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Ho Chi Minh City Nightlife

Apocalypse Now
2B–D Thi Sach Street
District 1
Ho Chi Minh City
Vietnam
Tel: 84 8 825 6124

A local institution with a bipolar personality, this beer garden/disco is a favorite haunt of expats, louche travelers, and twentysomething Vietnamese, including a large contingent of, ahem, taxi dancers. There's a pool table off to the side and ESPN on the flat-screen TV of this warehouse-style space, but the crowds are primarily here to hit the postage-stamp dance floor while the house DJ drops Gloria Gaynor, Jay-Z, and…Vanilla Ice? Arrive before 10:30 pm and you'll be outnumbered by the battalion of efficient waiters, who ensure a steady stream of 333-brand beers at about $3 a pop. Check your pretension at the door and enjoy the goofy fun of it all.

Open daily 7 pm to 2 am.

Lush
2 Ly Tu Trong Street
District 1
Ho Chi Minh City
Vietnam
Tel: 84 8 824 2496

Locals as well as homesick expats love this little slice of Clubland at the outer limits of District 1. The owner, a former computer-graphics artist, has decorated the walls with floor-to-ceiling anime illustrations, while the open room features a central bar girdled by low booths and ottomans as well as an intimate second-floor gallery. DJs spin the latest techno and hip-hop at chat-killing levels, and the fact that there's no dance floor doesn't deter the young and restless throngs. Conversation is best attempted in the outdoor courtyard fronting the dance room, where a full à la carte menu (catered by Xu restaurant), including wonton noodle soup and seared-tuna salad, will also satisfy the peckish.

Open Sundays through Thursdays 5 pm to 1:30 am, Fridays and Saturdays 5 pm to 2:30 am.

Q Bar
7 Cong Truong Lam Son
District 1
Ho Chi Minh City
Vietnam
Tel: 84 8 823 3479
www.qbarsaigon.com

The diva of Saigon's demimonde, Q Bar's unbeatable Lam Son Square location and red-eye hours make it a crossroads for sharply dressed night crawlers of all passports and persuasions. The long bar stocks nearly two dozen single-malt whiskeys and every fruity Absolut infusion known to man. The truly decadent will try a Cyclotini (Tanqueray gin, dry vermouth, and absinthe). Despite the blend of dance and techno music, the low ceilings and lighting in this subterranean warren of rococo rooms make for more of a chill vibe.

Opens daily at 6 pm.

Saigon Saigon
Caravelle Hotel
19 Lam Son Square
District 1
Ho Chi Minh City
Vietnam
Tel: 84 8 823 4999

With commanding views of downtown Ho Chi Minh City, this breezy, tenth-floor bar is a favored sundowner site among the city's business travelers and upscale tourists. Far above the maddening traffic of Lam Son Square, the panoramas of Notre Dame Cathedral and the Hotel de Ville are sublime. Ceiling fans, rattan furniture, and vintage photos aim for old-time ambience, although signature cocktails like the $7 Saigon Saigon (a martini glass aswirl with Smirnoff vodka, Cointreau, cranberry, and lime juice) sport thoroughly modern price tags—as do the branded gift-shop coasters, polo shirts, and teddy bears. A bit commercial, but still worth at least one sunset.

Open daily 11 am to midnight.

Sax n' Art Jazz Club
28 Le Loi Street
District 1
Ho Chi Minh City
Vietnam
Tel: 84 8 822 8472
www.saxnart.com

There's nothing else in the city quite like Tran Manh Tuan's brick-walled, bohemian boîte. The talented saxophonist—the first Vietnamese graduate of Boston's Berklee College of Music—picked up an abiding love for American jazz while studying overseas. From 9 pm to midnight, Tran leads a talented house band through a repertoire that samples Fats Waller, John Coltrane, and Ray Charles as well as his own compositions, which incorporate melodies of the Montagnard, the ethnic minorities of the Central Highlands. The club's second-floor balcony has the best acoustics, though there's not a bad seat inside the long, narrow space. Drinks are a bit pricey (about $4 for a draft beer), but there's no cover charge. If you play music, pack along your sax or your ax; visiting musicians are encouraged to jam with the band.

Open daily 9 pm to midnight.

Tan Hai Van
162 Nguyen Trai Street
District 1
Ho Chi Minh City
Vietnam
Tel: 84 8 839 9617

After an evening of revelry or second-shift work, peckish Vietnamese clubgoers and insomniacs flock to this no-frills eatery to carbo-load Chinese noodle dishes and dim sum munchies. Hearty portions of wonton soup or rice porridge cost little more than $1, as does a cold can of nuoc yen ngan nhi, a popular Vietnamese beverage whose key ingredient is bird's nest. Stick with local 333 or Larue beer instead. There's an indoor, air-conditioned dining area, but grab a sidewalk table for optimum people watching.

Open 24/7.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.