The buzz: Run by one of the guys behind arty lifestyle mag Bang! and a food writer/photographer who’s also a pretty dab hand in the kitchen, Jam makes for a hip urban refuge in an unlikely residential setting, some five minutes’ walk from BTS Surasak. Open for about three months now, the small café-cum-bar has yet to have a proper launch, but its name has already started to ring out in discerning circles thanks to a few parties and exhibition openings.
The décor: Modest, homey and uncluttered. Nestled down a narrow lane, the small shophouse has all the hallmarks of a chill café by day—mix n’ match furniture, including a low couch and tables sizeable enough to work at, as well as a few curios like vintage Thai board games—but there’s enough to space (and liquor on the shelves behind the bar) to suggest things can get a more raucous at night. It’s the walls that really grab your attention; already decked out very practically in soundproofing panels, they’re also adorned with a projector screen and rotating collections of art. (The current exhibition from Dao Paoviman requires you to don 3D glasses.) With a wooden bench and stools out front, the action even spills onto the road. A thin line of trees masks the fact you’re perched right by an expressway and enhances the low-key neighborhood vibe, which is heightened by the steady stream of visitors who pop in and out.
The music: Eclectic and often crowdsourced. When we last visited, the place was alive with the best of the Beatles’ psychedelic phase, before someone’s iPod shifted the soundtrack to Malian folk music.
The food and drinks: The honest menu features fancified pub grub like fish n’ chips (dory fillet with whole egg batter, B120) and the signature Jamburger (locally sourced beef patty with Jam red wine relish, B120). Breakfast (B90-350) is reserved for the weekends with fetta scrambled eggs the specialty, available with salmon (B220), without (B180) or as part of the big breakfast (served with mushrooms, tomatoes, haloumi, bacon, hash browns and home-made bread, B350). Coffee is B50-65. As for booze, they’ve got Asahi on tap (B60 a glass), while beer by the bottle is all the regular suspects plus Beerlao (B80) and Beerlao Dark (B120). Cocktails (B150/200) include the recommended Sangsom Mojito and Red Tiger.
The crowd: It’s slightly disingenuous to say friends of the owners, as their network seems to extend far and wide. But expect to encounter bright young creative types and some daydreamers who stick around all day making the most of the free Wi-Fi.
Why you’ll come back: Not sold on the laidback vibe? Perhaps a peek at what’s in the pipeline will sway you—music nights, discussion panels, film screenings and Sunday BBQs are just some of the ideas being considered. Carl Dixon