Address: 55 Thao Dien, Thao Dien Ward, D2
The latest addition to the Saigon bar scene is this modern Sports Bar, owned by the Al Fresco Group. Formerly “Baan Thai Bar and Restaurant” it has been superbly refitted to create space that few even knew existed. It is an excellent place to catch up with all the latest in sports, whilst enjoying superb food and a terrific drinks selection. It is also a no smoking venue which makes a pleasant change for non smokers. My only criticism would be the size of meal portions that are more in keeping with a high-end restaurant rather than a sports bar. However the quality is excellent.
Rugby fans will be seeking an atmospheric place this month to watch their country in the world cup, so now seems an opportunistic time to launch a sports bar, impress the punters and keep them coming back long after the final whistle.
Since its opening last month, D2 in Thao Dien has been trying to achieve this, helped by a slick, spacious layout, a scattering of flatscreen TVs and a tempting pub grub menu.
Although the bar is a newbie to District 2’s drinking scene, it has a wealth of experience to draw on thanks to owner The Al Fresco’s Group, which has been operating in Vietnam since 1996.
The firm brings Australia’s easygoing vibe to its bars in Vietnam’s big cities, catering for a crowd who love cold pints, big portions and live sport.
D2 has cast its net slightly wider, joining the fledgling ranks of Saigon’s no-smoking bars to boost its appeal among families. Smokers do have the choice of using thetables at the front of the bar or the back exit.
The special deals menu supports this approach of attracting a wider crowd by offering an all-day Sunday roast (VND 200,000), pasta (VND 99,000) on Thursdays and cheeses burgers (VND 99,000) on Tuesdays among other deals depending on the day.
Drinks offers stand at all ‘white’ house spirits for VND 30,000 per shot on Wednesdays and ladies’ buy one get one free on jugs of Margaritas and Daiquiris on Fridays.
A taster of what’s on draft is Tiger beer (VND 40,000) Magners cider (VND 35,000) and Tennet’s Lager (VND 140,000) however drinkers who try the latter will be hard pressed finding a similarity after tasting the same brand in the UK.
The bar has a pool table, darts board and, like any respectable sports bar, an array of sports memorabilia such as the kit of top stars. As well as the collector items, it also has TVs, which will be playing all the Rugby World Cup and a lot of Premier League matches along with commentary.
When a big match comes on, expect the place to be buzzing. About 150 people can fit inside, standing or sitting at one of the 11 tables.
“It’s somewhere anyone can feel comfortable in with really good quality food and great service,” says manager Andy Jones, who admits The Al Fresco’s Group jumped at the chance to buy the building in Thao Dien after its sale was announced.
D2’s burnished appearance may not suit barflies who enjoy more dingy nests where the stools wobble and cigarette smoke sullies the air, but those looking for a casual, clean environment to catch a game should drop in.
Source: citypassguide and asialifemagazine