Elijah Ferrian experiences Saigon Outcast’s hip new sibling, Rogue, and has a couple beers in the process. Photos by Vinh Dao.
Rogue Saigon snuck its way into a prime nook on the southern end of Pasteur street, and its nondescript entrance sets the tone for its ‘embedded into downtown HCMC’ vibe. Upon catching sight of the ‘13’ posted outside, and walking up a couple flights of skinny staircases, guests are first greeted by an arcade-style video game console, and the last remaining steps lead up to the ‘first’ level, where the ever-rotating taps are flowing.
“We have the best beer selection,” says Krijn Bolder, manager. “I want to get people to know all kinds of different styles. People come here and they tend to ask more in-depth questions. I love to ask guests what they drink, because we try our best to introduce people to different styles of brewing. I get excited when someone mentions that they don’t really like beer.”
There’s plenty of places in the city to get more than your average draft lager nowadays, but what sets one craft brew location apart from the next is where this next wave of watering holes is getting interesting.
“The concept is a downtown craft beer hangout for art and music, like the things we do at Saigon Outcast,” Bolder explains. “Outcast is the mothership, and Rogue is the satellite bar. That’s why we have the logo with the rocket.”
Born out of their older sibling’s style, Rogue has something going on that beer nerds and newcomers alike should find to have a tractor-beam effect for those that want to go out and do something a little different with their pint chasing.
“We do Saigon Beer School events in collaboration with Rogue, “Bolder says. “Like for instance, we just did a beer school for Heart of Darkness [a new brewery on the scene]. We’ll be doing cider coming up. We host it here once a month.”
Rogue serves their selections in a three-sized system: 195ml ‘tasters’ (from VND65,000), 330ml glasses (from VND55,000 to VND95,000), and 500ml pints (from VND95,000 and up). This gives patrons the ability to put their knowledge and taste buds to the test, and allow even the thriftiest of us to get a wide selection of what Saigon has to offer.
The real crown jewel of this space is the wide-open veranda on the second level staring straight at gleaming Bitexco Tower. It’s large enough to gather a group of friends, but rough and intimate enough to feel like it’s your spot.
Rogue Saigon will be transitioning into a full, Asian-fusion-style food menu in the coming months.
Right now they serve “chicken wings with attitude” (VND95,000), bacon-wrapped asparagus (VND95,000), and potato wedges with garlic and parmesan, and veggie tempura (both VND65,000).
Happy hour is Monday to Friday 4 to 6pm, buy one get one on small glasses (95ml), and every Saturday they host live music.