(BEGODI) – Cafés of every kind are scattered in each of Hanoi’s tiny alleys and quaint corners. From traditional Vietnamese stools on the sidewalk to extravagant and quirky hipster hangouts, there is a café for everyone here. Stumbling upon hidden gems as you wander or simply entering the first trendy café that you see will scarcely disappoint. However, if you’re looking for a varied list of tried-and-tested coffee houses, you have come to the right place.
Café Pho Co
Address: 11 Hàng Gai, Hàng Trống, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội
One of Hanoi’s best-known hidden cafés, you need to walk through a skinny silk shop to enter Café Pho Co. Once you’re in, you know you’ve found it. This rustic wonderland of hanging birdcages and plants trailing the crumbling concrete walls is the Hanoi aesthetic that everyone loves. Head up the many twirling flights of stairs to the top and you will reach fresh lake and city views. Not to be missed here is the iconic Vietnamese ‘egg coffee’ that tastes of liquid tiramisu.
Address: 89 Mã Mây, Quan Hoan Kiem, Hoàn Kiếm, Ha Tay
Not hidden but much larger than you would expect upon entering, Nola seems to have endless charming corners and levels. The décor is eclectic and lush, with indoor and outdoor areas to enjoy your cool coffee or silky smoothie from. It boasts a rather diverse menu of drinks as well as food, catering kindly to western tastes. With its many cosy spaces and ornamental details, this is arguably the most picturesque café on the list.
Lifted Coffee & Brunch
Address: 101 Hàng Gà, Hàng Bồ, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội
Endlessly cool with its trendy minimalist design, Lifted is the place to spend a Saturday morning brunch date. As with most cafés in Hanoi, there are many alluring levels to choose from. Climb to the top floor rooftop for laid-back street views and stunning touches like the vertical garden. A cut above the rest in gastronomical flair, Lifted’s drinks and dishes are experimental and endlessly satisfying.
The Note Coffee
Address: 64 Lương Văn Can, Hàng Trống, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội
Dwelling in front of the main intersection of the Old Quarter, The Note Coffee is a quirky concept café. Its interior is entirely covered with post-it notes, encouraging customers to leave their mark on the cafés colourful walls. You can read these messages from people of all countries that chose to make a stop at The Note too. With three floors and varying seating areas, this charming little café is as heart-warming as its piping coffee.
Address: 14 Tống Duy Tân, Hàng Bông, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội
If you’re looking for a tranquil spot to spend the day reading, working or relaxing in undisturbed comfort, Xofa is your place. Gentle chatter is the highest volume appropriate in this homey haven, and the cosy hum adds to the café’s appeal. Rich in its brick and wood furnishings, Xofa offers seating types from upright chairs to makeshift beds. The café is open 24/7, encouraging you to linger for long hours. Work your way through the beautifully illustrated menu of drinks and sweet treats, and revel in the luxury of finding some Hanoi peace.
To Chim Xanh – Bluebirds’ Nest
Address: 19 Đặng Dung, Quán Thánh, Ba Đình, Hà Nội
Tucked away in an alley of its own, To Chim Xanh is another slightly hidden café that is worth finding. It sits in an inviting cul de sac with neighbouring homes squashed charmingly beside it. The views of slow urban life here is a simple treasure. From the rooftop you can observe locals leisurely hanging out their washing and watering their leafy pot plants. The interior of the lower levels is casually cute, with a reading area stacked with books. Occasionally the café hosts live music events in one of its humble corners.
Address: 14 Phan Huy Ích, Nguyễn Trung Trực, Ba Đình, Hà Nội
Effortlessly cool, Manzi is a minimalist café gallery with inspiration pulsating through its walls. It is a restored white French villa with large windows that invites plenty of natural light in, perfect for photography. The permanent exhibition showcases local artists, presenting emerging and established Vietnamese art beside one another with equal importance. By day it has a wonderfully relaxed atmosphere, and by night it transforms into an upbeat cocktail lounge. It frequently hosts cultural events ranging from film screenings or live performances to workshops or philosophy talks. Seeking to make art accessible for all, Manzi is much more than just a café.
Trill Rooftop Café
Address: 1 Ngụy Như Kon Tum, Nhân Chính, Thanh Xuân, Hà Nội
Arguably the most impressive rooftop café in Hanoi, Trill is 26 stories up with delightful décor and endless seating options. Artsy patterned cushions and throws drape and scatter rustic wooden benches, ottomans, and platforms in open spaces and cosy corners. A large pool lies in the middle of the rooftop, allowing you to cool off from the summer heat. By night, the fairylights twinkle from above and add a dreamy atmosphere to the spectacularly lit cityscape. Whether you admire the view with a Vietnamese coffee or modern cocktail in hand, you’ll be happy that you ventured out of the city centre for this café.
Tranquil (Nguyen Bieu)
Address: 18B Nguyen Bieu, Ba Dinh, Hanoi
Boasting two locations and slightly different atmospheres, Tranquil Books & Coffee is found in Hoan Kiem and Ba Dinh districts. The Ba Dinh branch is the one that makes this list though, since it offers 3 floors of glowing bliss. Tranquil’s signature bookcase filled with Vietnamese and English books is there for you to enjoy with your drink of choice. The two-story window is a dramatic focal point that fills the café with natural light streaming through leafy branches. If you make your way up to the top, you’ll find a discrete door that leads to the lovely rooftop. With inspired surroundings and an undeniably tranquil atmosphere, this is definitely one of our favourites.
This list hardly scratches the surface of Hanoi’s eclectic and abounding café scene, but it is a great place to start. Dip your feet into the endless coffee sipping hideaways of Vietnam’s capital and you’ll find hidden gems on every street. Offering every type of menu, atmosphere and unique twist, there truly is a café for everyone in Hanoi.
For more tips as well as booking assistance for your trip to Hanoi and surrounds, get in touch with Begodi.