Top venues to catch swinging sounds, from smooth lounge jazz to more experimental sessions. 

BK's annual B.A.D. Awards celebrate all that's good in Bangkok nightlife. For the guide, we had the nearly impossible task of limiting our "Best Jazz Bars in Bangkok" list to just three venues. Here's a more extensive run-down of all the places to catch live jazz in Bangkok.

 

 

Bamboo Bar 


Take Bangkok’s oldest jazz bar (open since 1953), lavish it with a respectful new interior of lacquered bamboo and animal print, install a head barkeep (Jamie Rhind) who earned his stripes at London’s Artesian Bar, and you have a damn fine place to knock back a Manhattan and watch the live performances.

1/F, Mandarin Oriental, 48 Charoenkrung Soi 40 (Oriental Avenue), 02-659-9000. Open Sun-Thu 5pm-1am; Fri-Sat 5pm-2am.

 

Brown Sugar

This place ranks as one of Bangkok’s best jazz bars for a reason. The Phra Sumen institution offers classic Western comfort food and cocktails, and live performances by quality local jazz bands dominated by finalists of The Voice Thailand like Tissue Paper and Attention Please. Performances run from 8:30 pm from Tue-Sun.

469 Phra Sumen Rd., 081-805-7759. Open daily 5pm-1am. 

 

Check Inn 99

After a whirlwind couple of years, this old-school institution (the original dates back to the '60s) has settled on Sukhumvit Soi 33. Every Sunday afternoon, from 3pm, it hosts live improvised jazz sessions featuring many well-known artists from around Bangkok and abroad. On any given night you can expect to catch everything from Beatles tribute shows to salsa parties. 

1/1 Sukhumvit Soi 33, 02-015-9455. Open Mon-Sat 5pm-1:30am; Sun 2pm-1:30am.

 

Dumbo Jazz & Vinyl Bar

Inside this fun, laid-back bar an imposing Abraham Lincoln mural oversees diners munching on pastas and Cheezy Lava Burgers. Head out to the concrete rooftop for raucous live bands (Fri-Sat) and walls that pop with colorful paintings. Fairy lights and a large neon red “Dumbo” sign light up the mishmash of chairs overlooking the BTS, as guests sip on San Miguel and cocktails like the Dumbo, with bourbon, mint, brown sugar and orange peel. 

490/5 Paholyothin Rd., 094-560-7222. Open Mon-Sat 5pm-midnight

 

The Iron Fairies

Designed by Bangkok nightlife mogul Ashley Sutton, the Iron Fairies is like no other bar in Bangkok—a Dickensian factory with crumbling brick walls and a scattering of ancient, industrial machinery that by day is used to make miniature metal fairies. After relocating to much larger premises in 2013, the bar has set up a solid list of live blues and jazz bands who perform nightly from 9pm. Be sure to try the powerful signature cocktails.

394 Sukhumvit Soi 55 (Thonglor), 099-918-1600. Open daily 6pm-2am

 

Jazz Happens!

This little jazz boutique owned by Nu Vudthivichai, one of Thailand’s most prominent pianists, showcases the skills of a wide range of performers, from contestants on The Voice to students and graduates of Silpakorn Jazz Faculty. Order a bottle of Singha, some gab glaem, and swing away. 

Phra Athit Rd., 02-282-9934. Open daily 7pm-1am

 

The Living Room

This sophisticated space has long been considered one of Bangkok's finest for live jazz music of the smooth and easy-listening variety, whether it's house band the Randy Cannon trio or international guests. The cocktails are finely crafted, as to be expected, with some like Fly Me to the Moon (Absolut peach vodka, Hiram Walker peach schnapps and peach puree) riffing off popular jazz standards. Come the weekend, they also host a Jazzy Sunday Brunch from midday. 
Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit, Sukhumvit Rd., 02-649-8353. Open Sun-Fri 9-midnight, Sat 9-12.30am.

 

 

Saxophone 

 

This 30-something-year-old brick-walled jazz bar feels like a safe haven from Bangkok’s ever-changing scene. Located mere steps from the commuter bustle of Victory Monument, the city’s old jazz and reggae hands (Koh Mr. Saxman, T-Bone) enrapture audiences at very close quarters, accompanied by a new brigade of scene stealers.
3/8 Phaya Thai Rd., 02-246-5472. Open daily 6pm-2am. 

 

 

Smalls 


At David Jacobson’s den of urban bohemia, Wednesdays are for jazz. Not your plodding hotel-lounge jazz, either. We’re talking progressive sounds from the Pong Nakornchai Quartet or Stella Space, occasionally expanding to more out-there realms (Stylish Nonsense). The DJ regulars deserve props for ensuring a soundtrack that’s never stale, too.

186/3 Suanphlu Soi 1, 095-585-1398. Open Mon, Wed-Sun 7pm-2am.

 

St. Regis Bar

The five-star hotel’s 12th-floor bar with incredible views of Royal Bangkok Sport Club has become a destination in itself. Not only will you find some amazing local jazz and blues bands playing live (think the same people you find at Brown Sugar rather than stuffy hotel lounge piano), but the drink list combines trending bottles from both home and abroad (think local producers like Iron Balls, Kristall and Chalong Bay rum). 

12/F, The St. Regis Bangkok, Ratchadamri Rd., 02-207-7801. Open daily 9am-1am.

 


B.A.D. Awards is BK Magazine's annual guide to all that's good in Bangkok nightlife. Read the full list here or download the PDF version here