24 July, 2017
42 Nguyễn Huệ, District 1, Hồ Chí Minh (floor 6)
Wifi password: ngonmelee
Many a visitor to Saigon has passed by Walking Street’s “Café Apartments” building. Nguyễn Huệ street is commonly known as “Walking Street” because it’s shut to motor traffic on weekend nights. The building, unsurprisingly, is an old apartment building converted almost entirely to cafés. From the street one can see the balconies, each bearing its own unique style. Mêlee has something of a nightclub feel, featuring grey walls and curious black art, and playing loud pop music. It’s probably most popular in the evening as couples and groups are starting their night out on the town. “Mêlee” is a play on words – it’s pronounced the same as the Vietnamese term, “Mê ly,” which translates roughly to “bewitching” or “wonderful.”
Mêlee’s menu is limited; the only coffee is Vietnamese style (in theory), and there are only a few teas, juices, yogurts, and such. But it seems they try to make up for this by offering a good selection of beers and some fried bar-food. Among the beers are one or two micro-brews from the nearby Pasteur Street Brewing Company, in my opinion the best of the Saigon’s limited but growing selection of craft breweries. Their headquarters is only a couple blocks away, and well worth checking out as well.
Mêlee’s coffee, unfortunately, is weak and bitter, not fitting of the 30,000đ price tag.
I should note that word on the street is that this Café Apartment building will be demolished within the next year. I can’t confirm that the decision is final – just rumors I’ve heard.
Verdict: The Café Apartments are well worth your time. But if you come for coffee, try a different one. If you want a beer, Mêlee might be a good choice.