This place adds welcome variety to the mix in Saigon’s cocktail bar scene. For starters, it’s in an area of town that’s only just beginning to become known for its nightlife.
Until the last few years or so, the precinct was better known for being the financial centre of the city, with the State Bank’s headquarters here and the Stock Exchange just up the street. Hence, the references to the quarter’s mercantile history in the bar’s name.
The “vault” is in an old shophouse on the second floor with access gained via a narrow passageway leading to the back where the stairs are located. Through the cast-iron vault door, the inside radiates a medieval feel, accentuated by the lighting and decor, including what looks to be years (it’s not) of coagulated candle wax dripping down the walls.
There’s also a small mezzanine suitable for cozy hook-ups. At risk of making this place sound morbid (it’s far from it), the stairs up to the mezzanine and its landing could quite easily represent a small set of gallows on the set of a period drama. Yikes!
There are both classic and signature cocktails on the drinks menu, along with mocktails, beer and wine. There’s also a food menu you can get stuck into to save you from going elsewhere.
Aside from the very creative signature cocktails that push the envelope of the genre in this city — like the one that comes in half a giant (fake) tamarind shell — these guys do a really good Sidecar, a classic cocktail made from cognac, an orange liqueur like Curacao or Cointreau, and lemon juice — although in Saigon, it’s more likely to come with lime. It’s a drink we don’t often see on menus in this part of the world, so give it a go when you visit.
Anther great thing about The Iron Bank is that it won’t break the bank (pun intended). The prices, including happy hour, are competitive and we highly recommend you take them up on that awesome 30% discount on offer for the Saigon Tattoo Expo — or we’ll have your heads!
The Iron Bank – Cocktail Vault is at 47 Ton That Dam, District 1, HCMC