Coffee culture reigns in the Vietnamese metropolis of Saigon, from bespoke artisanal cups to Starbucks, from phin to French press, there is plenty of space for different types of coffee shops and various cafes. In a city of coffee addicts, you will see old and young Vietnamese, and foreigners, alike getting their caffeine fix at all hours of the day, and even at night!
Today we are focusing on the coffee shops for artsy caffeine lovers. There is an apartment block around every corner, giving rise to the now-famous concept of cafe apartments. Nestled amongst the city centre, these cute little spots are meant to look and feel like you are in a friend's living room, allowing you to spend a few relaxing hours sipping your brew and chatting with pals.
Check out this list for 6 cafe apartments spread across the city centre, and 4 located in the most famous cafe apartment block in Ho Chi Minh City.
1. Manki Speciality Coffee
Rustic, charming, cosy - Manki is a Ly Tu Trong Street hidden gem in an unassuming old apartment block with possibly the best nitro cold brew in town. Their large balcony is the perfect spot to watch the world go by while savouring iced drinks in the tropical heat.
If you are feeling peckish, check out Poke Saigon on the same floor, delicious salads at an affordable price.
- Facebook: mankispecialtycoffee
- Address: Room 4, First floor, 42 bis Ly Tu Trong, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
2. Hummingbird Cafe & Roastery
Hummingbird Cafe is tucked along a small alleyway just off one of the busiest streets in Saigon. It's hard to find, but you will be well rewarded when you do. Climb up a dark stairway to the coffee shop located on the second floor.
This space feels like you have somehow stumbled into a cabin in the middle of bustling Ho Chi Minh City. The brick walls and wooden beams create a cosy, warm atmosphere; coupled with delicious coffee and friendly staff, it is no wonder the cafe apartment is frequented by regulars!
- Facebook: Hummingbird Cafe & Roastery
- Address: 5H Ton Duc Thang, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Okkio is perhaps the cafe apartment poster child of Saigon, this coffee apartment chain started off in little corners of old apartment buildings. Now, some of the chain's new cafes are in villas or more typical settings, nonetheless we still love the café apartment charm.
Find this branch off the Nguyen Trai shopping street (check out our top Vietnamese brands to shop here), in an unassuming block of flats. You will have to enter via the motorbike parking area and either walk up the dimly lit stairwell or creep upstairs with the old elevator.
A warm and welcoming cafe, it truly feels as though you have stepped into someone's house. Comfortable chairs are littered around the room, and every table is adorned by a small flower. Our favourite drink here is the hazelnut latte. While here, check out the fashion boutiques on the other floors.
- Facebook: Okkio
- Address: 35 Nguyễn Văn Tráng, Phường Phạm Ngũ Lão, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
4. 11.11 Cafe
Hidden along a busy intersection of Ho Chi Minh City, 11.11 Cafe is a great find. Look for the stairway entrance on the busy ground floor, and walk up to this great coffee shop. This cafe apartment has an Art Deco meets minimalist look, resulting in a clutter-free space with wood accents. Fitting into the vibe, everything is served in clear glassware and on metal trays.
With several co-working spaces nearby, 11.11 cafe apartment is frequented by both office workers and Instagrammers alike, all looking for that caffeine fix.
- Facebook: 11.11 Cafe
- Address: 173 Đề Thám, Phường Phạm Ngũ Lão, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
5. Dabao Concept Cafe
Walk up the twisting stone staircase of this unassuming apartment block and find Dabao Concept on the third floor. Exposed wires and naked light bulbs light up its wooden front door, marking a quaint entrance to the coffee shop.
Softly lit interiors, wooden floors, and framed drawings hung on the wall, Dabao Concept is one of the cafe apartments that make you feel completely at home.
Come to enjoy decadent slices of cake paired with drinks with whipped cream and sweetened condensed milk - all beautifully decorated to be picture perfect.
