7 Craft Beer Bars To Visit in Saigon

In this episode, I’m taking a break from interviews with guests to share my passion: craft beer! It all started during a trip to Australia, where I discovered the joy of Coopers Pale Ale then Little Creatures.

Back in 2015 when I first arrived, Saigon’s craft beer scene was practically nonexistent. Fast forward to today, and I’ve compiled a list of 7 fantastic breweries that doesn’t even cover half them all.  So, let’s check out my list to see if you have tried any of these craft beer stations!

1. Malt (Malt Saigon Bar)

Alright, let’s kick off this Saigon craft beer crawl with a true legend – Malt (Malt Saigon Bar). This OG spot has been around for over a decade, making it a veteran in the Saigon craft beer scene.

Malt boasts a wide selection of brews, ensuring there’s something for every taste bud. But the atmosphere is just as impressive. Imagine a cool, low-ceilinged space with some eye-catching artwork. It’s the perfect place to relax and enjoy a beer with friends.

My favorite is Fuzzy Logic Pale Ale. If you’re feeling peckish, their chicken wings are a must-try, but be warned – they pack a punch! To cool things down, pair them with the Parmesan and artichoke dip. Trust me, it’s a winning combination.

2. Mixtape Drinks

Next up on our Saigon craft beer adventure is Mixtape Drinks headed by Chad Mitchell. This brewery has been around for a few years now, making a name for itself with its unique brews.

One of their signature offerings is the Peaches & Cream Pale Ale. As the name suggests, it’s a delightful and refreshing beer, perfect for a hot Saigon day. But Mixtape isn’t just about ales – they also have a popular green tea seltzer named Parteaa green tea seltzer that was a hit when they sponsored the Seven Million Bikes Podcast event.

Remember that cool neon pink pop-up store in Thao Dien? That was Mixtape Drinks’ doing! It wasn’t meant to be permanent, the good news is that Chad and his team have taken things to the next level. They’ve opened their very own taproom in the heart of District 1, right off Calmette near Ben Thanh Market.

Speaking of fun, here’s a little story for you. I actually won free beer for a year at their opening night raffle! (Let me assure you, getting free beer for a year wasn’t my motivation for mentioning them – although, a free beer today wouldn’t hurt!). 

It was a crazy moment, and all my friends back home were amazed.

3. Brick and Barrel

Brick and Barrel by James Jalokia and Tyler Maurice Kooy is a fantastic spot to add to your bar-hopping list. Located near MixTape, it offers a cozy, outdoorsy vibe with large picnic tables, making it a great place to relax and enjoy some excellent food and drinks. The menu highlights include delicious pizza, chicken sandwiches, and burgers.

For beer enthusiasts, Brick and Barrel boasts an extensive craft beer selection, including unique options like Heart of Darkness, Seven Bridges, and the elusive Fuzzy Logic Pale Ale, which is a rare find on draft. If you’re in the mood for a challenge, try the El Diablo pizza, touted as Vietnam’s spiciest pizza. 

4. Pasteur Street Craft Beer

Pasteur Street Craft Beer (formerly known as Pasteur Street Brewing Company) has recently undergone a rebrand and revamped all its taprooms, offering a fresh look and of course, delicious brews. While I haven’t visited lately, their extensive menu is sure to satisfy a variety of palates. 

For IPA lovers, the Pomelo IPA is a must-try. While it might be the tastiest brew on their menu, be warned – its strength means you’ll likely want to stick to just one.

If you prefer something lighter and more refreshing, the Passion Fruit Wheat Beer is a perennial favorite.  It’s been a staple on their menu since the beginning, offering a perfect balance between taste and drinkability. They also have their flagship Jasmine IPA, which is a great all-around choice.

When you visit, be sure to pair your beer with their highly recommended Nashville hot chicken. The combination of spice and flavor is said to perfectly complement their IPAs, including the Jasmine and the Pomelo IPA.

5. Heart of Darkness Craft Brewery

Next up on the Saigon craft beer scene is Heart of Darkness, arguably one of the city’s most renowned breweries. They’ve established a reputation for their delicious beers, many of which are exported internationally.

Here, you’ll find two flagship options: the Dream Alone Pale Ale and the Kurtz’s Insane IPA. Both are flavor bombs but come with a warning – their strength.

