It’s that time again. My heart is racing and my eyelids are twitching.
I’ve got 3 more Saigon
drug dens cafes for you to fall in love with.
Let’s go. Time to get our fix.
Address: 213/11 D2 Street, Ward 25, Bình Thạnh District • Show me!
Cost: 29,000 VND • $1.33
Hours: 8 am to 10 pm
Another smallish cafe in my neck of the woods. Chibi Coffee sits down an alley along with several other coffee joints, all of which have completely different themes.
Chibi’s motif seems to be “Grandma’s house.” Tons of flowers and floral print furniture, but the brick walls are a nice contrast. The music here is mostly Vietnamese and American love songs, and sadly the volume is much too high for my taste.
Even so, Chibi is a decent place to get work done (with headphones) because the furniture is so comfortable. It’s also a swell spot to take a nap, and I see people snoozing on the couches every day.
The coffee and smoothies are average but not super expensive—milk coffee is 32,000 VND, smoothies from 39-45,000. I had a really good hazelnut “coffee” here, but it was really a milkshake. I’m not complaining, I swear.
Service is slow and distracted. They tend to sit at one table and play on their phones all day.
Same as their customers.
Besides that, my major gripe with Chibi Coffee is that they allow smoking inside. I know that’s a dealbreaker for a lot of people, and some days it’s noticeable. I tend to sit in the back next to a fan, where the smoke can’t reach.
Address: 52 Trần Não Street, Bình An Ward, District 2 • Show me!
Cost: 29,000 VND • $1.33
Hours: 7 am to 10 pm
A modern cafe/restaurant catering to the crowd in District 2, Vietnamese and expats alike. The coffee is pretty good, the Wi-Fi is strong, and the music is relaxing. Noise is very rarely a problem.
Sometimes I’m the only person here, so it’s a good choice for getting work done.
The waiters are very attentive—probably some of the best service I’ve had in Vietnam. Inside, the furniture is warm and modern. There’s even more room outside, and the walkways are lined with water and lotus plants (“sen” means lotus).
Oh, NO smoking inside.
Sen Cafe doesn’t have enough going for it that you should make a special trip from District 1, but if you’re already in the area it’s a good place to relax and get some shit done.
Espresso-based drinks are about 49,000 VND.
Address: 36 Lê Lợi Street*, Bến Nghé Ward, District 1 • Show me!
Cost: 39,000 VND • $1.79
Hours: 8 am to 10 pm
Contact: 09 3838 3330 • Facebook
* The Morning Cafe is located at the above address, but the entrance is NOT on Le Loi. Duck into the tiny little alley at this address and proceed until you see a sign on the wall for 36 Le Loi, next to a green door and a sign for the cafe. Head up to the second floor (Lau 2). The entrance is on your right, through 2 doors.
ALSO, the cafe does not have parking of its own. Use this map to find a place to leave your wheels if you drive yourself. According to the link, you’re able to park at Taka Plaza in the same alley. However, I wasn’t allowed last time. No worries, the other lots are well within walking distance.
Already secluded in an alley, the ongoing construction on the Saigon Subway at the intersection of Pasteur and Le Loi means even less through-traffic near the cafe. Despite lying in the middle of the city, The Morning Cafe is—dare I say—serene, even when sitting on the balcony.
Alright, first things first.
I friggin’ love this place.
You’re in an apartment. Strip out the couches, bar and mood lighting and you can easily step back in time—imagining a bed here, a kitchen table there, Gram knitting quietly in the corner.
I like this place so much that I routinely check the same building for apartment vacancies after every visit.
Imagine rolling out of bed and popping into your neighbor’s house for a macchiato every morning—but you never leave, because they’re always playing jazz and their couches are softer.
Drink prices are on the high end, but then again so are Starbucks, Trung Nguyen and all the other chains around the city.
Regular and milk coffee are 39,000 VND. So are espresso. Fancier coffee costs a WHOPPING 49,000 VND. Highway robbery.
Morning Cafe sells a few desserts and lunch items, like mi quang and flan-stuffed pumpkins, though they run out of certain items every now and then.
Tough shit, just drink more coffee.
There are only 8 tables inside (another 2 on the balcony), so don’t be surprised if the place is full on the weekend. Plan accordingly. No smoking inside.