Hidden away on the first floor of a dilapidated residential block in old Saigon, Snuffbox offers a unique space. Making the most of its modest square footage, this newly opened watering hole boasts a well-balanced mix of upmarket antique furniture, velvet ropes and industrial urban design.


For anyone who read Raising the Bar (July, 2015), it’s an aesthetic reminiscent of Melbourne institution the Gin Palace. Focused on a well-stocked bar, a private mezzanine level adds to the loft-feel of the venue, and the whole place is mood-lit by feature walls and intricately designed ceiling lights.

 

Keen to make a name for themselves in the drinks department, the first cocktail that came was the boulevardier (VND130,000). A sophisticated bourbon-based sipper cut with Campari and sweet vermouth, it delivered an earthy smokiness and zesty finish. It was also presented with the flair you’d expect from Diageo Vietnam Top 5 bartender Tony, well known all over town.

 

Nailing It

 

 

This was followed up by the Smoky Milky (VND180,000), which featured the same bourbon base over a Talisker single malt scotch, pineapple juice, ginger, lime juice and honey. If it sounds good, be assured that it tastes even better. After these were polished off, finally came the gin fizz (VND150,000) which was simplicity done well, and a perfect way to leave us wanting more.

 

Sitting back in the comfortable couch, Snuffbox is a classy mix of colour and textures that will put you in the mood for a relaxing good time.

 

Certainly that’s the hope of co-owner Charles Carlyle, a corporate wellness expert from Miami by day, and burgeoning venue owner by night. His concept is to create a speakeasy vibe with chilled tunes and high-quality drinks. With theme nights giving a nod to the jazz era and the Roaring 20s, he’s confident that he and his team have created something people will be happy to seek out.
“There are a lot of late night spots,” Charles says, “but none that any of my friends want to go to.”

 

This venture is about changing that, as well as ‘nailing’ the best classic cocktails in town.

 

“That’s something we want to be known for,” Charles says. On top of that, they’re also looking at brewing their own beers off-site, and may consider bringing in some absinthe later on. — Jon Aspin

 

SnuffBox is at 14 Ton That Dam, Q1, HCMC. It is open every day from 2pm to 4am. You can find them online at facebook.com/snuffbox

Jon Aspin

Over the last 10 years, staff editor Jon Aspin has been producing ‘sparkling’ copy for everyone from mega rich beer companies and consumer electronics giants to local caravan dealers and Swedish Phd students. Born in the North East of England but raised in Australia, Jon has now worked on three continents, and remains curious about the others. Arriving in Vietnam 'on sabbatical' sometime during 2013, Jon soon got appointed ‘captain’ on a movie about a war and has tried not to look back since.

Website: https://twitter.com/jonnoirDBP

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