With such dizzying levels of ambition comes the immense pressure of managing numerous fine eateries without compromising on the quality. Thu – assistant manager to the Quang Ba Street branch of Cousins – has been at it for two and a half years with Cousins. “Quality is the key,” she explains.
There’s something homely about pubs and whilst there’s not much I miss about England these days, a good pub is a friend for life. So this week I had retreated to my Hanoian Holy Grail; Bia Tay Ta, a Vietnamese pub, sort of.
Dot Bar's a cosy little spot, although space is scarce, everything from the prices, the infectious cheeriness, the absurd brilliance of the cocktails and the view all more than merit your time for an evening of quiet roadside intoxication. Musically, it’s one of the best bars I’ve found in Hanoi, eschewing the full-frontal EDM auditory-assault that stains the Old Quarter.
Ordinarily I’ve found places like this back in the UK to be able to smell the uninitiated coming through the door and noses are raised like gun barrels for sneering down and their air is thick with condescension. “Are you lost, sir? Wetherspoons is down the road.” Fortunately, this is Hanoi and such hoity-toity, paper-doily bullshit just doesn’t fly here. Folks at Furbrew are friendly, decent and accepting – even of smelly reprobates like me who lack a deeper appreciation for the fine art of beer consumption.
I’ve drank some strange concoctions in my time, but never in all my nicotine-stained years have I seen such an ostentatious cocktail constructed with such mathematical precision. It must’ve taken the heart of a poet and the mind of a scientist to devise and pull off such a bold feat. What’s more, it was unconscionably delightful – people have killed for lesser sensations.
Space Bar is the Swiss army knife for intrepid intoxicators – not only is it a bar, a cafe, but beyond that it’s a co-working office space and host to the Art for Grown-ups night, which of course fell on the night that I was scheduled to visit.
I was anxious - being new to the company and unsure of exactly what level of intoxication is acceptable for these kind of shindigs, but I needn't have worried.
Traditionally the Japanese go in for the feeding frenzy to accompany those nights of hard drinking and bad decisions. It’s not for me – not by any stretch. To me, food is the drunken afterthought at 4am, by which point your standards are lower than a night out in Croydon. Oden NaNachan beat Croydon like a gong and then some.
Despite looking and feeling like something out of a Lord Byron poem during those weird years on his grand tour, Tadioto offers luxurious decadence at prices that don’t require black market organ sales.
An absolute must-see for any recovering alcoholics who believe the wagon has a non-stick surface or even just people who like gin, and ultimately, if you don’t like gin you’re a waste of skin.