- Facebook: Dabao Concept Cafe
- Address: 145 Nguyễn Trai, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
6. Cong Cafe
The Catinat Building, one of the most prized real estate pieces of the colonial era, also seats on the vestiges of the first Citadel of Saigon, built in 1790. This historic building now also known as Ly Tu Trong apartment block houses an array of fashion boutique shops and cafe apartments.
One of them is Cong - a well known communist guerrilla-style coffee shop chain. Visit Cong for their delicious rendition of coconut coffee. Try to sit on the balcony and watch Ho Chi Minh City go by.
While you are here, check out the building at 22 Ly Tu Trong, which housed high ranking officials working for the US Consulate, CIA and USAID, and its roof was immortalised as the departure point for the famous American helicopter evacuation of Saigon.
- Facebook: Cong Cafe
- Address: 26 Ly Tu Trong, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
7. Partea Tea Room
Tea lovers fret not. Partea is located in perhaps the most famous old apartment building, at 42 Nguyen Hue, along the well known Nguyen Hue walking street. The nine-storey apartment block used to house government and military personnel, parking is next door at Lucky Plaza.
Partea on the fourth floor is an English style tea house with an Alice in Wonderland aesthetic and whimsical living room. While the interiors might appear to some as kitsch, the various types of tea and beautifully-decorated desserts promise to delight.
Be sure to wander floor by floor to discover the secrets of block 42 Nguyen Hue.
- Facebook: Partea Tea Room
- Address: Fourth floor, 42 Nguyen Hue, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
8. The Letter Cafe
The Letter Cafe is also a classic cafe apartment on the same block that overlooks the Saigon River! As Ho Chi Minh City developed and Nguyen Hue Walking Street became the heart of Saigon, many tenants began renting out their flats to cafes and clothing stores. Technically illegal, it was a way for tenants and small businesses to make some money. The news regularly reports notices of evictions for all the businesses, but for now, these popular cafes and fashion boutique shops are still here.
The Letter Cafe features walls with pages and scrolls all over it, giving a romantic feel to the coffee shop. Moreover, beautiful lanterns decorate the place, making it a favourite amongst couples.
Come to this coffee shop for their lovely glassware and to check out the boutique fashions and quirky jewellery options the place also carries!
- Facebook: The Letter Cafe
- Address: 6th floor, 42 Nguyen Hue, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
9. Boo Café
Boo coffee shop's aesthetic is 'rustic cute', think bright yellow curtains, matching sofas, check patterns everywhere, wood furniture, and vases of flowers. These cheery and cute interiors make it stand out from the other cafe apartments in the same block.
Located on the 9th floor, Boo Cafe has some of the best views of Ho Chi Minh City, try to get a spot by their large windows or spacious balcony. Open for 6 years, Boo Cafe has a loyal following, regulars love their wide selection of milk tea flavours that come with the quirky option of a cotton candy top.
- Facebook: Boo Café
- Address: 9th floor, 42 Nguyen Hue Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
10. Saigon Ơi Cafe
Another great find in the famous Saigon landmark 42 Nguyen Hue Street is Saigon Oi Cafe on the fifth floor.
Earth tones, macrame decorations, bamboo furniture all come together to create a laidback vibe at Saigon oi. The whole cafe apartment is filled with lovingly cared for green plants, making it truly feel as though you are visiting a plant parent friend's home.
Perfect for the sweet tooth, Saigon Oi coffee shop has many iced drinks and coffee concoctions topped off with ice cream or tropical fruits.
Of course, spend some time along Nguyen Hue Walking Street and check out the many interesting architectural sights that line the road.
- Facebook: Saigon Ơi Cafe
- Address: 5th floor, 42 Nguyen Hue Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Speakeasy Style Cafe
If you want to check out an apartment cafe, Saigon is certainly the place. There are so many shops hidden in plain sight amongst the dense apartment blocks from fashion shops to cafe apartments. Coffee drinking is very much part of Vietnamese culture, and there's no better way to experience it than at these hidden gems. Check out more guides and resources here.
Or if you want to release energy from the caffeine consumed, check out these awesome rooftop swimming pool hotels.
Our publication is powered by our community. Join the conversation on Facebook to share and find out more tips!