You’re an adult, so you may have forgotten by now what the thrill of playing secret agent was like. Just so you know, it’s still really cool.
You’ll do plenty of slinking in this Landed Vibe experience aptly titled “Let’s Sneak in some Hidden Rooftops and have Drinks.” As the name implies, there’s a lot of sneaking around involved. Go up darkened stairs by the light of a cell phone. Get up a rooftop by ladder. Worry if you’re supposed to go there, but then just do it anyway.
This Landed Vibe experience involves visits to a range of elevated city sites, like Hung Hoa Beer, a charming rooftop bar that’s got that yellowed, paisley, vintage look like memories remembered from a generation ago. Take in neighboring Districts 3 and 5 from this homey, warm pub.
Next, hosts will spirit you away on taxi to the next destination, which is definitely a rooftop but maybe isn’t a bar. That’s why they’ve bought drinks beforehand and ride dirty to the next place.
How is this experience different than just going out for drinks to the usual place, like OMG Rooftop and the glitzy Chill SkyBar? For one, this is a lot quieter. The only sounds that reach you on Saigon’s rooftops is whatever music or noise seeps up from the world’s surface below. The rooftops you’ll see on these excursions—some quaint drinking areas with a stocked bar, and some just literally the tops of building—feature less production overall than the typical rooftop bar. There are so few places to put your attention rather than the moment itself. Look at where we are.
Check out the artfully written message sprayed on to the side of this hidden wall. Conversation is made easy by alcohol and the shared thrill of being in a place where maybe you’re not supposed to be. It’s funny though, being in restricted spaces is a powerful bonding element to the counter strangeness of strangers who are, physically and otherwise perhaps, with you now.
Landed Vibe’s whisky tasting host Jesse Selvagn’s credentials are nothing to sneeze at.
Sake Central general manager’s decade-plus long career in food and drink has included a post at a Michelin two-star restaurant and roles as a sommelier of both whiskey and sake. He’s professionally certified as a sake sommelier. But it’s his particular manner as a storyteller that stands out in the Landed Vibe workshop he leads called “Explore the Craft and Culture of Japanese Whisky,” an event that centers around a storied drink.
Take his telling of Japan’s decision to liberalize trade and end isolationism in the mid 19th century. “The US was like, we want to trade or we’ll just shoot you with our cannons,” he explained to a group drinking Suntory whisky highballs. “And they were like, okay,” he continued. “One of the first things to come off the harbor was a big barrel of whisky.”
Selvagn spends little time coaching in the etiquette of drinking. He advises not to bury your nose in the neat pour, a gentle sniff will do before a light sip that coats the whole mouth, and to kind of chew it. He spends most of the session talking about the story of the whiskies, the Hakushu distillery’s decision to scale down their production to explore new, interesting blends; the road to producing award-winning Japanese whiskys today that started with very bad recipes at first chapters of the nation’s history; and so on.
Ask Selvagn to tell you the story of how the man who founded Nikka whisky who, while on a research trip to Scotland, fell in love with a foreign woman prompting an international scandal. His Japanese corporate handlers were sent to break them up. Parents were incensed. It was a whole thing. The Nikka whisky itself ? It’s got a nice, honey-peat feel on it that finishes clean. But enjoyment of the drink is certainly greater hearing Selvagn tell you the whole story in his animated and rousing manner as if he witnessed it first hand.
Landed Vibe is a platform that helps millennials turn shareable values of their profession, skill or hobby into on-demand payable activities, either for entertainment, skill learning or travel experience purposes, to be booked by millennial locals, expats and travelers alike. To explore the 80+ experiences that are available, visit landedvibe.com.
Images by Vy Lam and Sake Central