Heart of Darkness are also more expensive than other craft beers in Saigon. But considering the quality. They’re clearly catering to a market that can afford it.

They’re serving strong beer. But to me, it’s definitely insane not to offer some complimentary water to your customers. Especially at those prices! Consider offering complimentary water alongside your fantastic brews. It’s a small thing, but it would make a big difference.

6. Two Guys Belgian Fries

For a change of pace, let’s move away from dedicated craft beer bars. My next stop is a local favorite of mine called Two Guys Belgian Fries. They have a spot conveniently located near me in Thanh My Loi.

This place is perfect for a relaxed evening. It boasts a beautiful location right on the canal – or as some mistakenly call it, the river. 

Two Guys offers two beers on tap: a blonde and a dark. I’m not sure who brews them, but they’re both solid choices. They’re nothing fancy, but they’re affordable and perfect for enjoying the view.

By the way, they recently opened a new spot right next door called Dos Chicos, which offers Cuban-inspired cuisine. Fun fact: I recently learned that Dos Chicos translates to “two guys” in Spanish! Makes perfect sense now, considering the name of their original place.

If you’re in the Thao Dien or An Phu area, swing by for a couple of beers and a friendly conversation. The guys who run the place are great!

7. Seven Bridges Brewing

Saving seventh for Seven Bridges Brewing! Originally hailing from Da Nang (known for its seven bridges, hence the name!), this brewery has become a Saigon favorite since its arrival a few years ago.

While initially their prices were a bit lower, offering a budget-friendly option, they’ve since adjusted to match the average Saigon craft beer cost. But trust me, it’s worth it!

Finding a Seven Bridges is easy. They have a location on Le Thanh Ton and a newer spot on Hai Ba Trung Street, which boasts a fantastic corner location with great people-watching opportunities.

Pair your beers with their amazing New York-style pizza. It’s seriously good, and don’t forget to grab their signature hot sauce – it’s a revelation! You can even buy it by the bottle.

So, there you have it! Seven recommendations for exploring Saigon’s craft beer scene. Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg. If you have a favorite spot I missed or disagree with anything I’ve said, feel free to reach out and let me know!

7 Craft Beer Bars in Saigon

Niall: [00:00:00] It’s me, Niall Mackay, your host of a Vietnam podcast.

 I’m going to host an episode all by myself, and I’m a little bit scared to do that.

I’m gonna share with you my seven top places to go, Saigon for craft beer. An OG legend.

If you’re going to get food, definitely get the chicken wings, but they are really spicy.

 I think it is the best tasting beer. It is western priced

Niall: I think they are catering to that market which can afford that price. now number six is not a craft beer bar at all, but it sells their own beer.

 they don’t give you free water.

Niall: So which to me is immoral and insane to be serving beer so strong and not offer free water to your customers.

[00:01:00]

Niall: Hey, Vietnam podcasters. It’s me, Niall Mackay, your host of a Vietnam podcast. I’m going to do something today that I don’t think I’ve ever done before on a Vietnam podcast. I’m going to host an episode all by myself, and I’m a little bit scared to do that. Normally, I’m always interviewing someone else and sharing stories of people connected to Vietnam.

And for this episode, and a few more episodes, I decided to share more of my story as well. If you’re a regular listener, you’ll probably know a little bit about me, but I wanted to go into a bit more detail about what there is to do here in Saigon. Now, lots of people think of Vietnam has rice paddies, lanterns, water buffaloes, and that is true.

They are out there. But I live in Saigon. It’s a big city, just like any other city. There’s rich people, there’s poor people, there’s middle class people, there’s public transport, there’s rivers, there’s buildings, there’s nightclubs, there’s cafes, there’s bars, and there’s [00:02:00] beer. I’ve lived here now for eight years.

I came in 2015 just for a vacation, fell in love with the place, came back, and I’ll probably be here for over a decade at least. Saigon is like most other big cities in the world. There’s lots of things to do outside of Water buffaloes and rice paddies. And if you are a tourist and that’s what you’re coming here for, enjoy it.

It is beautiful and it is stunning. But I want to talk about Saigon and in a series of podcasts, I’m going to share with you some of my favorite things to do in Saigon. If you live here, you might know them already. You may completely disagree with me and that’s, that’s absolutely fine. You can tell me.

