The opinions of Blues afficionados aside, "The Blues" has never been a 'mainstream' music genre. Nevertheless, over the years, Bangkok has had a number of Nitespot Venues featuring The Blues for longer or shorter periods (...some of you may remember Tokyo Joe's). But recently (by this, we mean 'Post-Covid'), a number of Night Entertainment Venues have been featuring The Blues as their main attraction. -And they are having increasing successes. Below we present three of the top Blues Bars in Bangkok, where to find them, and what to expect....
Probably the least likely Venue (in outward appearances) to have a blues band would be the Bang Bang Bar on Soi Ambassador. It opened in March 2021 (taking over from the just-closed Brew Beers & Ciders) - just in time for the first wave of Covid. It survived the Pandemic, and on reopening, brought in a regularly performing blues band. The best nights are weekends, usually up and rolling at around 9:00 p.m. The house usually has an ongoing 100 baht 'happy hour' for one of it's local beers.
(Sukhumvit Soi 11)
One of Bangkok's best blues bars was the Apoteka. It didn't survive the vicissitudes of Covid, only to be replaced by The Golden Giraffe (opening in November 2022). After some fits-and-starts, it now has a good rotation of blues bands cycling through. Local beers under Baht 200 ...along with some choice beers for the few... Best bands are on weekends after 9:00 p.m.
(Sukhumvit Soi 11)
The Green Room Bangkok opened up out of the blue, so to speak, in February 2022 as a built-for-purpose blues bar. It was an instant success - oftentimes on weekends we see 'customers' standing outside for a free listen - as it is already SRO inside. They often have walk-in guest singers front-up for a quick set (as in the clip below). Local beers under Baht 200.
(Sukhumvit Soi 7/1)
Tokyo Joe's was arguably the first dedicated Blues Bar in Bangkok. By 2007 it had successfully relocated from Sukhumvit Soi 24 to Soi 26 before finally going out of business. Time for another Blues Festival?
READER :Regarding the Ambassador Beer Garden, no mention of this classic haunt in your review of bygone beer gardens in your May edition. Did I overlook your mention of it? Or did you overlook it?
When I arrived 22 years ago it was a wonderful place to spend an evening. Good live music. Large open space, not cramped, with yellow tables and umbrellas when it rained. Plenty of food. Lots of new friends.
Surely worthy of mention? Nothing since comes close, or ever will.
MIDNITE HOUR:While our article focused on now-extinct "opportunistic" Bar Areas, rather than individual Venues, the Ambassador (Hotel) Beer Garden is certainly worth mentioning.
But it wasn't only the Ambassador's beer garden that has disappeared from Bangkok's Nitescene, there were also other Beer Gardens - one at Soi 15 opposite the Manhattan Hotel, one on Soi 23 opposite the entrance to Soi Cowboy, one at the top of Soi Ekamai 63, and one on Soi Asoke (Singha). There was also a small beer garden on Soi 5 which didn't last long (near the entrance to "The Tunnel"). Thanks for writing in on this, it brought back a number of great memories for us, as it likely will for many of our readers.
My last visit to Bangkok was just prior to Covid and I have not gone there since then. Soi Cowboy and Baccara are my favourite. I am planning a visit there next week subject to your guidance/review. Is Soi Cowboy now operational in full swing or should I wait for another few months for the operations at Soi Cowboy to be normalized? One last question: Are weekends better or are even weekdays busy?
Many thanks in anticipation.
Soi Cowboy has been fully open now for several months (more than 95% ) and quite busy. As Soi Cowboy is visited by local expats as well as tourists, the weekends are busier. Baccara is open. Now would be a good time to visit. Best of luck on your holiday.
In the "We Don't Make Mistrakes Department", last month we failed to note the reopening of the Tip Top. They have continued with their Pool Bar configuration for the present. So then, it's official - they are right back where they left off... .
It appears that the Patpong Museum has seen some recent activity, someone has been inside and has been cleaning up. The goldfish pond is back out front, and they are once again receiving mail. Too soon to get optimistic about a reopening - still a big wait-and-see item... (Likewise, Delaney's, by the way...)
It appears that The Blackout bar has been pulled under by the rip-tide and another bar is having their soft opening in those digs. Let's see what it all looks like when the dust settles... We'll get back atcha next time around..
SOI NANA - (SOI 4 SUKHUMVIT)
The Charmming Massage has reopened (again) in Subsoi Big Mango. May they continue to slip and slide...
When Rain Bar moved off the North wall and into the adjacent 'island', Pookie Bar immediately expanded into the then-vacant space, thereby doubling their square footage. May they continue to abide...
7 CENTER POINT
The Rain Bar relocated from the North wall onto the 'island' - now taking up about 50% of the space that was previously Long Shots. These new digs are about three times the size of their original.... Keep on keeping on...
