Music and Social Drinking in Bangkok

Discussion in 'Thailand' started by Federicoita, Aug 5, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. Federicoita

    Federicoita Silver Member

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    I thought it may be helpful to create a thread where we can post and share information regarding venues which offer decent music and where both genders are welcome as patrons. Bangkok has a number of these places but blink and you may miss them.

    Giorgio Federico

    So far in this thread, listed in order of appeareance but not necessarily of importance:
    Titanium, CheckInn99, Saxophone Pub, Adhere the 13th Blues Bar, QBar, The bar at Long Table, Bangkok Beat, CheckInn99 revisited, Saxophone revisited.



    ** To view the photos in full size, register as a member, it is free, and log in.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2014
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  2. Federicoita

    Federicoita Silver Member

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    Ice cold? Must be Titanium! (Last visited July 2012)
    Titanium Bar 2/30 Sukhumvit Soi 22
    Tel number: 2258 3758
    Website: www.titaniumbangkok.com

    On arrival you are likely to be welcomed by waiting staff consisting entirely of women. They are attired in simple mono-colour tight fitting tunics over long pantaloons reminding me those simple bit aesthetically pleasing Vietnamese national costumes. The only difference is that the tunic is not silk and it is sleeveless. These members of staff are quite cheerful and yet non invasive. However, make no mistake this is neither a go-go bar nor a beer bar. It is marketed as a very cool bar, possibly one of the coolest given that they have an ice-bar on the mezzanine where Vodka is the order of the day and the door is hermetically sealed to keep the temperature well below zero. Here is a photo of the Ice Bar upstairs and no, it is not my camera which is steaming, it is subzero temperature.

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    I cannot really tell how popular this little refrigerated corner is in Titanium as it was empty when I went upstairs. Next to it is a little balcony from which a birds eye view of the corner stage is available.

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    On the night I visited a small band was performing and consisted of a male and female singer, and four musicians, one playing a bass, one an electric guitar, one on the keyboard and a drummer. This was disappointing because I was hoping to listen to “Unicorn” an all female band which allegedly rocks and whose members never miss a note. The bar itself has about four to five barmen operating behind a reasonably long counter.

    IMG_9007.JPG
    A birds eye view of the band from the Mezzanine.

    What makes Titanium different from the other bars? I would say the friendliness of its staff and the mix of clientele including men and women both Thais and Westerners.

    IMG_9002.JPG

    You will not be pressed to buy anyone a drink here and you are quite welcome to perch yourself at the counter or at one at the tall tables. The room resembles an angled L shape. Cocktails are around 300 baht and soft drinks including my usual soda manao (soda and lime) 100 baht. Therefore, it is neither cheap nor steep.

    IMG_9003.JPG

    "Alcohol may be man's worst enemy but the bible says love your enemy!" Frank Sinatra

    Is Titanium good value for money? I guess this will depend on your mood as the staff are certainly welcoming and reasonably cheerful. Also, the restrooms were clean, always a good sign, and they had flowers too!!

    IMG_9005.JPG

    Allegedly, when Unicorn are playing, the atmosphere has a different buzz. Worth visiting for a night cup but unless the music is good you may not wish to stay for a repeated order and by this time, my glass was empty.

    IMG_9001.JPG

    Will I come back?
    If I am in the area after dinner and Unicorn are playing, why not?
    Giorgio Federico
    July 2012
     

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  3. Federicoita

    Federicoita Silver Member

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    Check Inn 99 (Last visited July 2012)
    97 / 1 Sukhumvit Road | between Soi 5 & 7 - opposite Landmark Hotel, Bangkok 10110
    (Formerly Check Inn Garden)

    I do enjoy listening to live music but this is one place which I had always avoided during my previous visits on the mistaken belief that the lightly dressed ladies by its narrow entrance holding happy hour cards and its location between sois 5 and 7 (diagonally across from the Landmark hotel) in Sukhumvit (BTS Nana exit 1) nestled among rows of street vendors may not lead to something of interest.

