It’s not hard finding a good sidewalk spot to sit and sip beer if that’s your thing – none better than the ‘bia hoi corner’ below. The backpacker and young-expat crowd sticks with areas around it – like the bars on Trang Hien St or the pubby spots on the L-shaped lane Hang Hang St (aka ‘Café/Bar Street’), off Hoan Kiem Lake.

If you’re more Graham Greeney, get a gin-and-tonic at the Metropole’s sidewalk bar La Terrassa (15 Ngo Quyen St) in the French Quarter.

One of the city’s more famed nightclubs, New Century (10 Trang Thi) is presently closed (‘busted for drugs,’ I hear). It may reopen.

Bia hoi, Hanoi‘BIA HOI CORNER’
One of the huge advantages of Hanoi over Saigon is the tradition of sitting on the street and drinking 12-cent mugs of draught beer (bia hoi) from kegs. It’s all over town – and the north – but this legendary corner, amidst the budget travel scene in the Old Quarter – gets a mix of locals and tourists sitting on tiny plastic seats. The drinking scene starts around 4pm and goes late, gradually taking more and more of the asphalt (unless the police push the seats out of the street). Probably no better place in the city to sit and watch it all go by.
Corner of Ta Hien & Luong Ngoc Quyen Sts

As much a bar as a restaurant, this wonderful, stylish spot span a few floors of an old walk-up, French-built home, a few blocks east of Hoan Kiem Lake. The ground-floor bar displays its claim to fame, a colorful collection of Vietnamese rice wines you can order individually or in a themed sampler group (eg the ‘Mountain Forest’; four small glasses are US$1.50). Best is sitting up on the rooftop, shoes-off lounge area. Food is worth eating too, particularly the nem ca xa loi (a catfish roll, served hot and with an eye-opening horse-radish sauce). Gets busy most evenings by 8pm. Two other Hanoi locations (575 Kim Ma St and 54 Mai Hac De St).
Tel 04-926-0639;; 5 Hang Tre St; open 9am-12.30am

An expat legend, this crusty compact bar south of Hoan Kiem Lake has graffiti walls, dart boards, and football of various types on the telly. Burgers are served after 5pm, happy hour is 5 to 7pm.
23C Hai Ba Trung St; open 11am to late

A younger sort of expat comes here to sit with beers, fruit juices or US$3 sandwiches at the outside tables – others bring laptops for the free WiFi. Vodka tonics are US$1 on Tuesday, all cocktails are US$2 on Thursday.
25 Hang Be St; open 7am to late

Near the bia hoi corner, the second-floor lounge – above the Wide Eyed Tours office – is a comfortable spot to sit with a sandwich, a beer and talk travel and life with the foreign staff.
40 Luong Ngoc Quyen St