Being in Hanoi for the upcoming summit between the leaders of North Korea and the good old United States of America, and hearing that a number of bars had started to make cocktails based around the summit, it felt it important I went to sample said cocktails.
We started the evening watching the flags or Vietnam, North Korea, and the USA being put up ironically around the Lotte Tower (South Korean company), before heading to try the Peace Negroniations at Tannin Wine Bar and then heading to Hanoi’s ‘Standing Bar’.
Hanoi was raining so getting a GrabTaxi proved hard; we had to run the gauntlet of getting a ‘real’ taxi in Hanoi. There’s a reason why real taxis are dying and apps like Grab do so well, and that’s because taxi drivers do love to rip you off. Our taxi bill was 60k, he asked for 500k, we took a photo of his number plate, then he had no change from 100k, so I went in the bar to get change.
I’ll give Standing Bar Hanoi their credit, they did begrudgingly give me change for the taxi, but it was her actions that followed that gave us bafflement.
“Can we get a beer”, “no it’s too late”, “don’t you close at midnight”, “yes”, “well it’s 11.45”…..silence. “We drove all the way here to try the Kim Jong Ale”. She rolled her eyes and began to pour the beer.
Apparently, at least the Kim Jong Ale is inspired by Mount Paektu. In fact it is inspired to make tourists travel there and buy it, if they’re lucky enough to get served by the rude staff. The beer itself? Mediocre at best.
We walked out of the bar at about 12.15, and it was still full of people, still ordering beers, Perhaps it was a local bar for local people.
Summary on Hanoi’s Standing Bar? For giving change for a taxi? 6/10. Served in a very surly fashion, but I got the change. For getting a beer 6/10: yes, I got a beer at Hanoi’s Standing Bar, but had to beg for it.
For being a pretentious rude, wanker bar: a good firm 5/7 for them.
Overall, going to Hanoi’s Standing Bar isn’t worth the argument with the taxi driver, even if they will give you change.