Jonny Edbrooke checks out one of the newest watering holes in District 2’s Thao Dien, Orient Bar Thao Dien.

Orient Bar Thao DienLike many bars, Orient lost its original premises in District 1 to development, which is great news for residents of District 2 because its new location is across the road from the Riverside complex.

The Aussie-style pub is bright and open, decked out with high tables, including a couple outside, which provide the perfect vantage point for watching the world go by.

The layout is wide and airy with high ceiling in the bar area complete with huge fan to cool things down as the front wall is basically fully open. At the back is the pool area, separate so you’re not asking people watching the game to move for each shot.

“I really like it here in D2 and the bar is more open than you can get in district one,” Orient’s owner Grant Holliday said.

Up the stairs to the right is an air-conditioned non-smoking lounge, which also has screens for the sport.

As you might expect with an Aussie-run bar, sport is high on the agenda, with a projector in the back and six large, and I must say, very high quality screens on the walls with probably every game you can get connected to.

Of course there is beer with Tiger at VND45,000 a bottle or draught, a tower comes in at VND290,000 for group drinking. Along with the standard beers there is the craft variety with six Rooster beers priced VND75,000 and Platinum at VND65,000. Along with the beer is Whistling Duck wines and Strongbow cider and a full range of spirits. There is a “buy one get one free” happy hour between 4 and 6pm, just to make things fun.

Pub food comes in two varieties. The pub menu has snacks for drinking sessions, along with burgers, pastas and pizzas, all priced reasonably. The second is El Chapo Mexican food, which includes a range of tacos, nachos, enchiladas, burritos and more.

The area Orient is in was in the past quiet but with access by the relatively new two-lane bridge and the opening of Masteri it’s slowly attracting more venues to open up. It’s a welcome sight to see what I call a “pub pub” opening up here, especially as I live just down the street.

41 Vo Trưong Toan, Thao Dien, District 2, Ho Chi Minh City