Elijah Ferrian gets inaugrated into a recent-comer to the District 2 drinking landscape, The White House Saigon. Photos by Vinh Dao.
Ellen Thompson, owner of The White House Saigon, just wants to run a great bar. God forbid it have some Americana on the walls, have a cheeky namesake, and boast various rooms that harken back to tales about the giant political stronghold that sits nestled into Washington DC.
“Basically, I’ve always wanted to have a bar or restaurant since I was a teenager,” Thompson tells me. “I was looking for a space for a different reason, that fell through, then this beautiful space came around. I signed a lease, and it started developing naturally in my head. I came up with the White House, naturally. There’s no political affiliation. It just works. Absolutely everyone is welcome here.”
It’s a country pub with a DC nightscape. It’s a homey, throwback to a simpler time, kind of place.
There’s a pool table. A stark white bar with a new draft beer system. Frank Sinatra, Ray Lewis and Marilyn Monroe play over the speakers.
The windows are wide open, there’s a beautiful new terrace outside anxiously awaiting sun-drenched groups of friends seeking refuge under its sprawling awning.
In addition to the ground floor, and the outdoor area, there is a second level that is destined to be a meeting, cigar space.
A third floor is focussed on a sports pub feel. There’s two additional pool tables up there, throwing The White House’s hat in the ring for best place to shoot a game of stick.
“At the time when I was developing this idea there seemed to be a lack of places to go for a drink in the neighbourhood,” Ellen says. “Now, there’s more places opening up everyday, but nothing quite like this. I want to make something different. Bring a bit of America to District 2. With a focus on great service.”
The White House Saigon boasts eight craft beer taps (around VND70,000). Fuzzy Logic, LAC, Phat Rooster, and Platinum, as of now.
“I wanted to make craft beer more accessible to everyone, so we lowered the prices for a glass compared to a lot of other places,” Ellen says.
Wine lovers, rejoice. They pour legit glasses of wine here. This place is a perfect spot for wine drinkers looking for somewhere new in the Thao Dien area. Glasses of house white and red (VND100,000), and bottles (VND500,000) rotate regularly.
Neat pours of spirits hover between VND70,000 and up, while mixed drinks are around VND95,000.
Ellen makes great small bites that are perfectly fit for a relaxed bar scene. Delicious meatballs (VND45,000 for 4), Tzatziki chicken wraps (VND85,000), and an assortment of little meat pies (VND85,000) provide all the nourishment a hungry, pool playing, beer swigging regular may need.