At around 23:00, Khao San Road's clubs kick into life. These play mostly hip-hip, house and pumping pop, alongside a dash of indie, rock and reggae. Some of the most popular venues for dance music lovers include Lava Bar, The Club and Immortal, with locals DJ's working up a storm that pulls in a crowd most nights.
For those not partial to being pummeled by electronic beats, there are several pubs and bars with live music. Brick Bar and Shamrock are especially noteworthy for their slick bands and popularity among both locals and visitors. And a Moroccan themed newcomer on Chakrapong Road, Gazebo, is well worth checking out. Head here for a smoky shisha session while you sway to the live reggae band, followed by a late night cocktail and dance in the DJ room next door. Very eclectic, very Khao San.
This exotic dance music sanctuary is the creation of the Club Astra team (a casualty of RCA's notoriously fickle crowds). Now run by owner of Café Democ, Club Culture features some of the most sophisticated lineup of international DJs and live bands, including Sutcliffe Jügend, Madness, DJ Nakadia and DJ Toby White. The four floors, each with a different music theme, offers everything from electro-house, techno, disco, hip-hip, dance, indie, rock to live acts. Depending on the evening, admission rarely exceeds 500 baht, with a free drink thrown in. Some nights are free.
- Opening Hours: 21:00-02:00 (closed Mondays)
- Location: Rajdamnoen Klang (behind Rattanakosin Exhibition Hall, close to Democracy Monument)
- Tel: +66 (0)89 497 8422
A legendary player in the Khao San music scene, Immortal has cracked the secret for longevity: play the music you love, and crank it very, very loud. With drum & bass, punk, rock, metal and nu-metal sometimes played, the music policy has a distinct alternative, industrial edge. However, this is a hip-hop club at heart. Has various Happy Hour offers, and the price of entry (which varies according to the night) includes a drink. Dark, shady and unglamorous, but often very fun.
- Location: 1st floor of the Bayon Building, 249 Khao San Road
- Tel: +66 (0)5 812 9111
Gazebo is a rooftop bar-cum-club where balmy winds and nocturnal city views mix into a heady cocktail. It's all a little like the entrance to a half-built pleasure palace. Resist the temptation to turn back; views entertain while you sip cocktails in what feels like an upscale Moroccan loft. The plump cushions, the soft lamps, the shisha pipes (and the lack of air-conditioning…) are all heavily redolent of Cairo.
Includes ‘The Zed Bar’ – a state-of-the-art DJ room where you can belly dance into the small hours. A sultry evening breeze heightens the Arabian Night's feel, while the live reggae band adds to the eclecticism. Then, once the cocktails have kicked in and your eyes glazed over, head next door to meet Gazebo's raucous alter ego: a small, dark club room thick with 3am nocturnes and loud dance beats. Entry is 300 baht after midnight.
- Opening Hours: 20:00 - Late
- Location: Upstairs, 44 Chakrapong Road
- Tel: +66 (0)2 629 0705
Drenched in dim scarlet light and located in a long, dark modern basement, this hip-hop dungeon is the closest thing to a subterranean netherworld you'll find on Khao San. Half-naked backpackers and pretty locals are served by suggestively dressed waitresses, while kids with attitude, baggy pants and bling, bump and grind. Wannabe hustler DJs play moody hip-hop to rival the setting. Only gets busy after 11:00 and entry is free.
- Location: Basement of the Bayon building, 249 Khao San Road
- Tel: +66 (0)2 281 6565
Relive the days when trance music, not Black Eyed Peas, ruled Khao San! Offering the full-on hands-in-the-air 'rave' experience (complete with complimentary glow-sticks), The Club is the sort of sleek, snazzy joint you'd expect to find in Ibiza Town - only minus the vain DJs and drug-addled masses. What it does have is a big dance Read More...
- Opening Hours: 20:00 - 02:00
- Location: 123 Khao San Road
- Tel: +66 (0)2 629 1100
Located downstairs from Gazebo Club Khaosan (where the Jazz Gallery used to be) with live Thai Rock/Pop bands every night playing a mix of Thai and International songs depending on the crowd.
Sleek air-conditioned design, smart casual dress code and free entry every night - enjoy shisha pipes on the outside balcony, and live jazz every Tuesday night! Very reasonable drink prices.
- Opening Hours: 20:00-03:00
- Location: 44 Chakrapong Road
- Tel: +66 (0)2 629 5821-2
Ad Here the 13th
Stripped down to the raw essentials - bar, tables and instruments - Ad Here the 13th is a diminutive blues and jazz spot that never fails to make a big impression on those who find it. Only on weekends, when the earthy sounds and people spill out on to the street would you notice it on passing - it's a tiny hole in the wall. Despite the bare, bohemian feel there's a warm, welcoming atmosphere that attracts Thais, discerning tourists and expats in equal numbers. A resident blues band with a loyal following plays nightly from around 22:00. Occasional special events and frequent jams by other locals ensures a bit of variety for the regulars. Beers are reasonably priced at 60 to 70 baht. Well worth finding.
- Opening Hours: 17:00 - 00:00
- Location: 13 Samsen Road, Banglamphu
Bombay Blues is a popular little Indian restaurant on Soi Rambuttri. It’s a vibrant red-and-yellow painted house with luxurious interiors and a great place to bring a date or a crowd of friends for delicious food and after-dinner entertainment. The menu is extensive, from buttery paneer to some of the tastiest mutton Bangkok has to offer, and the waiter is happy to make recommendations should you want to try something other than chicken tikka massala. Bombay Blues is laid-back and good value; you’ll have no problem making a night of it.
