Hanoi’s Hidden caffeine hits
Our last loving look back at Hanoi. Sigh. What a Gal !
The war is over. Give Peace a chance.
Everything old is new again and the young of Hanoi are creating a grungy hipster scene with a nod to the colours of Cuba, all styles of music, the furniture of the 50s, 60s & 70s with a dash of revolution and ideology thrown in.
Put on your beret, wax your moustache, sport some low-slung Capri pants, carry your Sartre in hand and look like you just don’t care, (while, in fact, caring very deeply actually).
Hanoi House Café
Our local, facing the plaza outside St Joseph’s. A little alley, some uneven concrete steps winding crazily up past laundry, cats and locals in their pj’s looking blearily on. Very decent coffee, bitter and strong, sipped on a tiny balcony overlooking the plaza. Very fond memories of Hanoi House because this, of course, is where we were “discovered”.
2 Lý Quốc Sư, Hàng Trống, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội
Loading T Café
Loading T is one we stumbled across (it’s across the corridor from the luggage repair guy and up the hall from the groovy, dreadlocked potter). The bald dude below a little is the barista, a man who takes his brew VERY seriously. He was a little chilly and aloof at first but once he realised that we loved his work he became one big bad loveable Vietnamese teddy bear. His partner is gorgeous and a Hanoian Fashion Icon. We’d go there to check out her lace hot pants or her gingham sundresses or whatever she was wearing that day.
2nd Floor,, 8 Chân Cầm, Hàng Trống, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội,
Just down the road from the excellent Fine Arts Museum stands the Bar Betta. A nondescript door hanging off its hinges, up another precipitous stairway and into instant, powerful, seemingly effortless but entirely inspired cool. The menus, music, decorations, chairs and coffee are all cool, the stairway is cool, the loo is cool for goodness sake.
34 Cao Bá Quát, Điện Bàn, Ba Đình, Hà Nội,
We wandered up another alley (it looked like a parking lot for scooters) and came across this birdcage – hideaway where we met a lovely American who told us about Friday night samba dancing in Hanoi.
Cong Ca phé
Cong are a chain coffee shop, and yes, they’re themed, some what bizarrely, as Vietcong ! The staff are uniformed, the decor is groovy, the coffee is good and they are often located in very interesting spots for just sitting, sipping and people watching.
This café was great because of the view right onto the Cathedral. (It wasn’t hidden at all).