An affordable rooftop bar is always cause for celebration.
The buzz: Located on the rooftop of the long-standing-yet-always-happening Ekamai Shopping Mall, joining new late-night party institution Dark Bar, Bann Puen lives up to its name, which literally translates to "a friend's house." Here, the low-key decor is matched by wallet-friendly price tags. The owners look to offer a folksy, toned-down alternative to Ekkamai's hi-so clubs with a focus on live indie music that reminds us of the dearly-departed Stu-Fe.
The decor: Pretty bare but cozy in a semi-industrial kind of way. The spacious, semi-roofed al fresco zone boasts lots of aluminum, corrogated plastic and hanging fern-like plants. Inside tends to be quieter with only a few tables and beanbags, while in one corner sits a decorative wooden two-bunk bed.
The music: You can expect to hear lots of Thai and international covers performed acoustically, along with jazz, blues and more alternative sounds. One of the partners is the guitarist in the pop band August and he pops up and jams with his friends on any given night. Blue Shades, from the Tigger Twins record label, perform every Tuesday.
The food and drinks: To go with home-style atmosphere, the menu covers simple spicy dishes whipped up by one of the partner’s aunts. Try the khao maew (fried rice with chili paste with mackerel, B130), kai-ton Ban Puen (steamed egg with minced pork, B120) or the deep-fried cheese (B150). Don't expect fancy craft beer, here. The main draw is Singha, starting from B115 for a glass, B285 for a jug and B690 for a tower. Sharing options include the 12-year Chivas (B2,000), Black Label (B1,900), Jack Daniel Honey (B1,700) and Sangsom (B390), as well as potent cocktail buckets (B390).
The crowd: Mostly groups of 20-somethings too diffident to turn up solo. The occasional gigs from bigger indie acts like Polycat draw a number of loyal fans, too. You'll also see a lot of the same crowd from Dark Bar pre-gaming before retreating into the shadows.