- Opening Hours: Daily 18:00 to 01:00
- Location: At the far end of Soi Rambuttri, Chao Fah Road
- Address: 51 Soi Rambutri, Banglampoo Phra Nakhon, Bangkok, 10200
- Tel: +66 (0) 2 629 3590
- Tour Available: Bombay Blues
Dark, cavernous and with its signature red brick walls, this intimate venue has a distinctly European air that is matched by some serious attention to music. With low-lighting and a live music policy that skirts deftly between jazz, blues and ska, it's a real magnet for boisterous locals. Best of all the bands is a colourful Thai outfit Read More...
- Opening Hours: 18:00 - 01:00
- Location: 265 Khao San Road, downstairs at rear of Buddy Lodge complex
- Tel: +66 (0)2 629 4477
Hidden away on the road parallel to Khao San Road, Soi Rambuttri, this has 'discovery' written all over it. A neat water feature wall lines the narrow pathway entrance. This striking entrance however is outdone by a chic modern interior consisting of two intimate floors of sleek glass and steel, and festooned with lots of funky furniture. The cocktails are a winner here, and there's a backroom to cater for all your dancing needs.
- Location: 106 Soi Rambuttri
- Tel: +66 (0)2 629 4075
The Tuk-Tuk mounted like a trophy above its entrance at the Chakrapong Road end of Khao San, is one of the first things many backpackers see on arriving in South-East Asia. With its comforting Euro sports bar ambiance, pool tables and TV's screening wall-to-wall sport, for many it's also one of the last.
Schools of seductive female pool-sharks encircle a clientele comprised mainly of boozy male farang. At around 22:30 each night it morphs into a wild Club-Med style disco, complete with cheesy chart hits and people using pool tables as podiums.
- Opening Hours: 11:00 - 02:00
- Location: 2 Khao San Road
- Tel: +66 (0)2 629 1988
Hippie de Bar
A funky jewel of a bar in an area drowning in tastelessness, Hippie de Bar is all cool kitsch and cool kids. In a small, calm courtyard, down a side alley off the main strip is this cozy two-storey house decked out in old school memorabilia.
This artsy interior draws gangs of hip Thai adolescents, while the greenery and serenity of the fairy-light lit courtyard appeals more to strung out backpackers. Add a good line in tangy cocktails, superb Thai grub and you've got one of the few places on Khao San Road with real personality.
- Opening Hours: 11:00 - 01:00
- Location: 46 Khao San Road
- Tel: +66 (0)1 820 3762
This once-hidden gem is becoming more popular by the day, with the Khao San crowd gradually realizing that you don’t have to travel across town to Vertigo or the Sky Bar to experience a decent rooftop bar. Views from the top are nice (you can see the impressive Rama VIII Bridge and Phra Sumera fortress) along with plenty of other perks. The cute fake-grass lawn at the very top is a nice gimmick (with comfy floor seating), and an in-house band play local covers as the sun sets over the Old City. To find it, enter Fortville Guesthouse (around the corner from Phra Arthit Road) and take what seems to be the world’s slowest elevator to the fifth floor.
- Opening Hours: 18:00-01:00 daily
- Location: 5/F, Fortville Guesthouse, Phrasumeru Road
- Tel: +66(0)2 282 3932
Khao San Centre
On the face of it there is little to commend Khao San Centre. It's busy, shabby, hot and the staff often a tad brusque. There's no live music. However, before you briskly stroll past with your nose up, hold up a second - and listen! Open 24 hours a day, this open-fronted watering hole is eternally abuzz with the chatter of travellers swapping stories and comparing notes.
Excitable new arrivals about to embark on their Southeast Asian adventure glean tips from sage old timers who've been at it for months - and look like it. This conviviality, and the fact it's one of the best places on the strip to people watch, make it worthy of the newcomers patronage at least once. Shamrock - the icily air-conditioned live music Irish bar - sits.
- Opening Hours: 24 Hours
- Location: 80 Khao San Road
One of the best views of the Khao San is from the seats that run along the open side of this casual bar. Every night Roof Bar hosts a series of acoustic music sessions, covering classics from Billy Joel to Oasis. Whilst the format is very similar to many of the bars along this famous strip, the vibe is very different. Slightly more expensive drinks means the crowd aren’t just here to get drunk, but they still want to have a good time. If you’ve always thought that the madness of Khao San would be too much for you, this is the perfect place to get a taste of it. Grab a classic cocktail and enjoy a less chaotic evening than those partying in the street below.
- Location: Half way along the Khao San with a big sign hanging over the street and the sound of guitar drifting down.
Slick local bands play every night at this popular Irish themed pub, the sounds revolving around alternative hits from bands such as Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nickelback, Oasis, U2 and Nirvana. They serve chilled Guiness, but the mixed Thai and foreign crowd come mostly for whisky chasers, to sing-along to anthems and dance in refreshing air-conditioned surroundings. It's very loud up front though, so forget about chatting.
- Opening Hours: 12:00 - 01:00
- Location: 2nd floor of Khao San Centre, Khao San Road
- Tel: +66 (0)2 282 4366
One of the new breed, Silk Bar is the archetypal upmarket Khao San establishment, a place where international fusion foods meet with trendy venue design and loud lounge music. Head inside to revel in the stylish interiors, or go al fresco on the raised terrace, from where you can sit and gaze with cool detachment and a cocktail at the human zoo walking by.
- Opening Hours: 08:00 - 02:00
- Location: 129-131 Khao San Road
- Tel: +66 (0)2 281 9981