|Lounging around: Young people enjoy drinking and watching films shown on a large screen at CineB cafe. — Photo courtesy of CineB.
HCM CITY (VNS) — HCM City's streets are full of cafes from low-cost sidewalk cafes and air-conditioned rock and internet cafes to a Harry Potter Cafe.
Cafes with popular music attract many local young people. The cafes usually have air conditioning, interesting decor and offer CD and laser disc equipment. Customers sip coffee listening to albums from world-renowned singers and bands.
These cafes, including American-style shops Starbucks and The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, are scattered along main streets downtown. The shops are notoriously crowded.
A young patron at Starbucks on Pasteur Street summed up the appeal: "We can take away a cup of ice coffee before running to the office or chat about music and movies, and we all feel relaxed."
On a more romantic and classical note, there are cafes attracting those who appreciate a more quiet atmosphere, which attract an older clientele.
Popular cafes like these include Van Cao and Phuong Cac on Nam Ky Khoi Nghia Street, Thanh Nien on Nguyen Van Chiem and An Nam on Truong Dinh.
While An Nam comes elegantly decorated with artworks, Van Cao and Phuong Cac are inside beautiful gardens of villas featuring French architecture.
The cafes attract hoards of customers every night who are entertained by classics performed by pianists or violinists.
A series of new cafes include Kujuz Coffee in District 1, House Coffee in District 3 and CineB in District 1.
Kujuz is nicely decorated with dozens of windows, and offers self-service, which is not common in Saigon cafes.
Its competitor, CineB, located on the rooftop of a building, offers outdoor films every night. A drink and popcorn is VND80,000 (US$3.5).
CineB also organises two interactive meetings for movie fans each month.
"We enjoy drinking and watching films featuring our idols on a large screen," said Tran Dinh Khoi, a customer of CineB.
At House Coffee on Cao Thang Street, District 3 the venue is decorated with white sands and sea benches.
The owners brought sand from Nha Trang beach to cover the cafe. To add romantic charm, they decorated the shop with ornamental trees and streams.
"I love drinking here because I want to escape from the city's noise and pollution. The cafe's atmosphere makes me feel peaceful after a hard working day," said Nguyen Thuy Trang, manager of a Japanese-owned agency.
The Harry Potter Cafe (Ba Cay Choi – Three Brooms) opened its doors recently at Ho Xuan Huong Street, District 3. Its decoration and menu are based on the famous characters in the Harry Potter films.
Masquerade parties at weekend nights have attracted children and teenagers, who love to organise their birthday parties there. — VNS