If you enjoy listening to live music, you’ll love Bangkok, Thailand. Live music in Bangkok has become popular in the last few years. Not only does Bangkok now get some of the world’s top singers and pop groups, Bangkok also has many bars and restaurants that feature live music every night of the week, and much of it is free. If you’re looking for live music the next time you’re in Bangkok, check out the following places. They’re guaranteed to please.
Impact Arena – Impact Arena is the place in Bangkok where the world’s top performing artists will come on tour, so they have some of the best live music in town. In the past, Impact Arena has seen BirdThongChai, Maroon 5, Eric Clapton, Scorpions, Eagles, Rod Stewart, Green Day, Tata Young, Elton John, Sting, Beyonce, and Janet Jackson, just to name a few.
The only problem with Impact Arena is that it’s north of downtown Bangkok and the traffic can be terrible, especially around the time the concert is starting. So make sure you allow plenty of time to get there. Any taxi driver knows where it is though. You can check out the upcoming concert list and buy tickets at any Thai Ticketmaster office.
Saxophone Bar – One of my favorite pubs in Bangkok and one that also features fabulous live music is Saxophone Bar. It’s located next to the Victory Monument sky train station, so is easy to get to. They also serve some of the best pub food in Bangkok and their prices aren’t too bad. The beer selection, both on tap and in bottles, is good too.
For live music, you’ll hear lots of jazz and blues, with some fabulous Thai bands. One thing I love about Saxophone Bar is it’s usually full of Thais and the crowd is pretty young. I have seen Westerners there, but only one or two, so I enjoy the atmosphere a lot more.
Saturday nights especially are busy. The bar holds around 350 to 400 people and they’re almost full to capacity every time I go, so get there early if you want a table. Saxophone Bar – 3/8 Phaya Thai Road, near the Victory Monument Sky Train, Bangkok
Brick Bar – Brick Bar offers the cities best in ska, funk, reggae and blues live music – mostly Thai bands, but the occasional Western band will also play here. I love the atmosphere at Brick Bar. It’s dark and friendly, with a downstairs almost-cellar-like room that’s enormous, and a large terrace upstairs where you can get a good view of the latest band.
It’s has a nice mix of Thai and Western clientele, with good food, (check out the beef curry) and great beer at reasonable prices. The Million Blues Band played the last time I was there and they were truly phenomenal. Brick Bar holds at least 600 people, and it was packed that night. In fact, it’s been packed most nights I’ve been there.
Brick Bar is located on Khao San Road, one of Bangkok’s most popular places for backpackers and low-budget tourists, which is why you’ll see a lot of Westerners here. Brick Bar – 265 Khao San Road (at the back of the Buddy Hotel shopping complex), Bangkok
Brown Sugar – Near Bangkok’s most famous park, Lumphini Park, Brown Sugar is your quintessential jazz club. It’s been around forever, it’s dark, it’s smoky and it’s really fun. The pub food is good, beer selection is decent (although they’ve been out of a couple of things I’ve asked for lately), and the live music is known as some of Asia’s best.
There isn’t a night where it’s not crowded, so get there early. Go especially early on Sunday nights as this is the best night of the week for live music with a spontaneous feel. Jam sessions are usually like that. The live music starts around 9pm, so make sure you get there before it starts. Brown Sugar – 23/20 Sarasin Road (near the Ratchadamri sky train station).
There are hundreds of bars, restaurants and pubs in Bangkok that have nightly live music. Check out these, then branch out and look for more. Thai live music has come a long way in the last few years and you’ll discover some wonderful musicians if you’re willing to look for them.