Chew to the beat at these restaurants with live music

Bay Ta Ra—Bar Ta Le

The scene: Hip glass building brings a bit of seaside ambiance to the crammed street of Khao San with its vivid blue pool surrounded by a bar and beach chairs. Seating in air-con comfort or on the second floor patio.

The food: The menu is designed to suit a more mature and less price-conscious crowd, and most dishes are toned down to cater to farang followers. But you can rely on fast and friendly service, so go ahead and try the signature Kai Bay Ta Ra (deep-fried chicken nuggets with house sauce). A small selection of wines is on offer.

The music: Acoustic easy-listening tunes early on and then things get wilder later as a resident DJ spins hip hop hits. He’s followed by a full band performing both Thai and English pop songs.

Noise level: Easy, like a sea breeze.

100 Soi Rambutri, Jakraphong Rd., 02-281-2899, 08-6323-5403. Open daily 6pm-1am.

Connection Bar

The scene: Two-story watering-hole with chic décor of watercolor paintings and dim lighting. The crowd is a mix of office workers and artsy types.

The food: The food is not as tempting as the décor, but there are still some good bets like hor mok talay (steamed curried seafood cake wrapped in banana leaf), lard tod (deep-fried larb balls) and kiew hor larb (crispy deep-fried wontons with larb filling).

The music: A spicy variety, from blues to bossa-nova, with three bands nightly from 8:30pm-midnight. Owner and singer Peet Peera steps up to the mic from time to time. Art Vacation croons easy-listening and jazz tunes every Thursday at 8:30pm. On Saturday, go Latin with some upbeat flamenco.

Noise level: Conversational, suitable for making new connections.
396/4 Narathiwat-Ractchanakarin Rd., 02-285-3238. Open daily 6pm-1am.


The scene: White and airy two-story house has high ceilings, clear glass walls and contemporary minimalist decoration.

The food: Dailicious lives up to its name, which means “daily delicious.” The prices are a bit on the high side (starting around B150), but the Thai dishes like green curry omelet and deep-fried shrimp spring rolls are tasty.

The music: Bands serve up Thai, English as well as a few Korean hits, Wed-Sat, 8:30pm onwards. Song requests are welcomed.

Noise level: A bit heavy. Can you read lips?

102 Narathiwat Rd., 02-676-4646. Open Sun-Thu 5:30pm-midnight, Fri-Sat 5:30pm-1am.


The scene: Located in a high-end shopping mall, this favorite lunch spot of khunying and khunnai resembles an outdoor café with its giant white umbrellas, green trees and cascading waterfall.

The food: Despite the name, Provence is known for its Thai recipes, not French—in particular kuay tiew rueh served in a huge bowl with beef and fish balls (B100).

The music: A pianist serenades the diners daily, noon-2pm and 3-6pm, performing a repertoire of international and Chinese tunes, along with the King’s musical compositions. Requests are welcomed.

Noise level: Soft, like the elegant customers.

G/F, Peninsula Plaza, Ratchadamri Rd., 02-652-1399. Open daily 11am-8pm.

Roadhouse Barbecue

The scene: Farang haunt Roadhouse Barbecue borrows a host of American traditions, including a log-cabin (or something like that) theme and a throw-your-peanut-shells-on-the-floor policy. Live music downstairs; sports bar on the third floor.

The food: Stick to the killer Buffalo Wings or the ribs, and wash it all down with one of the house or imported beers on the coldest taps in town. Ladies get 50% off food and house cocktails on Wednesdays.

The music: Every Thursday and Saturday, The Mandarin take the stage delivering familiar 80s hits and anything you request from 7:30pm onwards. Local expat band The Fugitives belt out classic rock, blues and pop covers every Friday, 9pm onwards.

Noise level: The Mandarin aren’t so loud, but the Fugitives can get pretty rowdy. Plus they have a horn section.

942/1-4 Rama 4 Rd., on the corner of Suriyawongse Rd., 02-236-8010, Open daily noon-1am.

To-Sit Pier 92

The scene: Decorated in a Mediterranean-style, this well-known riverside hangout offers both an air-conditioned dining space and an even more appealing riverside terrace.

The food: Delicious Thai fare is served ultra fast by the friendly servers. Try kaeng som cha-om kai (spicy soup with shrimp, eggs, veggies) and larb muu tord. There’s also a sushi bar if Japanese is your thing.

The music: Three bands perform acoustic Thai pop hits nightly, 9:30pm-1am.

Noise level: Not ear pier-cing. Sorry.
115 Charunsanitwong Soi 92, 02-879-1717. Open daily 4pm-1am.

Vientiane Kitchen

The scene: This open-air eatery oozes rustic Isaan charm with colorful paper lanterns, potted plants, bamboo furniture and servers in traditional costume. A great place to take international guests.

The food: The menu offers familiar hot and spicy dishes like somtum pla raa and soup nor mai (fermented bamboo shoot salad) prepared in authentic Vientiane-style. There’s also a selection of unusual items such as a hot veggie soup with ant’s eggs and miang khao pun (steamed catfish wrapped in lettuce leaves).

The music: Lively pong lang performances nightly, 7-10pm, then things get more raucous as a band churns out upcountry requests. If you book a table for 10 to celebrate a birthday party, they will perform a bai sri dance and even serve you a complimentary Thai dessert.

Noise level: Conversation is possible, but those pretty dancers can be distracting.

8 Sukhumvit Soi 36, 02-258-6171, Open daily noon-midnight.


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