10 Bars & Restaurants Around Bangkok to Catch the Best Live Indie/Alternative Music
Bangkok have been seeing an explosion in popularity to its Indie/Alternative music scene in recent years. The combination of emerging talented organizers and fresh live music venues has been the engine behind the rapid growth that’s showing no signs of slowing down. Concerts like Cigarettes After Sex, HONNE, Oh Wonder, and Phoenix all sold out in no time, giving their mainstream counterparts a run for their money. Thai bands with alternative rock and 80s synth-pop vibe are popping up and winning over local fans everywhere. And that’s not all.
In a city with such an entertaining nightlife for locals and foreigners, it’s hard to imagine not finding many amusing venues where you can enjoy quality Indie/Alternative music from top live bands on the regular. No matter if it’s modern underground hip-hop, live jazz & blues, alternative rock, or even Thailand’s very own Luk Thung and Mo Lam music, there’s at least one bar around town that’s putting on your jam. Some venues also have hosts art exhibitions and film screenings for anyone of you who are looking to discover something new. The options are almost endless.
For those of you who fancy the same mainstream songs the radio puts on repeat in your car every day, we challenge you to try out something new for a change. You might meet new people or even discover more about yourself you’ve never known before.
If you’re starting to feel like looking for a new place to hang with your buddies when the next weekend rolls around, here’s 10 venues (listed in alphabetical order) you should check out to find some of the best live indie/alternative music Thailand has to offer.
Black Cabin Bar
Looking for another hidden bar to add to your list? Here’s one you can’t miss! From the partners of the popular Loy Shy music bar comes Black Cabin Bar tucked right inside Wild & Co. restaurant.
Inside the dimly lit room adorned with red lighting and spooky decors straight out of a thriller movie, you’ll find live bands covering all sorts of music genres including Blues, Folk-Rock, Jazz, Experimental Electro House, all the way to vinyl-heavy DJ sets.
There are also occasional gigs from talented local bands that you can check out the schedule on the venue’s Facebook page. Be sure to compliment the good music with alluring concoctions with fancy names like the “Pink Chandelier” and “White Lies”.
There’s also tasty Thai craft beers like Chalawan and Lumzing. If someone happens to ring the golden bell by the bar, be ready to down a shot!
Walk upstairs to the 2nd floor of Bad Motel, and you’ll start to hear upbeat music that’s all too familiar. Among the pink and blue walls lined with hologram stickers and graffiti, you’ll find songs from familiar Hip-hop artists like Kendrick Lamar, and Meek Mill played on both the original and remix.
The booth is set for local DJs to take turn putting on a show each night, making this venue one of the hottest spot in town to grab your daily dose of underground Hip-hop.
Blaq Lyte came about from the charitable mind of the owner that drew inspiration from his dream of building a school for the orphans at Nong Khai province in the northeastern part of Thailand. So the profit he makes from giving us a good time will be used to fund this honorable dream of his to become a reality.
Don’t forget to drop by this neon-lit club, grab a few drinks, and party to the upbeat Hip-hop music whenever you’re in Thonglor.
This brand new venue situated within the walls of Liberty Plaza (same building as Game Over Lounge) at the end of Soi Thonglor is becoming quite the hot spot for fans of the alternative. Inside, you will find a raw industrial design all around accompanied by one of the best sound systems in town.
There’s stage for live bands and a DJ booth for EDM nights as you can expect to find anything ranging from experimental Jazz to House & Techno an any given night. Just grab yourself your favorite bottle of beer and let the good vibes take you away.
The partners, frontmen of Indie Rock bands Blues Tape and Penny Time hope to become a leading light in reviving Thailand’s music industry by becoming a “Live House” to support aspiring new bands and live music enthusiasts that want to see and hear something different.
Other than concerts, you can also expect to find art exhibitions, fashion events, and even collaboration workshops being held on the venue as well. To see what’s up next, be sure to peek at the schedule on their Facebook page.
Es ca pe’
This simple two-story stylish home-bar is the perfect spot for after-work drinks or, better yet, a warm-up session for the weekend. Among the wooden seats, long leather sofas, naked light bulbs, and colorful decor you can expect to hear many alternative hits, both local and international, switched between recordings and live sessions by the local bands with genres ranging from Acoustic covers and Jazz to upbeat Indie Rock.
As for the food, you can find Thai-fusion classic appetizers and inventive main dishes like Crispy Fish Spaghetti, “Deep Blue Zeed” Spicy Seafood Salad, and Garlic Pork Neck over Rice.
