Tổ Chim Xanh, Vietnamese for ‘Bluebird’s Nest,’ is every bit as cute as it sounds, with a cozy little library, a corner for live music performances, and a fantastic rooftop terrace.

The city’s newest cutsie cafe is tucked down a characteristically faded Hanoian alleyway just a stone’s throw from the old citadel gate. Downstairs is industrial-chic meets Vietnamese fluff, with a raised platform to accommodate a snug reading corner and a little section for intimate evenings of live music. This is also where you’ll find the brains of the operation behind the makeshift wooden bar; To Chim Xanh has only been open a month, and the owners are still passionately seeking feedback on their little cafe.

“We wanted to create a space that people could come and share their interests,” says co-owner Binh, “from books, music, art, handicrafts… anything artistic, really.”

As pleasant as the ground floor is, the highlight is the spacious rooftop terrace from where you can unashamedly spy on the surrounding residents. The rooftop is dwarfed and encircled by various Soviet era apartment buildings brought to life by the colorful hanging clothing that the inhabitants have put out to dry. Snooping around Hanoi has never been so much fun, as you have a front-row seat to watch doting mothers fattening up their babies and wrinkly-faced men crowded around bamboo smoking pipes. Stare for long enough and you might even be invited up to partake (by the wrinkly-faced men, not the doting mothers).

Address: number 13, alley 19, Dang Dung, Ba Dinh.

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