Trying to explain what he loved about jazz was difficult for Eddie, the marketing executive at VIE Bar, the hotel bar connected to the VIE Hotel right off BTS Ratchathewi in Bangkok:
“Um, I don’t know. It just sounds good. Everyone knows how to play their instrument, and I think jazz is coming back into popularity again with young people.”
While not the most poetic answer, Eddie is certainly right about jazz’s rising popularity in Bangkok. To KohSpot’s everlasting glee it seems that every hotel worth its salt has at least one bar dedicated to jazz. And while Herbie Hancock was too high to realize that his one-off gig at Paragon was sold out, party promoters sure did and have been coupling jazz with all sorts of themed parties around the city of Bangkok en masse.
VIE is no exception.
VIE Bar is part of a stand-alone building in front of the main hotel known for its swimming pool where one end is visible plexiglass and can be viewed from the BTS. Recently, Eddie has organized Wine Society Parties at VIE Bar on the third Friday of every month in which young bloods lapping up good jazz tunes, finger food and selected wines rub shoulders for only a couple hundred baht rub with a peppered amount of old jazzbos wearing berets and smoking Gauloises.
The concept of the parties: A networking opportunity for wine lovers so patrons can mingle amidst their imbibing. Though the importer rotates regularly, the Hong Kong-based Cornerstone brought five tasty choices, and buying a box of six worked out to about 550 baht per bottle.
VIE Bar goes with a black and red color scheme in a long rectangular room with lots of sofas and pillows. There is a smoking room upstairs and jazz plays from 8:30pm to midnight Monday to Saturday nights. VIE 39 is an amalgam of the bar, where the jazz rumbles out, and the upstairs open-air pool with fully-stocked bar. Apparently it’s the owner’s lucky number, and the body count of dead whores you’ll find hidden behind Chuwit’s Swiss chalet.
While VIE Bar endeavors to gig big names like Koh Mr. Saxman (coolest sax name ever) as regularly as possible, the dirty little secret of these hotel venues is that the amateur but highly skilled university ensembles they use to fill in the empty slots are often every bit as good as the seasoned professionals.
If you dig jazz and love wine, VIE Bar is a worthy addition to Bangkok’s growing scene.
Location: VIE Hotel, 117/39-40 Phaya Thai Road, right next to BTS Ratchathewi on the east side.
Mass transit: BTS Ratchathewi, maybe 30 seconds walk.
Hours: 5 pm-1 am Monday to Saturday