Brown Sugar – Jazz Deserves Better

It’s either ballsy or incredibly stupid to run the following quotation in your laminated menu as though it’s factual: “Brown Sugar still runs off the back of a 1997 claim that this was one of the best bars in the world, and consequently, doesn’t see the need to change a thing. The service is blunt, the drinks overpriced, and the food is rather average. But the jazz bands are pretty tight, and on weekends, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a seat.” What a bunch of nut jobs.That review comes from Fah Thai, the Bangkok Airways magazine, and it is referring to Brown Sugar, the jazz bar opposite Lumpini Park near Lang Suan that’s been around since 1985. The problem is pretty much everything about the assessment is true except for the crowded weekend nights. Signal the chirping crickets.Oh sure, jazz lovers and tourists can be cajoled into giving anywhere a try, and one-night-only acts still have a decent turnout. But Brown Sugar really has nothing going for it except the jazz, and you don’t know when you’re going to get a hot band or one that makes you want to jump into the chao praya with moon boots on. With Saxophone’s jazz, Brick Bar’s ska and several others such as Viva Aviv and Bar Run Dee aiming for a Latin vibe, there’s too many other venues to choose from that offer a more complete package.

The bar is filled with jazz memorabilia and pictures of Louis Armstrong, in case you didn’t know it was a jazz bar. And the seating is divided into cute partitions that allow for more privacy and conversation, but also mean only about two to three tables can actually look at the band, which is odd and restricts the possibility of intermingling. Geek’d.

You’ll pay 180 baht for the privilege of a glass of Heineken or Singha, while average wine is 200 baht a glass. Though KohSpot should know better by this point, we ordered a caipirinha (270 baht), one of their recommended drinks, which KohSpot can only assume was made by six year old baby who was high on peyote. It was by far the worst version of the Brazilian national drink that we have tasted in a long and illustrious drinking career—a lime squirt with a dash of barbaric liquor. Yuck.The yam plaa dook foo (crispy catfish salad) for 200 baht was pretty tasty while the nam jim was a little too spicy and was lacking in the  papaya department. The yam ma kuea yao (grilled eggplant salad) for 180 baht had an undercoating that looked and tasted like sawdust. Actually, now that we think about it we may have inadvertently consumed sawdust while dining at Brown Sugar.KohSpot recommends researching a band you like, eating and drinking before you arrive, and killing time between sets watching the prozzies in front of Lumpini get the hustle on.

Brown Sugar
Location: 231/20 Sarasin Road, across the street from Lumpini Park and near Rajadamri Road.
BTS: Rajadamri
Phone: 02-250-1826
Hours: 6 pm-1:30 am

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