Who are all those girls in heels? What is that faint music coming from the back room? Why are there so many old white men here? So we wandered in on a Wednesday night and here was the scene:
— One middle-aged British couple with a bottle of vodka like they’re on holiday
— Two businessmen with beer
— A classy Vietnamese couple drinking red wine
— Me and a friend choking back the house cocktail, complimentary for Ladies’ Night (but really just a vodka red bull)
A Thai (or was it Filipino?) man with long flowing black hair was belting out 90s songs through abominably loud speakers, the croon of Wonderwall drowning out all possible conversation.
The space is actually great for live music, an intimate sort of hall, with thick wood lining one wall and sound-absorbent foam behind the stage to bounce the music back into the room. It actually has the makings of great sound quality, if someone would just turn the volume down. The atmosphere is dimly lit and cozy, with coloured lights dancing off the back wall and illuminating the singer in red, blue and green.
The place features live music Wednesday through to Sunday from 9pm, with a rotating cast of musical characters. It’s a distinct niche that Hanoi severely lacks, and Rumors is definitely filling the need for live tunes in Tay Ho, even if they are deafening covers of all your dad’s favourite songs.
The drinks are a bit pricey for my tight budget tastes, with cocktails at VND110,000, and draft beer at VND40,000. But then you’re paying extra for the live music.
The menu features bar snacks like chips (VND80,000) and Russian string cheese (VND60,000). The heart of the Rumors experience, however, seems to be the bottle service. Several tables were adorned with Absolut (VND800,000) and Johnnie Walker, while a charismatic woman in leather and cheetah print flitted around the room, mingling with her patrons and photographing them for the bar’s social media pages. If you want to indulge, this seems the place to do it.
Don’t worry, though. There is some solace.
When the music gets too loud and the smoke starts to burn your eyes, step outside into the courtyard for some peace. Watch the traffic go by on Quang An, and the lights of the city glitter in the calm of West Lake. Enjoy the sparse breeze blowing in across the water. Chat up the cute Vietnamese boy stirring mojitos. Giggle as drunk Westerners filter out into the night, singing along to that Peter Frampton cover they can’t get out of their heads.
That is the Rumors experience. — Jesse Meadows
Rumors is at 26 Quang An, Tay Ho, Hanoi or on Facebook at facebook.com/pages/Rumors-Pub/752237438194422