Hanoi cafes with antique & retro interiors


In a city as busy as Hanoi, it is easy to get caught up in the flow of life. Traffic is notoriously harsh during rush hour, and often we find ourselves racing to hit KPIs at work or staying up all night to finish a school essay before the deadline.

But whenever you have some precious time to space, retreat to one of these 10 cafes in Hanoi with antique interiors for a trip to the past and some peace away from the hustle and bustle.


1. Cộng Café – bringing back your parents’ Hanoi



Image credit: Cộng Café

When it comes to cafes with antique interiors, Cộng Cafe has to be the first name on the list. This is a massive brand with over 50 branches across all of Vietnam, which means you can likely find one just around the corner in Hanoi city. 

All of Cộng’s outlets boast interiors inspired by the 1970s with wooden furniture, propaganda posters, and black-and-white pictures of Hanoi during the 20th century. The retro decor and availability make Cộng a popular destination among locals, expats, and tourists alike.


The Vinacano at Cộng Cafe
Image credit: @y2keiko

Drink-wise, the brand comes up with creative coffees every so often. The Vinacano (VND25,000, ~USD1.08), for instance, is an attempt to localize the common Americano drink, substituting the usual espresso with traditional Vietnamese filtered coffee.


A retro tumbler and mug for sale
Image credit: @congcaphe

Visiting Cộng, you can also find a wide range of souvenirs such as T-shirts, tumblers, ceramic cups, and ashtrays for sale from VND25,000 (~USD1.08).

Address: Various locations
Opening hours: Vary depending on outlet. Most are open from 8AM-11PM, Daily.
Telephone: 024 3733 9966


2. Aha Café – an elevated street coffee experience



Image credit: @ahacafesystem

Another major cafe brand of Vietnam, Aha Cafe puts a strong emphasis on convenient locations. Its outlets are usually at big intersections, with open entrances and multiple floors allowing for plenty of natural light.

Here you’ll find the street coffee-drinking experience that Hanoi is known for, but with better service and cleaner, more comfortable seating. The interiors are adorned with wooden or metal doors of classical designs and old-fashioned signs, giving off the feeling that you are on a 1980s Vietnamese street. Low wooden stools and tables further serve to add to the vibe.


Image credit: @_do.rose_

While Aha also has dozens of outlets in Hanoi, the one at number 217 Trích Sải is where you should head to. With a balcony looking directly over the West Lake, it allows you to enjoy your coffee while taking in the breeze and the stunning view, which is particularly beautiful at sunset.


A view of the West Lake at twilight, taken from Aha Cafe 217 Trích Sải Street
Image credit: Tup Minh

Price range: VND30,000-VND70,000 (~USD1.29-USD3.01)
Opening hours:  7AM-11PM, Daily
Telephone:  096 556 1717
For a list of locations, click here.


3. Giảng Café – birthplace of Vietnamese egg coffee



Image credit: Café Giảng

Egg coffee is a famed specialty of Hanoi that can be found in many coffee shops today, but Giảng Café will always be remembered by the city’s coffee lovers as the inventor of this creative recipe.

The place has a long history that dates all the way back to 1946, where milk and sugar weren’t as readily available as they are today. It is for this reason that Mr. Giảng, the original owner, came up with an alternative. By whipping up egg yolk with a bit of sugar, he created a thick and foamy cream that can be served with hot or cold coffee as a substitute for milk, and locals at the time loved it. 


Image credit: Café Giảng

Today, Giảng Café is run by Mr. Giảng’s son, who expanded upon his father’s ideas. Aside from the egg coffee (VND25,000, ~USD1.07), you can find here several other recipes featuring the same egg cream, such as egg rum (VND45,000, ~USD1.93) and egg beer (VND50,000, ~USD2.14).

Address: Alley 39 Nguyen Huu Huan Str., Hoan Kiem, Hanoi.
Opening hours: 7AM – 11PM, Daily
Telephone: 098 989 2298
Website  


4. Đinh Café – A quieter destination to try the famous egg coffee



Image credit: @vgne.e

Giảng Café’s reputation means the place is always packed full of people, which is why egg coffee lovers who want to enjoy their drink in peace instead favor Đinh Café.

Established by another child of Mr. Giảng who has split from the family brand, Đinh also boasts the famed egg coffee (VND25,000, ~USD1.07), although the taste is slightly different compared to Giảng due to the different ingredient ratios. Regular coffee, tea, and juices are also available with prices ranging from VND20,000 (~0.86) to VND25,000 (~USD1.07).


