Don’t you hate it when people call you up and want to go out but don’t have any idea what to do?
Last Saturday night one of my favorite wing men rang up bitching about being bored. When I asked him what he wanted to do he whined, “I don’t knowwww … something different”. So, I took it upon myself to think outside the normal eating-drinking-music box.
The first thing we needed was an energizing cocktail in an unusual setting. To be honest, there are plenty of those in Bangkok these days, but I chose a newcomer, “Gypsy Spells” on Sukhumvit Soi 29.
Their Facebook page locates them near the uber-hip modern Thai restaurant Maha Naga. Gypsy Spells is decorated like an evil wizard’s apothecary complete with creepy occult murals and a jar full of eyeballs. The lighting is ethereal, the music downbeat house, and the atmosphere surprisingly cool.
The main feature however is the wide array of unique concoctions offered by a very talented team of mixologists. My buddy went for an old school Manhattan and I chose a neon colored thing made with passion fruit and a stiff belt of vodka. It was both tasty and pleasing to the eye.
“Ok” he said. “This is a good start … but what’s next”.
I told him I had a surprise up my sleeve and to just shut up and follow me.
My friend is of Greek ancestry and for years he’s complained that there are no Greek restaurants in Bangkok. So, I dragged him a few sois down to Sukhumvit Soi 33 where we happened upon “Avra”, a big Greek Taverna that’s been occupying space attached to the Lotus Hotel for a little over 1 year now. “Get the *&%@ outta here” he proclaimed. We sat down and proceeded to put on an eating clinic.
The first indicator of authenticity is the fact “Retsina”, a potent Greek wine is on the menu. The second was when Alexander, the smiling owner, poured us a free shot of Metaxa brandy before we even began. We started with Tsasiki, a dipping dish made of yogurt, cucumber, garlic, and lemon juice; Avra’s is pungent and clearly homemade. The fried feta cheese appetizer was almost too beautiful to eat. And the beefy moussaka was just like mama used to make. That is, if your mama is from Athens. We finished off with Greek yoghurt and honey topped with almonds and real Greek coffee … and of course one more shot of Metaxa. “Opa” … we were ready for the next leg of our journey.
“And what journey to Greece would be complete without visiting a mythical creature?” I asked him. He just shut up and followed me across Sukhumvit to Soi 22 where we entered the Titanium Ice Bar.
“This is where the Unicorn lives” I whispered in his ear. “I think you had too much Metaxa” he whispered back. In case you’ve never been to Titanium, there are a couple of legends that reside there. The first you’ll meet upon sitting down. They are the world’s most dangerous bartenders. Don’t let their small stature and friendly demeanor fool you. They will take your legs away in a heartbeat. I handed my friend a Kettle One Martini and told him “Drink this and the Unicorn will come.” Caught up in the spell, he did. Within a few minutes the ambience changed and “Unicorn”, Bangkok’s legendary all Thai girl rock band took the stage in a magical flash of light and sound. They slashed and burned their way through the Rolling Stones, Cranberries, Pretenders and Joan Jett. The room filled up with everything from Japanese tourists to crusty old expats; and lots and lots of young Thai ladies twerking and jerking to the savage sounds of Unicorn. My boy ended up standing right in front of the stage transfixed on the lead guitar player shredding her way through a blistering solo. “Damn that’s sexy” he shouted above the din.
Just before the last set ended we stumbled into the street to find rides home. While we waited my friend started to cackle. “I asked for something different” he said. “And you start us out in the Wizard’s Lair, then take us on a trip to the Greek isles and we ended up in Girl-Power fantasy land. Dude, you rock!” “No buddy” I said … “Bangkok Rocks!”
by Bangkok Bart