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Good Places To Drink In Chiang Mai


Crow Boy

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What an interesting thread!

I’ve just returned from a holiday from Chiang Mai, back at work this week and this thread helped me to reminisce! Nice way to spend a Friday afternoon, would be better if I was actually in one of said bars discussed and not at my desk in England but hey ho.

Been to CM a number of times now but some of the places I haven’t been to and can’t comment on but will definitely try out next time. Here are some of my views on the others.

Reggae Strip: Good option for the young hip crowd, I think. Music always good and is obviously popular.

Riverside: Good if you want a busy place as it gets sooo packed; if a little overpriced and the service could be improved.

UN Irish pub: Closed for refurbishment when I was there last week. Didn’t look like it'll be ready for a little while yet..

The Drunken Flower: I love this gem of a place. There is something really unique and authentic about it I think and I like the mix of drinkers it attracts and the Thai music and the good food and cocktails. I was particularly impressed with the way they went about their business totally normally when there was a power cut last time I was there…

The Wall: am I the only one who loves this bar? There is always good music playing (Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin etc) - Herman and Lom who own it are very welcoming - easy to get a game on the pool table and an atmosphere that never seems to change…. (It is opposite UN if you fancy trying it.)

Also:-

Rasseru: Agree about the wine bar! If Chiang Mai has wine bars it really is heaven on earth. Next time I'm there I will try out some of the suggested wine bars (thanks) – to answer someone’s question – yes, the Writers Wine Bar does sell wine but when I was there last I didn’t get to try it as I’d made a boo boo returning from Laos on Big Buddha Day and they wouldn’t sell it!! lol

My friend has just bought a bar in Chiang Mai and has got big plans for it. When they're underway I'll let you know and hopefully some of you might go visit :o

One of the things I love about Chiang Mai is the quality and variance of the drinking establishments. Hope you’re all enjoying it and drink a cocktail somewhere good tonight for me.

:D

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The Pub on Wednesdays for the meet the dinosaur night.

This could be something new, never met a real live dinosaur before :D:D

The youngest bloke or sheila in there is 165 years old. Nice folk though. Graham is a really nice manager.

Met a fellow in there once from Scotland; was in SAS in Burma in WWII. Then became an eye surgeon, then retired after many years- and moved to Thailand 35 YEARS AGO...! :o

Bless his heart, is he still alive Mac?

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The Pub on Wednesdays for the meet the dinosaur night.

This could be something new, never met a real live dinosaur before :D:D

The youngest bloke or sheila in there is 165 years old. Nice folk though. Graham is a really nice manager.

Met a fellow in there once from Scotland; was in SAS in Burma in WWII. Then became an eye surgeon, then retired after many years- and moved to Thailand 35 YEARS AGO...! :o

Bless his heart, is he still alive Mac?

Haven't seen him in a bit, but he regularly travels to see a good friend of his (world-renowned opera singer) in her various appearances around the globe. I'll ask about him next time I'm in.... :D

PS I did correct that post afterwards- he was in SBS (Special Boat Squadron) not SAS.

McG

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getting back on topic "Good Places To Drink In Chiang Mai" and not M.I.A. in CM

I dont actually go drinking too often but have recently been to Tuskers to catch the Americas Cup Yachting action and some of the rugby games. They have a nice garden area and spacious bar with ample seating around the bar, which is a lovely change from the dimly lit and poorly ventilated pubs I have been to in the past. The owner Chas is a good bloke even thou he supports the English rugby team. He has even suggested hooking up 2 tvs for us to view when the rugby & yachting is on live at the same time this coming w/end! They also stock Beer Lao which is a bonus, and the food on offer is enough to satisfy most punters. :o

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Agree with you regarding Tuskers - good pub and deserve our support. Chas and his good lady Rachel are getting the bar nicely sorted. Went up there on Friday night and discovered they have have a Playing Card draw between 7 and 9pm (need to get the times confirmed). Milton Bentley will probably know the card sequence but basically get a spade and it is full price, but the other three suits give you either drink for free, half price, or a free shot depending on the suit.

They also have a buffet - all you can eat - dinner on Friday for 100Baht - seemed very popular when I was there.

