By Morgan Thanarojpradit
Black Cabin Bar
THIS underground music venue has a genuine buzz, with a busy line-up of events appealing to blues and soul enthusiasts, groovy jazz and retro-vinyl lovers nightly, except Monday. The dimly-lit interior is reminiscent of a New York jazz club adds to the funky and exciting atmosphere. Recent bands include Motherfunky and Azzemble Zui as well as the house band, Nerd Alert. Reasonably priced drinks include some great whiskies, Thai craft beers and a long list of cocktails. The bar is part of Wild Meat restaurant, which specialises in Tomahawk steaks and game meats. It is located in an unfashionable area of Bangkok, just off Rama 4 Road near
Bangkok University and not easy to find, but a journey worth taking.
The Black Cabin Bar. 33/1 Soi Farmwattana. 061 515 6989. www.blackcabinbar.com
The Bamboo Bar
Dating back to 1953, The Bamboo Bar at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel is an international legend. Refurbished in 2014, this elegant music venue today sports a more contemporary look while retaining its iconic character as a classic cocktail bar.
Live jazz bands play on Sunday -Thursday from 9pm - 12am and on riday to Saturday from 9pm - 1am.
The opening hours are Sunday - Thursday from 5pm - 1am and Friday- Saturday from 5pm - 2am.
OPENED a decade ago, the Roof Bar is an open-air laid-back restaurant and bar situated on the third floor of Centre Point Plaza Hotel on Khao San Road. The live music kicks off nightly with an acoustic show at 7.30pm followed by a full band from 9.30-11.30pm. The second group plays from 11.30pm-1.30am.
The house bands know their stuff, so the playlist is very varied with wide appeal. The most popular band is the Tiger Band who perform every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 11.30pm to 1.30am.
Roof Bar. Centre Point Plaza Hotel, 183-5 Khao San Road. 086 777 1117. www.facebook.com/Roof-Bar-Khaosan-Road-Bangkok-1614696922142797
Wine Bibber Sangria
ESTABLISHED in 1995, the Wine Bibber Sangria attracts one of the most diverse crowds in Bangkok. Previously located in Thonglor, it now sits on Ekamai Soi 2. The ground floor is dedicated to live music from 60s-90s while the second floor discotheque features an LED dance floor with DJs.
Wine Bibber Sangria. 9 Thonglor Road. 02 714 0709. www.facebook.com/WBBsangria
LOCATED on the corner of Suan Phlu and Soi 1, Smalls is set in an old shophouse converted into a three-storey bar and club. The main bar is located on the ground floor where the jazz musicians play. The second floor offers less seating areas but has a small balcony.
The rooftop bar can accommodate up to 40 people. Smalls has live jazz bands once a week on Wednesdays starting from 9.30pm onwards while the rest of the week features an eclectic lineup of DJs. The jazz policy here is to promote young jazz musicians to be more daring.
Smalls also features a selection of spirits led by the Head of Bar, Danny Yeung, a mixologist from Canada. The bar’s kitchen stays open until closing time.
Smalls. 178/1 Naradhiwas Rajanagarindra 9 Road. 095 585 1398. www.facebook.com/smallsbkk
Thailand’s first microbrewery is packed every night, for good reason. The venue is a huge traditional German-style beerhouse with long tables running from the stage to the copper brewing tanks at the rear.
The fantastic nightly shows feature a full cabaret line-up, mixing brilliant Thai performances with the latest western hits, supported by outstanding dancing. Famous dishes include deep-fried pork knuckle, along with three types of home-brewed German lagers. Located in the corner of Rama 3 Road and Narathiwat Road.
Tawandang Brew House. 462/61 Rama III Road. 02 678 1114-6. tawandang.com
SET in factory-themed two-storey shophouse on Thonglor, Iron Fairies is filled with wrought iron staircases, winged figurine creatures and hidden rooms. In short, a mystical world of fairy tales. First opened in 2010 then moved to its current location in 2013, this bar’s popularity comes from the uniqueness of its design, good food, cocktails, beers and whiskies, plus live band playing nightly from 9pm onwards until late covering jazz and soul numbers. Tables are hard to come by, so reservations are recommended.
Iron Fairies. 402 Soi Thonglor, Sukhumvit 55 Road. 099 918 1600. facebook.com/ironfairiesbkk
Hard Rock Cafe Bangkok
THIS iconic restaurant-rock museum has been around for years. It must be good to have lasted so long. Located on Siam Square Soi 11, a short walk from Siam Paragon, Siam Centre, Siam Discovery and MBK mall, Hard Rock Café features house bands like Hubris from Monday to Saturday and The Boss band on Sunday from 9pm until late. The food’s good, the atmosphere lively and the crowd is a fun mixture of expats, locals and students as well as overseas visitors.
