Coffee Kicks: the Best Cafes in Hue

coffee shops in Hue

The cafe is one of many  cornerstones of Vietnamese society. A place for business meetings, somewhere to hang out with your friends or get your caffeine fix at any given part of the day. Coffee shops can get a bit repetitive so we’re going to give you five coffee shops that are worth a visit in Hue…and a few more.

Salt Coffee: Caffeine Beverage with a Twist

salt coffee in Hue

The egg coffee in Hanoi has been all the rage over the past few years on the tourist trail, why not get ahead of the game and try Hue’s signature salt coffee? Admittedly, it sounds just as unappealing but at Cà Phê Muối (salt coffee in Vietnamese) they get the balance between sweet and salty just right. Salt coffee tastes something akin to a chocolate brownie and works well as a post-meal digestif or between meals. The caffeine is strong with this one so avoid late at night.

This is the father of salt coffee and while the copycats have popped up around the city, this one remains the best. Their range of indoor and outdoor seating as well budget pricing makes for good value. It is located on the north side of the imperial city so makes for a perfect conclusion to your citadel visit.

This little treat is available on our food tour. Why not nail all the culinary delights of Hue in one night

cafe muoi

Cà Phê Muối
142 Đặng Thái Thân
6:30-11:30  13:30-22:00

You can also find egg coffee and coconut coffee in Hue. Check out Start Coffee for egg coffee and Aroma Coffee for coconut coffee. Both air conditioned to keep you crisp cool in the summer heat.

Phuong Lan Coffee: Rooftop with a View

Rofftop Coffee Cafe Hue

Hue is make use of its empty rooftops and it is safe to say there are some bars and coffee shops with great views. It’s hard to get barroom conditions right with central Vietnam’s blistering summer and clammy rainy season. When the temperatures are right, you’re good to go.

Phuong Lan Coffee just opened as of early 2019 and its unique location by the Phu Cam church provides a great rooftop view. Owner Suong Lan has put some effort in giving her rooftop a bit of charm with comfortable sofas. 

Rooftop coffee in Hue

Aside from the rooftop view, Phuong Lan is also a great jumping off point for numerous places of cultural importance in Hue such as the array of pagodas and street eats on Dien Bien Phu, the Nam Giao park and the Phan Boi Chau house. Since the coffee shop is best at sunset, why not visit them first and head to Phuong Lan after.

Phong Lan Coffee Store
14 Đoàn Hữu Trưng

Another Hue café with a great view is Time Coffee that sits in the middle of Le Loi. Time coffee always has a large clientele and getting a seat at sunset can be difficult at times but includes a children’s play area for those travelling as a family to Hue.

Cafe Gac Trinh: Musical Heritage Coffee

Cafe Gac Trinh Song Son coffee Hue
Trinh Cong Son, dubbed the Bob Dylan of Vietnam, wrote lyrics like poetry about love, loss and the state of humanity through the American-Vietnam war. To this day, people still shed tears upon hearing his songs and Son remains one the nation’s most treasured artists. It was at this apartment-cum-cafe that he lived through most of the war and witnessed many things from this balcony that inspired a large proportion of his catalogue. Beatlemaniacs will visit Liverpool’s cavern club for worship. Elvis fanatics will make a pilgrimage to Graceland for a music-inspired vacation. It is of surprise to me that the former residence of Trinh Cong Son, doesn’t receive a similar amount of attention. Café Gac Trinh doesn’t serve the best coffee in town but remains a living memory of one man that inspired a nation. You can read more about Trinh Cong Son and the café in our article here. Gác Trịnh 19 room 203, 2nd floor  Nguyễn Trường Tộ 10:00-17:00

If you want your coffee to dig a little deeper in history, head to the royal pavilion north in the Hue citadel. Tứ Phương Vô Sự Lâu sits atop of the inner imperial city wall which traditionally acted as a function hall for the royal family. The view and the garden make for a special location.

Pavilion coffee has been closed during infrequent times of the year. If this is the case, head down the street to coffee shop Bình An Đường. During the Nguyen Dynasty, this building was a hospital specifically for the emperor’s eunuchs who would be banished from the imperial city out of fear of contagion until their health improved.

Riverside Coffee in Hue: Minimalist Coffee, Moments of Peace.

coffee by the river cafe

I really wanted to write about roadside coffee but I struggle to hold down a regular spot. I turn my attention towards the river and various locations come straight to mind.

The river Hương is the lifestream of Hue. It was claimed even local beer Huda was made out of the Huong River (before the factory relocated). The river brings harmony to the city and moments of contemplation for its guests.