I want to know how I can draw four spades in a row? Still the beer is good, the company pleasant, and the host genial. I also like that it isn't just another bar girl bar but that they are actually trying to make it into a nice place to go and have a few drinks with friends. In CM there are plenty of places for the alternative but not many for going out just for a drink.

CB

getting back on topic "Good Places To Drink In Chiang Mai" and not M.I.A. in CM

I dont actually go drinking too often but have recently been to Tuskers to catch the Americas Cup Yachting action and some of the rugby games. They have a nice garden area and spacious bar with ample seating around the bar, which is a lovely change from the dimly lit and poorly ventilated pubs I have been to in the past. The owner Chas is a good bloke even thou he supports the English rugby team. He has even suggested hooking up 2 tvs for us to view when the rugby & yachting is on live at the same time this coming w/end! They also stock Beer Lao which is a bonus, and the food on offer is enough to satisfy most punters. :o

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Is Richie still around. He used to play the guitar man after he finished his set at my place.

Richie is not around anymore I'm sorry to say. He left Chiang Mai last fall & spent several months in KL (with a few short visits back to CM). Now he's in the US & will probably stay there til the end of the year. And then who knows? I played bass with Richie at Guitar Man, C Bar & many other places in town for more than 2 years. He's a great entertainer, loads of fun to play with, & a good friend. We're still in touch & I'm still trying to get him to come back but I doubt it's going to happen. Too bad.

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Is Richie still around. He used to play the guitar man after he finished his set at my place.

Richie is not around anymore I'm sorry to say. He left Chiang Mai last fall & spent several months in KL (with a few short visits back to CM). Now he's in the US & will probably stay there til the end of the year. And then who knows? I played bass with Richie at Guitar Man, C Bar & many other places in town for more than 2 years. He's a great entertainer, loads of fun to play with, & a good friend. We're still in touch & I'm still trying to get him to come back but I doubt it's going to happen. Too bad.

CM Das are you still playing around CM? If so who are you using for the rest of the band?

CB

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CM Das are you still playing around CM? If so who are you using for the rest of the band?

CB

I live in Phayao now. I'm in Chiang Mai most weekends but don't have a regular gig anymore. Sometimes I'll jam at Santiya's but only on the odd weekend night when there's an unscheduled jam.

And as for the original topic of this thread: I don't drink anymore & when I go out it's almost always to hear, or play, live music. I like the Gallery for jazz - Ajarn Te's band is solid & the New City Gurus, who come on afterwards, are good & getting better. Last weekend I stopped in at North Gate, a newly opened jazz bar just inside the moat from (you guessed it) Pratu Chang Phuek. The house band was ok - Por is a talented young sax player & I liked the bass player's groove. A nice bonus was that Mr. Saxman showed up & joined the band for a few songs. Very fun & funky. I'm kind of burnt out on most of the rock, blues & reggae I've heard in Chiang Mai. There's lots of talent out there but not too much originality in my opinion. What can I say, I don't really mind playing lots of old covers, but I don't want to go out to hear others play them! Too bad the Funkin Donuts aren't around any more.

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I usually drink at By the Book on Rajawiti road - basically because I own the place!

Apart from there I agree with the many who recommend Tuskers, went there a couple of weeks back and Chas and his staff made us very welcome.

Quite like going up on that rooftop bar close to Thaepae gate and watching the sun set - though it does get full of smelly hippy types, ditto the reggae bars round the back of my place - some half decent reggae sometimes but again full of the great unwashed.

As for Guiness in Chiang Mai have tried it at all the above mentioned establishments but have found it sadly lacking.

I live in Doi Saket and one day will try to get the courage up to do a pub crawl of the kareoke bar shacks that line the route at night.

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I usually drink at By the Book on Rajawiti road - basically because I own the place!

Apart from there I agree with the many who recommend Tuskers, went there a couple of weeks back and Chas and his staff made us very welcome.

Quite like going up on that rooftop bar close to Thaepae gate and watching the sun set - though it does get full of smelly hippy types, ditto the reggae bars round the back of my place - some half decent reggae sometimes but again full of the great unwashed.

As for Guiness in Chiang Mai have tried it at all the above mentioned establishments but have found it sadly lacking.

