I first reported on Ho Chi Minh City’s hostess bars way back in 2013 when this website was just getting off the ground. The focus of that post was on a string of hostess bars on Hai Ba Trung. After many of those bars were hit hard in a major crackdown, I published another report on the hostess bars of Ho Chi Minh City.
That last report appeared more than three years ago. A lot of things have changed in the time that has passed though much has stayed the same. While I am constantly publishing information on new places around the world I do like to continue past coverage whenever possible. Thus I present you with the following information on the state of Saigon’s hostess bars today.
There is still one bar open on Hai Ba Trung. That’s “Lounge The High” at 49 Hai Ba Trung Street, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1. It operates like the bars in the area did in the past though the staff is more cautious than they used to be when dealing with unknown customers.
The only other bar to survive the raids on Hai Ba Trung was the infamous “91”. For a while anyway. That bar went the way of the others and eventually closed too. Today the spot is home to one of the city’s many coffee shops. Most of the hostess bar action today in concentrated in a handful of other areas.
Pasteur street is probably home to the most hostess bars. They are all bunched together on a few blocks of Pasteur near the intersection with Ham Nghi. Most of the Pasteur bars are oriented toward in bar entertainment. They do not operate as places where women can find guys to pay them for sex.
Fox at 82 Pasteur is home to many women including quite a few real lookers. The ladies are fun and friendly and they dress very well. Most can speak some English. The bar is popular and can get a bit overcrowded which makes it difficult to move around. There is no bar fine system in place but some of the women have been known to meet with guys they find amiable outside of the bar. Occasionally Fox has some professional dancers come in to strut their stuff on the bar in sexy outfits. Although those ladies have curvy and mostly man made bodies they don’t get nude and usually depart right after their performance is over.
Willow nearby is a long but quite bar that never really seems to get going. Apparently the entire staff quit their jobs at once a few weeks ago so things will have to change one way or another.
Rock Bar at 68 Pasteur is one of the most popular bars on the street. Quite a few ladies work the bar and they are for the most part attractive but the staff seems to be a little older on average than those working at other bars on the street. There are stripper poles on the bar but any sort of dancing there happens rarely. Still the place seems to be loved by customers and it gets quite filled inside many nights. The best thing at Rock Bar seems to be the pool table. Customers able to beat one of the ladies on staff receive a free pint of beer.
Diamond Bar at 94 Pasteur probably has the sexiest women of any bar in the area both in terms of looks and dress. It’s not out of the ordinary to see the gals at Diamond dressed up in costume or other revealing outfits. Despite that it never seems to get very crowded. That may be due to the fact that a lot of the ladies at Diamond Bar are surprisingly shy especially towards new comers. Most can speak some English but there are a few who have very limited English skills. Except for the lack of a bar fine system Diamond Bar is reminiscent of some of the hostess bars in Thailand such as those situated on Soi 33 in Bangkok. That’s especially true when the professional dancers show up to get down on the bar in skimpy dress.
Check In is a new bar on Ham Nhgi itself. Just around the corner from the other bars on Pasteur it is a quite nice place inside. It is run by a local woman who is friendly and eager to meet and party with customers though she does seem to have a habit of drinking quite a bit. There are five or six women on staff at Check In in their twenties including one or two with absolutely amazing bodies. All of the women are friendly and can speak at least basic English though most claim to be virgins or otherwise refuse to go anywhere with customers they don’t know. In reality many of the women do spend time with local and foreigner guys outside of the bar though they seem to look more for a dating situation than a lump sum of money.
One street over on Ho Tung Mau there is another smaller concentration of bars with a similar business model. They aren’t as popular as the bars on Pasteur as a general rule but they do have their fans and followers.
Saigon Retro at 113 Ho Tung Mau is the typical example of the hostess bars in this area. It doesn’t stand out in any real regard but it does have a pool, darts, and a staff filled with some really lovely ladies who are mostly in their twenties.
Friends nearby is quite similar. While there isn’t necessarily anything special about this bar it has a dedicated set of expat regulars who can often be found in the bar. That said the place is still very welcoming of newcomers and the staff contains some really sweet ladies who don’t seem to have been hardened by their work.
Rumors Pub which opened last year is considered the best bar on Ho Tung Mau by many and for good reason. While the bar is often quiet inside the place has a large staff of more than a dozen women. The ladies of course range in looks but most are quite attractive. On top of that they are all very friendly up to and including the woman in charge of the place. Rumors is a lot like the hostess bars of Phnom Penh.
Kim’s Tavern over on Huynh Thuc Khang has nice enough looking ladies inside and draws a lot of customers. At times guys do hook up with women outside of the bar but normally only after spending inordinate amounts of money. It seems to be a fairly normal Ho Chi Minh City hostess bar all considered.
There are now more hostess bars on the famous backpacker strip Bui Vien then there ever were. At one time there were just a few of these pubs but now they are blossoming up and down the street. Oddly enough most of the women in this tourist centered area do not speak English.
There are many of these bars and none stand out much from one another. Lady drinks can be on the expensive side at around the equivalent of about five US dollars. Still a mostly western foreign clientele continues to visit these bars in enough numbers to keep them and open and motivate them to expand. One reason may be that quite a few of the ladies in these bars will go out with customers to a nearby hotel for around 2,000,000 Vietnamese Dong ($88 USD). There are no hard and fast rules behind this however and it all seems to depend on the circumstance.
As a side note most of the many hotels on Bui Vien are decidedly not girl friendly hotels despite the growing presence of girlie bars.
Finally there is one bar mentioned in a past report still survives. That’s VIC at 55 Ho Xuan Huong in District 3. It remains a popular place with Asian customers who are mostly expats or businessmen in town for the long haul. Only a few of the women on staff can speak English to any real extent and they seem to be the least attractive ladies in the place. The bar has pool and a fairly large staff of women. Some of the women will go home with some of the guys for an expected tip of around 2 million Dong though only after the bar closes at midnight.
The previously reviewed Bar 29 over on Dong Khoi is one of the last of the original naughty style bars in Saigon. One can only wonder how the place remains open in the heart of an area that is constantly being developed with luxury shopping and dining. Perhaps the hefty fees levied onto anyone who walks into the bar have something to do with it. On the other hand such fees and the kind of attitude behind those setting them may be one of the reasons the old style hostess bars have for the most part disappeared from Ho Chi Minh City.