I used to live right around the corner from this somewhat hidden bar, towards the beach end of Cua Dai street. It could’ve been my local. And it’s a damn shame I never ventured there before now – although in hindsight, that was probably better for my health!
Because if I had discovered Happy Buffalo earlier, I undoubtedly would’ve been there for a sundowner – or two, or three – pretty much every evening.
The charming owners, Hugh and Debbie, are the perfect hosts. Their Kiwi humor, their way with people and their knowledge of what makes a bar a place you’ll keep coming back to have made Happy Buffalo… well, a place you’ll keep coming back to!
Andy and I visited with a friend just before sunset. We were treated to some amazing views over the rice fields as we sipped on cocktails and commented on what a peaceful place it was. And why the hell hadn’t we been before?!
The counter overlooking the rice fields is a definite draw – and Hugh told us of his plans to build a “selfie platform” for all those snap-happy Instagrammers out there. (Great call!) Although the counter was fun to sit at, I kept veering back to the couch… because if you sit there for a few minutes, the owners’ adorable dog Nero will jump up for cuddles.
As we enjoyed some Motown tunes, we savored those tasty cocktails that Debbie served up – a tangy margarita, a bloody great Bloody Mary and a smooth-as-silk espresso martini. The beer was cheap and ice-cold, too. We were off to a good start.
In terms of food, Happy Buffalo’s got a lot to offer – with gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan options, too. Most of them are creative Western twists on Vietnamese classics… and all of them are massively satisfying!
Hugh told us the dishes would be slightly bigger than tapas. We probably ordered far too much between the 3 of us – but managed to clear our plates anyway. Our agreed favorites were the banh xeo pizza, the polenta fries with spicy kimchi and the cao lau mac ‘n’ cheese bites. I loved the nachos with minced pork, too.
And while we felt a little sickly full after a dinner of mainly deep-fried things, that was our own fault for being so greedy!
Hugh and Debbie run a tight ship here (maybe their former jobs as scuba diving instructors help with that!) You get the sense that wherever they might set up a bar, they’d have the hospitality down to a T. The quirky signs dotted about, the casual yet immaculate set-up, the cool music and friendly chit-chat all create a welcoming atmosphere that’s hard to leave. (If we hadn’t been driving, we wouldn’t have so early!)
Happy Buffalo is ideal if you want to enjoy a chilled-out drink, while enjoying some tasty bar bites with a difference! A perfect spot to hang out with friends or to make new ones – which is what we did; the bar is definitely a ‘come as strangers, leave as friends’ kind of place!
Don’t leave it as long as we did. If you haven’t been yet, go! Give our regards to the lovely team there (and to Nero!) when you do.