Apocalypse Then and Now

It’s never been a secret: Apocalypse Now, Saigon’s most iconic club, has always been an establishment of ill repute. A few years ago, my girlfriend Sarah used to slug ex-pats for feeling up her friend, who these salacious foreigners assumed was a prostitute because a) she’s Vietnamese and b) she was at Apocalypse Now.

I recently ended up at Apocalypse Now with Sarah and her TESOL friends, and it turned out to be a fairly PG-13 affair. This was mostly thanks to the addition of an expansive, second-level dance floor. While the downstairs bar and outdoor patio are overwhelmed by throbbing dance music (and peppered with paunchy ex-pats in polos and shorts), the second-floor DJ spins lighter tunes like “The Twist.” There are regular injections of salsa and reggaeton and a few (awkward) spots of early-90s grunge rock.

Apocalypse Now was also once the epicenter of gay Saigon, but the opening of additional gay bars around town has distilled its significance. Still, it’s a fairly reliable meeting place for gay men.

Despite all this, one thing’s the same: Apocalypse Now remains grossly overpriced. Expect to spend VND 50,000 for a Saigon Beer (about 15,000 elsewhere). The bright side is there’s no cover for foreigners, so you have the option to pre-game and boycott the bar.

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Filed under Nightlife

4 responses to “Apocalypse Then and Now

  1. l.

    does ggg know that you are frequenting gay clubs without him!?

  2. TJ

    We signed a cross-Pacific discretion agreement.

  3. hung

    This sad club is overcrowded and discriminates against its own people, the Vietnamese. Reportedly, it is operated and owned by Vietnamese American(s). How pathetic and un-American to discriminate against their own people. I was furious to see white foreigners with their whores walk right in without having to pay for cover charge while I was demanded to pay 150000 VND (~ 9 USD).

    So, if one has any respect for human rights, equality, and decency, one should boycott this club. I am actually looking for any witness to this blatant discrimination to file a complaint against these Vietnamese Americans with the ACLU in the USA. I firmly believe that these people break the oath to uphold the US Constitution.

    Shame on those expats who support the existence of such discriminatory practice of Apocalypse Now !!! Where is the pride?

  4. TJ

    I won’t say I understand your frustration, but I certainly appreciate it. And while I agree that Apocalypse Now’s door policy constitutes discrimination, I’m not sure whether you’re aware that that policy is a direct response to the high instance of prostitution that contributed to its being closed down in recent years. Their mindset, as I’ve had it explained to me, is that if they charge the Vietnamese at the door, it will keep out Vietnamese prostitutes. I’m by no means defending that policy–to be sure, it’s a rather heavy-handed, overly simplistic response. It certainly doesn’t keep out prostitutes brought in by foreign men.

    That said, I would caution against speaking for all Vietnamese and spreading about shame. I never went there until my Vietnamese friends suggested it. They aired the same complaint you have, but said so long as they entered with us, they wouldn’t have to pay. This was indeed the case. Also, there really is no recourse in regards to the UCLA. The UCLA handles American cases and holds zero stock here with the Party.

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