    This narrow minded approach of mine along with some cautious prudishness meant that this would be a late but welcome discovery for me and one which I only found out through word of mouth. I will admit that the long narrow corridor, the partially semi dark interior and the dimly lit corner bar at the end of the corridor initially may cause some raised brows initially. However, all this is very short lived once you take a seat because your attention will inevitably be drawn towards the small stage where three Filipino ladies, all dressed with matching outfits, accompanied by one man at the keyboard, will offer a reasonably choreographed act with excellent concordant and popular tunes which will leave you in no doubt;

    CI003.jpg

    These ladies can sing and they are seasoned professionally entertainers and they want you to have fun. Over and over they will acknowledge people coming in, greet regulars by their names, take requests, invite members of the public to join them on stage for a rendition and they are also both funny and natural with their spontaneous quips, for example “Welcome Niels from the land of tall people, Sweden”.

    This is hardworking Filipino people at their best. They aim to please and they do it with such genuinely sincerity which convinces me to visit this joint whenever I am in Bangkok. In addition to drinks, snacks are available as well as standard meals and do not be surprised to see the chefs preparing their concoctions while moving to the beat because the music and the act are that good that it is almost impossible to remain still.

    CI002.jpg

    The group is called “Music from the heart” and I found a couple of YouTube early video clips too. The band members names are Kiko, Cherry, Grace and Dona. They perform there every night of the week Monday to Saturday from 20.30 to 01.30 hours with only one night off (usually the last Sunday of each month). They have boundless energy, they offer a unique vibe and on each occasion I leave with a big smile on my face and humming one of the songs while walking back to my hotel nearby. Once you have “checked inn” you may not want to “check out” that quickly.

    CI 001.jpg nota bene: apologies if these photos are not that clear, the flash was clearly asleep while on duty!!

    A small Heineken will be 99 baht and they have a good range of bottled beers, as well as soft drinks and hot coffee and tea in the range of 100 to 165 baht. As long as “Music from the heart” continues to perform here, Check Inn 99 is definitely on my radar.

    Giorgio Federico
     
  4. Federicoita

    Federicoita Silver Member

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    Saxophone Pub (Last visited July 2012)
    3/8 Phayathai Road Victory Monument, Bangkok
    E-mail: saxophonepubbkk@hotmail.com
    Tel: (+66) 022465472

    website http://www.saxophonepub.com/

    Open every day from 18.00 to 02.00 hours

    It is early evening and Bangkok in July is as hot and sultry as ever. I am with a few friends and we are all music lovers. We walk down the steps of the BTS at Victory Monument and head towards the square and just before we enter it, we turn right and Phaya Thai Road begins right there and the venue we are after is on the right hand side and you cannot miss it. This is my first time, others have been before and they swear blind as to the quality.

    A wooden door opens and a member of staff asks “upstairs or downstairs?” We head upwards and no sooner I have crossed the threshold that the sound hits me with such force that I have to stand still for a few moments and marvel at that unique sensation that only a 12 plus piece band including fully blown trumpets and saxophones along with guitarists and a drummer can offer. My friends invite me to follow, we go upstairs and now the sound is climbing upward with us and following us to the table.We sit down and have an excellent overview of the band.

    2012-02-23 22.59.04.jpg

    Drinks are ordered, food is available and there is a pool table too. The place is allegedly 25 years old and rumour has it that 1987 was the last time the room was tidied up but personally this has no relevance. I am mesmerised by the live band and I sit speechless soaking the atmosphere.

    2012-02-23 23.00.22.jpg

    This evening they are all experienced musicians, well honed artisans of their trade which they display with flair. Their performance is seamless, their bond long established, their fun and enjoyment is electric, it grabs you and it envelopes your senses. It owns you for a few moments and intoxicates your brain with no need for any liquor. Tonight is one band and one style, another evening it will be the turn for someone else. Welcome to music as it should be, natural, improvised, smoothly executed. Welcome to the Saxophone Pub.

    Giorgio Federico
     
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  5. Federicoita

    Federicoita Silver Member

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    Adhere the 13th blues bar, Oh Mamma, it’s the blues!
    (Last visited July 2012)
    13 Samsen Rd., Banglumpoo
    18.00 hours until midnight
    T: (08) 9769 4613

    Let’s get our co-ordinates right; You need to get to 13 Samsen Rd., Banglumpoo - opposite Samsen Soi 2. If you are coming from Khao San Road is only a short walk but, for example, from Siam Square is a 20 minutes drive. Just tell the taxi driver: Banglumpoo Samsen soi song. However, do not enter Soi 2 because it is on the opposite side of the road. You will see a rather small sign outside reading “Adhere the 13th” preceded by a crown and below it, in azure “Blues” and in white “Bar”.

