That ‘all Asians know kung fu or karate’ is an old stereotype, there is some truth in saying all Filipinos love music. Having said that, I have just discovered a place in Saigon where good music is played.
Monday night, often not the best evening for entertainment, wifey and I decided to ‘groove to the music’. Pinoy friends in the city have been posting on FB their happenings at a place I have heard my western friends talk about. So that site was where we were headed that night. Unfortunately though, our mates didn’t know the exact address (i.e. building number/ street number) and their text only had the street’s name, which to my mind, was a long stretch to trace. Luckily enough, Rainsky-a big fan and regular at this place, had arrived and managed to text us the info we’d been waiting to get (after a few minutes of scanning ‘Ngo Thoi Nhiem Street’).
6E1 Ngô Thời Nhiệm,
District 3, HCMC
Alas! we saw buildings (not just one building) number 6. And there’s plenty of them, in an alley that stretches about 60m further inward. Finally we found the bar and it’s right at the end of it. The entire alley itself is a haven of cafes and lounges that cater to foodies, coffee enthusiasts like myself, and lovers who just want to chill put while listening to music.
At the entrance of Acoustic Bar is an old Volkswagen Beetle and I’m trying to keep that in mind so the next I go there, I’ll just look for that vintage car. Inside is not a typical bar scene: lots of seats & a few tables, musical instruments at the center, a small bar, and graffiti- I mean a collage of music legends’ posters. It’s a fully ACd crowded room and in the audience are some of the familiar faces-musicians and singers in many hotels and restaurants in HCMC. Just as I was about to ask my company why I spotted those performers in the bar, a Pinay singer whom I’d seen performing at Hard Rock Café early this year grabbed the mic and did what she does best in the middle of a river of music lovers. A couple others whom I’d met at Sheraton’s and Caravelle performed that night but what I like most was knowing a lot of Vietnamese musicians could do as well as the well-loved foreign counterparts. The best part of their performance is that they sang ‘originally’, which for me, means they breathed life into a familiar song and expressed its message as their own. That for me is music and it takes more than a soulful rendition and understanding the lyrics or mere good looks to be able to have fun in there while appealing to a variety of ears.
Would I recommend it to my friends? Definitely! Apart from the quality music, their ‘drinks only’ menu keeps you within the budget and limit. Beers for 80-100k; cocktails for up to 120k? That may be a bit pricey but it means you need not booze yourself up to enjoy the scene. And if you go to places like this, don’t expect for a feast. Just spirits and music because as their tag line says “EMOTION TALKS”. With great company, a bottle of your favorite drink, an army of musicians (and perhaps tolerance to smoke), pure entertainment at its best can be had at Acoustic Bar.