Thai friends have talked about Tawandang German Brewery in Bangkok, Thailand for a long time, telling me it’s inexpensive, serves excellent micro-brewed beer, delicious Thai food and, oh, it’s cheap. Tawandang was rated the ‘Number One Thai and German Restaurant in the World’ by Time magazine a few years ago.
That’s why, when a friend from the US recently arrived in Bangkok on vacation, a group of Thai friends and I decided to take him to Tawandang German Brewery for an authentic Thai night out. Not only did I have a fabulous time, as a beer lover and a Thai food fanatic, he was in seventh heaven.
What is Tawandang German Brewery? – As the name suggests, Tawandang is a restaurant and bar that brews its own beer. Like many similar places in the US, Tawandang German Brewery serves good food and a large variety of beers and other alcoholic drinks, but that’s where the similarities end.
Unlike in the US, where most microbreweries might serve 100 people in a trendy environment, Tawandang serves 1,600 people in a loud and raucous cavernous environment. It’s in a huge arena, stuffed to the gills full of customers, waiters and waitresses and, of course, the singers, bands and musicians that make up the exceptional live show.
Tawandang opened in 1999 and its popularity shows no signs of waning as it’s so crowded, if you want a good table, you have to book in advance.
Where is Tawandang German Brewery? – One of the best things about Tawandang is the location. Unlike other Thai brew pubs I’ve been to that are 40 kilometers outside Bangkok’s city center, this one is much closer to the main downtown area, as it’s located on Rama 3 road. There’s also parking for up to 600 cars, so if you’re driving you shouldn’t have a problem finding a parking space.
What Happens at Tawandang German Brewery? – It’s a restaurant, bar, live music arena and dance club all rolled into one (people start dancing later on in the evening). It’s known for its amazing beer – all brewed by a German brewmeister to stringent German specifications – authentic and delicious Thai food (and cheap too) and its phenomenal array of entertainment.
At Tawandang, when you first arrive you’re shown to a long German-style table with benches where, if you’re with a big party, you’ll all be seated together. If you’re just a couple, no problem, they’ll find a table to seat you at and you’ll probably make some new Thai friends too.
Once seated, you order your beer or mixed drinks if that’s what you prefer. For beer, the brewery serves three types – weizen beer, lager beer, and dunken beer – and you can order anything from one third of a liter up to a five liter beer tower. We ordered the beer tower (well, several) as there were eight of us, so we knew we’d have no problem finishing it.
When you’ve ordered your beer, it’s time for the food and with a good menu of Thai and German choices, we got stuck in. I think we ordered about 12 dishes during the evening, with typical Thai fare like – Tom Yam Geung (spicy shrimp soup) and fried fish with chilis, we also had German fried chicken, sauerkraut and, of course, massive German sausages.
The food at Tawandang is excellent and arrives steaming hot and quickly.At 9pm, the entertainment starts, and that’s the real highlight of the evening. Girl groups, boy bands, Thai country music, magic shows, girls in skimpy costumes, girls in traditional Thai costumes – you name it, they have it and, apparently, every night it’s different. It’s loud, it’s wild and it’s exceptionally fun.
Prices at Tawandang German Brewery – While I wouldn’t say it is the cheapest place in Bangkok by any means, for a fun evening, live entertainment, excellent food and even more awesome micro-brewed beer, the eight of us paid 5,000 baht (around $168). Divide that into per person costs, and at only $21 a person, I don’t think there’s a better deal in Bangkok.
Tawandang German Brewery is on Rama 3 Road, in the Yannawa area of Bangkok. There’s also a second location further out of town at Ram Indra.