Hard Rock Cafe Bangkok. 424/3-6 Siam Square SOI 11. 02 658 4090. www.hardrock.com/bangkok
Check Inn 99
THE long-established Checkinn99 live music nightclub, dinner theatre and Jazz club is now located on Soi 33, next to the Lotus Hotel.
The establishment offers nightly live entertainment and dancing on Monday to Saturday from 6pm - 1am in a laid back atmosphere. Sundays bring 11 hours of non-stop Jazz and Blues from 2.30pm - 1am. The afternoon Jazz jam attracts over 30 local and international performers while the new year will bring the return of the famous Checkinn99 steak restaurant and signature chate au briand dish, permanently priced draft beer jug specials and happy hour tapas.
Checkinn99 also presents the new upstairs sports bar and grill called the Pavilion which has already gathered patrons with locally based sports and social groups as new meetups. In addition to regular concerts and shows, Checkinn99 offers regular art exhibitions and events. Drink and food prices are moderate with no cover charge except for promoted concerts.
Check Inn 99. 1/1 Sukhumvit 33 Road (next to Lotus Hotel).
081 735 7617. www.checkinn99.com
THIS 32-year-old jazz boutique is a famous among diners and music enthusiasts. Opening during the day as a restaurant and coffee house, while serving chilled beers coupled with great live bands performing six nights a week, the new 200-seat two-storey establishment has plenty of space to accommodate big crowds.
The second floor also serves as a creative space for art exhibitions, film screenings, plays, poetry reading, private events and concerts. It also showcases monthly live performances by international or touring acts every last Friday and Saturday of the month so expect great music in the house. Find Brown Sugar at 469 Phra Sumen Road, not far from Rajdamnoen Nok and Khao San Road.
Brown Sugar. 469 Wanchad Junction, Phra Sumen Road. 081 805 7759. www.facebook.com/brownsugarbangkok
Maggie Choo’s Bar
ANOTHER of famous designer Ashley Sutton’s creations, Maggie Choo’s restaurant and bar is a hidden world underneath the Novotel Fenix Silom. The decor depicts a Cantonese restaurant reminiscent of the 1930s Shanghai prohibition era. The brick walls are lined with rustic statues and old paintings, and the bar offers a comprehensive list of cocktails, beers, wines and whiskies. Live jazz band on the weekends from 10pm onwards. Maggie Choo’s restaurant and bar is open daily from 6pm-2am.
Maggie Choo’s Bar. 320 Silom Road. 091 772 2144. www.facebook.com/maggiechoos
Play Yard by Studio Bar
FORMERLY known as Buddha Bar, Play Yard by Studio Bar features
high-quality live music with a daily theme. This old retro house sees big crowds nightly. The indoor section has couches facing the stage while the terrace is lined with wooden seating and a pool, home of the owner’s pet Arapaimas
fish. The band performs nightly, playing Thai and international retro favourites, acoustics, rock, funk, pop and soul. Located on Thanon Lat Phrao, near Chatuchak Park.
Play Yard by Studio Bar. 11 Prasert-Manukitch Road. 085 146 8017.
The Landmark Bangkok
ONLY steps away from Nana BTS station, the hotel has two great music venues: Rendezvous Bar and Huntsman Pub. The former is essentially for wines, rare malt whiskies, and cocktails while listening to live music; the latter has the air of a traditional British pub, with draught beers, authentic pub food and a highly rated house band.
The pub’s excellent acoustics mean that conversation is not spoiled by the live music. The Huntsman Pub is located between Sukhumvit 4 and 6. Open daily from 11.30am-2am, and Sunday roast is from 11.30am-8pm.
The Landmark Bangkok. 138 Sukhumvit Road. 02 254 0404. www.landmarkbangkok.com
A collaboration of teachers and professors from Silpakorn University faculty of jazz, Jazz Happens provides a venue for aspiring jazz musicians to showcase their talents. This is the haven where ideas and visions are shared and realised, but more than anything else, it is a celebration of jazz and a great place to chill out.
Going into its fifth year, Jazz Happens hosts an array of music events, including its Sunday Jazz Happens boat cruise every last Sunday of the month from November to April. Open daily, with live bands Friday to Wednesday from 5pm-1am. Located at 62 Phraarthit Road, close to Khao San Road.
Jazz Happens. 62 Phra-arthit Road. 084 450 0505. www.facebook.com/jazZhappens
The M Pub Beers n’ Beers
LOCATED on the ground floor of the Ascott Hotel on Sathorn Road, this gastropub is owned and operated by the same company behind the popular Pintsman and After Hours pubs on Silom Road. Offering more than 100 imported beers by the bottle coupled with an extensive international food menu and a nightly entertainment includes a band on Friday nights and the live acoustic duo on Saturday to Thursday playing Thai and English favourites. The M Pub Beers n’ Beers is open from 7pm to midnight daily.
