Support Our Streets

Phạm Viết Chánh, Bình Thạnh

By The Bureau Asia

Published 9 Mar 2020

Sending Out An S.O.S.

A few weeks back when it occurred to me that COVID-19 aka Coronavirus wasn't about to go away any time soon in Vietnam, I began to think about how The Bureau could support businesses and communities in Saigon affected by the presence of the virus.

An article in Business Insider as far back as Feb. 22 this year, reported that the outbreak was expected to impact on Vietnam's tourism industry to the tune of US$3 billion to US$4 billion in just three months alone.

A few weeks on from that article, that financial impact may well prove to be even greater. Some estimates are now putting it at US$7 billion.

One thing is for certain, however, the cost not just in financial terms but also on the mental and physical health of business owners facing the prospect of losing their livelihoods, will continue to be felt for some time to come. 

The Support Our Streets initiative is The Bureau's way of getting behind the industries [F&B, travel, lifestyle] that we are embedded in, industries that are finding the going tough at the moment.

All that we ask you, the reader, is to share this feature so that we all get the exposure and support that we hope will see us through this difficult period however long that may be.

After all, we're all in this together and a city with a vibrant F&B culture like Ho Chi Minh City has, is a culture worth trying to protect.

It's also important to note, this feature is not a paid partnership.

I hope you enjoy the content, and if you can, please support the featured businesses next time you're in the neighbourhood or planning a night out.

And please endeavour to use these hashtags on social media whenever you post about them:

#SupportOurStreets #TheBureauAsia #SharingIsCaring

Matt Cowan

The Bureau

Captain Phook Tapas Bar & Restaurant 

Captain Phook is a cheery eatery that opens onto the street and serves up tasty sharing plates and frothy local craft beers.

It fits seamlessly into the neighbourhood's low-key aesthetic and occupies a prime position at the entrance of a narrow alleyway across from the local police box.

Captain Phook seats just a handful of diners at the counter on the inside and at its street-side bar outside.

Kick your evening off here with fish & chips or some of the city's best beef or fish tacos before moving on to sample what the rest of the area has to offer.

Open from 6pm.

80 Pham Viet Chanh

 Birdy Cocktail Bar

Birdy Cocktail Bar is one of the elder statesmen of the Pham Viet Chanh strip having opened back in 2016 before the steady growth in popularity of the now busy enclave.

Birdy is perched between a noodle cart on one side and a local coffee shop on the other, just along from Captain Phook.

Possibly the smallest bar in town, Birdy can squeeze up to eight people inside and about as many outside, making it intimate, warm and welcoming.

It's the perfect place for drinks enthusiasts who want to get away from the inner city buzz but still indulge in a quality selection of cocktails, including Japanese lagers and highballs.

Bar snacks are also available.

Open from 1.30pm.

Address: 80 Pham Viet Chanh

Nông Trại Khoai

You'll love Nong Trai Khoai if you're up for roughing it a little bit. 

Described by some as charming, by others as ramshackle and by the rest of us as somewhere in between, 'Khoai' is a small piece of rural within our urban jungle. 

At this partly open-air and self-proclaimed "ruins bar" you can down the best of locally-made craft beers.

But in keeping with its theme, you can also knock the top off a selection of more rough-and-tumble Southeast Asian mainstays from Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Thailand, including brews from much farther afield.

Open from 4pm.

Address: 89 Pham Viet Chanh

           Hot Rod Garage  

If some escapism is what you're after, then look no further than Hot Rod Garage.

Lock yourself away until the wee hours of the morning and surround yourself in 1950s Americana from the moment you set foot through the door.

Co-owned and operated by 'Masa' who has traded in the fast lane of Japan for the much slower paced Binh Thanh, 'Hot Rod' is one of those home-away-from home kind of joints where everyone gets to know your name real quick.

They do things simple here. Draught beers and highballs are the order of the day chased with complimentary bowls of popcorn.

Open from 5pm.

Address: 98 Pham Viet Chanh

Lozzi Wine Bar

Access to Lozzi is via a narrow passageway where at the end is a very small but impressive bar tucked away from the street.

