3 of Bangkok’s best comebacks in the nightlife scene

Some of the iconic drink spots in the Thai capital have been reborn in brand-new digs

For the sentimental

The majestic colonial-era mansion on Sukhumvit Soi 14 that was the original home of Hemingway’s was demolished in late 2016 to make room for a hotel. It was a sad day for loyal customers — and for conservationists, as this charming double-storey terraced property, once home to dignitaries and ambassadors, was over 100 years old. The owners salvaged tables, chairs and lamps from the original structure and lovingly recreated the rest, giving the new Hemingway’s — now on Sukhumvit Soi 11 (Nana BTS station) — a very similar feel. Word’s out after the low-key reopening in March, and patrons have been coming in droves. The daily happy hour offers beer and wine from just THB99 (about 160) and runs from 11am to 8pm (until 10pm on Mondays and Tuesdays).

For the music lovers

The fabled live gig venue in Check Inn 99 began life back in 1957 as the Copacabana, welcoming everyone from Bing Crosby and Bob Hope to Freddie Mercury, Mick Jagger and David Bowie. In mid-2016, landlords anxious to redevelop the original Sukhumvit Road location, near Soi 5, forced the bar’s closure. However, by December 2017 the owners had reopened on Sukhumvit Soi 33 (Phrom Phong BTS station), with new décor — a dramatic mix of black, white and red — but the same tradition of nightly live entertainment and Sunday afternoon jazz jams.

For hipsters on a budget

First opened in 1982, the wacky watering hole on Sukhumvit Soi 11 that everyone knew as Cheap Charlie’s was actually named Charlie’s Bar. Fortunately, all the kitschy decorations and weathered wood from the original premises — shut down in March 2017 — have been meticulously reassembled in the new location, which launched a few months later on Sukhumvit Soi 50 (near On Nut BTS station). Incredibly, almost nothing has changed, including the drink prices. Beers and cocktails can still be had for THB80 (about 130).

Other Soi 11 relocations

The funky but now defunct U-shaped side street that ran parallel to Sukhumvit Soi 11 was home to Cheap Charlie’s bar, as well as a handful of popular restaurants that have found a new life elsewhere in Bangkok. Mexican eatery Charley Brown’s relocated to Sukhumvit Soi 19, while Snapper New Zealand, a Kiwi-style fish and chips place, moved to Sukhumvit Soi 8 and expanded to include the new Stagetime Comedy Club on the third floor. Tapas Cafe left the Sukhumvit area entirely and relocated to Silom Soi 4.

This article first appeared in the June 2019 issue of Smile magazine.

Written and Photographed

Bruce Scott

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