88 Lounge doesn’t have a cocktail menu. Instead, the drink menu features a varied list of spirits and lets you concoct a potion of your own. A testament to the lounge’s minimalism, this approach to cocktails allows the patron to take something modest and construct it into something special, something bold.


The same can be said about the experience of dining or drinking at 88 Lounge. The space is simplistic yet elegant, built for learning, for networking, for enjoying live music, for unwinding and sipping a post-work glass of wine at the bar. 88 Lounge’s design suits a range of activities; not only that, it does it well.

 

All this should come as no surprise. When three architects open a bar, it is inevitable that the outcome will be smart and sophisticated. Each floor — there are five, including a roof — serves a different purpose, from the ground level’s modern bar, complete with high-top tables and metal bar stools, to the third floor’s lower wooden tables and plush armchairs (for dining) and the fourth floor’s even lower tables and even plusher armchairs (for cigar smoking). The second floor, ideal for food and wine pairing events, boasts a large cement table at its core, flanked by colourful oriental lanterns; from here, the sweeping view of West Lake begins to come into focus. For one of the best views of West Lake and a welcome breeze, trod your way up to the fifth floor roof terrace.

 

Here, 88 Lounge hosts a slew of private events and tastings, though the space will soon open to everyday patrons, too.

 

Amazing Grapes

 

 

Wine steals the show here. The expansive wine list, which never wavers above or below 88 bottles, features varietals from France to Chile, Spain to South Africa. In addition to the ever-evolving selection, 88 Lounge offers a rotating selection of reds and whites available by the glass (from VND130,000) or carafe (from VND430,000). With so much wine on offer, not surprisingly 88 Lounge is also host to frequent wine events, which include wine and cheese pairings, wine seminars, and tastings.

 

In addition to events, this wine bar spreads its wine love via its food and wine-pairing menu. From foie gras (VND350,000) devoured alongside a crisp Chardonnay, to the 88 Burger (VND270,000) and its Cabernet complement, to the cheese plate (VND250,000) that’s elevated by a light Pinot Noir, the straightforward dishes encourage wine drinking and exploration.

 

88 Lounge oozes class, but it doesn’t ooze pretention. It’s beautiful and shiny, boasts great lake views, and features a wine and liquor list fit for a king. But it’s still Hanoi. It’s still human-level, approachable, loveable Hanoi. And I think I’ll stay for another glass of Pinot, thanks very much. — Noey Neumark

 

88 Lounge is at 88 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Hanoi

Noey Neumark

A Californian living in New York, Noey traded one crazy city for another when she moved to Hanoi. A former food publicist and self-proclaimed ‘professional eater’, Noey is happily feasting her way through Vietnam and has no shame about taking photos of her meals before eating. Follow @vietnomnom for evidence.

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