Sukhumvit Road's latest nightlife addition, BarSu at the Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit, promises a sophistication currently lacking from the Bangkok bar scene. With bold contemporary design, forward-looking food and a daringly different music policy, it delivers. The team behind it have crafted an elegant space that works not by fitting into the 'loud beats' trend for bars, but by giving customers' pleasure-seeking impulses - not dance music - pride of place.
A place to eat, play and dance
"We wanted to create somewhere not so loud that you can't relax with your friends," says Fabrice de Barsy, the Belgian businessman behind the venture. "A space as suited to eating, talking or drinking with your friends as it is to dancing".
That's where the 'EATPLAYDANCE' slogan splashed across the billboard outside, and the adverts seen recently in the local press, comes in. Instead of the DJ being king as is the case in many venues around Bangkok, the customer at BarSu gets centre stage, the focus very much on giving them a rounded carousing experience.
Clientele get a lively ambiance in which to enjoy creative food, interesting wines and an eclectic selection of world sounds, giving it appeal to anyone dissatisfied with Bangkok's current nightlife offerings, especially 30-somethings.
It's no slouch in the looks department either. The team of designers, consultants and artistic talent who conceived and created BarSu have created a visually arresting oval-shaped space. The place radiates a warm, modish atmosphere courtesy of some subtle spot lighting and hundreds of colorful candle holders, with earth-toned sofas and smooth marble surfaces.
An oval shaped bar has pride of place in the centre, and above it a metallic dome-like structure lends the room a futuristic streak. It, like the sides of the bar and the open kitchen, can change colour, morphing from vivid reds or blues or pinks (Fabrice prefers to change this subtlety over the course of the evening rather than disrupt mood and ambiance with a light show).
A seating area on the right gives plenty of space for friends to relax and chat, especially the four cozy seating alcoves that lend intimacy to any get-together, and alongside that are plenty of high-tables and stools.
Tapas-style nibbles by a Michelin chef
The management realizes that bar food is most fun when informal. The pleasing result is a Western and Asian Tapas-style menu created by Belgian 2-star Michelin chef, Yves Mattagne. Prepared at an eye-catching open kitchen, everything comes well executed and presented, with futuristic flair.
Using a clipboard and notepad menu you order by ticking a box next to your choice, tearing off your order and handing it to one of the attentive waitresses. It's casual, and its fun.
Culinary delights include sushi, tempura, yakitori, fresh oysters, seared fish and meats, tapas, wapas and tempting sweet treats, all of which are bite-sized, modestly priced and perfect for sharing. The seared scallops with wasabi flavored mash (220 baht), for example, were deliciously decadent, the angus beef and eggplant skewers (190 baht) tender and succulent, and seared duck liver on Tuna Maki (320) art on a plate, magic in the mouth. Perhaps most exciting though was BarSu's Tom Yum Kung (180 baht), a warm jelly that captured the classics essence and that's as compelling as it sounds bizarre.
Sexy concoctions to swing the mood
Fresh, flavoursome and energetic, all dishes seem designed to put you in the mood to play and dance. They also form the perfect accompaniment to the cocktails available (priced around 350 baht). Alongside old favourites, award-winning barman Filippo Baldan has created eleven original, sexy concoctions including the BarSu Oyster Martini, the Tahiti (a wonderful blend of Absolut vanilla, Tahiti vanilla and fresh pineapple) and the Aphrodisiac (Greygoose, fresh pineapple, basil and ginger) with its strong herbal tinges.
And for wine lovers, there's a stylish wine area with high tables and bottles housed in a temperature-controlled environment, giving you a choice of bold and fruity New World wines or subtle Old World favourites.
Next to this is the DJ and dancing area where, Fabrice proudly tells me, "house, hip-hop or techno have no place." Instead, Latin beats, soul, funk, rock, 70s, 80s and world music rule - a music policy you'd more likely find in a hip club in, say, London's Notting Hill - and a welcome formula that rebels against Bangkok's love for the formulaic.
And at lounge (sound) levels that slowly picks up as the night wears on. Considerable attention was paid also to sound engineering in the club, by investing in a hi-tech digital sound system, and making sure that the seating area is 'chat-friendly'.
City Sophisticates take note
It will be interesting to see how it goes down with the city sophisticates it's hoping to attract. You won't find a raucous party here, but it's a place perfectly suited to eating, playing or dancing long into the night with colleagues, friends or lovers.
- Opening Hours: 18:00 - 02:00
- Location: BarSu, 250 Sukhumvit Road, Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit
- BTS: Asok
- Tel: +66 (0)2 649 8358
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Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit
The Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit, A Luxury Collection Hotel has a familiar feel due to the successful tried and tested set-up, which provides the ultimate in convenience, service and amenities for all their guests.The tanned wood, soft lighting and marble floor combination in the lobby will remind you of past vacations, as will the efficient service with a smile and the subtle water features dotted around.The breakfast buffet opposite reception is set in an impressive glass atrium with sweeping views of Sukhumvit Road below.Six separate dining and drinking options in the 420 room hotel ensure guests never really have to leave, although Terminal 21 shopping mall is a fun trip out and directly connected to the hotel. Read More...