A classic wartime-themed café, complete with plenty of floral fabric and retro Vietnamese clutter.

The wartime theme is one we’ve seen many times before on Hanoi’s café scene, but Time seems to do it that bit better than other places. Rather than over-enthusiastically channelling a realistic portrayal of the era, it’s taken with a pinch of salt. Yes, there’s plenty of classic communist memorabilia, but there aren’t any unneeded blackout curtains or thick layers of dust on every surface. Instead, you’ll find plenty of natural light, bright colors and cheerful patterns.

Time is jam-packed with vintage clutter, including old televisions, radios, clocks, lanterns and teapots. A few wooden shutters have been installed around the café as photo frames, which is a nice modern touch on a traditional theme. Furniture varies between simple wooden chairs, and delicately carved wooden benches. And, although the rooms have mostly cold concrete or exposed brick walls, they manage to maintain an air of coziness. Most surfaces are covered with comfy floral pillows, the shelves are filled with dog-eared books, and the walls are decorated with black and white photos, all adding to the pleasant, homely atmosphere.

On the top floor, there is a low-set seating platform with coffee tables and cushions, for those who like to sprawl rather than sit. The windows boast traditional Vietnamese metal bars but there’s still plenty of sunlight. Tables are often full during lunchtime with giggling customers spurned on by cheerful, friendly staff. And, there is also a balcony with an elevated view of the surrounding buildings. Overall, Time carefully balances being a themed café without becoming a museum. So, you can enjoy a drink without accidentally knocking over a pile of props.

Address: 294 Lac Long Quan, Xuan La, Tay Ho

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