The M Pub Beers n’ Beers. 187 Ascott Building, South Sathorn Road. 02 676 6868. www.facebook.com/thempub
The Owl Society Whiskey Saloon. 8/1 Sukhumvit 61 Road. 02 046 3798. www.fb.com/theowlsobkk
The Owl Society Whiskey Saloon
LOCATED in a renovated two-storey house on Ekamai (Sukhumvit 63), Owl Society Whiskey Saloon is a gentleman’s club and saloon serving bar snacks, cocktails and, of course, whiskey. In fact there’s a choice of over 100 bottles of whiskey from all over the world. The live band performs mainly jazz and soul weekly from Thursday to Saturday. Open daily from 5pm to 2am.
Fatty’s Bar & Diner
A grungy shop-house bar and diner on Asoke-Dindaeng Road off Rama 9, Fatty’s Bar & Diner is more like a casual get together for friends and colleagues than an actual bar. Nonetheless, it receives far less recognition than it deserves. The bar and diner serve delectable dishes including juicy burgers, sandwiches and many other favourites such as beer battered shrimp and onion rings. All food and beers are reasonably priced while the live band performs from 9pm onwards until late.
The restaurant is open every day except Monday from 11am to 12am.
Fatty’s Bar & Diner. 598/66 Asoke-Dindaeng Road. 02 245 2965. www.facebook.com/fattysbardiner
The Rock Pub
A place for hard-core rockers. Located on Phaya Thai Road, next to Ratchathewi BTS station, The Rock Pub has showcased many of Thailand’s most famous rock bands over the decades. Live music nightly except Sundays from 7pm-1am.
The Rock Pub. 93/26-28 Hollywood Street Building, Phaya Thai Road. 099 191 5666. www.facebok.com/therockpub
Customers can enjoy the buy-one-get one free promotion on the weekdays, plus Whacky Wednesdays and Ladies Night Thursdays. On Tuesdays, the lineup of DJs provide the musical entertainment.
Apoteka Live Gastropub. 33/28 Soi Sukhumvit 11 Road. 061 881 8401. www.apotekasoi11.com
Apoteka Live Gastropub
LOCATED in Sukhumvit Soi 11, Apoteka Live Gastropub is a well-known watering hole for all blues lovers. The pub’s exterior design based on a Victorian-era pharmacy and the name Apoteka resounds what it looks like.
Visitors can spot the bar by its rustic brick walls, large glass windows and a bright neon-lit sign out front. Apoteka is considered one of Bangkok’s best live music venues. It is almost always full of music lovers, with blues bands performing living daily except on Tuesdays. Delicious dishes are available along with an array of great cocktails.
Saxophone pub and restaurant
ONE of the oldest music venues in Bangkok, this legendary bar is internationally renowned for its excellent live blues and jazz. Located near the Victory Monument BTS Skytrain station, Saxophone is popular with locals as well as tourists. Musicians and bands include Thai legends such Koh Mr Saxman, T-Bone Band, the Swing Kings, JRP Little band and The Emergency. The venue also hosts a monthly art exhibition and donates all proceeds to local charities. Open daily from 8pm-2am, and the live bands perform from 9.30pm onwards.
Saxophone pub and restaurant. 3/8 Soi Ratchawithi, Phaya Thai Road. 02 246 5472. www.facebook.com/saxophone.pub.official.page
Adhere the 13th Blues Bar
THIS out-of-the-way hole-in-the-wall bar has been going strong for years. Packed nightly, Adhere the 13th Blues Bar is considered one of Bangkok’s best live jazz and blues bar. The house band regularly plays the crowd’s favourites like BB King, Louis Armstrong and John Lee Hooker. The bar is popular among Thais and
foreigners alike. Bring along your instruments at your own risk because you most likely will be invited to jam with the band.
In operation since Songkran of 2000, the cosy blues and jazz bar welcomes guests from all walks of life. The closet-size bar offers intimate seating and there’s no stage for the band. Lining the walls are framed album covers from famous jazz and blues singers and bands mixed with a collection of eclectic artwork. This honky-tonk bar is located at 13 Samsen Road and opens daily from 6pm till midnight.
Adhere the 13th Blues Bar. 13 Samsen Road (opposite Samsen Soi 2). 089 769 4613. facebook.com/adhere13thbluesbar
LOCATED on Silom Soi 6, After Hours Bangkok is another hangout spot for music lovers. This laid-back bar offers delicious local and international dishes along with an array of beers, wines and best-loved cocktails. The band starts from 7pm until midnight daily and plays a variety of popular songs from the 70s mixed with
the recent popular tunes.
After Hours Silom. 6 Silom Road.
02 634 0903. www.facebook.com/afterhoursbkk