And if you’re thinking of coming to Vietnam, hopefully you can put these on your list and you can visit them. If you do disagree with me, or you have your own ideas, then please send me a message, you can go to the show notes, and you’ll be able to find the link there, and I’ll feature it on a future episode, and I may even visit it myself as well.

Niall: Now today, I’m going to talk about one of my favourite things in the [00:03:00] world, which I don’t think makes me sound very good, but one of my favourite things has been for a long time. Craft beer. I first drank craft beer when I lived in Australia. I think that’s when I was first introduced to it with little creatures and Koopas.

Then I moved to Wellington where craft beer exploded when I was there and in a short time a whole bunch of breweries and bars opened up. And then Saigon was really similar when we got here in 2016. Sorry, when we got here in 2015 The only craft beer that I could really find, and I know it’s contentious and craft beer people will tell you who was first and what not, but when we first arrived in 2015, the only craft beer bar that we knew of was Pasteur Street Brewing Company.

4. Pasteur Street Brewing Company.

They had one bar on Pasteur Street. It was cool, it was kitsch, and they had some really good beers as well. The first beer I ever tried after I landed was Ba Ba Ba, and I remember I think it cost 12, 000 dong a can, and I don’t know how but eight years later it’s only like 13, 000 dong a can. Inflation doesn’t seem to work the [00:04:00] same here in Vietnam, but Ba Ba Ba was pretty bad bad bad, and that’s a really cheesy joke, I know.

I’ve never used that one before, but I’m sorry. I just thought it’s bad, but it’s a good one. We went to Pasteur Street, they still had the Jasmine IPA on back then, the Passion Fruit, these are all staples and we absolutely loved it, real nice flavours of Vietnam. My wife and I went back to Wellington, drank more craft beer from Wellington and as I mentioned we came back to Vietnam for just six weeks and we’ve been here eight years later.

In those first couple of years it was really similar to Wellington, there was a massive explosion of new craft beer, craft beer bars, it seemed like it was going to be limitless, it was going to go on forever and then a few and Covid probably paid the price. Played a big part in this, but I feel like then it plateaued and we’ve not seen a whole bunch of new bars in the last few years, but that’s all right.

I think we have enough for now. So in this episode, I’m gonna share with you my seven top places to go, Saigon for craft beer. Some of them you might not call [00:05:00] them. Tap rooms. Some of them aren’t craft beer bars, but they sell craft beer. And as I said, this is just my opinion. So if you think, uh, of any other ones, if you have any other ideas and send me a message, let me know.

I want to hear from you what you think as well. It’s not just all about me. And this is in no particular order. It’s just the bars that I would advise you to go to that I like. So the first one I want to talk about is maybe one of the first tap rooms in Saigon. As far as I’m aware. Again, you can correct me on this.

  1. Malt on Mac Tee Boy

I think it’s one of the OG craft beer bars in Saigon. I think they just had their, I was at their 10 year birthday just now. About six months ago So I think they’re a little bit older than Pasteur Street and they sell a wide selection of craft beers And it’s just a really cool atmosphere and that is Malt on Mac Tee Boy I’m not going to tell you all the street names of where they all are I’ll put links to them in the show notes so you can find them if you don’t know where they are Basically, it’s right in the middle of D1 right behind the Vietcom Bank [00:06:00] Tower and right near And I know my pronunciation is really bad.

But, uh, Malt is definitely just an OG legend. It hasn’t, uh, changed location. It does have a second location in D7. So that’s called Malt South, and I would check that out as well. It’s the same vibe. Little bit different, bigger, uh, more of a family atmosphere, I would say. Anytime I go there’s like families and kids there, things like that.

It’s got a more of a, uh, like a breakout room upstairs. Not a breakout room, what do you call it? Like a meeting room, family room, whatever you want to call it, upstairs. I think they got kids toys. If a bar has kids toys, it’s more of a family bar, right? The one in D1 though does not have kids toys. It’s small, it’s got a low ceiling, it’s got some cool artwork, and anyone I take there absolutely loves it.

