Bar 23, Indie Rockers Welcome

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When Rain Dogs closed following owner Torgier Norling’s tragic death after being hit by a bus, many wondered where Bangkok’s artists, photographers, journalists and alternatives would congregate. Enter Bar 23.

The first thing you need to know is that Bar 23 is on Sukhumvit Soi 16, about 500meters from the front of the soi. It used to be on Sukhumvit 23 but when they moved, Bar 23 decided they had put too much time in marketing the name so just stuck with it.

Bar 23 has a lot to keep patrons entertained such as odd Japanese decorations, including pint-size anime action figure mounted on the wall. Its a shock this bar isn’t located on Thong Lor.  The crowd at Bar 23 definitely comes in waves without much rhyme or reason. In the turn of a moment Bar 23 can be chill and barren then vibrant and filled with wasted English teachers. Confound it.

We do credit Bar 23′s diverse crowd. On a recent trip, we struck conversation with a chef, an international NGO staff that didn’t know what the UN was, a journalist, a wasted hairstylist that may have been a transvestite, a masseuse and a group of two English lads that looked as if they were contemplating suicide for an hour.

Most beers are 100 baht a bottle, including Beer Lao. Cocktails and Soju can get you started a bit faster but the prices continue up to 200 baht for these pleasantries. KohSpot is particularly fond of their Sambuca neat with toasted coffee beans.

Usually every second Wednesday a band plays, sometimes even splinter groups from well-known bands that just want jam time. The bar looks to be getting this program running again after a layoff which was brought on by frequent noise complaints to the police. Along those same lines, closing time is said to be 1:30 or 2 am, but the bar has an annoying habit of turning all the lights on at about 1am. (In true Thai style, the staff never ask patrons to leave, so many end up staying until 2:30 or so).

Co-owner Mongkol Sanla (Go) is also an artist and puts on exhibitions from time to time, so he’s a good person to know if you want an ‘in’ to the Bangkok art scene, or just an indie friend to help you get that ‘edge’ you’ve been working on. Bar 23 is definitely a great place to enjoy an evening; we wish Bangkok had more spots like this.

Bar 23
Location: about 500 meters down Sukhumvit Soi 16 on the right-hand side as you walk from Asoke (Soi 16 actually connects to Asoke and not Sukhumvit)
Mass transit: 10-minute walk from BTS Asoke/MRT Sukhumvit
Phone: the bar has no phone, but Go’s mobile is 080-264-4471 if you have a question.
Hours: 7 or 8 pm to 1 or 2 am. Closed Sundays and Mondays.

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