Here there's a solid selection of quaffable Old and New World wines lining the shelves just waiting to be paired with some cheese and cold-cuts.

While downstairs has an intimate hidden-away feel, upstairs on the terrace brings things out into the open where the goings-on below can be observed from a distance with a reassuring glass of vino in hand.

Open from 6pm.

Address: 85/1 Pham Viet Cha​​​​nh

Oliver's Pizza

When Oliver's Pizza relocated to the Pham Viet Chanh neighbourhood from Dakao across the canal a while back, it made perfect sense.

Oliver's specialises in rectangular Romana-style pizzas with medium to thick crunchy bases.

Their pizzas are usually semi-baked and put on display in preparation for a quick finishing off in the oven for a few minutes as you order.

Typically there's up to eight selections to choose from on the menu ranging from Margherita and spicy salami to the decadent 4 formaggi and their signature gourmet banger.     

Open from midday.

Address: 85/3 Pham Viet Chanh

Quán Cây Đa Banyan Tree

Every residential area has one, often multiple. 

We're talking about the local quán ăn or restaurant that serves up good old fashioned Vietnamese comfort food at cheap prices washed down with plenty of local lager in mugs with blocks of ice.

They are quintessential Vietnam, the places you rarely see in glossy magazine travel features and TV shows because they are so simple and cheap.

Quán Cây Đa is exactly that, positioned smack in the middle of it all and is a reminder that a night out on the town doesn't have to break the bank.

Rarely closed.

Address: 85/5 Pham Viet Chanh

The Calmo Tonic Bar & Kitchen

At The Calmo they aim to be the "tonic for your woes."

Whether you have woes or not, The Calmo is a great option for a drink however you feel.

Here, as you may have already noticed, the vibe is about feelings, something from which the bar derives its name (pronounced as in "calm").

Their drinks are conceived and expertly mixed up entirely by local bartenders, with the menu having a good balance of classic cocktails and signatures at tempting prices.

A small selection of wines and beers is also available.

Open from 5pm.

Address: 85/7 Pham Viet Chanh

NOTE: The Calmo is closed for renovations until April 2020

Movers & Shakers Cocktail Bar

Movers & Shakers literally mixes things up a little in the neighbourhood. 

Not expressly a cocktail bar in the traditional sense or a pub, Movers & Shakers might be best described as simply a great casual place to hangout with friends and chill.

Grab a seat inside at the bar, upstairs or on the lounge out front and kick back with a signature cocktail or a frosty cold beer. Whatever takes your fancy.

These guys go on till late, so kick the night off here and come back later to finish it.

Open from 5pm.

Address: 85/2 Pham Viet Chanh

Retro Saigon Cafe

What's there to say about Retro Saigon

There's nothing else quite like it in the neighbourhood. This 'cafe' has small rooms and alcoves all over the place across multiple floors, making it suitable for individuals, couples and small groups.

Craft beers? Tick. Pub snacks? Tick. Karaoke? Yep, tick.

Retro, like its counterpart Movers & Shakers just up the street, is open till the early hours, so keep it in mind when you want that last one for the road.

Open from 5pm.

Address: 85/6 Pham Viet Chanh

Phở Mt Đô

A hot steaming bowl of phó is about as Vietnamese as it gets.

Is it Vietnam’s national dish? Probably.

Who has the best one? We don’t know, although plenty will claim to have had it.

Which is good news because at Phở Một Đồ they serve up dishes from both ends of the country, so here might be a good place to start your research.

Open from 6am.

Address: 76F Pham Viet Chanh     

BiaCraft Artisan Ales

BiaCraft Artisan Ales has a knack of setting up shop in some of the best locations. 

They have a number dotted about the city that are hugely popular with both local and foreign punters.

This one on Pham Viet Chanh is small but like at their others, there are plenty of local craft beers to choose from.

Arrive from 4pm and take advantage of their Buy-1 Get-1 deal on their own brews.

Open from 4pm.

Address: 83 Pham Viet Chanh  


Writer: Matthew Cowan

Photographer: Mike Palumbo

Layout: Matthew Cowan

Copyright: The Bureau Asia 


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