The people who loved it the most were my mum and dad. They came and visited quite a few years ago and they absolutely loved what most people do, the shuffleboard table. Now there’s quite a lot of them in, not quite a lot, but there’s a few different places have shuffleboards. [00:07:00] But I think that was the first place and it was a bit of a novelty if you’re not from North America or the States like I am.

I’d never played it before. It’s super fun. It’s good to do with a group. It’s good to do with friends as well. So check out Malt. That is definitely one of my favourites. It’s a really cool place, they even give you water now, which used to be a big bone of contention, but you still have to pay for it.

There’s this weird thing in Vietnam where some bars will give you free water because it’s like a human right and kind of morally the right thing to do if you’re serving alcohol. But then there’s other bars that for some reason you have to pay for water, even though you’re paying quite a lot for the craft beer.

So, as people listening to this If you’re listening to this from the UK or the US, I mean, you’ll just know if you sell alcohol, you get water. They go hand in hand. And I know in the UK, you legally have to provide water if you’re serving alcohol. Here in Vietnam, it’s a little bit different. It goes different places.

Everywhere has their own kind of rules, but in Malt, they now sell it to you for a cheap price. So at least [00:08:00] that’s better, One of my favorite beers to get is Fuzzy Logic Pale Ale. They don’t have a tap room of their own, and they kind of shrunk a little bit, I think, with COVID. Obviously, it affected everybody. I actually thought they might disappear completely, but they’re still out there.

And Malt is one of the few places that you can find, on draft, a Fuzzy Logic Pale Ale. So a really good Vietnamese craft beer. It’s just a good, standard pale ale, so I love it. If you’re going to get food, definitely get the chicken wings, but they are really spicy. Be careful.

And another one I would recommend is a Parmesan and artichoke dip. That is delicious too.

  • Mixtape drinks by Chad Mitchell

Next on my list is mixtape drinks by Chad Mitchell. If Mixtape Drinks have been about for a few years now. They do a really good peaches and cream. they made their own green tea seltzer called A Party that came out a few years ago. They sponsored one of our events with Seven Million Bikes Podcast, which was awesome. And that’s become really, really popular.

They opened up a pop up store just in Lusine in Taoudian, which was really cool branding, like bright [00:09:00] neon pink. And that place was pretty popular from what I could see. And then sadly, it was only a pop up, so it wasn’t there forever. But thankfully, Chad and his team have now opened up their own craft beer bar, their own tap room, right in the heart of District 1.

I can’t remember the name of the street exactly, but it’s just off Calmet. It’s right in the middle of D1, near Bintan Market.

So you know how to use Google. If you’re listening to a podcast, you know how to use Google Maps. So look it up on Google Maps. Go check it out. Big Pink Branding. And my recommendation would be the Peaches and Cream Pale Ale. And also try the party, but they’ve got a whole massive selection of different beers and everything’s like a music theme chants into his music So peaches and cream is music related.

The logo is uh, old tape It’s called mixtape obviously and I did win free beer for a year there. That is not why i’m mentioning them I might actually go there today though for my free beer And when I did I went out a raffle on their opening night couldn’t believe when they called my name out It was like yes free beer for a year All my friends back home are like, Oh my God, how much beer do you get to drink?[00:10:00]

  • Brick and Barrel by James Jalokia and Tyler O’Connor. Maurice Coey

It’s not like that. It’s one beer every day for a year. I’ve had it for about six months now. I’ve maybe used it about 10 times, but still an awesome price. So thanks Chad for the free beer for a year. Number three on my list is right around the corner from mixtape. So if you want to hit up a couple of bars, then I would add this to your list and that’s Brick and Barrel by James Jalokia and Tyler O’Connor. Maurice Coey? Is that how you say your name? I’m sorry, Tyler, I should know that. When you live in Saigon, you see a lot of people’s names written down.

You very rarely say them out loud. And most people call me Niall Mackay, and it’s Niall Mackay, so I’m sorry, Tyler. Brick and Barrel is an awesome spot. Kind of outdoorsy. It’s got big picnic tables. It’s more famous for its pizza and it’s chicken sandwiches and it’s burgers Really really good food.

They have an extensive craft beer menu. Not only craft beer, they have other beers as well. But you can get on there like Heart of Darkness, which we’re going to talk about. Seven Bridges, what we’re going to talk about.