    Now, the place is tiny, blink and you miss it. If you are lucky, you will be able to get a table and it is likely that you may be sharing.

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    The interiors is narrow, memorabilia is old style, album covers, old road signs, pictures, a bar counter, pub style in one corner of the room.

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    The clientele is varied and the commonality is that they all love music. Next to the bar counter are a bass player, a guest singer, a drummer and Mr Pong, guitarist and owner.

    IMG_9215.JPG

    I have been in some interesting places in my time and some of the best have been in Bangkok. Saxophone was top of my list on a recent visit but from tonight it has gained competition.

    Immediately, it hits me that this is a friendly bar and the expectation is that you enjoy music because this is what they do best here. There is a vibe as soon as I cross the business threshold.

    IMG_9217.JPG

    Spaces for hats and coats are at a premium

    It is as if someone has gone in and released a full canister of “Happiness”. When I say happy I mean happy-deep. Did I remember to say “Happy”?

    Mr Pong goes for a solo just as I sit down and I am mesmerised.

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    Have I just walked in the best Blues Bar in the world? I ask myself. At least that is how it feels like to me. Last time I was taken in a similar way was when listening to Buena Vista Social Club.

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    The musicians will pop in and often do an impromptu little gig. Here is a different drummer on the same night.

    This is one bar where you do not come for the chatting. Here the sounds of BB King, Duke Ellington, Nina Simone, Billie Holliday, Muddy Waters are alive on a daily basis and the music plays from 18.00 hours until midnight.

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    Quiet please while play is in progress

    Once you hear the blues played here, you will get hooked up, guaranteed and you will make it a must visit destination every time you find yourself in Bangkok.

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    Tip: From about 21.30 hrs there is a resident band playing here and the later it gets, the busier it becomes. Therefore, try to reach this venue a little earlier so that you can get a seat. Drinks are available and there is a weekend grill but frankly I am too busy with the music tonight.

    IMG_9228.JPG
    Is that you looking at me looking at you...or the other way round?

    Adhere is definitely ad hoc with me.

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    Mamma get me one of these...pleeeaaaseeee!!


    Final word on “happiness”, as with unhappiness, it often is a pro-active choice. Any views?
    Giorgio Federico
     

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  6. Federicoita

    Federicoita Silver Member

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    Give me a cue...Q Bar (Last visited February 2012)

    34 Sukhumvit Soi 11 Bangkok
    02-252 3274
    http://www.qbarbangkok.com


    If you enter Soi 11 from the Sukhumvit side, it will be a long walk and of course you will have to walk past its great competitor, the Bed Supper Club. It has been well over a decade now since the Q Bar has been added to the iconic venues of Bangkok nightlife and it has hold its position consistently during that period of time.
    Well known leading DJs will perform here and there are plenty of consoles for them to practice their trade. There is the ground floor DJ, an upstairs lounge DJ and even a different music playing in the outdoor terrace. On the night I visited, the entry fee was 700 baht, which included two drinks.

    Qbar sign.jpg

    We walked through an anteroom with its own bar to the right. Bearing to the left, a thick door opened to a very noisy ground floor which was partially empty when we arrived, so we headed upstairs through the internal spiral staircase. The open terrace was a good feature and I am told they have retractable awnings in case of rain. Wherever, one turns, the sight of the Grey Goose Vodka and its sponsored lounge cannot be avoided.

    qbar entrance.jpg

    The upstairs lounge is air conditioned and the seating comfortable. This bar targets higher end society members and of course well to do foreigners but everyone is welcome as long as they have money to spend. The music varies and can include electro, hip hop, rock, punk disco and even rap. As with most clubs in Bangkok, management close an eye to smokers and these will include cigars and the hookah or water pipe.
    We stayed upstairs for the full duration of our stay. It was pleasant and, fortunately not too many people smoked.

    We left around one o’clock in the morning by which time the downstairs area was heaving and the dancing was very tight with so many people filling the available room and they all seemed very energetically spurred by a dynamic rapper. The volume was deafening or maybe I am just getting a little old for discotheques. Or, possibly more to the point, I have no inclination to shake my body on the dance floor with the same intensity of a mouse on drugs undergoing a laboratory test. Let me tell you that some of the dancers’ body shakes very so intense that not even my camera on continuous shooting could frame one still.

