The buzz: A passionate member of the local film industry, Paul Spurrier (who directed Thai ghost horror P in 2005) decided that he wanted to create a club where fellow filmmakers, students and film buffs could get together and discuss the latest movie projects and film news. The result is the Friese-Green Club, named after a British pioneer of motion pictures, an informal members club where you can sip a beer and catch nightly screenings of classic movies that are very, very rarely shown anywhere else in Thailand.
The décor: The venue itself is like something out of a movie. Head down a narrow soi just after the Imperial Queen’s Park Hotel, wander past the Muslim Thai restaurant Usman and you’ll come to an impressive wooden door—ring the brass bell and wait. If they like the look of you and let you inside then you’ll find yourself standing in the lofty entrance of a three-story shophouse which was converted from a former tailor’s workshop. Now it has all the feel of a gentlemen’s club, thanks to the tall bookshelf and writing desk that greet you, albeit one with a passion for movies, thanks to the classic movie posters that line the walls, the owner’s collection of vintage film cameras and even a slightly out-of-place looking Tardis (Dr. Who’s time-traveling police box) tucked in one corner. There are a number of LCD screens by the bar showing that night’s film. Head up the metal spiral staircase to the small second-floor mezzanine, which has a solitary sofa for more private moments, while the third floor is home to the impressive nine-seat cinema—complete with proper cinema seats and a big screen.
The films: The most exciting thing about this place has to be the choice of movies being shown every night (except Tuesday) at 8pm. Most weeks will feature a theme—with previous weeks covering American Independents (Gummo, Kids, The Last Supper) and Aussie Rules (Bad Boy Bubby, Walkabout and Romper Stomper)—while Sunday nights are dedicated to older classics.
The crowd: At the moment it’s mostly a foreign audience of filmophiles, though the owner is really keen for more Thais to come and enjoy the movies on offer. Depending on demand, it may eventually become a members club proper, but at present they are happy for anyone to drop by. You can book tickets to a screening (limited to two seats per booking) through their website but even if upstairs is full, films are shown on LCD screens behind the bar and on the second floor.
The price: Nothing too complicated with the usual range of local and imported beers, from B90 for a Leo to B140 for a Paulaner Munchner Hell. Whiskey starts from B105 for a Johnny Walker Black. There’s a good list of cocktails (from B90 for a margarita), though, with each one referenced back to its appearance in a particular movie. There’s no kitchen at present but you can order in takeaway from Usman or the pizza place over the road.
Why you’ll come back: We love the quirky set-up but the real draw has to be the excellent movie line-up and the chance to shoot the breeze with fellow film fanatics. Nick Measures