And as I mentioned, one of my favorites [00:11:00] is the Fuzzy Logic Pale Ale, which as I mentioned, you can’t get that on draft in too many places. So normally if I’m going to go to Fuzzy Logic, I’m going to get a pizza and a pale ale, and they do do the El Diablo pizza, which James has labeled Vietnam’s spiciest pizza, and I can’t confirm it at all.

Spicy. So enjoy that. If you go and say hello to the team there as well. And Oli, who used to work at OutKast, has just started as a manager there, so I’m sure he’s going to do great things with it. Check it out.

Number four on my list, as I mentioned already, is Pastoral Street Brewing Company, which is now called Pastoral Street Craft Beer. They’ve rebranded recently. They’ve redone all the tap rooms. I haven’t been in a little while, but I will go back soon. My favorite beer there is the Pomelo IPA, so I would recommend checking that out if you like IPAs.

If you like something a little less strong, A little refreshing, then I would check out the Passion Fruit Wheat Beer. That’s been a staple on their menu since the beginning. And their flagship beer, the Jasmine IPA is always a go to beer as well. [00:12:00] The problem with my favorite beer is It’s a double IPA.

Have you ever had this problem as well? I have this problem all the time that the tastiest nicest beer is the double IPA Which is like 7. 8 percent or 8. 7 percent something crazy You can only drink like one beer and you’re already drunk So it’s not something that you can have a big night on although maybe I’ve had one or two But enjoy it have one have a small one then get into the jasmines get into the wheat beer And they also do really good food as well.

Unfortunately, the original taproom is now closed So the original taproom was down a hem on Pasteur Street. They still have a tap room in the same location ish, but the actual original tap room is now gone, unfortunately. But I can see why. But that was a really cool spot.

Food there, really good. Get the Nashville chicken. The Nashville hot chicken is always really good with a jasmine or a double IPA.

  • Heart of Darkness

Niall: Number five on the list is Heart of Darkness. They’re probably one of the most well known craft breweries in [00:13:00] Saigon. They do a lot of export to overseas and they make really, really delicious beer. Two big standouts there are the Dream Alone Pale Ale and the Cuts Insane IPA.

And again, the Cuts Insane is like 7. I think you can’t have a big night on them unless your name is Sandler Ernst, which, uh, shout out to Sandy. We had a night out in Heart of Darkness. Sandy sunk about five pints of cuts insane. I don’t think he knew that they were so strong, but maybe he did and, uh, It’s pretty funny seeing the aftermath of that.

So Sandy, come back. We’ll go get some cuts insane. Again, really delicious beer, but really strong. So you can’t drink too many of them. Dream Alone Pale Ale is also pretty strong. So you can’t drink too many of them either. But it’s really delicious. And they have seasonal rotational beers. So they’re always changing the menu, but they do have some flagship ones.

So it’s always a just really tasty like other beers is really, really good. I think it is the best tasting beer in Saigon. And again, it’s just my opinion. Don’t hate me. If you want to [00:14:00] message me and tell me what you think, then that’s fine. I think it might be the most flavorful. But it is the most expensive.

So I was recently in Australia and I was comparing the prices and Heart of Darkness beer is pretty comparable to the prices of beer overseas. It is western priced and you can see why because it’s so good and I think they are catering to that market which can afford that price. I don’t go too often because it is quite expensive and the other big downfall, as I’ve mentioned, the last time I was there anyway, and I don’t think it’s changed, they don’t give you free water.

So which to me is immoral and insane to be serving beer so strong and not offer free water to your customers. So Heart of Darkness, you get the best tasting beers in my opinion, but serve some free water.

  • Two Guys Belgian Fries

It’s not hard. now number six is not a craft beer bar at all, but it sells their own beer.

And I go there quite often and it’s Two Guys Belgian Fries. They [00:15:00] got a location just near me in Dunmilloy, again, butchering the pronunciation, but it’s a really nice spot right on the canal and they have a blonde and a dark. That’s it. I don’t know who makes them. Someone must contract brew for them.

