Malt, an American-style bar offers a casual setting, good beer, and, in a groundbreaking move for Saigon, shuffleboard. By Lorcan Lovett. Photos by Vinh Dao.
Continuing its endless embrace of Uncle Sam’s cultural pastimes, Saigon now has shuffleboard, which is like bowls but with discs.
King Henry VIII of England would have me hanged for saying that shuffleboard originated in the US. Supposedly, it’s from Europe, but this miniaturised American version of the game fits into Malt neatly.
It’s not the only reason to visit the District 1 bar. Go there for its casual ambience and warm atmosphere amid brickwork, Miller posters and wooden furnishings.
Just remember, if you need something new in your life, it has shuffleboard. Tournaments take place every Thursday, usually around 7pm. You play in pairs and you play to win because there’s two bottles of quality spirits for the champions.
Malt’s non-smoking so you can see your disc glide clearly along the smooth table while conveniently lowering your chances of contracting cancer.
It opened in December without much fuss and has steadily attracted a regular crowd through word-of-mouth, striking a good balance between tasty snacks in a relaxing hangout and somewhere you can visit to start a big night.
Happy hour is buy two, get one free, from 4pm to 7pm, except on craft beer and cocktails.
On the independent brewery roster, Malt’s got bottled Belgian wheat beer Te Te (VND120,000), draft Fuzzy Logic (VND60,000) and Pasteur Street Brewery’s Jasmine IPA and Saigon Saison (both VND95,000).
Among the usual offerings, draft Tiger is VND45,000 and bottled Saigon Red VND35,000.
The menu is interesting enough for a second glance, with the pub grub options including Truffle Parmesan Garlic Fries (VND60,000) and Chicken Enchilada (VND120,000).
Revellers can order shared cocktail jugs or Malt’s signature cocktails like Mac Thi Buoi (a revolutionary who gave the street its name) which blends gin, sweet vermouth, lime, orange and cinnamon. Classic cocktails are VND120,000 and shots can be chased with a pickleback for an extra VND10,000.
Despite this, owner Thao Tran doesn’t want to give the impression that Malt’s a cocktail bar, and it’s not.
Flanked by fancy hotels and high-end bars, you can stumble in with crumbled shorts and a stained t-shirt and people won’t bat an eyelid.
Themed nights are in the pipeline so keep in the loop via its Facebook page. Drop in for a drink and enjoy the good part-US culture without that tangerine, reality TV chap with the funny hair who may actually destroy the world.