Image credit: Đinh Café

What Đinh is truly remembered for is the atmosphere. Nestled on the second floor of an old building right next to the Hoàn Kiếm Lake, the place is a humble, dimly-lit room with a few wooden stools and a small balcony looking directly out to the busy streets below. It is this simplicity that has captured the hearts of many Hanoians. Over the years, Đinh Café has garnered a small cult following.


View from the balcony at Café Đinh
Image credit: @sophie_nguyen_queen

Address: Alley 13 Dinh Tien Hoang Str. – Hoan Kiem – Hanoi
Opening hours: 7AM – 9PM, Daily
Telephone: 0243 824 2960
Facebook


5. Café Vườn Phố Cổ – a secret cafe with a birds’-eye view over the Hoan Kiem Lake



Image credit: @maria_nasim

Although Café Vườn Phố Cổ is right next to the Hoàn Kiếm lake, the center of tourism in Hanoi, its obscure location inside a dark alley means the majority of tourists walk right past it without knowing what they are missing out on.

cafe vuon pho co in hanoiImage adapted from: @v.ducdung

But if you manage to find the place, the sense of achievement you get is just incredible. As you pass through the alley, an old-fashioned house with Chinese signs, lanterns, and bird cages hanging from the ceiling will greet you.


Image credit: @lovely_ello

The building boasts multiple floors, but the most sought-after seats are at the outdoor terrace at the top which looks directly down to the Hoan Kiem lake. Here, visitors can enjoy a cool breeze and watch the active streets below from a bird’s eye view.


Image credit: @ray_osotogohan

When it comes to drinks, Café Vườn Phố Cổ serves up some pretty mean Vietnamese coffee. Coffee with milk (VND35,000, ~USD1.51) is a local favorite, and of course the egg coffee is also available for VND45,000 (~USD1.94). Sure, the price is somewhat steeper compared to the likes of Giảng or Đinh, but it’s totally worth it for the view.

Address: Alley 11 Hang Gai Str., Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
Opening hours: 8AM-11PM, Daily
Telephone: 024 3928 8153


6. Loading T Café – a cozy space hidden inside an old French mansion



Image credit: @byy54

Loading T is another hidden gem that even many locals don’t know about, but if you want to see what it has to offer, you can find it on the second floor of an old French mansion in the heart of the Hanoi Old Quarter.


Image credit: Loading T Café

Behind the mansion’s weathered gates and atop its timeworn stairs, you’ll find this lovely little café that looks like it’s been frozen in the 1900s. It’d be an overstatement to call the place spacious, but it never feels clustered thanks to the high ceiling – a typical trait in these types of mansions. Meanwhile, decorating the walls are plants, ceramic figures, and plenty of other ornaments that the owner has personally collected.

ice-blended cocoa with egg cream

And when you’re here, don’t forget to order the signature ice-blended cocoa with egg cream (VND70,000, ~USD3.01). While that might sound like a ton of sugar, the sweetness is actually kept to a very moderate level. The staff only starts whipping the cream when there is an order, so it always comes with a satisfying foamy texture.

Price range: VND30,000-VND70,000 (~USD1.08-USD3.01)
Address: 8 Chan Cam Str., Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
Opening hours: 8AM-10PM, Daily
Telephone: 090 334 2000
Facebook


7. Cuối Ngõ (Alley’s End) Café – a peaceful oasis amidst the busy city



Image credit: Cuối Ngõ Café

Located 8KM away from the central tourism area, Cuối Ngõ Café is a treat for adventurous tourists who are willing to go out of their way to explore Hanoi beyond its Old Quarter.

To find it, you need to navigate through the heavy traffic of Cau Giay Street, one of Hanoi’s busiest streets, then venture deep into a small alley until you find an even smaller alley, at the end of which is an old gate leading to the café.


Image credit: @quyetquat

But trust us, all that effort is going to be totally worth it. The peaceful feeling that Cuối Ngõ offers cannot be found in any of the places in the Old Quarter, which welcome thousands of visitors every day. Right as you enter, the stark contrast between the hustle and bustle outside and the quietness here will leave you feel as if you’ve stepped through a portal into the past. You’ll barely want to speak up for fear of breaking the tranquility, and even the air feels a lot cooler compared to the usual heat of Hanoi.


Image credit: @truongcann

The primary sound – and more often than not the only sound – you’ll hear at Cuối Ngõ is music composed by the late legendary songwriter Trinh Cong Son, one of the most influential figures of the Vietnam music scene. Even if you don’t understand the lyrics, the melody is a call back to a time long past, soothing yet sorrowful at the same time.Simply lean back on your chair, close your eyes, and let the songs carry you into a serene trance – this is an experience you’ll seldom find in a big city like Hanoi.

