The Beautiful And Botanical Vibe Dining At BAR SON Saigon


A few blocks from the zoo and botanical gardens and a stone’s throw from the riverfront, BAR SON Saigon has soaked in this part of the city and emerged as a tropically-inspired oasis to sip on sophisticated cocktails or tuck into a menu of sumptuous bites. 

Đọc bài viết bằng Tiếng Việt

“It’s our version of vibe dining,” Chester, Bar Son Saigon’s Bar Manager, smiles contentedly. This new style of dining offers an experience somewhere between a club and a casual fine dining restaurant, striking a balance between a great place to party and a great place to eat and drink. “Right, here at BAR SON we encapsulate that idea with our mix of a bar and restaurant, where funky house music is the backdrop to curated cocktails and some delicious food.” And they serve it in a space that captures a unique contemporary-botanical style. 

BAR SON Le Meridien
BAR SON Saigon’s entrance with it’s pivoting doors that reveal a beautiful and botanical space inside.

BAR SON Is Where Past, Present And Future Meet

Location is everything. And BAR SON Saigon sits beside the modern icon of Saigon, the Thu Thiem 2 Bridge, on the kinetic corner where Ton Duc Thang Street sweeps round into the city’s downtown riverfront. And it takes its name from the historic Ba Son Shipyard that once stood on the corner. 

Chester bar manager
BAR SON Saigon’s Bar Manager, Chester Trần Ngọc Thuỷ.

It’s like a confluence of Saigon’s past, present and future. 

“And that was the idea,” Chester nods. “We wanted to not just play on the name, Ba Son, but to take inspiration from it with lots of organic shapes, and splashes of tropical color, and juxtapositions of greenery against bare concrete.”

BAR SON sunken lounge
BAR SON’S sunken lounge.

Beautiful And Botanical BAR SON Saigon

At the entrance, imposing doors pivot like the floodgates of a canal, offering a glimpse of greenery, jungle motifs and rippling ceiling panels. Inside, there’s a sunken lounge, which the DJ presides over like the captain of a ship drifting ever-deeper down the Mekong. 

Already, to captain the ship, they’ve had over DJs like Levi Oi, Tung Tim, Ashley Lau, and DJ Blink. “The bespoke wallpaper behind the DJ booth features tropical flora and fauna, and amongst them wander some extinct animals,” Chester explains. And the bar is like a tree house, with green shoots sprouting from within, and an ornate wooden facade that reaches up to the high ceiling and is dotted with shelves containing bottles of spirits and elixirs. 

Outside there’s a terrace to take in the buzz of Ton Duc Thang Street that’s ensconced in lush greenery and with an ever-evolving vista as Thu Thiem across the river sparkles with new villas, apartments and office blocks. 

BAR SON Cocktail
BAR SON’S elegant and perfectly balanced Red Dragon.

BAR SON Really Comes Alive After Dark

“BAR SON really comes alive after dark,” Chester continues, looking around. It’s then that the lights dim, and the music gently increases intensity, as the waiting staff appear with small plates like their moreish signature cheeseburger spring rolls, and their bigger plates of slow-roasted lamb shoulder, roasted cobia with smoked black mussels, and black angus striploin with portobello mushrooms. 

Vibe dining at BAR SON
“BAR SON is the best place to start the night…although you might be having too much fun and decide to stay the whole night.”

“But first, I would take a seat in the sunken lounge, and order a cocktail,” Chester advises about drinks like their elegant and perfectly balanced Red Dragon, that comes in a long-stemmed Martini glass, and contains gin, berries, and a hint of basil, or their Lotus Tea Negroni, with a floral, lotus infused gin, mancino bianco vermouth and aperol, and a lotus leaf gently set on its carved ice. 

The BAR SON cocktail menu is where east meets west. “We focus on premium spirits and fresh ingredients, taking some local flavors and adding a western twist to them,” Chest adds.

Strawberry granita
BAR SON Saigon’s strawberry granita.

In fact, BAR SON is open from the morning, Chester tells us, serving all-day breakfast dishes like their truffle eggs and avocado toast, with some single origin cold brew, and teas straight from the tea trolley. And for lunch there’s a dish of plump burrata with heirloom tomatoes, toasted almonds and a fermented chili oil, and freshly shucked oysters with rice wine and ginger, and some finger limes, and desserts like BAR SON’s strawberry granita.

“But, for me, BAR SON is the best place to start the night,” Chester continues. “Have a party at your table before heading off to your next destination to continue the party,” he adds, “although you might be having too much fun and decide to stay the whole night – that’s been happening a lot already.”

BAR SON, at 3C Ton Duc Thang Street, is open daily from 9:00 AM until late, and DJs play 8:00 PM – 12:00 AM Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Photos by Nghia Ngo for The Dot Magazine.

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