7 CENTER POINT
Big B's Cosy Bar has opened newly in part of the space that was previously occupied by the original Flamingo on the North wall. This is Big B's third bar, one also in 7 Center Point, and the other at the back of Soi Ambassador next door to The Golden Giraffe. May the night demons hector them less severely...
The brand-new Tibet Gate is something we just have to try.... It's a Tibetan Meditation Center. It's a Tibetan Cultural Center. It has live music. It has a Bar. It has a Restaurant. Once I arrive there, what am I supposed to do first? Located in what was most recently the 33 Society (which never fully opened). Welcome them to the machine.
Last month we announced the arrival of a brand new, unnamed, Pool Bar. This month they are fully open and have all their signage nailed up. They are the Orange Bangkok - the same bar that started out as a Volkswagen van street bar, then moved into the complex of temporary bars on Soi Ambassador (which we were calling the Tewley Cocktail group). As earlier reported, all those temporary bars on Soi Ambassador have been cleared out in preparation for a new construction development. Welcome the Bangkok Orange to their new digs on Soi Eden, may they be dealt all aces and faces...
Bangkok Eyes goes back to August of 1966 for an overview of ExpatNight Entertainment in Bangkok. We note a more rapid ramping up (more new Venues) in Petchburi Road due to the R&R program associated with the conflict in Viet Nam and Southeast Asia.
New on Patpong 1 Road was the Gas Light. As with the other Venues on Patpong from that era, it had live entertainment. It was one of the longest running of the original Patpong bars - closing finally in May of 1993. September 1966
La Stella Turkish Bath opened newly on (New) Petchburi Road (informally, the Golden Mile) - one of the growing number of massage parlors in that new Night Entertainment Area. September1966
TheSani Chateau continued to bring in top foreign talent during this period. We assume it must have been quite costly to fly in Frank Sinatra Jr. and his entourage of fourteen to perform for only a single evening..
Following up from September's visit by the Frank Sinatra Jr. Show, the Sani Chateau scheduled in the Johnny Mathis Show for October. September 1966
InSeptember 1966 the Bangkok World newspaper floated a "trial balloon"16-page weekly Entertainment Supplement called Weekender (a half-page out-take above). The headline feature was Bernard Trink's weekly (more or less) Nite Owl column, and featured a number of other articles by him. It was, however, a 'one-off' and didn't take off as envisioned. It was, however a harbinger of things to come in subsequent years, when his Nite Owl pages would reign supreme as Bangkok's 'Nitery News of the Week'. September 1966
From the above advertisement, the relatively new S. Pattaya Massage & Turkish Bath on Petchburi's Golden Mile was promoting a lot of bathtub relaxation / entertainment. From what little we were able to research, there wasn't any relationship with a similar venue in Pattaya.
We came across a full newspaper page writeup of the then-brand-new Stardust Bar & Restaurant's opening night (a portion of which found above). They were located in the Rajprasong Shopping Center (approximately where today's Big C is located on Rachdamri Road). Although that area around Rachdamri had a few Nitespots in the 60's-80's, the area never really took off as a Night Entertainment Area.
When we came across this clipping, we were more than surprised. In September of '66, Max's of Patpong 1 renown had opened a second Max's next to Pan Am on Surawong Road called Another Max's. ...Just when we thought we knew better....
As was the custom in Bangkok, when a new business opened, one could find (sometimes several pages of) adverts placed in the newspapers by other companies congratulating them on their new venture. The above is such a case, where Universal Carpet congratulated the Honey Night Club on their opening night. (We chose this photo as it showed the interior in some detail.) The Honey was located next door to the Manhora Hotel on Surawong Road, and opened to much fanfare, to include Bernard Trink heaping praises on the Honey in his Nite Owl nightlife column.
Lockwood Motors' annual charity graffiti contest (in Marshall, Lyon County, Minnesota) was held at, and on the walls of the former C&N Game Room Outlet in Marshall. The event - sponsored by local Non-Profits - turned out to be a successful community get-together."
Lee-Mar Ranch Equine Center won first place (see photo, above). They took home the first-place prize of $5,000. The second place prize was $2,500, and third was $1,500. There was a total of 23 entries.
While these examples of wall art would qualify as 'urban art' or 'murals' they are not true Graffiti, as they were sponsored and put up on authorized spaces. (True graffiti is defined as the "unauthorized markings on others' property".)
Bangkok Eyes is an historically based news outlet, and as such, all graphic excerpts herein are considered, under current legal precedents and prevailing interpretations, 'Fair Use' under Copyright Law. Copyright of any original photographs or artwork resides exclusively with the creators.
Bangkok Eyes is an historically based news outlet, and as such, all graphic excerpts herein are considered, under current legal precedents and
prevailing interpretations, 'Fair Use' under Copyright Law. Copyright of any original artwork resides exclusively with the creators.
Bangkok's original site !
The MIDNITE HOUR Graffiti Page is prepared by Staff Contributor "Boge" Hartman.
(Boge's photo, above, is not a graffitiper-se, although there are those who have insinuated....