Price range: VND30,000-VND70,000 (~USD1.08-USD3.01)
Address: Number 78 Alley 68 Cau Giay Str., Cau Giay, Hanoi
Opening hours: 9AM-10.30PM, Daily
Facebook


8. Nhà Kho (Storage) Café – where long-forgotten relics of the past are kept



Image credit: @imdew211

As its name suggests, Nhà Kho (Storage) is a place where one can expect to find antique items that are no longer used. Here you can find all sorts of vintage household equipment such as rotary phones, typewriters, sewing machines, gramophones, and more.


Image credit: Diaries Of A Hungry Tummy

All of these are not replicas, but items that have seen actual usage that the owner has collected to adorn the place through and through. It’s as if you’ve actually entered the house of a 1970-80s Hanoian family. 


Image credit: Diaries Of A Hungry Tummy

We recommend getting the coconut coffee (VND35,000, ~USD1.50) when you’re here. Featuring coffee poured into coconut cream, it makes for a lighter drink for those who are trying to cut out on their caffeine intake.


Image credit: @__lk_kt__

Price range: VND25,000-VND70,000VND (~USD1.08-USD3.01)
Address: Alley 599 De La Thanh Str., Ba Dinh, Hanoi
Opening hours: 9AM-11PM, Daily


9. Nhà Sàn Art Café – a glimpse into the lives of Vietnamese ethnic minorities



Image credit: Nhà Sàn Art Cafe

Tucked away in a small alley in the northwest of Hanoi, Nhà Sàn Art Café is a cultural oasis that offers visitors a glimpse into the lives of the ethnic minority tribes living in the mountainous areas of Vietnam.


Image credit: Nhà Sàn Art Cafe

True to its name, Nhà Sàn Art bears a resemblance to nhà sàn, a type of stilt house often seen in highland villages around Vietnam. While the structure has seen some renovations, you can still see the signature nhà sàn traits in the wooden beams and stilts supporting the house.


Image credit: @h.a.l.o.11_98

The interior design oozes a vintage vibe with low wooden stools fitted with pillows bearing colorful patterns often seen in the fabric of ethnic minority groups. Framed pictures of children leading humble lives decorate the walls.


Image credit: @motchutcaphe

Aside from the usual Vietnamese coffee, Nhà Sàn Art’s menu offers a wide variety of refreshing tea options to shoo away the summer heat, from peach tea with orange and lemongrass (VND35,000, ~USD1.50) to raspberry tea (VND35,000, ~USD1.50)

Address: Alley 6 Vĩnh Phúc Str., Ba Đình District, Hanoi
Opening hours: 9AM-11PM, Daily
Facebook


10. Kofi Café – where local youths gather to share their artistic passions


As part of a huge complex of old French structures that has now become an entertainment hub for local youths, Kofi Café serves mostly young Hanoians who come here to share their passions in various fields such as photography, music, tattoo, and more. It is not uncommon to spot budding musicians practising with their instruments, or photographers exchanging tips on how to snap a cool pic around here.

The one-story building might appear humble at first glance, but there’s more to it than meets the eye. The interior is an anthill structure, where the main room branches out to several chambers that when combined can host dozens of customers at once. 

There’s even an entire room full of fish tanks, Renaissance-style statues, and wall paintings with modern art drawn in a classic Vietnamese style. Clearly, the owner has found ways to complement the old-school vibe with a touch of modern creativity.

In the back, the café opens directly out to a big private pond with a banyan tree growing on a patch of land at its center, giving the whole place a tranquil feel reminiscent of a typical Vietnamese suburb.

And while you’re here, feel free to explore the complex to find shops offering jewelry, vintage clothing, and more for sale.

Price range: VND25,000-VND70,000 (~USD1.08-USD3.01)
Address: 60S Tho Quan Alley, Kham Thien Str., Dong Da, Hanoi
Opening hours: 9AM-11PM, Daily
Telephone: 016 9689 3007
Facebook


Antique cafes in Hanoi


After days of hard work in the office or stressful exams at school, gathering a few friends and hitting up one of these 10 cafes with antique interiors for a drink and a casual chat can provide some much-needed rest and do wonders to prepare you for more challenges ahead.

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Cover image adapted from @vgne.e, @_do.rose_, @v.ducdung, @quyetquat

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