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[Review] Whiskey Mystics and Men: a rocker’s paradise

Takes a dive into one of the city’s most happening live music venues

Stephanie Lilly

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The Doors Café in the Old Quarter closed shop and left a group of rockers in search of kick-ass live music; Whiskey Mystics and Men (W2M) stood up, took over the venue and delivered. Located in Tay Ho, the heart of so much expatriate life, W2M has bottles hanging from the ceiling and posters of Janis Joplin and Jimmy Hendrix pinned to the walls.

It screams rock & roll bar, with the raw sound of guitars hitting you as you walk through the door. Though a small joint, it packs a mean punch: great acoustics, cheap whiskey and beer. The décor shouts:“Jim Morrison would drink here.” W2M is a rock-lover’s dream.

W2M likes a bit of mood lighting

Live music is the main draw here, the weekly cover bands having finely honed their craft. Kurt Cobain, Roger Waters, Tom Waits– all insanely unique voices that regularly astonish the crowds. The shows bring in a mix of locals and foreigners, young and old. Whether it is the agonized groans of Cobain, the dazzling guitar solos of David Gilmour or the distinct Waits’ sound aggrandized by the percussionist’s elaborate set-up of bottles, cans, cow bells and other makeshift objects – the bands never fail to disappoint. Take a peek at their past events to see the array of artists covered: from The Beatles to Credence. As smoky dive bars go, it does not get much better than this.

If you drink enough, W2M turns black and white


But W2M isn’t just about the cover bands. Emerging bands often take the stage, cranking out a medley of genres, from psychedelic-punk to unadulterated swamp rock. Enjoy a cocktail, peruse the art and hear original music from Hanoi’s up-and-coming live scene.

There’s even a weekly art variety show giving over the stage to a motley crew of local and foreign musicians, comedians, painters, poets and everything in between. W2M offers something for everyone. So whether whisky or beer is your poison, come for happy hour (4 p.m.-7 p.m.) and booze the night away to the raw live sounds of this rocker’s paradise.

15A, Alley 12, Đặng Thai Mai Street
+84 (0) 98 302 9010

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