Escape the furor of endlessly noisy Doi Can Street and delve into the surrounding maze of alleyways to find Xi Nghiep 2, a bare-bones cafe with a familiar theme.

A better located sequel to the charming but inconvenient Xi Nghiep down in Ha Dong, Xi Nghiep 2 is smaller, friendlier and somehow more rustic than the original. Carrying such historical significance and immense cultural influence, the Vietnamese subsidy phase has once again provided the inspiration for the design. But Xi Nghiep 2 is somewhat different from the rest. The window frames have been clumsily painted and the walls are scratched and chipped, but unlike other communist themed cafes, this clearly hasn’t been done deliberately and artificially.

Charming Ms. Ngan runs and owns this Xi Nghiep, while her brother holds the fort in Ha Dong. She’s done well to cultivate a smiley and youthful team that are well positioned behind the makeshift front-facing bar to greet you as you step over the threshold. Set over two floors, Xi Nghiep 2 is rarely full so its always easy to find a quiet corner despite its size. Alternatively, pull up a bar stool and chew the fat with any one of the easygoing baristas. Drinks are pretty good, though nothing to write home about.

Address: Number 40, alley 210, Doi Can, Ba Dinh, Hanoi (Head down the alley, turn a few corners, and it’s on the right)

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