Located in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City in the historic former opium den The Refinery, Renkon represents a bold new movement in Vietnam’s hospitality scene.
Raising the benchmark for local dining, this modern iteration of the traditional Japanese Izakaya brings together premium food and drink, upbeat service, curated hip-hop and world-class design in a friendly gastropub ambiance on par with Asia’s best drinking and dining venues.
Literally “a shop to stay and drink sake,” Izakaya are lively and informal Japanese bars popular for after-work drinks. Renkon brings a contemporary local interpretation of the concept to Saigon.
Designed by celebrated architect Sean Dix, whose past projects include Hong Kong’s Yardbird and Ho Lee Fook, Renkon’s interiors combine raw concrete and blonde wood to create a striking brutalist aesthetic.
Seating up to 72 people across two levels, the venue’s downstairs area features a vibrant bar space, serving up Vietnamese craft beer, wine, sake, soju, Japanese whiskey and creative signature cocktails.
Upstairs, the focal point is an open Japanese binchōtan charcoal grill, with a menu centered around sharing plates of grilled skewers, noodles and fusion bar snacks. Renkon uniforms see staff clad in customized streetwear, thanks to a full partnership with Vans.
“Renkon is more than a restaurant; it’s a piece of art”, says co-founder of The Eight Four Collective Michael Piro.
“It challenges the notion that neighborhood dining in Vietnam must be ‘cheap and cheerful,’ bringing together all the best elements – a passionate service culture, high-quality food and drinks, great music, beautiful design and a fun, lively atmosphere. It pays tribute to old Vietnam, but embraces modernized values, raising the standard of local F&B to an international level,” he says.
The Eight Four Collective chose the name “Renkon” as it derives from the Japanese word for “lotus root,” symbolizing the group’s deep connection to Vietnam. As the flagship project, Renkon also represents the foundation of The Collective’s upcoming developments.
Renkon is The Collective’s second project to date, following Sake Central Saigon. A third project, the Japanese-inspired lounge and cocktail bar Irusu, is set to open later this year. “Irusu” means “pretending not to be home when someone knocks,” in reference to the bar’s “hidden,” speak-easy inspirations.
Renkon is located at 74/10A Hai Ba Trung, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City. The grand opening party is scheduled later this month.