There are some things in life that people either run hot or cold on: durian, red-shirts, the Londoner, Justin Bieber, RCA and weekend trips to Samet. But since it cropped up a few years ago in Pinklao, The Overstay has become one of the love/hate arguments for many folks in Bangkok.
Its probably best to start this review with a sampling of The Overstay’s own promotional language, “This old haunted whore house has been morphed into a creative space.” Couldn’t of said it better ourselves. This image speaks for itself. Beyond a creative space, though, it was and still is a hostel that caters to the artistic, the cheap, the restless and those simply yearning for something different
The Overstay’s “six-tiered cake of fun and living” is definitely a novel concept with a floor dedicated to cinema, one for recording, a hippie refugee camp floor where poor backpackers can stay for free, an open-air roof with hammocks and tents and the ground floor bar. The website is the best way to keep up with events, but most weekends feature a live gig, open-mic and a dance-off.
The clientele provides nightly entertainment in itself. You can expect to see chubby shirtless dudes walking around with a beer in hand, unlit cigarettes clinging to chapped lips, stumbling with pool cues clutched in open fists. You’ll probably hear a lot of backpacker travel stories, each one trying to top the previous story in adventure and ‘insanity’. You’re also likely to run into a few sunburnt farang girls ungracefully stomping around the bar complaining how disgusting the bathroom is. Welcome to The Overstay, you’ve arrived.
The bar serves cheap drinks: 60 baht for a small beer, 80 baht for large, a bucket only runs 200 baht. But the catch is you might have to serve yourself if the bartender is out singing or dancing. On nights without gigs they usually have someone running the music, which often leans toward Latin.
For KohSpot, we appreciate the effort, but can’t really buy into the concept. The Overstay feels like a cheapened attempt at creating a 1990′s-esque Lower East Side artist community with its anything-goes mentality. But in reality, it seems to attract confused backpackers, so “enlightened” from their second or third trip abroad, seeing the world in different ways and choosing to express themselves in a creative space such as The Overstay with very limited, fundamental understandings of art or meaning.
For those looking to take refuge at The Overstay, stories of drunken nakedness might pique some interest, but then just as quickly complaints about how the place is run extinguish the flame. Bed bugs, constant noise, and a general lack of anyone in charge is commonplace utterings amongst residents/guests.
So while the place is a flophouse, its art installation (that might be an interpretation of Guernica) displayed in this article made us chuckle and sums up the quality of art being produced here. Like we said, The Overstay isn’t our cup of tea, but if you keep an open mind and cross your fingers for a good crowd, a good night could probably be had at The Overstay. Its definitely a place you should at least experience once.
Location: 80-82 Charan Sanitwong, close to Soi 40 in Pinklao. Their website provides a map, but if you’re coming from Rattanakosin over the Pinklao Bridge, Charan Sanitwong is the first major intersection. Turn right and it’s a few hundred meters on the right-hand side.
Mass transit: Bus or river ferry, but no BTS or MRT.
Hours: Open all hours because it’s a guesthouse, but people and bands are usually drinking from 9 pm to the wee hours, as it doesn’t really close its doors.