At the center of a historic Hanoi, Sóng Sánh Café adds a modern touch through by combining specialty coffee and contemporary art.
Located right across from Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum in Ba Dinh district, Sóng Sánh Café is a soft modern touch in the historical side of the city. Though its tagline is “Just another café in Hanoi,” it is anything but that as it is not a café you can fail to notice. With wooden-gray tones and an on-going lo-fi playlist, the minimalist design will remind you of a Tokyo coffee house where you will surely find good taste.
First is, of course, coffee. As you step through the huge glass door, you will be greeted with the aroma of coffee, one that is simultaneously soothing and energizing. The fragrance shows how much attention Sóng Sánh Café pays to the brewing process-in each and every cup they serve; they make sure the taste and aroma are of finest quality.
The first floor presents an open bar. You can observe and visually participate in the making of your favorite coffee with the barista. If you feel like having a pour-over V60, choose the front bar seat for a close-up view and fully immersed experience of the whole process. Making coffee is an art in itself, and here at Sóng Sánh Café, you will have an eyeful of it.
If you are looking for high-quality, hand-brewed specialty, Sóng Sánh Café’s cold brew is not something to miss. Not only are coffee beans carefully selected, but the brewing makes for a perfect balance of a strong and lasting flavour combined with a fruity aroma. You can mix your favorite cold brew with milk for a sweeter experience on a breezy afternoon, or with lemonade to get some citrus when the capital gets hot.
A more traditional approach like espresso or Vietnamese coffee is definitely worth the try; 80,000 VND for a hot latte and a butter croissant is the hearty breakfast you need to start the day. Yet, the most sought-after drink in Sóng Sánh Café is paradoxically not coffee, but beetroot latte with an Instagram-able pinkish hue and a taste of honey. If you are caffeine sensitive and only in for the vibes, you might as well enjoy a little latte love.
Though it is based in a central location, the coffee shop is never crowded and loud. In fact, its setting is much suitable for freelancers and students on the hunt for a cozy working space. A typical guest would spend an hour and a half here with either a book or a laptop, simply because sockets are plenty, seats are comfy and the wifi runs fast.
“We, as creative freelancers ourselves, are always seeking spaces to work and get inspired,” shared Hà Trang, the café manager. “That’s the foundation of Sóng Sánh Café. We’ve created a space where you have everything you need to actualize your most far-fetched ideas: strong coffee, good vibes, and original artworks.”
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Which leads us to the second good taste that you will certainly get here, art. Original artworks are exactly what set Sóng Sánh Café apart from other cafés. Adorning the white walls on both floors are not just random photos and prints but contemporary pieces by local and regional artists with a clear modernist feel. Here “original” is important and needs to be emphasized; though the decision to purchase the selection must have cost a fortune, it is both an effort to recognize young voices and a gesture of respect towards serious art practitioners. As the team members of Sóng Sánh Café all have backgrounds in the creative industry, they understand how much such a decision means to young artists.
Unsurprisingly, Sóng Sánh Café shares a building with Matca Space for Photography on the third floor, where photography exhibitions and cultural events are alternatively on show. The fourth floor houses a creative agency studio, while the remaining upper floors are designed for Airbnb rentals. Together, they comprise a vibrant art complex at 48 Ngọc Hà, Ba Đình, Hà Nội.
In a city where the art scene is clambering, the existence and operation of an art complex is much needed and appreciated. Next time you are in town, check out Sóng Sánh Café at 8AM-the long table on the first floor is the best place to enjoy early morning sunshine through the broad glass.