It’s not often that the words “gothic” and “cafe” would go together, but The Alchemist Cafe has managed to make this combination work flawlessly – as a wild, yet hauntingly beautiful cafe with taxidermied animals.
This coffee shop with a tattoo parlor feels like a hidden gem in Saigon’s District 1 waiting to be found.
The Alchemist Cafe is hidden on the second floor of an apartment building inside an alleyway, a sight that would be easily missed by many passers-by.
The patio area of the cafe is an open balcony that offers a quaint environment, with green plants, patchwork flooring, and metallic furniture – giving the place a vintage vibe. However, the real items of interest lie inside the cafe.
Through the door and into the cafe is a different aesthetic entirely, with neon signs, walls adorned with skulls and creepy paintings, and a big cabinet filled with skulls and taxidermied animals – one of the cafe’s most striking features.
Not only is this an excellent backdrop for photos, but it also makes for a great conversation piece if you’re into biology and want to guess the animals from the shapes of their skulls. We suggest bringing friends or even a date to this place if they’re interested in this subject.
Of course, being a cafe, this place also offers some quality concoctions that will keep you company, be it for work, or just hanging out with friends.
We had the pleasure of trying out the cafe’s coconut coffee, a refreshingly cold concoction with a strong taste of coconuts that would dispel the heat of Saigon for VND55,000 (~USD2.28).
A surprising fact about this cafe is that it started as a tattoo parlor known as Tiệm xăm Alchemist – one of the more recognizable names in Saigon’s tattoo scene.
Even when this space expanded into a cafe, the tattoo service remains, so you can browse for some unique ink designs the next time you want to get some gorgeous art on your skin.
According to Nhut Bé – the shop’s owner and an experienced artist himself – tattoo services usually start from VND500,000 (~USD20.83) and increase depending on the size and complexity of the tattoo. If you’re looking for a specific design but don’t know the cost, be sure to contact them first.
The Alchemist Cafe is a great hangout spot for people who love all things edgy and gothic, as well as people who are interested in tattoo art. If you want to enjoy a little bit of Halloween all year long, check out this location!
Address: Left side of the alley, on the second floor of 158D Pasteur Street, Bến Nghé Ward, District 1, Hồ Chí Minh City
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