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[Review] Puzzle bar: a friendly Tay Ho dive

This Hanoi bar is a low-key expat favorite

Stephanie Lilly

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Puzzle bar is so-called not because it offers any great mystery, but due to the smattering of board games available here (Scrabble is particularly popular), which add to the easy-going atmosphere of this low-key boozer. Simplicity is key for Puzzle: a mix of black section couches on one side the bar and tables and chairs on the other means you either feel like you are in a friend’s living room or backyard. A puzzling mix for some, but it undoubtedly gives the place its own charm. The slightly haphazard furniture arrangements as well as the bar’s vibrant graffiti banner and youngish patrons give a slightly student-bar vibe, and it is successful for it.

Puzzle Bar Hanoi

Nestled among the various popular bars and restaurants littered along Quang Ba Street in Tay Ho, the bar also has a pleasant lake view to give its patrons to complete the chilled out atmosphere. Owner Duy Phuong manages this place with a lot of love, and can often be seen sinking a few beers with his regulars, or djing whenever he gets the chance.

Phuong Puzzle
Puzzle pub owner Duy Phuong .

Eclectic music is another draw here, veering towards indie and experimental jazz during the day, while late in the evening the tunes lean toward the classic EDM that is so often heard blaring out of speakers across Vietnam. But don’t worry, if it all gets a bit too loud and hectic, just ask Phuong and he is happy to turn things down a bit and, of course, he takes requests too.

Puzzle Pub Friends

The simplicity of this bar is also prevalent in its drink and food menu: the classic snack here being a tasty cheese toasty. There is also an excellent fries, loaded with cheese and gravy, a riff on poutine that is ideal if you have had one Nada too many. The English breakfast gets decent reviews too.

Puzzle Pub Hanoi

Drinks here tend to be straightforward and are priced locally running from 30,000 VND for a beer and 50,000 VND for a mixed drink. However, the bar offers some fancier drink options, sometimes seasonal such as mulled wine, all reasonably priced from 70,000 to 120,000 VND. Phuong is proud of his drinks and told Chào that they were all made from fresh local ingredients and this would never change.

A relaxed neighborhood bar with close proximity to the community park, and a friendly owner, Puzzle bar is a stalwart of Tay Ho’s bar scene that continues to go from strength to strength. With regular game and cocktail nights soon in the offing, it is well worth a visit if you are in the area.

Puzzle Pub Tay Ho

Phố Quảng Bá, Quảng An, Tây Hồ, Hà Nội, Vietnam
+84 366 586 118
Open Tuesday to Sunday, 4 p.m. to midnight

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