Cafes in Hanoi for writers and digital nomads

Following up on my guide to cafes in Ho Chi Minh City I now present my guide to cafes in Hanoi.

In my previous cafe reports I have usually had at least a month to try out the cafes of each city. My trip to Hanoi was for one week, so this meant I had to pace my cafe visits in addition to making time to revisit my favourites. It was something of an occupational hazard to visit so many cafes in a week, but it was worth it.

Like in Saigon there are a countless amount of cafes all over Hanoi, ranging from vendors with little plastic chairs on the side of the street, cafes in the front room of family homes, and smoky karaoke dens. For street cafes you won’t need my help: you only have to walk outside your hotel and you will soon find a cafe. For the purpose of this blog I have listed cafes that have wifi and are suitable for digital nomads to work in.

At the end of this post I’ve also included some cafes that you should visit for a different coffee experience.

Hoan Kiem District

Puku Cafe & Bar


Puku Cafe - Hanoi

I arrived in Hanoi with my friend Dan, who is also living in Saigon. He came to Hanoi to soak up the writerly vibes that this city emanates while finishing his book. I was happy to have a fellow cafe fiend on the trail and he recommended we come here first. This was a great first choice and we ended up revisiting a few times over the course of the week. They serve good espresso coffee and it is open 24 hours, in case you want to work or hang out into the wee hours.

Location: 18 Tong Duy Tan, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
Website: foursquare.com/v/puku-caf%C3%A9–bar/4c264ed4f1272d7f285686c5
Other Reviews: Our Man In Hanoi

Comga Cafe & Bar


Comga Cafe - Hanoi

A sister cafe of Puku (or I’m assuming they are seeing they both have the same distinct typeface), this cafe also serves Lavazza coffee and has indoor and outdoor seating upstairs.

Location: 1 Cua Dong (corner Hang Ga and Cua Dong), Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
Website: www.facebook.com/COMGACafeBar

The Hanoi Social Club


The Hanoi Social Club - Hanoi

As soon as I walked into the Hanoi Social Club I had this sensation of feeling at home. As it turns out one of the co-owners is from Melbourne, which explains that homely feeling for me. If I was living in Hanoi I would be a regular here for sure.

Location: 6 Hoi Vu, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
Website: www.facebook.com/TheHanoiSocialClub
Other Reviews: Rusty Compass

Cong Caphe


Cong Caphe - Hanoi

Cong Caphe have six branches in Hanoi. I like the arty vibe of this cafe group and I ended up visiting three of the six. I would have liked to have completed the Cong set of six, but there is only so much coffee you can drink in a week.

The cafes are decorated with communist posters and American-Vietnam War era trinkets, and serve different styles of Vietnamese coffee. My favourite branch is on Nguyen Huu Huan in the Old Quarter, which has a corner balcony upstairs overlooking the crazy streets of Hanoi.

Location: 35A Nguyen Huu Huan, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi (and other locations)
Website: congcaphe.com

Highlands Coffee


Highlands Coffee - Hanoi

Highlands Coffee are a chain that can be found across Vietnam, so you won’t need to try hard to find a branch. I just wanted to add this one for the location. If you go to the roundabout at the northern end of the Hoan Kiem Lake there is a giant building that occupies a whole block. There are several cafes inside that overlook the lake, and I thought the Highlands was the best pick of those cafes.

Location: 5 Dinh Tien Hoang St, Hoan Kiem Disrict, Hanoi
Website: foursquare.com/v/highlands-coffee/4b4d4e69f964a52073d026e3

Moca Cafe


Moca Cafe - Hanoi

Moca Cafe is near St Josephs Cathedral and is set in a lovely colonial era building.

Location: 16 Nha Tho, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
Website: 4sq.com/myy3sq

Joma Bakery Cafe


Joma Bakery Cafe - Hanoi

For those who have been to Laos, you might remember Joma from Vientiane and Luang Prabang. There are two branches in Hanoi and there is a bakery attached to the cafe (and a good one at that). I went to the one near the Cathedral.

Location: 22 Ly Quoc Su, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
Website: www.joma.biz

Ba Dinh District

The Kafe


The Kafe - Hanoi

One of the hippest cafes I visited, and another cafe with some Australian influence (the head chef is from Sydney). It was crazy busy when I went, though that might have been due to it being a public holiday.

Location: 18 Dien Bien Phu St, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi
Website: www.thekafe.vn

Home Coffee Store


Home Coffee Store - Hanoi

Nicely decorated cafe, complete with Singer sewing machine tables.

Location: 192B Quan Thanh, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi
Website: www.facebook.com/HomeCoffeeStore

Cat Cafe


Cat Cafe - Hanoi

I spent most of my time in the old quarter (Hoan Kiem district) so I didn’t explore Ba Dinh district as much as I should of. Cat Cafe is worth checking out if you are in the area.

Location: 2 Chau Long, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi
Website: foursquare.com/v/cat-cafe/4ea7510cb8f7ff211a6d4646

Foxilly Coffee Bar


Foxilly Coffee Bar - Hanoi

I had just been to a cafe, and I was walking to an appointment at another cafe when I walked past Foxilly. By now it was apparent that one week in Hanoi was a ridiculously short amount of time to compile this list. Added to the list for reference.

Location: 66 Chau Long, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi
Website: www.facebook.com/Foxilly.Coffeebar

5th May Coffee Shop


5th May Coffee Shop - Hanoi

A little cafe that feels like someones lounge room, serving Vietnamese style coffee.

