Carmen Bar, Ho Chi Minh City
This place was fantastic! You enter through an odd stone staircase and find yourself in a crowded, cramped bar with rough rock walls and decorated with fairy lights and malibu bottles! It's a Latin music bar and on the night we were there a cover band was playing. They play every week and are really enjoyable to watch, as well as friendly and fluent in English. The female singer has toured around Australia and has a lovely voice. The male singer's deep, growly version of "What a Wonderful World" was a definite highlight!
An extensive range of cocktails are available. The prices are a little expensive by HCMC standards, but a lot cheaper than what you'd pay in a bar in Australia.
Apparently Carmen Bar gets a large, loyal crowd each night and the music is wonderful.
Dress Code: We were perfectly welcome in jeans and tshirts, but the local patrons are more dressed up.
How often do you step into a club only to realise that the band or DJ suck big time? All too often, I suppose. Not at this place though, the band here is excellent as does the Vietnamese singer who sang in Spanish all night long. This place is a favourite with the locals and a great place to chill out with a magarita. I preferred this place to the loud pit stop at Apocalypse Now.
Guess the only thing that bothered me was the steep staircase and the small, cavern-like entrance that was more suited for Dr Evil's mini-me. Sigh, I think I hit my head before I entered.
To see more night haunts, click on b'packer's hcmc page
Dress Code: Lots of expats and trendy locals hang out here so dressing is chic yet relaxed.
Carmen Bar is one of the more unique night spots in Saigon. For starters, it looks a bit like a log cabin both inside and out. You enter through a small doorway that makes you feel a little like a hobbit. Once your inside, it opens up to candle-lit tables and a coverband strumming popular western tunes. The music is mostly easy listening, so look elsewhere if you're looking for a loud and raucous evening.
Dress Code: Carmen Bar is popular with a lot of Saigon's well-to-do Vietnamese. Generally, locals wear dress pants and a button up shirt even in the most seemingly casual situations. So, it's probably a good idea to wear something nice-casual to Carmen Bar. Don't go in backpacker attire unless you want to stick out like a sore thumb.