Thanks to a tremendous amount of feedback and suggestions from Dan Tri/DTiNews readers, my inspired quest to find a local watering hole will continue, only now, I have a map.
I have been bombarded by more emails than I know what to do with from concerned people who feel the same way I do and are eager to help me. This is a good thing. I have a growing list of bars, cafes, restaurants and lounges that our readers have sworn by. Many have told me that I must try other cities such as Danang, Hue, Ho Chi Minh and more. I'll get there, but for now, there are so many places that I have been asked to visit in Hanoi that I will need some time to see them all, but rest assured, I shall try.
I am choosing places on the list randomly, and my next destination was Dragonfly Bar. Located near Hoan Kiem lake, I set out on a Friday night with my friend to see what this place had to offer. I was quite excited because of the abundance of readers who insisted that I try it out.
I parked my faithful scooter across the street and walked towards the door. As I approached, I noticed the words "Mi Casa Es Tu Casa" written along the front. This hit home for me, as it is a very famous Spanish expression used widely where I'm from. It means, "My house is your house." This is an excellent way to welcome your guests. So far, so good.
I walked in and casually took mental pictures of the bar. It was still early and relatively empty. I continued to make my way towards the back and to my delight, I noticed two bonuses for any establishment that sells alcohol. Dragonfly has a pool table and foosball! These are always going to be a plus in my book, a great way to make petty wagers, meet new people, and enjoy some friendly competition. The downstairs area was spacious and had plenty of room for late-night crowds. The music was of the club/dance variety and worked well with the dim lighting and flashing green laser lights which were ideal for dancing, something I had no intention of doing on this night.
I made my way up the stairs to see what else Dragonfly had in store for me. There are 2 separated lounge rooms upstairs with another bonus: Sheesha. Sheesha has been growing in popularity around Southeast Asia and is worth trying for those who haven't. Both rooms played different music and were very inviting. There was no shortage of staff, as it seemed like there was an army of servers standing around, identifiable by their red-shirts.
Unless I missed something, I think every single staff member was a guy. While I personally might prefer ladies, it is actually irrelevant because ultimately, it makes no difference if the service is good, so I can't judge a place for that. We picked a room and found a table. I slouched into the cozy chair, ready to relax after a long week. I ordered a beer for myself, a Coke for the lady, and a menu so that I could jot down the prices for reference. Beer prices were a little steep but not too bad, VND 40,000 for a Heineken, 25,000 for a Coke and 55,000 for a cocktail. Our drinks arrived and it was time to observe the vibe.
The music was a little loud for normal conversation, but not obnoxiously loud, you could still hold a conversation however, we had to keep our faces fairly close in order to hear each other. It might not have been the ideal place for me to try learn some Vietnamese from my friend but people watching was interesting enough. The crowd and noise gradually grew as time went on. There were two large groups of party-goers in the room that I was in and they were having a great time.
Overall, Dragonfly was a cool place to go. I would classify the service as ordinary. If you got the attention of a server they were quick to get you a cold beverage, but nobody checked to see if we needed anything else or offered to replace empty drinks. However, when you managed to grab a server they were happy to help.
Dragonfly is definitely a good place to go, especially with a large group of friends in the mood to party. Ii isn't necessarily the ideal place for conversation or "pub" talk but the ambiance was nice. I'm told different nights feature different music as well. It seemed to be a young and enthusiastic crowd with a mixture of locals and foreigners. Depending on your mood and what you're looking for, Dragonfly can certainly satisfy your night. Give it a try, and until next time, leave your comments and suggestions.