There are courtyards and terraces and stairs that are half indoors, half outdoors (a glass roof covers part of the building), a koi pond with steps in it to get to the stairs and toilets, and a wall of hanging plants.
Every corner you turn reveals a new niche with seats and pillows. It has a games room with table football, darts and two video game consoles (a PlayStation and an old-school Nintendo), as well as decks of cards on some of the tables. Paintings line (and are occasionally painted directly on) the walls, which are made from different materials in different parts of the bar; scrubbed wood here, bricks or stones there. When I went I felt like an explorer in a funhouse.
House of Fun
The chilled-out, artsy vibe of the bar helped make a drizzly, cold Saturday night fun and relaxing; although it seemed somewhat empty at first, with only a handful of other patrons downstairs, I kept finding people in various rooms, hanging out and chatting and listening to the excellent music provided by the DJs.
Their menu offers a surprising variety; much like the decor, there is a little of everything, including sodas and smoothies, juices, coffees, bar snacks, spaghetti, fried rice, sandwiches and shisha.
My first cocktail was a strong and tasty whisky sour that cost me a very reasonable VND65,000, while my friend had a Tiger draught beer (VND35,000). They also offer a much cheaper Larue draught for only VND15,000. We sat at the black-topped bar to drink them, on black leather swivel chairs that made me feel like I was an evil character in an Austin Powers film (the blue lighting on the underside of the bar certainly helped). My friend found a piece of white chalk and started drawing on the bar, which is presumably what the chalk was there for (we hope). Even if it wasn’t, nobody said anything.
Trung, one of the owners, tells me that the concept for the bar is a place to relax and connect with people and cultures from all over the world. He wants anyone to be able to come in, hang out and be comfortable, just like in their own homes.
He means it, too — if you want to decorate, go right ahead. Patrons are allowed to paint, graffiti, or otherwise artistically vandalise the walls in the courtyard and on the third floor, because as Trung says, “This is your house... when you come back, you will see your artwork again.”
RESS has been open for five months, although it still feels new. The name stands for Reunion of Every Single Star, and is reminiscent of the word ‘rest’, which is what the bar is all about. It really does have all of the comforts of home, except my home is not nearly as cool. I’ll definitely be back. — Kate Robinson
RESS is located at 111 Trinh Cong Son, Tay Ho, Hanoi