    QBar4 dancer.jpg

    "In wine there is wisdom, in beer there is freedom, in water there is bacteria" Benjamin Franklin

    That crowd on the ground floor must have had physical qualities I no longer possess and I can only admire their energy but for a little while only until I develop an urge to exit.

    Expensive it is, especially for Bangkok, the high decibel count may be damaging your ears downstairs but one can always repair to the upstairs lounge or the ante room if needed. Overall, a stylish and popular discotheque bar made cosy by decent seating areas and separated lounges where you will want to be to wind down or entertain your companion. In light of that, the Q Bar was not bad at all.

    Would I go back? Maybe when I am in my early 20s again or if entertaining some first timers in Bangkok. As they say, each to their own.

    Giorgio Federico
     
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  7. joanek
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    joanek Silver Member

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    Hmm.. now that you mention it....
    Thanks so much for these reviews.
     
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  8. Federicoita

    Federicoita Silver Member

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    Long Table, the bar area
    48 Column Building, Sukhumvit Soi 16
    Bangkok
    t. 2302 2557-9

    This is essentially a dining venue but it is possible to come here for a pre or after dinner drink and they have a resident DJ in situ who will play music. If you are on foot proceed to the “Column” tall building, visible from Asoke, and once inside its smart atrium, you will need to use the lift to access the 25th floor. Once you enter you will be plunged into semi darkness, which is all part of the trendy setting.

    IMG_8309.JPG
    Is anybody there??

    A brief visit to the restrooms will reveal further spots of semi darkness, these chiaroscuro effects being a regular theme at this location with a communal fountain island in the middle of the restrooms where to wash ones’ hands and efficiently attended by a member of staff dispensing towels. This, I would argue, is more of a place where you go to see and be seen as the environment and its layout are naturally predisposed towards people watching.

    IMG_8308.JPG

    From reception, you may notice the large room separating into two stylish sections. To the left of the small reception counter which is also annexed to the resident DJ’s operating console, you will notice the long bar, which is creatively split between an indoor and an outdoor section.

    IMG_8313.JPG

    On the other side is the famous long table, all 25 metres of it in solid wood. The interior designers have a few extra surprises to capture yours senses including an unencumbered angled view over Sukhumvit and the luminous Terminal 21 building.

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    My own personal view.
    Long Table is a place where I would take a first time visitor in Bangkok as the first impression is a positive one. I am not totally disingenuous but it would seem to me that this venue is popular with a class of people for whom social status is above everything else and it comes at a price. However, they have a happy hour and it is a worthwhile place to visit either for a pre dinner or after dinner drink whether you are with friends or on a date.

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    Long Table, both short and long drinks served here and mine is a Soda Manao...I have eaten the lime!!

    Giorgio Federico
     
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  9. LIH Prem
    Original Member

    LIH Prem Gold Member

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    Great posts ... keep em coming! (the food ones too!)


    Thanks!
     
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  10. marcwint55

    marcwint55 Gold Member

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    great reviews. My brother lives in Bangkok and he sent me to a club called isaan powen bang. I don't remeber where it was, but the music was from the isaan region and the performances were great. the drinks were quite reasonable and my son enjoyed the many beautiful young thai women who were there. I being married did not notice any of them of course.
     
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  11. Federicoita

    Federicoita Silver Member

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    Bangkok Beat
    Soi 7/1 Sukhumvit Bangkok

    Here is a bar which according to several people has outstanding bands at the weekend, six at the latest count, while juxtaposed to the fact that on any given Monday you may be the DJ or at least that is what they did for a period of time when they run a competition where you would be judged by the audience and if they liked what you played you simply stayed.

    BKK beat bigger.jpg

    “I drink to make other people more interesting.” Ernest Hemingway

    At this venue, other than having a drink, you are likely to consider the following options;

    Option one: Listen to the music and mind your own business.

    Option two: Listen to the music and dance as little or as much as you want. However, mind the dance area as you can hardly lay a napkin on top of it.

    Option three: meet someone.

    Bangkok Beat is a crowd puller, which aims to please. Therefore, enter, buy yourself a drink, enjoy the music and be sociable and easygoing because the other patrons there will be...for sure.