I live in Doi Saket and one day will try to get the courage up to do a pub crawl of the kareoke bar shacks that line the route at night.

I have mate, good if you can speak Thai, if not still good fun! One used to like the challenge of a night out up that way.

Go for it and enjoy! :o

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I usually drink at By the Book on Rajawiti road - basically because I own the place!

Where about on Rajawiti? Near teh Three Kings end or towards the Moat? I am trying to think where you are. I am assuming (always a dangerous thing to do) that you sell books and booze? Details please?

Apart from there I agree with the many who recommend Tuskers, went there a couple of weeks back and Chas and his staff made us very welcome.

He's like that is our Chas - pity he's a pom but still he tries to overcome these natural limitations.

Quite like going up on that rooftop bar close to Thaepae gate and watching the sun set - though it does get full of smelly hippy types, ditto the reggae bars round the back of my place - some half decent reggae sometimes but again full of the great unwashed.
I am not a fan of reggae but used to occassionally go to the rooftop bar - your assessment of the clientele is correct. Same as the bars around Salsa Kitchen, which I am guessing is near your place.
As for Guiness in Chiang Mai have tried it at all the above mentioned establishments but have found it sadly lacking.

I love Guiness but cannot drink it here apart from the occassional glass - it is the wrong climate for it. Needs to be wet and cold like a summers day in the UK :o Grahame at the Pub on Huai Kaeo has Guiness on tap and also John Smith. What do you think they are lacking? Too cold, wrong gas mix? Pouring a guiness is an art and needs a special spigot on the tap plus the gas mix is mainly nitrogen with a lower concentration of CO2 unlike normal beer gas.

I live in Doi Saket and one day will try to get the courage up to do a pub crawl of the kareoke bar shacks that line the route at night.

I used to like up at Doi Saket - near the market, keep following the canal. I did a crawl from Payap University to the house and stopped along the way at the bar shacks. Some good and some horrendous. Mostly good fun, by the time I got back home my house mother knew and by next day so did everying in the village.

CB

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Lat night I went to the new Rasta bar on Sriphum. As a fan of reggae I can only say absolutely fantastic. Two superb bands, excellent staff, great decor and a friendly welcoming vibe.

A great addition to CM and a must for reggae fans.

Chas, I'm assuming you mean the Rasta Cafe on Sri Phum? Driven past it a million time, never stopped in.

Thanks for the recommendation; will check it out soon (I'm a HUGE reggae fan...)

McG

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Crow Boy - yes your assumption is correct I sell booze and books and a little food, I'm a half dozen or so shops up from the Chiang Mai Saloon, nestled between a Thai book rental shop and a Italian restuarant.

I'm a pom myself so I can just about put up with others of my ilk!

Ulysees - thanks for the nice words!

Coldcrush - Once I can persuade a few friends to join me who can speak better Thai than me - I'll be going for it.

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Chas, I'm assuming you mean the Rasta Cafe on Sri Phum? Driven past it a million time, never stopped in.

Thanks for the recommendation; will check it out soon (I'm a HUGE reggae fan...)

McG

Thats the one. Goes on after I close so if you ever want a reggae fest give me a call.

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The "Good Places To Drink In Chiang Mai" Topic has almost reached epic proportions and is a great place to offer up suggestions of well good places to eat in Chiang Mai but there isn't a similar one as such for drinking. This seems odd to me because from the amount of conversation and reading in different threads drinking appears to be a popular past time :o

A couple of threads have been closed becuase they deviated off topic such as the forum "O'Malley's v the Red Lion" I used to like that one and read an entry in another forum where it was likened to the killing off of an old friend. Those were true words, the forum was an old friend but it had diverted into something way beyond its initial bounds which was the differences between two bars here in Chiang Mai.

OK here are the basic rules:

1) this is a forum about bars and drinking holes in the CHIANG MAI area - please don't start talking about the Mango Bar in Bangkok or we will be punted off to the general Bars and Entertainment area.

2) Do not use this as a testing area for your new flame thrower - if you disagree with a post, say so and put up a reason, if you really disagree, send the poster a Person Mail, If you violently disagree with them - leave and get a life somewhere else because you need help.

