This industrial-style cocktail bar on the second floor of a French colonial-era building a short stroll from Nguyen Hue Street is one of the newest in the city and one of the few this side of the central business district.
The concept behind the name is that people come here to drink and “heal”
The concept behind the name is that people come here to drink and “heal”, whether that’s to kiss a shitty work day or week goodbye, or to nurse themselves back to life after a massive night out. If you’re undecided about what will revive you, leave it up to the bar’s “healers” to sort it out. They’ll note down your preferences and have a bartender fix something to suit your taste and desired state of mind.
Enter Drinking & Healing via a rickety old staircase, then heave open the bulky metal door to reveal what lies beyond. What you’ll experience is warm, atmospheric lighting, a stripped back interior with earthy brick walls, exposed rafters and terracotta roof tiles.
In the evening, this venue is perhaps one of the most photogenic in the city thanks to the kickass lighting and that bar. Drinking & Healing is housed in a corner building which helps give the space a much larger feel than it actually is. There isn’t one quite like it in Ho Chi Minh City with this kind of layout. Kudos to the designers.
Barside, mixologists with flair and exuberance serve up classic and bespoke cocktails, including drinks made from rare barrel-aged liquors and local ingredients — a clever touch that means there’s a story behind each drink’s provenance.
Try the floral Dalat cocktail, bar supervisor Zoo’s entry at a recent Campari bartending competition and which is inspired by his “beautiful memories” of one of Vietnam’s most-loved and romantic destinations in the country’s central highlands. It’s made with strawberry-infused bourbon, Campari bitters and sweet vermouth served in an Old Fashioned glass.
Or you could enjoy the warm embrace of Drinking & Healing’s twist (also with bourbon) on the classic Sazerac instead, which will set you back VND250,000 but promises to heal any bits and pieces of you that might feel broken — briefly at least, anyway.
There’s also a food menu that includes the likes of burgers and chicken drumsticks to knock the edge off the hunger pangs and there’s a DJ at weekends spinning old-school hip-hop.
If it’s therapy you’re looking for after a long day at work, then give yourself over to the healers. Open from 6.30pm daily.
— All photos by Mike Palumbo. Follow Mike on Instagram at @palumbo_photo
Drinking & Healing is at on the 2nd Floor, 25 Ho Tung Mau, District 1, HCMC, Vietnam