For those looking for great jazz or blues music in Thailand, Bangkok has some of the best jazz clubs and blues bars in Asia. There’s an amazing choice, in atmospheres that range from smoky dark little bars, to British pubs, elegant jazz clubs and gorgeous hotel venues.
Bangkok also gets some fabulous international live jazz stars that even the most discerning jazz fanatic will love.
The Oriental Hotel’s Bamboo Bar, was voted Metro magazine’s Best Jazz Venue in 1999, 2000 and 2002 and deservedly so. It’s an elegant club that showcases some of the best jazz acts in the city. With plenty of comfortable places to sit, it also has great drinks and snacks and a good Happy Hour, between 7pm and 8pm every night.
It’s one of the most expensive clubs in Bangkok, but for the ambience alone, it’s worth it. The staff is also wonderful and you leave here feeling spoiled and buzzing from all the great music. Located in the Oriental Hotel at 48 Oriental Avenue, you can call 02-659-9000 for information on the latest live acts and bands.
Diplomat Bar at The Conrad Hotel. Perfectly named as it’s surrounded by embassies and consulates, it’s also often filled with the diplomatic crowd. It’s also usually full of wealthy Thais and a stellar international crowd. Supremely gorgeous décor makes this an amazingly lovely place to hang out, have a couple of cocktails, listen to the world-class singers, and relax.
It’s also a crowd of various ages, which makes it even more interesting. Don’t forget to try the special cocktails they’re famous for, or one of their more than 30 imported French, Chilean and Australian wines. Diplomat Bar is in the Conrad Hotel at 87 Wireless Road. 02-690-9999 will get you more information.
Jester’s is slightly more out of the way as it’s across the river from The Oriental Hotel, and is in the Peninsula Hotel. It is a trendier place than the previous two bars, and usually a younger crowd. Although the jazz music is fabulous here, one thing to avoid though is the food.
Jester’s can be expensive and, both times I’ve eaten there, it hasn’t been that good. For that reason, I would suggest eating somewhere else first if you’re heading there around dinner time, then pop across the river for after dinner drinks and live music at Jester’s.
I do like the décor, as it is modern and cool, and the staff is nice, but it is catering to an up market crowd that doesn’t seem too discriminatory about what they eat.
Best way to get there is to take the sky train to Saphan Taksin station, then take the boat across. Call them at 02-861-2888.
Saxophone Pub is slightly out of downtown Bangkok, heading north on the sky train. Get off at the Victory Monument sky train station and walk to it as it is just next to the stairs going up to the sky train.
Saxophone Pub is extremely popular with expats, probably because not only is the music fabulous but the food is great too. They serve both Thai and Western food and are known for their T-bone steaks and Crispy Shrimp dishes.
Every night, there are usually three acts, which range from jazz to pop jazz to blues, reggae and classic big band. It’s popular every night but crowded on the weekends, so make sure you go early if you don’t want to wait hours to eat. Give them a call at 02-246-5472.
They also often have special events (Valentine’s Day, King’s Birthday, Christmas and many more) so check for any cool events coming up.
Tokyo Joes (formerly Isaan Champroo Blues Bar and Restaurant). You will mostly hear blues with the occasional soul and jazz at Bangkok’s Tokyo Joe’s, but it is best known for it’s Sunday blues jam.
Most blues aficionados call it one of the best blues jams in town, with many expats turning up as well as Thais. Live music during the week starts at 9:30 and there’s a good variety of Thai, Japanese and International food.
Tokyo Joes was the winner of Metro Magazine’s “Best Live Music Venue 2005“, as it features many new acts as well as established professionals. They are located at Sukhumvit Soi 26 opposite the Tara Hotel and can be called on 02-661-0359.
These are just a few of the many jazz and blues clubs in Bangkok. Jazz and blues have become extremely popular in the last few years, and you can’t go wrong with any of these hotspots.