3) The focus of this forum is bars and drinking so while we will probably get away with small asides about such as who has the best looking bar girls or even a description of the food try to keep it to less than 10% of the total content.

4) Remember prostitution is illegal in Thailand - we will be sin binned if anyone starts to discuss the alternative activities on offer in most bars here in Thailand. Anyone starting a discussion on the price differential in bar fines before and after 9:00pm will most definitely get a rocket up the ar## from one of the moderators.

5) MOST IMPORTANT: Be nice and have fun

So what is a good bar and why? Should it sell food as well as drink? Is it the bar girls or some other attraction. What do you like and why? There are a myriad of bars in this city - probably too many if the truth be told. But most of us have one or two we prefer over the others.

I like #1 Bar in Soi 1, Loy Kroh - Freddy who owns it has successfully run bars in Belgium and he knows how to do it well here. The girls are good and have the main function of serving drinks. It can get crowded and noisy but has an atmosphere. It sometimes goes through a cycle with the girls pushing for lady drinks but for the most part once they know you they don't hassle.

Tuskers in the new boy on the block and is a very different style - it is more a gathering place for people looking for a quiet place for a drink and has food available. Last Friday the Chiang Mai Thai Visa group turned up and we had a good night. Chas and his partner Rachael are from England but despite that very nice people, they are trying to give it a go and good luck to them.

The Peak area paralleling the night bazaar has a pack of little bars around the climbing wall, I tend to see Stefan at the Angel if I just want a chat and a beer. It is low key, low brow and no hassles. He has the usual beers etc and you can get a selection of Thai food delivered to the bar, from within the area. Mike's burgers have a franchise there but make your own decision.

The Down Under on the other side of town on Niemenheim (never get the spelling right) is a great Aussie bar with food and drink, he has live sports on the big screen and an all round nice guy.

My Oh My, YOU guys have problems !!!!!

nevertheless, enjoy ur drinks, cheers.

Me myself, I'll treat myself a green tea with artficial sweetener now, and will brood over the mess in my life and my future {°_°}

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Lat night I went to the new Rasta bar on Sriphum. As a fan of reggae I can only say absolutely fantastic. Two superb bands, excellent staff, great decor and a friendly welcoming vibe.

A great addition to CM and a must for reggae fans.

Good bar the guys made, the cocktails are not to bad either!

:o

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My Oh My, YOU guys have problems !!!!!

nevertheless, enjoy ur drinks, cheers.

Me myself, I'll treat myself a green tea with artficial sweetener now, and will brood over the mess in my life and my future {°_°}

I have no idea what you are alluding to? What problems? And yes we will enjoy our drinks.

:o

CB

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Chas, I'm assuming you mean the Rasta Cafe on Sri Phum? Driven past it a million time, never stopped in.

Thanks for the recommendation; will check it out soon (I'm a HUGE reggae fan...)

McG

Correction to my earlier post. I drove past today and it is called the Rasta Art Bar - although I think we are both talking about the same place.

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As far as Guitar Man goes, the place is rocking. Really friendly proprietors, good atmosphere, and a strong lineup of bands.

Caught a local Ska band there the other night, a group of Thai indie kids who had a dreadlocked Duracell rabbit for a singer. I'm not a huge ska fan normally, but it was a very refreshing change compared to the standard diet of cover songs. They did a few sixties pop songs transformed into ska. The singer also excelled at playing kazoo solos. :o

After them, there was a bloke who played a few acoustic songs who is also a bit of a regular I believe - he's a very competent singer and guitarist, a notch above what you may be used to. The owner joined in for solidly crafted harmonies on a few songs.

The Tonic Rays play Guitarman every Thursday night as well - not to be missed. Their catalogue of original material is growing steadily - if I am not mistaking they are currently in the process of recording their first album, and apart from originals they have an excellent selection of covers to pick and choose from as well.

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Chas, I'm assuming you mean the Rasta Cafe on Sri Phum? Driven past it a million time, never stopped in.

Thanks for the recommendation; will check it out soon (I'm a HUGE reggae fan...)

McG

Correction to my earlier post. I drove past today and it is called the Rasta Art Bar - although I think we are both talking about the same place.

