Urbanist Hanoi

Ngõ Nooks: Take a Ride on Ha Dong’s Hipster Bus Café

When you initially spot the café, it’s hard to tell exactly what it is — it isn’t hurtling towards you at 50 miles per hour and doesn’t have helmet shrapnel from its previous victims stuck to its grill. Instead, one of Hanoi’s newest cafés sits in its own peaceful oasis in a desolate parking lot in Ha Dong, far from the city center, yet still surrounded by the ruckus of traffic.

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Ngõ Nooks: Cu Xa, the Cafe That Awakens Your Childhood Self

“Where is home?” is a question that at some point has probably nagged everyone who feels caught between worlds. To the owner of a retro cafe in Hanoi’s southern Dong Da District, it’s Cu Xa.

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Ngõ Nooks: At Tropical Forest, Coworkers and Plants Thrive in a Unique Ecosystem

Tropical Forest isn’t one of those adorable coffee shops you find hidden away in one of Hanoi’s many pokey alleyways. In fact, it’s quite the opposite – its large glass presence resembles a giant terrarium full of trees and plants. Only two years old, it comes across as a metaphor for a new, modern Hanoi that rejects the small, family-run business and embraces modern trends.

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Ngõ Nooks: Reng Reng, a Welcome as Cold as the Coffee at Hanoi's Most Idiosyncratic Cafe

Reng Reng isn’t a friendly coffee shop.

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Ngõ Nooks: Old Hanoi Aesthetics and Durian Milk-Tea at Cafe Minh

Whether a grey-eyed morning or a long-tailed dusk, it makes little difference in Café Minh. The windows, opaque from a history of cigarettes and road dust, barely let in any light. The groan of motorbikes outside, rising and falling as rush hour ebbs and flows, is the main indicator of time. 

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Ngõ Nooks: Craft Beer and Deep Conversation in a Cargo Ship Container

From Pasteur Street to Standing Bar, the capital hides a plethora of hop spots, but its newest entrant might be the most unique.

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Ngõ Nooks: Duy Tri - One of Hanoi’s Original Cafes

Modern-day Hanoi is a labyrinth of new developments, with some areas already feeling the effects of gentrification. That certainly wasn't the case back in 1936, when Café Duy Tri first opened its doors.

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Ngõ Nooks: Refreshing Cocktails at Hanoi’s Best Hole-in-the-Wall

Bars in Hanoi don’t come much smaller than Dot. Its width is no more than the span of my arms, but what it lacks in size it more than makes up for in value and substance. You’d barely notice the place at 66 Tran Vu in the day; a dark, shuttered façade lies behind seats from a nearby café. At night, however, it’s a different story.

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Ngõ Nooks: Trainspotting and Nostalgia at The Railway Hanoi

The stretch of railway between Tran Phu Street and Dien Bien Phu Street is quickly becoming one of the hippest spots in Hanoi. In the last couple of years, a social enterprise named Zo Project, a fashion store and two cafes have all opened up in an area that was previously residential. One of those cafes is called The Railway Hanoi - you’ll know you’ve found it when you hear nostalgic 1950s music carrying down the tracks.

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Ngõ Nooks: Cuoi Ngo – One of Hanoi’s Most Hidden Cafés

If you’ve managed to find Cafe Cuoi Ngo, then you deserve to see it. The place feels like a well-kept secret, but it’s so hard to find that I don’t think publishing this article will overburden the space with customers. Out in Cau Giay, it’s already a little off the beaten track, and “Cuoi Ngo” literally translates as 'end of the lane.'

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