Places to eat, drink and have fun permeate every corner of this city. If you possess a good command of “how to get where”, then you can pack a lot into one night. I only get one night out per week, so I’ve got to make it count.
This week’s adventure started out in a new location of an old favorite, Bourbon Street Restaurant and Oyster Bar. For 30 years this joint has been serving up genuine Cajun cuisine. 25 of those years were in venerable old Washington Square off Sukhumvit 22. A few years back, owner Doug Harrison moved the whole thing down to Ekkamai on Sukhumvit Soi 63 a five minute walk from the BTS.
While I was tempted to just plop down on a barstool, jam to the slammin’ playlist and gorge myself on jambalaya, I showed incredible restraint. Instead I started the evening off right with a half dozen raw Baron’s Cove oysters and an expertly poured Happy Hour pint. For those who’ve never tried oysters in Thailand, the seafood sauce and toasted onions accompaniment is a setup superior to all others.
With appetite temporarily sated, I sky-trained it on down to the Silom area to see another old favorite; a blues band known as “Cottonmouth”. I’ve known the band leader Keith Nolan over 15 years. The singer/piano player hails from Dublin, Ireland and is a blues legend in Bangkok.
Cottonmouth was performing at “Vertigo Too”, a swanky super-lounge on the 62nd floor of The Banyan Tree Hotel. As you might imagine, the view is pretty ridiculous. The lounge is posh and somehow comfortable at the same time.
The band was set up right in the middle of the place with patrons slowly filling the seats on the ground floor and the wraparound balcony above. Keith sounded better than ever rolling through blues classics with his signature gritty style. Cottonmouth ended the first set with a rocking Freddie King number followed by some old school Taj Mahal. I had forgotten how much I like this band.
After my second top shelf bourbon it dawned on me that I had not eaten very much, so I bid Keith and Cottonmouth farewell, jumped in a meter taxi and popped up in the Arab Quarter on Sukhumvit Soi 3. When it’s late and I want some comfort chow, Lebanese cuisine is always one of my top choices.
My “go to” late night eatery is Bamboo on Soi 3. Bamboo is straight out of a spy novel. It is open 24 hours and always packed with a bizarre menagerie of humans; most of them smoking shisha and plowing through platters overloaded with kebabs and falafels. The number of falafels I ate on this particular night was embarrassing.
After topping it off with some hot mint tea, I was surprisingly refreshed and felt a second wind coming on. So, I dialed up an Uber cab and headed back down Sukhumvit towards home. When the street numbers got above 50 impulse took over and I had the driver turn up Soi 61. There simply is no better place to have a nightcap or two than The Owl Society.
The Owl Society Whiskey Bar puts the “hip” in “hipster”. Oozing with old world leather-and-mahogany charm and boasting the deepest collection of single malt scotches I’ve seen in Bangkok, it’s a hard place to leave. I had almost convinced myself to leave after one drink when a jazzy Thai trio took to the small stage and I became bewitched by the haunting voice of a pixie-like chanteuse. The bartender informed me she was a finalist on Thailand’s version of The Voice.
I could have stayed until breakfast … literally … I don’t think this place ever really closes.
With the sun threatening to rise and surely burst me into flames, I crept back to my lair and reflected on another night well-spent in the best city on the planet.
by Bangkok Bart