Flann O’Brien Irish Bar
The buzz: Asiatique may not seem the obvious place to head for a Guinness, but its Irish pub Flann O’Brien’s looks set to become the venue of choice for Emerald Isle-related events (it’s officially recognized by the Irish Thai Chamber of Commerce—yes, one does exist). Flann O’Brien’s takes pride in being closer than most to the real definition of an Irish pub: a place you can go with friends and family, alike. Despite it being early days for this branch (the other is at Impact Arena), there are already plans for a third location.
The décor: The pub is housed in one of the stand-alone warehouses in the southwest corner of the Asiatique compound. Step inside the brick façade and you’ll find a cavernous interior outfitted with ebony wood and a black and white checkered floor. The room is bordered by oversized booths upholstered in brown leather, while a tall bar along the back wall is the first thing you see. Irish country flags hang overhead and the walls are adorned with framed photos of Irish authors (the pub is named for the nom de plume of Irish writer Brian O’Nolan)—small touches hoping to give the rather sparse space that homey, lived-in feel of an authentic Irish pub. There is also a couple of pool tables inside and outdoor seating outside, for when the rain finally lets up.
The music: Weeknights you can expect a soundtrack of oldie pop ballads, but the weekend kicks off with live music on Friday nights, usually Thai musicians busting out traditional and modern Irish tunes.
The food and drinks: There are eight brews on tap, including Irish imports like Guinness (B140 for half pint or B250 for pint), Kilkenny (B145/255) and Magners cider (B120/220). The usual suspects like San Miguel Light (B120) and Hoegaarden (B250) are available by the bottle. There are also a range of whiskeys available, ranging from 100 Pipers (B1,100/bottle) to 12-year-old Glenfiddich (B5,000/bottle). The food menu is substantial, a mix of typical pub food and Irish favorites. Stick with the theme by ordering the quintessentially Irish leek soup (B149) or beef and Guinness pie (B369). They also serve an all-day breakfast and drinking munchies like cheesy chilli chips (B189). Don’t miss out on the Irish bread and butter pudding served with vanilla sauce (B119)—the ultimate comfort food.
The crowd: Right now, a mix of young Thais and shopped-out tourists, as well as some local expats. The place is so huge that it can feel deserted on a quiet week night, but it fills up on weekends, especially if a big match is playing on the large projector screens. Sunday is designated Family Day, so expect expat parents enjoying a beer while the kids are entertained by staff, clowns or possibly a man playing the bagpipes.
Why you’ll come back: The relaxed, friendly atmosphere is far removed from the grime of many of the city’s “pubs.” And it’s spacious enough that you can be sure to find seating for your whole group when the Saturday night game is on. Marissa Smith