Only in Hanoi do you enter a rooftop bar by walking through a shiny Mini Cooper dealership. Veer to the right of the colourful lineup of cars and enter the magical glass elevator, where an attendant is waiting just to save you the chore of pressing the button. 

 

Ride up to the eighth floor and get your iPhone’s panorama mode fired up, because you’ll want to take a picture of this view. On a clear night, from the highest perch in the ‘hood, you can see for kilometres in all directions, across West Lake one way and the Red River the other.

 

You might hear cheers from the table beside you, where the 10th proposal of the week has just been sealed. A few months ago, a YouTube video of an epic proposal — think sky writing and rose petals — was circulated all over the Hanoi Interwebs, catapulting 6 Degrees to romantic-rooftop-sunset-lakeview-proposal status. 

 

White lights twinkle above sleek tables and even sleeker patrons. Even on the hottest nights, the relatively high altitude allows the rooftop lounge to maintain a delicate breeze. Fairy tale-like plants punctuate the sprawling floor, clustering in a lush garden in the corner. (The owners’ father is a bonsai collector). 

 

Fleets of well-dressed toddlers prance by, no doubt taking a break from their parents’ fancy cocktail parties over yonder in one of 6 Degrees’ many private event spaces. Girls at adjacent tables take identical selfies. People sip smoothies alongside their Cosmopolitans.

 

Not Just For Proposals

 

 

In many ways, 6 Degrees screams new Hanoi. It rises like a phoenix from the ashes that are the Nghi Tam traffic fumes. The building itself has a bright Mini Cooper crawling up its side, almost like it’s taunting the drab cockroaches that make their way up decrepit apartment buildings in neighbouring alleyways.

 

So, yes, 6 Degrees is exactly the kind of place where you go for a YouTube-worthy proposal or to mull over pros and cons before dropping a load of dong on a bright yellow car. And yes, when a shiny building protrudes like a diamond-encrusted thumb above the expressway, it’s easy to feel underdressed and overwhelmed. But hear me out.

 

6 Degrees is actually a pretty chill place.

 

The design is smart and simple. From the modern white chairs to the glass-walled balconies to the sturdy wood tables, this bar knows that its crazy amazing view of Hanoi is all the decor it needs. If you’re not feeling the roof, you can always just stop on the second floor, where 6 Degrees’ more modest cafe serves the same food and drink menu.

 

6 Degrees’ expansive, beautifully-designed menu is chock full of silly jokes and punny items. You can sip a boozy Manhattan, a tart strawberry mojito, or a refreshing whiskey sour, and you can bet your motorbike-riding butt that it’ll be delicious. 

 

They also serve everything from pan-seared salmon with mango salsa to thick and crispy fries to juicy lamb chops. One of the bar’s co-owners, Hoang Mai, is at the helm in the kitchen, and brings her culinary school knowhow (she trained at Le Cordon Bleu in California) to the Vietnamese and Western dishes alike. The dishes are complex in flavour but simple in presentation. The seabass I had was adorned with lightly-grilled zucchini slices and a baguette, and the spring rolls and grilled pork in my upscale take on bun cha nem were perfectly seasoned and textured. 

 

6 Degrees will soon start serving breakfast, making this venue truly a place for all occasions. I strongly advise you check it out, even if you’re not in the market for a car or a marriage proposal. — Noey Neumark

 

Six Degrees is at 189 Nghi Tam, Tay Ho, Hanoi 

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