Elijah Ferrian gets a most pleasant surprise stepping into a comfy bar that’s made for people that like rock n’ roll jams and actually talking to other human beings. Photos by Vinh Dao.
Alex Mage and his business partner opened Fat Shaggy’s in August of 2016. The idea behind the concept was simple: they wanted to open an unpretentious bar that was welcoming. A place that’s good, affordable, but without having to sacrifice on quality.
They’ve got it down pretty damn well.
After being in Vietnam for 10 years, and experiencing so many letdowns when it came to good food from back West, Alex is from Maryland in the US, he and his partner decided to just do it themselves.
The food is the closest thing to properly done American bar fare I have come across.
“We do everything ourselves to have affordable, high quality food,” Mage says. “We grind our own sausages, make our own bread, make our own sauces. We limit menu size and rotate it out to keep it interesting, for me and the guests.”
The interior and ambience of Fat Shaggy’s is a contemporary Cheers. Regulars chatting each other up, and even engaging with newcomers. I know, shocking.
Movie posters boasting cult titles like Evil Dead II and Big Trouble in Little China. The Doom video game poster spying me from a back wall is a warm blast from my kid-gaming past.
The music is on point. 90s jams with a healthy sprinkling of 70s and 80s classics. Anyone that likes to spend too much time in bars will agree that the music being played sets the tone for just about everything.
“Nobody can put Justin Bieber on, or anything like that,” Mage laughs. “People don’t really know what to expect when they see the name and the size of the place. We really do try hard to make great food, and I think that’s the most surprising part about if for people. People that have been here for awhile get a little jaded, how many subpar meals can you have?”
Shaggy’s 100% Unauthentic Tacos (VND99,000 on Tuesdays) are seriously close to “real” tacos. If you’ve been missing Latin cuisine while in Asia, this is a good meal to ease the pain.
They make their own corn tortillas and wrap them over seasoned chicken, avocado, and mango salad, or pan seared snapper with dill, turmeric, green onion and curry sauce.
Shaggy’s Cheesy Bacon Balls (VND99,000) are real. Just get them.
There’s a burger called “The Dirty Martin” (VND215,000). I could explain it to you, but I think it would be more fun if all you knew of it was that someone extremely high came up with the concept, and it’s reevaluate your life good.
Vegetarians take note, the Israeli Falafel plate (VND150,000) is outstanding and made with all the love. They use fresh chickpeas, make the tahini in house and it’s served with homemade flat bread and greek salad. Easily one of the most solid “bar food” vegetarian dishes I’ve had in the city.
Happy hour is everyday from 3 to 7pm, 50% off draught beer, glasses of wine, house cocktails, and house pours. Like you need any more reasons to check this place out. There’s a new “greatest bar in town”.