    Bkk beat hostesses.jpg

    “I like to have a martini, two at the very most. After three I'm under the table, after four I'm under my host.” Dorothy Parker

    For the “Socially” minded gentlemen who wish to interact with the local lasses, Bangkok Beat beats most of the other bars hands down.

    Giorgio Federico

    nota bene: On this occasion the photos are not mine and have been reproduced with permission for non commercial purposes
     
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  12. kwai
    Original Member

    kwai Gold Member

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    This is my Cheers. If I'm in Bangkok I'm more than likely to be here. Pong is a great guitarist and there's often guests sitting in. Your pictures show many people I'm quite friendly with... but you were there on an empty night. And I'd say it was at least 8 months ago because the bassist, Nui, is no longer playing with them. ;) (Unless you caught them more recently on a night where he was sitting in... which is rare.)

    The clientele is predominantly a mix of expats and local Thais with the small remainder filled in by tourists brave enough to make their way north over Klong Banglampoo. You see the same faces over and over again.

    Accurately described as "across from Samsen Soi 2", you'll notice the place by the multitude of people outside, a few doors north of the Klong. The band in the pic plays Thursday-Sunday. Monday - Wednesday different styles are on show.

    Drinks are not cheap for the area with a small beer going for 80-100 Baht, cocktails 120-160 Baht. However for music it's all worth it. There is also some good food nearby that serves until the very wee hours of the morn.
     
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  13. Federicoita

    Federicoita Silver Member

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    Kwai,

    It seems that apart from the fact that you have long "horns" and I have a "hidden tail" there may be some affinity in some of the music we like. For the record, the photos were taken during my stay at Centre Point Silom and around the Jazz Festival at Asiatique. Therefore, it would have been either the 30 June 2012 or a few days after that.

    Anyway, you know what I look like, thus, if you ever see me there, say hello and get me a drink. I have to say get "me" a drink because if I were to say on line that I will offer "you" a drink, it will be like in the Spartacus movie with a long queue of people coming over pretending to be you and saying "I am Kwai".

    Best
    Giorgio Federico
     
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  14. Federicoita

    Federicoita Silver Member

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    Checkinn99 revisited
    An original Bangkok Cabaret bar
    Sukhumvit Rd between Soi 5 & 7 Bangkok
    Open nightly Cabaret show from 8.30pm - 1.30am.
    Home-style restaurant: Steakhouse, European and Thai menu.

    One of the things I miss most when I am away from Bangkok is the sanuk atmosphere so readily available and it seems more pronounced when there is live music. Things hardly get better when one happens to attend a themed night.

    Checkinn99 Blues Brother 121111 v3.jpg

    I listened to the Bangkok Blues Brothers not too long ago and I came across a little poster that made me wish I was there, Sunday 11 November 2012 to be precise.

    IMG_8900.jpg

    CheckInn99 has been undergoing a real transformation under a friendly Aussie called Chris. It is becoming a venue of choice for many groups so much so that the Thai Visa had their tenth anniversary there recently.

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    As if that is not enough to tempt you in, they have also added Jazz on Sunday afternoons and several musicians now go along to jam together.

    IMG_9297.jpg

    If you want to get a preview, have a look at CHECKINN99 You Tube Channel by searching under LastnightinBangkok The music at this venue, which also boasts the regular presence from the ever popular Filipino trio Music of the Heart is going to wake and shake you feeling energised.

    IMG_8530.jpg

    Being Roman Catholic I am completely in favour of "Sisters" joining the congregation at the bar!

    Blues Bros 19.jpg

    When the Boys in Brown turn up at your door step a tip may be required. However, these two friendly fellows will give you beer and some change too.

    Giorgio Federico
     
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  15. Federicoita

    Federicoita Silver Member

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    CheckInn 99 does it again
    This time is Jazz
    and it is every Sunday afternoon right in the heart of lower Sukhumvit!!

    Jazz on Sukhumvit poster v3 small.jpg

    Giorgio Federico
     
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  16. Federicoita

    Federicoita Silver Member

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    and if you cannot wait for Sunday
    how about popping down this Saturday?
    I know what I will be doing this weekend.

    image003.jpg

    !

