s a great setting for breakfast, lunch or dinner and in June 2018 an everyday happy hour was launched between 4 and 6pm. For families, a Kids’ play area is a bonus.
Recommended Drink: Frozen Magarita and Tiger (on tap). Happy hours only for local beers and wines.
Happy Hours: 4pm – 6pm Monday to Thursday; Deal: buy one get one free; Add: Block 2, Thanh Cam; FB: Salt Pub & Restaurant
Belleville Restaurant & Lounge
Located just steps away from the Night Market on An Hoi islet, Belleville is a convenient, central spot to kick off a night on the town after a little shopping. It’s cocktail happy hour is one of the cheapest in town and you never know, after a couple you might just be in the mood to tackle the open mic once happy hour comes to a close.
Recommended Drink: Discounted cocktails change frequently, so go with your server’s recommendation!
Cocktail Price: from 95,000 to 130,000vnd; Happy Hour: 4.30pm – 7pm; Deal: Select Cocktails for 60,000vnd; Add: 13 Nguyen Hoang
Kahuna's Hoi An Beach Club
Embracing the title of beach club, Kahuna’s has everything you would want for a day at the beach. With ample shaded seating, a large swimming pool, games and a garden that reaches to the beach. Play a round of boules while sipping on an alcoholic slushie after a dip in the ocean. What more could want from a day out? A ripper happy hour from 4-6pm, that’s what. Having opened November 2017, Kahuna’s is new to the scene and has already make a big splash. Music some weekends are a standout.
Recommended Drink: Mai Tai; Long Island Iced Tea
Hours: 3pm – 4pm; 5pm – 6 pm: 3 for 1 for rum and vodka; Add: Block 4, Nguyen Phan Vinh, Cam An; FB: Kahuna’s Hoi An Beach Club
Almanity Hoi An Wellness Resort
Located conveniently close to the Old Town, The Almanity Resort & Spa is a wonderful place to retreat, relax and rejuvenate over a few cocktails. Whether it’s in the front patio/garden on a swing chair or out by the leafy picturesque pool, this is one beautiful venue to chill and leave your worries behind.
Recommended Drink: While Almanity serves the standard cocktails, try one of their signature herbal cocktails for a truly different experience. There’s Tea Cosmos (vodka and cointreau married with hibiscus tea & lime), Basil Martini, Herbal Gin Fizz and many more.
Cocktail Price: 145,000 – 165,000vnd; Happy Hour: 5pm – 7pm; Deal: Buy one get one free; Add: 326 Ly Thuong Kiet; FB: Almanity Hoi An Wellness Resort
The traditional, airy merchant-house architecture provides a typical Old Town setting in which to sit back and relax. And, if you’re in a small group, the compact but charming garden provides a pleasant escape from the busy streets of Old Town.
Recommended Drink: The Blue Margarita is pretty to look at and goes down easy. Try it out if you find regular margaritas a bit too sour.
Cocktail Price: 120,000 vnd; Happy Hour: 9am – 5.30pm; Deal: 15% off from 9am – 3.30pm; 30% off (cocktails only) from 3pm – 5.30pm.; Add: 66 Nguyen Thai Hoc; FB: Little Faifo Restaurant
Bazar Cafe and Restaurant
Bazar Café & Restaurant is one of the prettiest venues in Hoi An featuring unique artifacts from around the world. Sit overlooking busy Tran Phu Street or find a cosy nook inside the spacious back area or revel in the beauty of the tiered garden/courtyard, this is one great place to enjoy a cocktail – or four.
Recommended Drink: The Hot Asian (vodka, lemongrass, Vietnamese basil and lemon) is amazing! Its refreshing tang followed by ‘just’ a hint of sugar really hit the mark for me.
Cocktail Price: 100,000 vnd – 150,000 vnd; Happy Hours: 4pm – 8pm; Deal: Buy one get one free; Add: 36 Tran Phu; FB: Bazar Hoi An
Before and Now
The ever-popular Before and Now Bar and Restaurant is a lively venue suitable for all ages. A favourite of backpackers it really hits its stride later in the evening. If you want some quiet, head upstairs to the restaurant, otherwise soak up the indie/rock while shooting some pool and mingle. At cocktail hour nab a seat near the entrance to busy Le Loi Street, the arterial thoroughfare that bisects Hoi An Old Town for some voyeuristic entertainment.
Recommended Drink: If you want a kick start to your evening try their Margarita, it really packs a punch.
Cocktail Price: 68,000 – 80,000vnd ; Happy Hour: 5 – 9.30pm 20% off for cocktails; 9.30-11.30pm 30% off for cocktalls; 4pm – 11pm: buy 3 get 1 for beers; Add: 51 Le Loi; FB: Before and Now
Green Mango has a comfortable moody vibe where you can sit and watch the world go by in a grand, 100-year-old, traditional Hoi An long house. With tasty complimentary peanuts one may be tempted to relax for all 7 of its happy hours. Top shelf single malts and boutique beers also available.