I’m not a hundred percent sure, but they’re both really good beers. Nothing too fancy, but they’re not too expensive, and it’s nice to go there at sunset, especially for a happy hour, get a couple of beers, enjoy the canal that’s right there, or the river, as most people call it, it’s not a river, it’s a canal, but enjoy sunset at the canal, they do really good fries as well, because that’s what they do, the Belgian fries, and they’ve just opened a new location right next door called Dos Chicos, which is like a Cuban inspired place, and I also found out recently that Dos Chicos is Spanish for two guys.

So that made sense why it was called Dos Chicos. I don’t speak Spanish, so I didn’t know, but I would go check out Two Guys if you can. It’s quite out of the way. If you don’t live here and you’re a tourist, I wouldn’t say go massively out of your way just to go to Two Guys. But if you do live in Taodian or [00:16:00] Anfu region, go check it out one day, get a couple of beers, say hello, really nice guys there.

  • Seven Bridges

And it’s a nice little spot to enjoy sunset with a beer. And last one, number seven. I’ve kept it to last because it’s number seven. It’s Seven Bridges from Da Nang originally. So if you’ve been to Vietnam before or you know anything about Da Nang, it has Seven Bridges. Maybe more now, I’m not actually sure, but when they started, Da Nang has Seven Bridges over the river and it started up there.

So I’d had it a couple of times when I’d been up there and really, really liked it. And then they finally came down to Saigon a couple of years ago. Yeah, I think a couple of years ago now, which is really exciting. New introduction. As I said, the beer scene had kind of plateaued. We hadn’t had any new beers for a while.

Couple of them had gone out of business. One of them, I think most people were quite glad that they’d gone out of business. They didn’t make good beer. I won’t say who it was, but if you know who I’m talking about, you know who I’m talking about. But Seven Bridges come down here. They make really, really good beers.

It’s a little bit disappointing [00:17:00] because when they first came down, I feel like they had Da Nang crises, which were like a little bit lower, and you’re like, oh sweet. This is like a little bit, uh, So that was nice! The last time I went, I noticed the prices have kinda crept up to Saigon prices. So they are not expensive, but they have just gone on par with basically how much craft beer costs in Saigon.

But it is definitely worth it. Go check it out! When you do go, I would definitely recommend getting a pizza slice, or a whole pizza, if you’re hungry. The pizza is, I think it is a New York style pizza, and it is really, really good. So check that out as well. Make sure you get the hot sauce. It comes with like a little dish of hot sauce, which is amazing.

You can buy it as well. And so I definitely get a pizza, get some hot sauce. They’ve got a location on, now I might be saying this wrong, Le Tan Ton. There’s two streets in Saigon. I’ve lived here eight years. One of them is Le Tan Ton and one of them is Le Tu Truong. And they’re parallel to each other, they go in different directions, and I always forget which is which.

Fuck. I think it’s on Le Tantan. Go check it out. The other one, they’ve just opened a new one. I know this [00:18:00] one on Haibatrung Street. Oh, see? I’m terrible. A new one on Haibatrung Street, which is right on the corner. Really good views. Nice to go there and just watch. The craziness of Saigon and the crazy traffic.

So check out Seven Bridges as well. It’s a they just make really good beer as well Now so that’s everything that I’ve got. I’ve got seven. I’ve given you seven places There’s obviously way way more if I haven’t covered something that you really like send me a message Let me know I can put it into another episode as well.

If you disagree with what I’ve said That’s fine, we don’t all have to agree on everything, um, we all should agree that water is a human right and that you should be given free water in a bar like that’s just standard, I will argue with you, I will argue that point until I’m dehydrated and I’m dead, but Let me know what you think.

It’s always good to hear from you. so much for tuning into this. It doesn’t exist without you paying attention to what I’m saying This is the first time i’ve ever done an episode by myself. So let me know how it was. Hopefully it gets better And thank you [00:19:00] Remember, the best thing to do is share this with somebody else.

If you liked it, or if you didn’t like it, share it with someone else. Anyway, it really, really helps. Um, do all that stuff, rate, subscribe, follow, turn on the notifications. It really does help. And I hope you can tune in for future episodes and that you enjoy learning more about Vietnam. If you’re not from here and thinking of coming here, or you can learn a little bit more if you already live here.

So thank you so much. My name’s been Niall Mackay. This is a Vietnam podcast. Cheers.

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