29 May 2017:
Cà Phê Bản Sonate
52 Dang Dung, District 1
Bản Sonate is a large, atmosphere-heavy shop. Outdoors, lining the street is a row of bamboo trees and a rock wall with fountain water trickling down. The well-air-conditioned indoor section gives you a view of a piano stage against a fancy decorated rock wall backdrop. A full cast of Viet, Western, and alcoholic coffees are available, plus a decent assortment of teas. Unusually, for a coffee shop, you can also get mixed alcoholic drinks and “full” meals. I use the quotes because, though you pay a solid meal price, you get very little food. I was excited to find sandwiches on the menu, but was not particularly satisfied with the result. Many of the other options included instant noodles. Order food at your own risk. The main attraction was good, though: strong coffee (though at a higher than average price).
I assume they do live music at times, but while I was there I was saddled with a horrific radio playlist that included Disney covers, Celine Dion, and “Moves Like Jagger” remixes. Luckily the wifi is speedy. The indoor seats are couch-style, so your ass won’t hurt after a few hours, though the tables are still slightly low for my weak American back. Also low: the lighting; it’d be a nice option for a quiet date. And with quick access to Hai Bà Trưng street, you don’t have to go far for a real meal.
Verdict: romance coffee shop, rather than a day-worker’s shop. I’m not too likely to bring my laptop back here, but I might bring my girlfriend.