My go-to spot is the Café with no name behind the Ho Chi Minh museum on Tran Thuc Nhan Street. Although the café has been shut down more than once, the owners keep popping up. Amenities are minimal for guests, the view looks onto a wide section of the Huong river and its backdrop is the flag mast that looms over the city’s northside. just beside the café, A small fleet of dragon boats shore up here throughout the day. The trees that grow here provide some protection from the heat as well as intermittent gusts of breeze that come off the river. It has continued to be my favourite spot since I moved to Hue.

The Cafe With No Name
Behind the Ho Chi Minh Museum
No idea on opening or closing times!

There are plenty of coffee shops hidden around the city like the Cafe with No Name. Some other spots I also enjoy are Quán Cà Phê Sông Xanh and Cafe Bến Xưa which both overlook the Như Y river on Nguyen Cong Tru Street.

Best Cafe for Work in Hue: Pleasure for the Powersuits

work study coffee in Hue Cafe

Meetings, reading, writing or social media updating. All serious business. Trying to find a place to concentrate can be a tough cookie, right?  There’s no out and out coffee shop winner in Hue. Irritating background music is next to unavoidable. Nevertheless two places that are popular for a working coffee are Windows Coffee and the aforementioned Aroma Coffee. Both have indoor and outdoor seating as well as variety of furniture that is suitable for all work-related matters. While these aren’t the quietest of coffee shops, people here are like-minded and came here for serious work, most of the time.

Cafe Aroma
5 Bến Nghé

Windows Coffee
20 Lê Lợi 

If the music is too irritating, we recommend  Lucy Kafe which offers similar amenities to Windows and Aroma. If the music irritates you, you will probably have more power likely being the only customer in the coffee shop.

But hey! Don’t spend all your time pondering and working in coffee shops around Hue, take a tour with us and experience the best of Vietnam on one of our city tours!

Found a coffee shop in Hue that you like? Have you been to any of the cafes mentioned above? Do you have any better recommendations? Leave your thoughts in the comments

Cafe Gac Trinh: the Trinh Cong Son House in Hue

Trinh Cong Son Hue

Ask anyone from Vietnam who Trinh Cong Son is and they’ll either recite you some of his lyrics or tell you about the significance of his music. Son’s compositions of around 600 songs span over 30 years of Vietnamese history. International press dubbed Trinh Cong Son the Bob Dylan of Vietnam. His blend of folk music, mostly referred to as ‘yellow music’, dealt with themes surrounding the human condition; love, loss of love, existentialism, the human race and the unknown fate of the Vietnamese people.


Beach Of Hue: Thuan An Fishing Town. The Allure of the Sea

beach hue grit tour thuan an

Thuan An Beach for 2019

Thuan An is Hue’s closest beach. Around 15KM from the city centre, it isn’t as tourist-convenient as the beaches that serve Hoi An or Danang but it’s charm and the variety on offer makes it a worthy day trip. Thuan An is a small fishing village with a population of around 21,000. While a resort and some villas have cropped up, Thuan An has retained it’s strong cultural identity tied closely with the sea. Ultimately, this means cheap seafood, cheap beer, strips of sparsely-populated beach and an authentic culture to discover!

Cafe Nha: Fantastic Homemade Lunch in a Rustic Hue Cafe

Homemade lunch hue grit tourHow Authentic is Your Lunch?

Visitors to Vietnam will tell you that local food is a divine exploration of the palate. Although flashpacking foodies travel with a golden bucketlist of dishes, it is easy to forget that no culinary experience can be more authentic than one in a home. Unless tourists stop in an intimate homestay or are invited to eat with a Vietnamese family, they may not have the opportunity to eat homemade food. Cafe Nha in Hue is changing this. In contrast to the fast-turnaround noodle shops and beer-centric restaurants, Cafe Nha have brought the household culinary experience back for lunch. Read more “Cafe Nha: Fantastic Homemade Lunch in a Rustic Hue Cafe”

OO Cafe: Contemporary Art Cafe Hue

OO Art Cafe in Hue

Millennial Hue

2017 oversaw local establishments take inspiration from contemporary designers on the world’s stage. This is evident with the new entertainment complex Cask and nightclub Factory 075 in the Pham Ngu Lao area. Business owners know that eye-catching architecture and photogenic products are key to success in the social media age. Millennial Hue want to be competing with their peers in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. They have the artistic integrity and the city is giving them the space to produce it.

art cafe hue grit tour

OO Cafe: Contemporary Art Cafe Hue

Khanh wanted to open a cafe that is modern, all-inclusive and has the facilities for art exhibitions. He employed Hue-based architect Phu Chi Kim Toan of Fu Atelier to make his vision a reality. The pair spent three months carefully designing every aspect of the cafe before opening in January 2018. Preparing and planning was time well-spent. The concept is delicately cosmopolitan and the trendy crowds the cafe attracts proves it is an early success.

