Peter Cornish gets his drink on at a new Latin-themed rooftop bar in District 2, Tropicana. Photo by Vinh Dao.
Thao Dien welcomed another new bar as it rung in the New Year. Some might think this an audacious date to launch, but it was a move that paid off and has created a buzz around the expat village.
Tropicana gives Thao Dien-ers yet another good reason for staying in their bubble. Why venture over the bridge into the city that sits on their door step when there are so many places on offer, just a few minutes stroll from the front door? Whilst the loop offers what are undoubtedly some of the best bars in Saigon, what it has lacked is a rooftop. Until now.
Situated on the corner of 41 Street and Quoc Huong, the rooftop’s view faces down over Xuan Thuy and the river beyond. As dusk falls, the lights come on and a cool evening breeze wafts through, creating an ambience unique to the area, and the perfect place to sit with a cocktail and mull over the day that has just passed.
As you might expect from the name, Tropicana is a cocktail and music venue with a distinctly Latin theme. The décor is simple, colourful and comfortable, with brightly painted walls and high wicker stools spread out amongst lush potted palms. A good-sized bar sits to one side, and stairs go up to what will be a second-floor chill-out lounge with further views of the city.
The three owners, Bart, Martin and Frederico, are serious about their drinks and have stocked the bar to impress. The wine list is broad and reasonably priced, with premium bottles from South America, Italy and Spain. It also includes slightly more unusual bottles, such as Armagnac, Calvados and Grappa, and is one of the few bars in town to offer Port by the glass, as well as the bottle.
Their spirit selection is extensive, with the expected choice of vodka, rum, whisky and whiskey. But the bar’s focus is on Latin drinks, with Caipirinhas, Caipiroskas, and Caipirissimas accompanying classics such as Daiquiris and Margaritas, frozen or not. Purées are made in-house with fresh ingredients.
What sets the menu apart from others is the choice of Martinis, and with over 20, they are working towards the ultimate Martini cocktail list.
The more adventurous Martini connoisseur will be tempted by The Blue & Blue, garnished with a blue cheese stuffed olive. Or perhaps The After Eight, a sweet Martini made with crème de cacao white and crème de menthe. All priced at VND150,000.
The food menu follows a similar Latin and Hispanic theme, with a choice of traditional Mexican, South American and Spanish dishes.
At the time of writing, the bar opens daily at 6pm but plans to open for breakfast and lunch, with an extended menu.
Food and wine packages will be combined with Latin dance classes that encourage you to arrive for lunch, and stay through the evening.
This is a bar that that brings authentic Latin vibes to central Thao Dien.
41 Street 41, Thao Dien, District 2, Ho Chi Minh City
Tel: 093 300 43 00
Opens at 6:00pm 6:00PM – 2:30AM