Just give me a reason to stay
  • | dtinews.vn | January 05, 2010 03:11 PM

We are looking for a place to relax, listen to music, drink beer, conversate, meet people and have a cold drink in Hanoi.

If I haven\'t visited your bar yet, rest assured I will, and when I walk in with five friends, you better believe, we are there to have a good time. We are coming to enjoy, to drink, to be merry, and to feel comfortable. I\'m looking for a place to officially become my bar. A place I can go regularly, where the people say hello and know without asking what I want to drink.

There are a couple of things that have been bothering me from my exploration of the night scene so far, so I must get them off of my chest. I want to make this clear, "bottle service" is not the only way to make money. On a Monday night, I don\'t want a bottle of whiskey, so if I\'m sitting at your bar with my buddies, trust me, we will order enough beers to match the price tag on your fancy bottles.

I have never been a fan of bottle service, if I\'m at a bar, I want to order my drinks one at a time. I enjoy cold beer and will order the occasional shot in between. I have an issue with the rising snootiness that seems to come with bottle service as well. There is a time and a place for class, but a local watering hole shouldn\'t require this. I\'m more than happy to sit on a small plastic stool on the street than to deal with this nonsense. Since when does ordering beer instead of a bottle of liquor mean I don\'t deserve the same service? Do the math; 5 friends times 5-10 bottles of beer each, or one bottle of whiskey. We will spend similar amounts. If you take the time to do little things like smile and offer me another drink when my glass is empty, we will stay for a long time and keep coming back. Another thing is music, a pub should have music, but it should be on a level where I can still hear the person sitting next to me. If I want to have loud music there are concerts and clubs. I\'m on a mission to change the bar scene here and until I do, I am in search of the best places in town to wet my whistle.

During this mission, I will analyse all the fine points of a bar. I don\'t have particularly high standards, as a matter of fact, I prefer a hole-in-the-wall to some pompous, uppity place that charges extra because it looks nice. Also, playing techno at a pub is weird. Save it for the club! Like many people, I want a "Place where everybody knows your name." Service with a smile is far more important than anything. An atmosphere, where my friends and I can relax without feeling like we have to beg for drinks, where we feel that we are welcomed and wanted. After all, if we are at your bar, we are there to drink. If you don\'t want us there, than we will go some place that does.

This leads me to my first review of a bar in Hanoi. I went with four friends, all Vietnamese, to have some drinks. I like to listen to music so we headed to a place called "17 Cowboys" for some beers. We entered the bar which boasted a live band, beautiful servers, and a bunch of dudes in red t-shirts and cowboy hats. We sat down and were served beers without even a hint of a smile. There was practically enough staff that we could each have had our own personal server. You would think this would result in excellent service. We\'ll get to that.

The band consisted of three rotating singers and some guitarists who weren\'t exactly into what they were playing. One of the female singers had an excellent voice but was stuck with performing cheesy songs requested by the crowd. The band was nothing extraordinary. The place was over-decorated and one thing I couldn\'t help but to laugh at was the amount of tin-foil. The place was covered with tin-foil! It looked like it had been decorated for a young child\'s birthday party or something.

The servers were gorgeous. I love a girl in jeans, and all of these girls were wearing jeans, high-heels, and belly revealing shirts. Nice! I actually liked the place, I was enjoying the view and the company I was with. After a while, I started to notice that the servers were much kinder to other customers. What was this, did we look like hoodlums or something? I started observing what was going on and began to realize that the people getting the service, attention and smiles of the entire staff, well they had ordered bottle service. As I looked at my empty beer, I called out, "Em oi! Bia Corona." It didn\'t work. I was kind, gentle and smiled every time our server passed but still, I practically had to beg for another beer. Let\'s think about this, if someone has ordered a bottle of whiskey, they have made their purchase for the evening, they are done. If I\'m with five people, and we are ordering by the drink, it seems to reason that we would be the customers who will potentially spend more money, and the customers you should be focusing on TO spend more money. Give me a reason to stay ladies and I will stay. Every night is different and every bar deserves a second chance, so I will refrain from writing this place off. There was potential there. Until next time, the mission continues.

People like us don\'t require much from a bar, we are simple. We want cold beer, good music, good service, and a reason to come back, and come back we will if you treat us right.

Help me to complete my mission and find the best bar in Hanoi. Know a good bar? Work at a bar? Send your suggestions to: davidcornish@dtinews.com

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