Vietnamese Art Cafe Grit Tour

OO Cafe is situated in the Citadel and is only one street from the Royal Palace. Nguyen Trai street separates the cafe from a small lake. Coffee drinkers perched in the window often contemplate over the duality of still water and passing traffic. Open from 6am to 10pm, the building itself suits all hours. Bright colours bring vibrancy to the cafe while a transparent roof protects it’s customers from turbulent weather. Out the back lies a well-lit gravel garden with furniture suited for groups that want to enjoy the outdoors either in dusk or Hue’s intermittent sunshine.

The Menu

Coffee is served in both Vietnamese and international varieties. Ice-blends favor the sweet-toothed patron with matcha and caramel flavours for 32,000VND  a glass.  I personally recommend the blueberry smoothie (sinh to viet quat) for a yogurty splash of summer breeze on a hot day. Other soft drinks include fruit shakes, juices and red bull for good measure. Cappuccinos and short shots of caffeine are also available for the ‘no funny business’ consumer.

Khanh says that with his beverage choice, he likes to keep his coffee simple. An espresso with condensed milk is what he takes after breakfast to start his day.

00 art cafe Hue Grit Tour

The Owner and Hue Art

Khanh is a local photographer and artist who has held installations and exhibitions around Vietnam and South-East Asia. 2018 will be a busy year for the young artist with exhibitions in Saigon, Singapore and the Netherlands.  Khanh designed OO Cafe with the intention of the cafe doubling up as a gallery in the future, featuring works by local and international artists. OO Cafe already displays some of his own work.

Born and raised in Hue City, Khanh has an adoration for his hometown’s tranquility. He finds inspiration from his surroundings, whether that is the people he meets, the stories he hears or the places he visits around Hue. He says his work in video and photography demonstrates a personal relationship between time and memory. The strong iconography in his work depicts an intimacy with familiar Vietnamese environments, both urban and agricultural.

When asked about the future of the art scene in Hue, Khanh said;
‘We just passed an incredible generation of local-based artists but the lack of funding to support their work has meant a decline in exhibitions and new projects. The art scene is still evolving but not at the pace it used to. Nevertheless, there are still a great number of artists that live here, it just takes some work to find them.’

00 Art Cafe Hue Grit Tour

OO Cafe
99 Nguyen Trai

OO Cafe facebook page
Phan Dinh Khanh’s Website
Fu Atelier’s Facebook Page

Grit Tour Hue Vietnam

Five Fantastic Vegan and Vegetarian Restaurants in Hue

Updated October 2018: We’ve found a few new places that definitely deserve to be on the list.

Vegetarian Restaurants in Hue

Vegetarians and vegans  travelling Vietnam may be surprised that the country has a plethora of restaurants to suit all meat-free diets.Twice a month, the population will go to their local meat-free restaurant to gorge on vegetables and tofu. Restaurants on the ‘pancake trail’ serve some really shitty meat-free dishes, fact. After living in Ho Chi Minh City and Danang, Hue has provided me with the variety I desire and a few surprises too. I’m not sure why there are so many vegetarian restaurants in Hue, maybe something to do with the city’s age-old culture and affluence from both the upper and middle classes. A large percentage of street-side restaurants also turn veg every month on the 1st and 15th of the lunar calendar. Look for signs including ‘chay’ (with absolutely no accents on the word) on these days to get a budget fill.

vegetarian restaurants in Hue Grit Tour
Despite his clean-living lifestyle, Buddha has been unable to hit the gym for some cardio since being trapped behind a barricade of potted plants.

Read more “Five Fantastic Vegan and Vegetarian Restaurants in Hue”

*Closed* 054 Cafe Hue: Community, Urban Art and Creativity

Cafe 054 is now closed and has been reopened by some former employees under the name of ‘Dope 75’. Although a lot has changed since its reopening, it still remains a place for youth to hang out and good music being played.

Vietnam is the second largest producer of coffee in the world. Unlike many other countries, Vietnam’s relationship with the caffeinated beverage has produced a cafe culture that is poetic in simplicity. Even with the introduction of Starbucks to Vietnam, locals have mostly kept to their favored soft-drink spots over the modernity of multinational conglomerates. Coffee is the People’s drink and you’ll rarely find anyone that doesn’t have a cafe to recommend. Coffee shops come in every variation imaginable. Owners can be artistic in their interior design and particular about the atmospheres they create. One of my favorite cafes of recent times is 054 Cafe Hue.