For his final City Bites review for AsiaLIFE print edition, Peter Cornish forgoes the food (which is pretty awesome) and gets stuck into Tap Out’s liquid offerings. Photos by Angeli Castillo.

The recently opened Tap Out is starting to create a bit of a buzz around town as people realise there’s a classy, up-market joint to hang out at in an area typically associated with cheap beer, low quality food and a transient crowd of long haired backpackers.

Owner Johann Urquhart spent time running a backpacker hostel in Pham Ngu Lao which taught him that not all visitors to the area are low budget travelers and many want the choice of an up-market bar and restaurant with a quality menu, beer and cocktails. So that’s what he decided to give them.

He describes his latest venture as a sports bar location away from the noise and chaos around the corner on Bui Vien. With the table taps due for launch soon, the bars plays all the main sports so you can watch the games without having to leave the table for more beer. The music is great, the cocktails high quality and generously poured, and the carefully selected local craft beers compliment the impressive food menu to perfection.

The venue is open fronted with a large bar running the length of the downstairs floor, lined with comfortable high backed stools that encourage you to sit and drink for a while. The upstairs area is laid out in horseshoe shaped seating booths that make it great for groups to watch the game or share a few beers. An outside terrace overlooks the street below with long bar tables and benches.

First pour was the Sour Honi (VND140,000), a smoked pineapple and chargrilled banana infused rum, banana liqueur, lime pineapple reduction and egg white. The smoked pineapple rehydrates with the rum to give a deliciously rich smoky flavour to a drink that goes down incredibly easily. The kitchen has its own smoker and specialises in smoked meats. This is the cocktail that compliments that.

Next up was the Perfect Lady (VND150,000) confirming for some that they do actually exist. It mixes Bombay Gin with peach liqueur, lime juice and egg white. This classically sexy, good looking cocktail is a favourite of Johann’s with a simple yet great taste. A popular with the ladies too.

The Coronita (VND 190,000) is a fun, beer-based cocktail served in a glass the size of a fish bowl and blends tequila, triple sec, lime and passion fruit juice served over ice and with a mini Corona stuck in for good measure. Think passion fruit margarita that’s complemented with a beer.

Last up was the Forgotten Lady (VND160,000), a sweet and refreshing drink that’s great for the heat, blending spiced rum, apricot brandy, mango sorbet, lime juice and bitters. It doesn’t taste strong but deceives you with alcohol

Great deals on flights of beer that can be combined with ‘surf and turf’ or ‘cluck and moo’ from VND350,000. Happy hour is buy-one-get-one-free for cocktails from 4 till 8 and individual promotions are run daily on both food and drink. Check out their Facebook page for the latest offers as they’re about to welcome a new chef to their kitchen.

170 Cong Quynh, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
www.facebook.com/tapouteateryandbar