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Hẻm Gems: Cù Rú, an Old Saigon Bar That Took Root in Da Lat

Editor's note: Cù Rú Bar, the artists' solace, was born in Saigon by a tightknit group of friends and lovers, fueling creative souls with delectable homemade rượu cocktails, the group relocated to Da Lat, filling their newfound home with art events and crafting a new community of cocktail swillers.

Read the article in Vietnamese here.

I am walking into Cù Rú Bar in Da Lat
A greenhouse in the middle of town
There is a substantial amount of fairy lights
And there is a very sweet dog watching me as I descend slowly into the plant-filled space

Two deck chairs
A wooden panel with a hole
A hole with a spiderweb
A large chopping board hanging
I am walking towards a group of people 
I can see some musicians in the group
Tiny Giant will play a concert tonight

To my right I see what looks like a gynecologists’ examination chair
And I see an old medical cabinet lit from the inside with blue and pink fluorescent lights
Holding broken glasses from the bar
Underneath is a pug
He just had a fight with the dog inside and then proceeded to pee on some of the furniture
He now looks slightly confused and yet slightly proud

I can see a Minnie Mouse office chair
Next to it is the tiniest of tiny stools
As I continue, a child's bicycle
As I continue, an oven
On the oven are seven broken windows
As I continue there is a hammock
An outdoor hammock silver in color
One that you would see in roadside cafes of the south
It is hung on top of a pile of junk wood
I am unsure if this wood will be set on fire but I doubt it
As a structure that holds high an orange kite englobes it
Next to which is a birdcage
And on top of which is a cross made out of tiny tiny bits of silken fabric

I am walking into the main part of the bar
The pool table is being used to hold the concert equipment
To my right is a bamboo sofa that looks used
“Used” would be a kind word
I continue into the space
To my left I can see a bird's nest holding ping-pong balls like eggs
To my right vases filled with flowers
Underneath a rifle

I see four frames displaying various images of genitalia
Another is a portrait with a leaf delicately placed
I am next to the bar now
It is made of wood
You can see the various glasses
You can see some unbaked ceramics that vaguely look like penises
You can see a papier-mâché green giraffe with strange white hair and eyes that are drawn like flies
30 glass barrels of rice wine hold different hues
Ingredients marinating in suspension
Two postcards say “joy for this”

I am looking right on top of myself now
There is a papier-mâché head with glowing LED lights shining in blue green red blue green red
Spurting out are all kinds of plants that all
A brick and ceramic path
I go forward
There is a closed book called Hacker next to an empty packet of cigarettes
I am walking past a swing
I look forward there is an electric guitar
I look forward again there is a photo of naked people
I look forward again there is a family that arrives
I look forward again there is a beautiful sculpture of a man with a scarf
His leg hangs over the bed
Next to another electrical guitar
Next to another bed
Next to a comfortable looking bed
Full of books and plants

I look up
There are lights
Yellow red blue yellow white red
I go forth
I duck under the bamboo
The bamboo holds a ladle
I watch my step
There are broken ceramics
I look to my left there is a mirror
The mirror is much taller than me
It says “Oh! You are GORGEOUS!”

Underneath I see nail polish
I see nail polish 
Silver glitter maroon
Red red blue
White maroon
White maroon white
Blue again
Blue again

An empty candle holder
A family sits down
I move back
There is a huge orchid plant
I am at the entrance of Cù Rú Bar in Da Lat

Elise is usually pretty friendly, she enjoys being inconsistent about any decision-making and looking at things.

Whimsical drinks and a good time

2 Pham Hong Thai, Ward 10, Da Lat


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