Pop-ups have been a thing for a while now.
Last year in Saigon there were plenty. It seemed everyone was “doing a pop-up”.
There were Mexican-tequila-taco-type ones, an Aperol Spritz one and even one to celebrate the Rugby World Cup.
Brands are big fans of them, too.
It means they can ‘pop-up’ a small bar within a bar to build their brand or product awareness.
In turn, regular clientele get the opportunity to try something different without leaving their favourite watering hole.
Why The Buzz?
Pop-ups are trendy for multiple reasons.
They tend to attract a crowd if they’re marketed effectively and create a sense of urgency – or buzz – when done well.
They’re also cost-effective if the parties involved can strike up a good deal that suits them both.
And it provides an opportunity to experiment with new brands or drink ideas.
The Bureau Pop-Ups Ideas
With all that in mind, we decided to come up with some pop-ups that we’d like to see in 2020 around Saigon.
Generally speaking, pop-ups take place within a bar, which can leave little scope to go all-out on a theme.
For example, a Corona beer pop-up might be limited to include sombreros, moustaches and cacti.
While an Aperol spritz pop-up might make use of umbrellas, Hollywood 50s and 60s themes, pastel colours and a pool if you’re really lucky.
Our ideas step outside the bar and draw on the everyday things we see around us.
We hope you get a kick out of them.
Who knows? Perhaps we’ll get to pull up a seat at one sometime soon.
The Tiki Coconut Truck Pop-Up Bar
You see these trucks fully-loaded with coconuts from Ben Tre parked by the side of the road quite a bit.
Wouldn’t it be great to sidle up behind one and sip pina coladas made with the freshest of coconuts at the tailgate all-day long?
Drink enough and the driver might even agree to drive you home.
The Inflatable Pool Sports Pop-Up Bar
Saigon could always do with another sports bar.
The great thing about sports bars is that you don’t really need a lot for them to work – booze, food, a big screen and a reliable internet connection.
Oh, and something to keep you cool.
The answer? Some of those inflatable pools you see for sale in District 4.
Then once the game is done, there’s your pool party.
The Reunification Express Pop-Up Bar
One unusual way to fall off the wagon so to speak, might be a pop-up on the historic Reunification Express departing Saigon Station.
Vietnam is close to 3,500km long so we’re not suggesting the party last all the way to Hanoi.
But it can if you want it to. Murder on the Reunification Express?
The beachside holiday town of Mui Ne, however, is just four hours up the tracks.
Jump off the old rattler at Phan Thiet Station and before long you’ll be snoozing your boozing off under a coconut tree at the beach.
The Karaoke Guy Pop-Up Bar
This mightn’t seem too original and not everyone’s cup of Long Island Iced Tea but it’s damn practical.
Although a dying breed, the karaoke guys can still be seen kicking around.
They can bring a lot to a party, literally.
Tell him where you’re pop-up is and he’ll come to you.
You’re gonna kill us for this – but who needs a DJ?
Bring ear plugs.
The Hang Ganh Pop-Up Bar
This concept lends itself beautifully to the service of chilly beers on ice at an event.
A hang ganh is a basket in which a street vendor called a ganh hang ron carries their goods around the streets.
Usually there is a hang ganh attached to each end of a bamboo stick called a quai ganh that rests across the shoulders.
At this pop-up bar, the beers come to you.
Why hasn’t this been done before?
The Get Smart Pop-Up Bar
Anyone born after 1980 mightn’t get this. But for those of us who were, you will.
We’ve all hummed the opening tune to the classic Cold War spoof TV series Get Smart whenever we’ve been down to the war room beneath the Reunification Palace in District 1.
Down there are old spy and communications devices left over from the war – and how about those corridors?
Walking down them you just can’t help but break out in, “Da dadaaa da…” to the uncomfortable stares of others.
What an amazing space to have a pop-up, though.
No entry unless you come dressed as a KAOS agent.
The Rooftop Beach Pop-Up Bar
Bikinis, hot bods, rippling abs and plenty of booze.
Yep, we’ve got all that in Saigon. But there’s just one thing missing – a beach!
Well, why not just create one.
Saigon is a city where anything can be done and there are so many rooftops begging to be transformed.
We know people love beaches, bars and rooftops, so what are you waiting for?
No diving though.
Words by Matthew Cowan. Keep an eye out for him around town – he’s likely to pop up anywhere.
Follow Matt on Instagram at @mattcowansaigon
Feature photo by Zui Hoang on Unsplash