In the past one year, many youth, including teenagers, choose to go to beer clubs in Ho Chi Minh City for a change in atmosphere, ecstasy and lower costs they offer compared to bars and discos.
Around 8pm on Friday, traffic in front of Beer Garden G on P. N. T street in District 3 was congested.
The congestion isn’t a rare sight, as the area has seen traffic jams in the past several months due to the influx of clients pouring in from evening till midnight, when the garden closes.
On Halloween night on Oct 31, disguised Tuoi Tre (Youth) reporters were shocked at the incredible amount of beer, with clients in their 20s or 30s.
Many youth may find such sights common, as such pubs have mushroomed citywide in the form of beer clubs, beer gardens and beer houses in the past one year.
Around 8.30pm one night last month, Tuoi Tre reporters were queuing to get in Club V on District 1’s N. B. K street.
D., a client there, shared that he and his friends would gather at cafes and eateries before moving on to karaoke parlors, inns or bars in a single night.
However, these young people have recently switched to beer clubs as an economical option.
“Beer clubs are no different from bars. The places boast terrific music and lighting, professional DJs and sexy beer promotion girls,” D. said.
D. wasn’t kidding. Most clubs feature live, fiery performances by DJs.
Young clients don’t care if the clubs have dance floors, they just dance along the aisles or hug each other and rock to the bouncing music right at their tables.
A group of youngsters said that it’s more fun dancing in the open air like this than jostling in a packed bar or disco.
All beer clubs offer their own “specialties,” ranging from interactive games, beer drinking challenges, prize-winning games, promotional gifts to sensual performances of belly dance.
To draw more customers, many clubs boast teams of sexy female DJs, beer promotion girls and dancers who can cheer up guests at each table.
Some feature dim lighting with electrifying music, offer singing-together services while others like S Club on District 1’s L. Q. D street allow their guests to gulp down beer and throw darts at the same time.
A youngster revealed that he could see everyone outside while using the restroom, as its walls are built with one-way glass.
The beer party begins
The clubs offer an incredible amount of beer in a wide variety of domestic and foreign brands.
V Club features 1-meter- high beer towers on its wood tables, while R Club boasts a layout and décor just like that of a factory, with shelves made from casks, steel-netted corridors and boxes of beer cans purposefully messily placed along the walls.
One night in October, several groups of guys and girls in office uniforms or clothes were seen rocking to pop, hiphop or rock at V Club.
A group of five girls in bank uniforms were clanking their glasses of beer, cutting the birthday cake and swaying to the rousing music prepared by the two DJs onstage.
Teenagers and school students are not far and few between in such clubs.
Tuoi Tre reporters in their late 20s and early 30s even became out of the place in the club full of teen clients.
“I’m not here to get drunk or dance, but only for the atmosphere which is slightly different from everyday routines,” Tr., a female student at a local university.
Another group of youngsters were clanking their glasses and yelling in the drowning music about their marks and teachers at school.
Beer clubs, which many youth consider an economical option to bars and discos, offer a wide variety of snacks and main-course dishes for VND60,000 (US$3) to some hundred dong.
Beer prices vary from VND350,000 ($16.5) for a tower of beer or VND35,000-45,000 a bottle.
However, groups are sometimes shocked at bills of nearly VND10 million ($471) for a single night of fun.
A vice director of G.G. Co., the investor of Beer Club V, said that this business model needs at least three years of operation to prove if it can survive.
“Clients each spend an average of VND230,000 ($10) a night. With 500 clients per day, we earn some VND110 million ($5,177) and some VND15 million a day after costs are deducted. Each of our clubs, which was invested with VND8-10 billion (up to $470,677), will recoup our investment after 12-16 months.
A representative of a large beer company in HCMC said that the trend of opening beer clubs thrived since late last year.
Some three to five new beer clubs are opened each month, excluding restaurants and cafes which switch to the service due to poor sales.
Since late last year, contracts in advertisements, decors and beer supplies have poured in, he added.