First published November 2021 | Words and photos by Vietnam Coracle
Overlooking an attractive bay at Ganh Dau Cape, right at the northwestern-most tip of Phu Quoc Island, this unpretentious, open-sided little beach bar and cafe has a split personality. During the day it’s Mun’s Cafe, a laid-back place to chat with friends over a smoothie or work online with an espresso beneath the shade of tropical trees; in the evening it’s the Rum Bar, an effortlessly cool little hangout with sunset views, cocktails and a young, local crowd. Inexpensive, informal and inviting, Mun’s Cafe & Rum Bar’s main draw – day or night – is the view across the sandy beach to the Gulf of Thailand and Cambodian islands.
MUN’S CAFE & RUM BAR, PHU QUOC
Name: Mun’s Cafe & Rum Bar | Open Hours: 8am-11pm | Price: 30,000-80,000vnđ/drink
Address: Road DT45, Gành Dầu village beach, Phu Quoc Island, Kien Giang Province [MAP]
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Mun’s Cafe & Rum Bar, Ganh Dau, Phu Quoc Island
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Place & Location:
A familiarly Vietnamese architectural mix of wood, brick, concrete and corrugated iron, Mun’s Cafe & Rum Bar manages to blend these materials together to create a satisfyingly casual, airy and relaxed space. Set beneath coconut palms and tropical almond trees just a few metres up a bank from the beach, the single-storey structure is open on three sides, with seating inside at the bar and outside on a patio overlooking the ocean. Wood and metal stools and tables dot the terrace, as well as some handsome rattan furniture. Inside, the red brick bar sits on a bare concrete floor. Sunlight pours in through the open sides, and the terrace catches the sea breeze. A few naked lightbulbs hang from the ceiling, illuminating the drinks menu on a chalkboard behind the bar.
Throughout the day and night the space is peppered with a mostly young crowd of locals and domestic travellers. The ambience is pleasant: filled with the sound of chatter, video gaming, work meetings and, in the evenings, lots of selfie-taking. The convivial mood is aided somewhat by a seemingly liberal attitude to the type of leaves customers choose to inhale. It’s worth noting that a large sign outside reads ‘London Pub’ with a big Union Jack in the background. I’m not sure if this indicates an imminent name change, but if so it’s a misnomer: the atmosphere here is much more like a local beach bar and cafe than a British-style pub.
Simple but attractive, inexpensive but characterful, Mun’s Cafe & Rum Bar is a great idea in a great location. What’s more, it’s very well executed. There’s no pretension; just a good, relaxed, friendly vibe. Inevitably, this prime stretch of beachfront will be bought and bulldozed by an international resort chain, so make the most of the interim period while you can – while independent little pop-ups like Mun’s Cafe & Rum Bar can flourish. Yes, there’s a bit of litter on the beach and roaming dogs in the brush, but we’ll miss this informality once Sheraton moves in. Bring your swim stuff, because the sea – just a couple of dozen paces from the patio – is very inviting.
Drinks & Prices:
With a range of coffees, teas, smoothies, juices and cocktails, the drinks list at Mun’s Cafe & Rum Bar is suitable for any time of day. Personally, I enjoy a double espresso in the mornings while getting some work done on my laptop; then, an iced peach tea with orange and lemongrass to cool me down after a midday swim; and a gin tonic to watch the sunset with a friend. Prices are very reasonable: all drinks are 40,000-80,000vnd ($2-$4). The menu is chalked up on the blackboard above the bar, but you can also ask for your cocktail of choice: if they have the components, staff are happy to make it for you. The best time of day is between 4-6pm when the sun starts to sink over the glistening waters of the Gulf of Thailand, making silhouettes of the Cambodian islands, before setting and throwing up iridescent flares into the darkening sky, and the cicadas start to hum.
*Disclosure: I never receive payment for anything I write: my content is always free and independent. I’ve written this article because I want to: I like this cafe and I want my readers to know about it. For more details, see my Disclosure & Disclaimer statements and my About Page