Now, to be clear, we’re not here to disparage the former occupant of Hai Hai’s building, the old watering hole/exotic-dancer showcase affectionately known as the Double Deuce. Less a sleazy strip club and more a friendly neighborhood bar that just happened to have nearly naked women performing on a small stage in back, the place was a nicely dingy dive that was welcoming to all. But it closed back in 2013, and we had to wait until last year to get the good news that Hola Arepa owners Christina Nguyen and Birk Gruden had purchased the space. When they opened Hai Hai in November, it was like a warm, beachy breeze had reached the frozen tundra. The space was utterly transformed, with tropical blue walls, rattan chairs, and an expansive patio. And we don’t have enough superlatives to cover the Southeast Asian-inspired food and drink. Nowhere else in Minnesota could a dish called simply “fried potatoes” be bursting with this much flavor. The new place gives an affectionate nod to the past (“Hai Hai” means “two two” in Vietnamese) while bringing its corner of the city into a bright new future.