I parked my bike and immediately got distracted by a sign for M Closet, a basement space below the cafe full of second-hand clothes. I rifled through for a bit, nostalgic for my favourite thrift shops in the States. The racks are full of once-loved flowery dresses and discarded office wear, ranging from VND100,000 to VND190,000 an item. Finding nothing that fit, I headed back upstairs and got comfortable on a couch with a coconut coffee (VND45,000).
A backpacker wandered in. “Long time no see!” shouted one of the girls from the open kitchen. “I’ve been on a visa run,” he replied. “And you didn’t invite me?” she joked, sitting down for a beer with him. There’s a certain kind of warmth to this place, a homeliness.
A pen in the corner houses two huge dogs, and their fluffy little puppies bounce around the floor, an adorable distraction from my computer screen. It feels like it could be your best friend’s house, if that friend was a 20-something entrepreneur who struck it big at Google and bought a dope loft space in Brooklyn.
The building looks like a repurposed garage, with floor-to-ceiling front windows that cover the stylish interior decor in bright luscious sunlight. The furniture is eclectic yet suave — ethnic fabrics mixed with sleek leather couches and antique wooden chairs. A few dusty vintage motorcycles sit around like statues, while racks of shiny new helmets for sale line the walls. “Why can’t women, too, rule this to world?” says a sign in the corner.
A Writer’s Paradise
The atmosphere is flexible enough for anything from a casual business meeting to a tinder date, and as I sit here writing, several attractive expats have wandered in and coalesced around low tables, kissing hello and laughing over open laptops.
The spot is popular with the locals, too. The young and trendy gather here to smoke and sip matcha smoothies, swaying along to the surprisingly good music that floats from the speakers.
The menu ranges from tea to cigarettes to snacks, with shakes starting at VND50,000, beer at VND30,000, and light fare, like a bread and pate plate, at VND35,000.
The coffee is good, the couches are comfortable, and the space is smoker-friendly. A writer’s paradise?
I might never leave. — Jesse Meadows
M'Cafe is at 1A Au Co, Tay Ho, Hanoi