Bottoms Up: Survey of Washington Square Bars

Popular long before Khaosan Road, Washington Square has been serving suds for the military, dropouts, drop-ins, tourists and locals for several decades. Its bars run the spectrum so KohSpot decided to take our readers for a quick tour. This is going to be Nasty.

Let’s start with the pick of the litter, right at the entry, your first left on Sukhumvit Soi 22: Denny’s Corner aka Cheaper Charlies, the first bar on the left. A pleasant mix of tourists and locals, they seem to love it because of the cheap beers and lack of bargirls bothering you. Beers are only 65 baht, and this place is a great starter bar, both because of the great location, just across from Sukhumvit Soi 31, and of course the beer is cheaper than longtime standout Cheap Charlie’s. This starter bar often morphs into an all-night hangout if you’re not careful.

Right across the entryway is Sidewalk Café, pretty much the same as Denny’s but a little smaller. Same drink prices, don’t know why it’s not as popular, but it does all right.

It should be mentioned that the stern parking attendant at the entrance to the square charges 10 baht to make a u-turn, the only robber baron we’ve seen in Bangkok make such a bold request. We paid.

The next run of beer bars are really only popular with old dudes from the glory days of Washington Square: Easy pub, Hare and the Hound, Cheers pub and Happy pub. Let’s be honest, KohSpot don’t really need to review a bar called Taffy’s Hairy Pie Club. We all know why you’re going there.   It’s also a little known fact that several high profile murders happened at Taffy’s Hairy Pie Club during the 1970s.  Well, we are assuming those events took place based on the stained décor. There is really no way of knowing.

At the end of this strip is Bourbon Street, which we’ve already reviewed and are quite fond of their buffets. Next one up is a Thanksgiving feast that’s 899 baht++. Keep in mind it moves to Ekkamai around the new year.

Hanging a left just before Bourbon Street offers the aforementioned Happy pub, and right next to it is an unnamed karaoke bar, probably the cheapest in all of Bangkok, that still bangs out horrible-sounding sing-alongs at 5 am most mornings. KohSpot went to great lengths to dig up that bit of reportage.

Continuing on that left turn, back toward Sukhumvit Road, follow the alley to the right is Sportsman bar, which has quickly replaced Gulliver’s on Sukhumvit Soi 5 as THE PLACE to watch a big footy match. Instead of several small screens, it has 4 big screens (plus a few small ones) scattered inside and out to view the action. Happy hour prices (bottles 75B, pints 85-95B) from noon to 7pm daily help to keep you rooted, and there’s plenty of pool tables and darts. They even give you free mixers if you buy a bottle. Not bad for a venue that use to house the ladyboy cabaret Mango.

Nestling Sukhumvit Road is The Dubliner, which will get its own review later on, but just know that it accomplishes everything Durty Nelly’s fails so spectacularly at (decent food, good brews, pleasant atmosphere, cute waitresses, occasionally live Irish music), though with premium prices. And like most Irish pubs outside of Ireland, it’s not owned by the Irish (the Frogs, of course).

Continuing on past The Sportsman brings us to the old gray lady, Silver Dollar, both literally and figuratively. Some of the help are young, but many remember the mostly old-timers that treat this place as a second home. Draft beers are only 55 baht here during the 4-7pm happy hour, and you can hunker down for some Tex-Mex. But you can actually meet a mix of interesting people at Silver Dollar, even some high-rollers like KohSpot once in a while.

Whenever exploring a city its important to remained balanced, open minded and most of all adventurous.  We thoroughly enjoyed our unchararisic tour of Washington Square and hope that you go on your own adventure soon.

Washington Square
Location: Washington Square, with access directly from Sukhumvit Road via the alley next to The Dubliner, or at the first left down Sukhumvit Soi 22.
Mass transit: BTS Phrom Phong or MRT Asok
Hours: Most of the beer bars are open at all hours daily, even in the morning, and Bourbon Street opens early too. The pubs open from lunchtime to 2 am daily.
Phone: Check the websites, but these place all have very liberal opening hours
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