    Giorgio Federico
     
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  17. Federicoita

    Federicoita Silver Member

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    Check Inn 99
    Checkinn aussie 3.jpg
    I thought of dressing up like a kangaroo but when I saw my image in the mirror I looked more like a Koala

    If you are in Bangkok at any time, there is always something you should not miss. November has been fantastic with first the Royal Barge Procession, then what is called the “Rock Star President” that is, Barack Obama, visiting for the first time and dominating local news and next the lovely and endearing Loy Krathong one of the most picturesque festivals in Bangkok when people gather around lakes, rivers and canals to pay respects to the goddess of water by releasing beautiful lotus shaped rafts, decorated with candles, incense and flowers onto the water tomorrow evening.

    Checkinn aussie 4.jpg
    CheckInn99, unlike marmite everybody loves it.

    Other than Santa delivering presents himself how can December match up to the current and departing month?

    Checkinn aussie 8.jpg

    Well, that is what most people thought but right on the first day of December, which, quite fittingly, happens to fall on a Saturday, for those who love music there are Donna, Cherry and Grace, which with Kiko form the ever popular Music of the Heart.
    Checkinn aussie 7.jpg
    Before you ask, the lass above is not Donna and is not Cherry and not even Grace...
    all three of them are much better looking, although I like the dress in the poster!!

    Checkinn99 will hold an Australian classics & rock tribute concert featuring some of the best music from Down Under and it is not just our Aussie friends who will be warmly greeted, everyone is welcome but get there early and if you spot me there too, the first drink will be on me!
    Checkinn aussie 9.jpg

    Meanwhile, I’ll put another shrimp on the barbie.

    Giorgio Federico
     
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  18. Kalboz
    Original Member

    Kalboz Gold Member

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    Went there in the old days (circa 2005) and this place was so crowded, loud, and crazy that I never went back there again as you cannot have a conversation ...
    [​IMG]
    In the old days, Q-bar did not have a fence or a gate​
    [​IMG]
    Q-Bar under the trees - from above: from aloft Sukhumvit 11​
    [​IMG]
    At night: plenty of taxi traffic​
     
  19. Federicoita

    Federicoita Silver Member

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    Saxophone Revisited (December 2012)

    IMG_3126.JPG


    IMG_3128.JPG

    Let me warn you, if you like your music so loud to rupture your ear drums, this may not be the place for you and if you only feel comfortable with the same old tired tunes (unless they are sang splendidly from singers like Music of the Heart) this may not be the place for you either.

    IMG_3129.JPG

    On the other hand, if you are looking for a great place where the music is played with passion and a venue where musicians do not necessarily play for money but because they love their trade, then you need to go no further then Victory Monument (BTS Sky train exit 4).

    IMG_3130.JPG

    Walk the few steps up to 3/8 Phayathai Road and enter one of the top live jazz venue. No cover charge applies.

    IMG_3132.JPG

    Probably one of the best Jazz and Blues venues in Thailand since 1987 and offering an excellent blend of Western and Eastern music instruments.

    IMG_3146.JPG

    This is a place famous not only for its beer but also for its endless supply of high quality live bands.

    There is sax in the air tonight.

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    Here have played famous artists in Thailand such Koh Mr Saxman, T-Bone Band, Neung Jakkawal Bang, The Emergency, JRP Little Band and many more.

    IMG_3137.JPG

    In addition to the great music they also have god food such as roasted pork knuckle, steamed shrimp in coconut, T-bone steak, sea Bass with sour sauce and grilled pork with lime.

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    Beers and cocktails at the ready including Mai Tai and it is all available from 18.00 to 01.30 hrs daily. Please don't ask me what the Kryptonite drink was...I must have had too many.

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    When the sax is so good, it puts you in the mood for more.

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    If Saxophone made beer, it would probably be the best beer in the world.

    Happy listening


    Giorgio Federico
     

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    Last edited: Mar 14, 2014
    Kalboz likes this.
  20. Kalboz
    Original Member

    Kalboz Gold Member

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    Went to Saxophone Pub & Restaurant with my dear friend yosithezet, Khun Minnie, and Khun Lala (my 2 Thai lady friends) three years ago (February 2009 to be exact) and it is highly recommended. In addition to the great company, the cool live jazz music, the delicious Thai food, and the rustic Scotch whiskey (JW Black label on the rocks) made that evening an enjoyable one. I take Giorgio's word on it that this remains a great venue ... thank you for bringing back good memories! :)
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