The Ong Lang beach area has a number of bars and restaurants where you can enjoy a few a drinks. For me the highlight though is certainly the Goca Art Bar just off Thuc Nha Street. To be honest I did not expected to find such a place in a small alley in one of the less crowded tourist areas of the island.
This place is actually not just a bar – it is an art bar that includes a beautiful gallery. The setting of the place is great – you can feel the passion of the owner for this place. The bar itself is not large, with a few tables and seats around the bar, but it also offers a gallery area where international and Vietnamese artists can present their work. So during the dry season you will sit in an open sky bar surrounded by artwork. It offers a great vive. This place could easily fit in any major city. I must admit – I am sad that thus bar is not in Saigon. It gives the whole bar a different, even exciting but at the same time relaxing atmosphere.
But of course a bar needs to offer good drinks. And here Goca excels once again. They have an interesting list of cocktails using fresh ingredients. You can actually see most ingredients on the bar, from pineapple to herbs. Do not expect the usage of cheap syrups (though there are one or two cocktails where syrup is used – but it is clearly highlighted on the menu).
During my stay I had 3 cocktails. The stunningly and very tasty Coconut Island Cocktail. Served in a coconut it is a show stopper. And it tastes as good as it looks like. Top notch. The African Dance looks more simple, but don’t let you fool you. The flavour of rum, mango and lemongrass is a great combination. Loved it. And of course I can never resist a Mojito when on offer – especially when it is a localised version with lemongrass. I was also lucky that one of the guys made a special one for me – rum with ginger and cucumber. One flavour combination I never had.
So I can highly recommend the cocktails here – fresh and tasty. And the guys behind the bar certainly understand how to make them. Oh, they offer beer as well.
Talking about the staff – they are great. During my three evenings there (twice being the last person in the bar) I had some great conversation with them – they are all lovely and a good laugh. You feel welcome instantly.
Keep an eye on special events. Sometimes they have a local DJ playing in the bar, which in my opinion is a time you really must go there.
Overall it is a great place to hang out – either for drinks, a chat with the staff or enjoying the art work exhibited. Probably one of the best bars I have been to.
(Visited November 2018)