Location: 85 Nguyen Truong To, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi
Website: foursquare.com/v/5th-may-coffee-shop/50f29ec8e4b0f9cd3cbb0a6b

Other Hanoi Cafe Experiences

While I have compiled this list of cafes for places you can work at, there are a some coffee experiences that you should also try if you are in Hanoi.

Egg Coffee at Giang Cafe


Egg Coffee @ Giang Cafe - Hanoi

I had never heard of egg coffee until my fellow travel friend told me about it. Since then I knew that I would be having an egg coffee as soon as I got here.

While this coffee concoction isn’t as weird as kopi joss (the charcoal coffee from Yogyakarta), I was still slightly skeptical before trying it.

So the verdict? Delicious! The best way I could describe it would be a coffee flavoured eggnog. We went back for seconds on our last day, and I left feeling relieved that this is not available in Saigon (that I know of), otherwise I’d be having this all the time.

Location: 39 Nguyen Huu Huan, Hoan Kiem Disrict, Hanoi
Website: www.facebook.com/Giang.cafe

Yogurt Coffee at Cafe Pho Co


Yogurt Coffee @ Cafe Pho Co - Hanoi

Another coffee that is popular in Hanoi is yogurt coffee, which – as the name suggests – is coffee with yogurt in it. I have tried this before in Danang, in central Vietnam, but this coffee combination doesn’t seem to have made its way further south to Ho Chi Minh City.

Try this ultimate 2-in-1 breakfast drink at Cafe Pho Co, which has a stunning view of the Hoan Kiem lake.

Location: 11 Hang Gai, Hoan Kiem Disrict, Hanoi
Website: foursquare.com/v/11-hang-gai/4f49e9fde4b007d39037c61f

Frozen Yogurt Coffee at Cafe Duy Tri


Frozen Yogurt Coffee @ Cafe Duy Tri - Hanoi

I’m so glad I had the regular yogurt coffee before having this cup-o-goodness-from-the-Coffee-Gods, because any other yogurt coffee would have been a letdown after this. Set in a run down old building with an unassuming entrance (aren’t all the best places like that?), I was whisked to this place on the back of a motorbike by a new friend who had just taken me to one of his favourite eating places.

If I lived in Hanoi I would probably find myself going out of my way to come here on a regular basis. I left this cafe wondering why isn’t this a thing everywhere else?

Location: 43 Yen Phu, Tay Ho District, Hanoi
Website: 4sq.com/nQgUrZ
Other Reviews: Review: Cafe Duy, Hanoi Travelfish

Coffee with cats at Ailu Cat Cafe

When I went to the Cat Cafe I wondered if there was a cat cafe in Hanoi, like a cafe with actual cats in it? Turns out there is, but I only discovered this after I left so I didn’t get to go (there is also an Ailu Coffee in Ho Chi Minh City). My friends who have been tell me they are definitely NOT work cafes, but if you want to pet some kittehs while having a coffee then this is your place.

Location: 4 Thuy Khue, Tay Ho District, Hanoi
Website: www.facebook.com/pages/AILU-COFFEE/122561554438513

Hanoi Cafe Map



Hanoi Cafes Map

Further Reading

Hanoi’s trendiest cafés CNN Travel
Confessions Of An English Coffee Eater Word Hanoi

Comments

  1. says

    James, if this article weren’t so entertaining and useful, I might take issue with the fact that you gave away my spot !!! :) (Puku)… alas, perhaps I’ll meet some friendly Nomadic Notes readers there someday :)

    +1 for the Egg Coffee experience. Wonderful place in a great part of town and a really unique, and delicious taste.

  2. says

    Nice digs… at any of those cafes – and egg coffee? Sounds great. Thanks for showing me so many new places and increasing my coffee knowledgebase.

  3. says

    The yoghurt coffee was surprisingly good, a creamy alternative to iced coffee. And sitting way above the hustle and bustle looking out at the lake was just glorious. We would have had another coffee, only we didn’t fancy climbing those stairs a second time! So that was my yoghurt coffee experience. But I still hadn’t tried egg coffee. After checking numerous menus throughout the afternoon I had basically given up, but the Boy, insisting that I would get my wish, decided to ask the (very helpful) hotel receptionist for a recommendation. She directed us back down towards Hoan Kien lake, with a vague circle on a map (“it might be on this street, or this street”) and a scrawled name, Caphe Dinh. We obediently headed to the indicated spot and searched for the cafe. After 20 minutes and circling the block twice, we gave up. We decided to head to one of the bigger cafes on the block instead. As we were about to enter one of the girls stationed outside asked us what we were looking for. In a last attempt we showed her the scrawled name. “Ah”, she said knowingly, “follow me”. And off she trotted down the street. We had to run to keep up. About 100m down the road she deposited us outside this unlikely looking door and instructed us to go upstairs.

  4. says

    Would have been nice if I came across this post before my recent trip to Hanoi. A great post for sure! A cafe which may not match the environment but score points with me for being a very household cafe is Sketch Coffee, placed near Highland Coffee shared by you near Hoan Kiem Lake. I shared my own experience in my blog, which I hope will complement your already great post!

    http://draftsfromcoffeetable.blogspot.sg/2013/11/2013-hanoi-trip-sketch-coffee-sketch-ca.html

    • Ricardo says

      I also found Sketch by accident and loved the place. All was perfect… Wi-Fi, the views, the prices, service, decoration, atmosphere… unfortunately the flu I caught was starting to make me uncomfortable. I was there just before the Water Pupper show, next door.

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