by Trung Hieu-Hue Linh
The capital's 'cafe culture' is attracting creative young people who are looking for a way to attract a diverse range of customers. With their continuous innovation and ability to capture new social trends, these young proprietors have been making their mark among Ha Noi's socialites.
Cafes ranging from cat cafes and fortune-telling cafes to English-speaking cafes and cafes for classic car collectors have been popping up across the city.
Foreseeing the needs of young people who love exploring the supernatural, others have opened tarot cafes, including Muse Cafe, Lollybooks Cafe and Sonata Cafe.
Unlike other types of fortune telling, tarot cards are a combination of spiritual factors and a knowledge of human psychology and astrology.
Rather than confirming what the future holds, tarot simply provides advice, so card readers are not professional fortune tellers, but simply friends who are always ready to listen, share, and help their clients.
Tien Cuong, a card reader in Sonata Cafe says: "By explaining the meaning of symbols and images on the cards that connect to the client's life, tarot analyzes different aspects of a problem, helping them to make wiser decisions.
"Those who come here can find their own space to both relax and share their worries. This attracts clients to our cafe."
With the ever-growing popularity of Facebook, many owners have designed spaces that provide customers with an ideal location to take photographs that they can post online to share with their friends. These cafes are decorated with flowers, ornamental plant pots and green vines, cresting a lively and colourful setting.
Others are designed as small studios for enthusiasts to sit and chat and share their photography experiences.
More diversely, some cafes lure clients with animals. The cat cafe in Thuy Khue Street has dozens cats which run around and play with customers. Cats are everywhere, sitting in small wooden houses, roaming freely across tables and sleeping in clients' laps.
If you want a more exotic experience, you can visit Pet Club Cafe on Kham Thien Street where you can handle wild creatures including lizards, iguanas, snakes and spiders. Wishing this cafe to be a playground for those who share a passion for animals, its owner has created a quiet space with animal cages designed to match their natural habitat.
Nguyen Huong Giang from the Viet Nam Academy of Diplomacy says: "Every time I come here I feel I am very close to nature."
For young people who want to use their free time in a more useful way, English speaking cafes, book cafes and cafes for classic car collectors are proving a popular choice.
These cafes seem to be ideal places for young people who love talking about education, science and technology.
This not only shows the creativity and activeness of young people, but also reflects a civilised attitude.
Sipping coffee while talking in English is an exhilarating experience for many customers.
Mai Hang, a Foreign Trade University student, says: "In my opinion, the combination of drinking coffee while speaking in English is very effective and interesting way of learning. Normally, when you attend a foreign language centre, your aim is to study seriously, so the atmosphere there is tense. But at an English speaking cafe, you will find English interesting. The cafe creates a very comfortable space for those who love the English language to have an opportunity to practice and develop their conversational skills."
Student Han Thanh Hai says: "My friends and I love to coming to this cafe. We discuss the theme of the cafe as well as personal matters, and it helps to improve our English speaking skills."
English speaking cafes attract not only young people, but also many others of different ages and backgrounds, he says.
Cafes for classic car enthusiasts have also become popular.
For many people, the car is not only a means of transport, but also a companion that they are passionate about.
They need a place to trade, exchange and share their experiences in driving, repairing and showing off the cars they love.
The existence of these versatile cafes not only reflects new business trends, but also shows the activeness and creativity of young people, says Pham Anh Phong, a regular client.
"To lure more customers, besides their main advantages, cafe owners should also put client safety as a top priority, with regular vaccinations for animals and safe cages, while ensuring ornaments are placed in safe locations with fire prevention also in mind," says Phong. — VNS