Don’t forget to grab your usual selection of beers and cocktails with cute names like Ice.Ca.Pe that is a mixture of 8 types of alcohol and the vodka heavy Too Pla.
You can never know what to expect with Jam, but know that no matter what they have planned every night, and it’ll be purely awesome. There are concert nights, discussion panels, film screenings, Sunday BBQs and a whole lot more along the pipeline with this place.
The music played here can be anything from Experimental to Malian folk music. All we can say is be prepared to be surprised.
This shophouse hidden down a narrow lane serves pub grubs like Fish n’ Chips and the Jamburger as well as full-on breakfast during the weekends.
During the night this place turns into a wild house party filled with beers and cocktails surrounded by mix n’ match furniture, art collections, and a few vintage Thai boardgames lying around.
The people of Sam Yan area know this long time venue all too well. With the intention of being “Bangkok’s Music Platform” for artists to showcase their talents and for music enthusiasts to find quality music for their soul, Loyshy never fails to live up to expectations.
Whenever you’re in the Ratchatewi area, be sure to pop by this bar with your friends and order up some ice-cold draught beer for the night.
The quality of music you get out of Loyshy is always over the top. You can find popular Indie bands like Yokee Playboy, Flure, and Yellow Fang as well as new and upcoming artists rotating to take the stage every day. The resident band plays a variety of music genre ranging from Folk-Rock to Jazz-Funk.
If you’re lucky, you might meet some of the talented individuals from Thailand’s very own “The Voice” competition putting on a special performance for you.
For those who don’t fancy the idea of traveling to the outskirts of Bangkok to hang out, you might want to reconsider this venue. Even though it isn’t next to the main road, Parking Toys manages to get packed daily. It’s also a popular hangout spot for Producers, Creatives, and people behind the entertainment industry of Thailand.
No mainstream music here, only the best Alternative/Indie tunes for your enjoyment. Find anything from Acoustic, Garage, Brit Rock, Soul all the way to Experimental from a crop of talented local artists that will take you on an emotional journey throughout the night.
If you’re lucky, you might bump into Thai legendary rock band like “Y Not 7” putting on a breathtaking show
PLAY YARD by Studio Bar
At this old-school bar & restaurant, you’ll find yourself all sorts of live performance that appeals to all sorts of music enthusiasts. There will be international retro hits from the 60s-90s, Acoustic covers, Funk-Soul, American hard rock, Brit-pop, Jazz, and folk tunes scheduled throughout every week.
Choose from a list of frozen cocktails, spirits, and beers to start your night and don’t worry if you get hungry throughout the night because Play Yard has got your back.
Talk about munchies; nothing goes better with a tower of ice-cold draught beer than a plate of Fried Crispy Pork Belly Signature by PLAY YARD.
Let’s not forget that this is a restaurant and they only source fresh, quality ingredients to create the tastiest of dishes to compliment the pleasant live music and delightful drinks.
If you're looking for a sense of adventure, look no further than this compact space located just a few steps into Soi Sukhumvit 51.
From the brilliant minds behind Zudrangma Records and The Paradise Bangkok Molam International Band comes a bar frequented by foreigners looking to fill their thrill meters with a variety of alternative music and exotic local “Ya Dong” or potent Thai liquor that's infused with medicinal herbs like ginger and coriander seeds or fruits like mangosteen and tamarind.
Inside the room vintage decors, you can find a custom tube sound system pumping out a vast range of music genres (depending on the night) that can encompass anything from World Music to Experimental or even some Thai-style Mo Lam music.
There’s no food served, so eat up beforehand so you can handle the power of over 20 types of “Ya Dong” available. For first-timers, it might be best to start things off with their cocktail creations that feature “Ya Dong” in the mix.
Keeping walking down Thonglor until you get to Soi Tararom 2 and straight inside you will find a small sign on the left bearing the name 12x12.
Push through the wooden doors and you’ll be met with the overall brown tone of the furniture against the yellowish orange lighting really gives you the comfortable feeling of warmth and coziness. The wooden bar is manned by a friendly Japanese bartender who will serve up your favorite shots and cocktails in a heartbeat.
The selection of music is heavy on Dub Reggae and Soul Funk, but with the rotation of new DJs every day you really cannot predict which genre will soothe your ears on the night, making this 60-70s hippy style spot a hit with both locals and foreigners.
The venue also loves to welcome bands to come and perform a concert even now and then. With bands like Folk Nine and Sasi taking the stage along with many other local artists, this bar is definitely worth a visit.