Recommended Drink: We stuck with the classics and thoroughly enjoyed the Cosmopolitan. Nibble on some of their delicious entrees for the perfect cocktail experience.
Cocktail Price: 99,000 vnd; Happy Hour: 12pm – 8pm; Deal: Buy One Get One Free, Cocktails, Beers and House Wine; Add: 54 Nguyen Thai Hoc; FB: Green Mango Hoi An
Though more expensive than some, Mango Mango provides excellent value as there is no compromise on quality with oodles of fresh fruit and juice its signature. And, at 60,000 vnd per cocktail during happy hour (half price), you’ll be able to indulge in several fruity favorites. Many Hoi An locals rate celebrity chef, Duc Tran’s cocktails the best in town. So whether it is Mango Mango, Mango Rooms or Mai Fish you can be assured you’re going to get great top-shelf options.
Recommended Drink: The sangria was part wine, part fresh juice, and part fruit salad. Perfect if you’re feeling peckish.
Cocktail Price: 120,000 vnd – 180,000 vnd; Happy Hours: 8am –7pm; Deal: 50% off Cocktails and Local Beers; Add: 45 Nguyen Phuc Chu; FB: Mango Mango
You’ll get the same deal with cocktails at Mango Rooms and Mai Fish as you will at Mango Mango as they are all owned by celebrated chef, Duc Tran.
Recommended Drink: My favorite is the Frozen Margarita but if you’re feeling adventurous, steer away from the standard cocktails and sample one of Duc’s incredible fusion cocktails. The sour and sweet combinations are sure to get your taste buds swirling. At Mango Rooms, we recommend sitting outside (or near the window) for a wonderful view of the Thu Bon River.
Cocktail Price: 120,000 vnd; Happy Hour: 8am – 7pm; Deal: 50% off cocktails and local beers; Add: 111 Nguyen Thai Hoc; FB: Mango Rooms Hoi An
The deals and Happy Hours are the same across all of Duc Tran’s venues, as is the cocktail menu. If you decide to try Mai Fish for cocktails we recommend you hit the garden area. This is a wonderful oasis where you can get lost in your thoughts, but as the expertly mixed pre-dinner drinks go down a treat, don’t get too lost or it might all get away from you!
Recommended Drink: See Mango Mango and Mango Rooms
Cocktail Price: 120,000 vnd; Happy Hour: 8am – 7pm; Deal: 50% off Cocktails and Local Beers; Add: 45 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai; FB: Mai Fish
Uber cool venue inspired by downtown Cosmopolitan New York lounge bars with contemporary electronica, lounge music and moody lighting.
With one of the most extensive cocktail lists in town, there’s plenty to choose from at Q Bar. We suggest you try one of their signature cocktails: Lychee Martini, Passionfruit Mojito, Chocolate Martini, Ginger Mule. Whilst my Japanese Bridge cocktail (sake, vodka, Lychee Liqueur, Midori and pineapple juice) was a tad sweet for my palette my colleague’s Margareta was sensational.
Cocktail Price: 120,000 – 150,000 vnd; Happy Hour: 11am – 7pm; Deals: 80,000 vnd for select cocktails; Add: 94 Nguyen Thai Hoc; FB: Q Bar
Serene Garden delivers on its promise. It’s easy to forget the bustling streets of Old Town amidst the greenery and ambient light of the restaurant’s garden area just a handful of steps away from busy Le Loi.
Fancy drinking your dessert? Try the “I Love You” cocktail.
Cocktail Price: from 65,000 to 75,000 vnd; Happy Hour: 4pm – 9pm; Deal: buy one get one free and 10% off for wines; Add: 70 Le Loi; FB: Hoian Serene Garden
Bonus: Happy Hours at Backpacker Prices
3 Dragons Sports Gastropub – Happy Hours: 4pm – 6pm (Sunday to Thursday); 3pm – 4pm (Friday to Saturday)
Kahuna’s Hoi An Beach Club – Happy Hour: 4pm – 6pm; Add: An Bang Beach
Before and Now – Happy Hour. 5 – 9.30pm 20% off; 9.30-11.30pm 30% off
Driftwood Cafe – Happy Hour: 11am – 9pm; Add: An Bang Beach
Moe’s Tavern – Happy Hour: 7pm – 10pm; Add: 57 Nguyen Phuc Chu
One Love – Happy Hour: 6pm – 11pm; Add: 130 Tran Cao Van
Tiger Tiger – Happy Hour: 5.30pm – 10.30pm; Add: 65 Nguyen Phuc Chu
The Hoianian – Wine Bar & Restaurant – Happy Hour: 3pm – 6pm; Add: 38 Phan Chau Trinh
by Avery Bullock
Revised and updated Stuart Neal, June 2018