It feels like once a month we’re writing about a business opening in Australia that has questionable themes and problematic undertones, and today looks like the March edition of this ongoing problem. Introducing ‘Rickshaw Bar’, which has opened in Melbourne’s Richmond.

The bar looks to be themed after the Vietnam War, and includes multiple references to Agent Orange, dog tags, bullets and Vietnamese culture throughout promotional posts on Instagram. Even the name includes reference to a rickshaw, which became a popular mode of transport in Asia around the 19th century.

“Imagine a war where over a million people died, & then imagine deciding to create an aesthetic out of it, to sell cocktails filled with bullet shells, with an Agent Orange theme,” a tweet from the Liminal Magazine account read.

“Welcome to ‘Rickshaw Bar’, now open in Melbourne. This is Australia.”

The image presented from Liminal is from the bar’s website, in which you can see a beer filled with bullet shells.

Clearly, there is a lot going on, but let’s talk about why people (understandably) have a problem with all of this.

Over one million Vietnamese people, 57,000 US soldiers and 521 Aussie soldiers died in the Vietnam War.

Agent Orange, a herbicide with toxic chemicals, was used by the US in the war and indiscriminately sprayed over Vietnamese land, exposing around four million people to the mixture, and causing sickness within around three million people.

To this day there are still children born with deformities and disabilities due to exposure to the agent.

So yeah, as you can imagine, it’s highly insensitive for a bunch of guys in Melbourne to take this ordeal, tack on imagery on Vietnamese men and women, and present it as an ‘edgy’ aesthetic.

It gets worse, however, with the bar also using the images of Vietnamese people and fallen helicopters to promote their venue.

It seems the bar has gone for a black and orange aesthetic, with one of their beer options being named “something a little more radical.”

“Read the room guys. POC culture doesn’t just exist for your profit,” reads one comment.

“And no less in a suburb with a big Vietnamese population,” reads another.

Rickshaw Bar

There are already calls for the bar to rebrand itself completely and apologise to the Vietnamese community in the area.

Here are some comments dragging the bar over the coals.

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Rickshaw Bar was contacted for comment but has not provided one.

Image: Instagram / @rickshaw_bar