The Refinery Bar and Restaurant is currently one of the most popular establishments in Ho Chi Minh thanks to colonial fixtures, interesting cocktails and a bistro type menu of mostly French-style favourites. But the main reason for coming here is because it is such a pleasant space.
It looks every inch as though you could catch a glimpse of The Seine from its twinklingly lit courtyard, and inside the French bistro theme is even more pronounced with floral floor tiles, high ceilings and rows of wine and liquor displayed behind the bar. The resemblance to French design is not some contrived gimmick but a result of the opium factory that used to operate in the courtyard, and it’s also how the bar inherited its name.
The casual menu of steak frites, pasta dishes and European salads complement the laidback atmosphere here perfectly. The Refinery is open for lunch with some excellent set menus – the two course set costs $9 – and one of the most popular and affordable Sunday brunches in town, complete with a chocolate fondue fountain. There is a happy hour from 16:00 to 19:00 when all drinks are discounted by 30%. The Refinery also mix a decent range of cocktails, the mojito being a particularly well balanced mix of boozy rum with biting lime, and there is also a hefty wine list.
Somewhat confusingly, The Refinery Bar is actually in a secluded courtyard that is also called The Refinery, and the chilled out and affluent vibe here is the perfect setting for dinner followed by a few drinks. Despite the confusion with the name, it is easy to find on Hai Ba Trung Street, opposite the Park Hyatt Hotel and close to Notre Dame Cathedral.