Yeah, that's the place. Let's plan a reggae listening night sometime soon... :o

McG

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The Tonic Rays play Guitarman every Thursday night as well - not to be missed. Their catalogue of original material is growing steadily - if I am not mistaking they are currently in the process of recording their first album, and apart from originals they have an excellent selection of covers to pick and choose from as well.

Crow Boy, Austhaied w/ his better half, realthaideal and I saw them 2 weeks ago. Very good sounds, an excellent set.

Highly recommended... :o

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The Tonic Rays play Guitarman every Thursday night as well - not to be missed. Their catalogue of original material is growing steadily - if I am not mistaking they are currently in the process of recording their first album, and apart from originals they have an excellent selection of covers to pick and choose from as well.

Crow Boy, Austhaied w/ his better half, realthaideal and I saw them 2 weeks ago. Very good sounds, an excellent set.

Highly recommended... :o

They (The Tonic Rays) may even be playing at the TV BBQ in August..Stay tuned.. :D

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The Tonic Rays play Guitarman every Thursday night as well - not to be missed. Their catalogue of original material is growing steadily - if I am not mistaking they are currently in the process of recording their first album, and apart from originals they have an excellent selection of covers to pick and choose from as well.

Crow Boy, Austhaied w/ his better half, realthaideal and I saw them 2 weeks ago. Very good sounds, an excellent set.

Highly recommended... :o

They (The Tonic Rays) may even be playing at the TV BBQ in August..Stay tuned.. :D

Unfortunately this will not happen. The band was happy to play but the TV management think it will distract from the purpose of the party which is to have people talk to eachother. They had a band play at Pattaya previously and no one could hear each other to talk so the party ended up with a bunch of people standing around listening to a band. I am sure people enjoyed it but it had a different purpose and outcome than what TV wanted.

Back to the previous posts, for straight up Rock - think Cream, Clapton, Beatles etc done well. The Guitarman has a three piece Thai band of young lads that can belt out a song very well. Realthaideal and I saw them last Thursday for the second time and they are playing a couple of times a week - I think it is Mon-Thur at about 9:30pm. The Tonic Rays come on afterwards on Thursday at 10:30pm. The band is recording a CD at this time and that has helped them imeasurably to tighten up the feel. They played a 16 song set and 10 of the songs were originals. It was good to see a decent crowd there and the music was great.

CB

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Back to the previous posts, for straight up Rock - think Cream, Clapton, Beatles etc done well. The Guitarman has a three piece Thai band of young lads that can belt out a song very well.

This band advertises themselves as 'Pised Saam' (probably meaning 'The special three'). I agree they are all very talented musicians. Got to love the round, fat tones he squeezes out of that SG.

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They (The Tonic Rays) may even be playing at the TV BBQ in August..Stay tuned.. :o
Unfortunately this will not happen. The band was happy to play but the TV management think it will distract from the purpose of the party which is to have people talk to eachother. They had a band play at Pattaya previously and no one could hear each other to talk so the party ended up with a bunch of people standing around listening to a band. I am sure people enjoyed it but it had a different purpose and outcome than what TV wanted.

CB

What <deleted>! They'd only play for an hour and they're not necessarily hard and fast. What's a party without decent music? Shall I bring my chess board?

Edited by SoloFlyer
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Back to the previous posts, for straight up Rock - think Cream, Clapton, Beatles etc done well. The Guitarman has a three piece Thai band of young lads that can belt out a song very well.

This band advertises themselves as 'Pised Saam' (probably meaning 'The special three'). I agree they are all very talented musicians. Got to love the round, fat tones he squeezes out of that SG.

They are good, he was having problems with a noisy pickup selecter on Thursday night so just kept it stuck on bridge pickup and wailed. Made the rhythem sections a bit nasal but SGs don't really have Overdriven pickups anyway. The sound coming from that little fender amp is impressive, I really like it. It is a straight up solid state amp but nicely balanced. I also really like Nicks Vox but they don't suit my playing as much as the Fenders.

Joe has a small Fender Blues Deluxe which is a beautiful little amp perfectly suited for the size room they play in there. Marie plays her Squire tele hybrid through that and Joe uses the house Fender. I have a 2x12 Fender De Ville and that is just way too heavy and loud to think about playing it except to torture soi dogs around home for which it is excellent. :o

CB

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