Bangkok Blender

Finding sobriety just too boring, Dan and Stu wave goodbye to their newfound AA friends and seek out the bright lights and late nights of Bangkok’s legendary nightlife.  Will the boys still be on form after a month out of training?  Crack a can and read on.

6:06pm, Gulliver’s, Sukhumvit Soi 5

Always a place to park at Gulliver’s

Dan: This Khaosan institution squats halfway down Soi 5 among the massage and tattoo parlours like a well-dressed dragon.  Inside is all neon, TV monitors and slick fittings, long on decoration, short on atmosphere.  It’s not really their fault as the place is massive, with non-smoking areas, a beer garden, chess superdome and pool tables up the wazoo, but the place feels more like a drinking-factory than a proper pub.  As it is, the customers seem to be older tourists and expats and English teachers, except for the fellow across the bar in wraparound shades, who was obviously a dickhead.

Stu: A behemoth of a beer hall, straight from the corporate cookie-cutter, as are the clientele – ideal for lonely travellers missing the chain-pub atmosphere, or lack thereof.  The most interesting features are the spinning car and the huge guitar-shaped bar.  Having been on the wagon for some weeks, we wanted a neutral, friendly kind of place to start the evening, but this was just too much, and could only stand to stay for two beers.

6:50pm, Bully’s, 8 Sukhumvit Road

ET the liver killer

Stu: Following the recommendation of barfly/guru Andy (a pissup pioneer whose generous nose for the sauce is always pointed toward the finest of public houses), we found ourselves in Bully’s.  Being early, we caught the tail-end of the after-work herd and decided to liven up the place.  Luckily owner and operator ‘E.T’ was at hand to provide the fuel for a tour of his boozy universe.  And what a trip it was, blasting us into orbit with atomic-strength Jager-bombs and laying on in-flight refuels of Heineken.  After a quick briefing on the bartripping mission, E.T stepped up the pace, matching us drink for drink with the highest octane booze in the hold.

Dan: Opening last December, Bully’s is an example of Bangkok’s drinking future.  On the site of a shitty old girly-bar, the room has been transformed into an American/European style drinker.  Lots of wood and bulls about (the name refers to the animal, not the clientele) one could be forgiven for forgetting you’re in Bangkok.  Then again, after a few drinks E.T did offer us each a blowjob, so perhaps we weren’t so far from home after all.  As it turned out, he was using an old bit of barman’s wit and two tall shot glasses appeared on our table, leaving me red-faced and doing up my fly.  What we didn’t know was the shooters were a feint and E.T was setting us up for a one-two punch when the Duval, a super-strength (9.5%) Belgian beer that makes Chang look like orange juice.  It’s an ancient brew and as Stu said “You become history after drinking it.”  Switching back to local beer to calm our nerves and regroup E.T brought out the big guns, delivering two double Belfast Carbombs (a heady mix of Jameson’s whiskey, Bailey’s, Guinness topped off with nitro) to the table.  Taking the bull by the horns we lifted glasses and fought our way to the bottom.  Sad to say, we left half a beer unfinished, a bartripping no-no, on our retreat to the door.  I’m told Bully’s serves up an excellent Sunday roast, has free Wi-Fi and regular live blues music but I really can’t remember a thing.

9:30pm, Bed Supperclub, Sukhumvit 11

Dan: One kebab from Soi 3 later and we were feeling up to facing Bed Supperclub.  There had been the opening of their ‘Fossil’ art installation, accompanied by two hours of free-flowing vodka, which was our original target, but we arrived just in time to miss it.  Looked like it had been a roaring night though as we fit right into the legless crowd, captained by Untamed Travel cartoonist and vodka aficionado Nigel Price.  The installation is an old roadside petrol kiosk and to my disappointment they weren’t serving mixers from the pump.  However, as anyone who has hired a motorcycle in the back-blocks of Asia knows, these places serve their petrol out of old whiskey bottles, reproduced faithfully in this swanky bar, which I found deliciously ironic.  Equally delicious were the drinks being poured down my throat by the two European lasses Stuart was schmoozing.  As a married man, my role has gone from group leader to wingman, soon to be grounded and put on traffic control, so did my best to intercept bogies while Stu went in for his bombing run. 

Stu: Bollocks!  Mr. Freebooze had left the building, so I abandoned the exhibition in search of an alcoholic benefactor and was fortunate to encounter an ill DJ in the shape of Jamie, a.k.a DJ Octo.  The charitable thing to do was relieve the poorly-feeling performer of his drink-tickets (Cheers Octo), thus shouldering the burden of the morrow’s hangover.  Truly plastered by now and obviously in desperate need of female conversation, I tried out a new bartripping strategy by clutching Dan’s notepad and interviewing any woman with a pulse and a drink in her hand.  Before I knew it, I had stumbled into two young flowers, freshly plucked from the heart of Europe who expressed suspicion at my drooling, profanity-laden interview technique.  Clearly it was time for plan B – stop speaking, start writing.  What resulted was a permanent record and testimony to my clumsy and vulgar attempt at seduction, but we live and learn.

1:20am, Four Brothers Noodle Stall, Sukhumvit 11

Stu: Sensing an imminent coma, Dan suggested a noodle remedy.  The only memories I have of this part of the night are the stains on my t-shirt, but then memories can be deceptive.

Dan: Hardly the social hub of Bangkok, this noodle stall is nevertheless an institution and witness to many of my late-night ‘one for the road’ mistakes.  Tonight was no exception and we found ourselves supping ‘one for the gutter’ out of 7-11 Big Gulp cups.  It’s a testament to the cunningness of street-vendors and the trusting naivety of police that we can do this right under the noses of the law and order machine.  The booze took Stuart hard though, ranting at the staff and refusing to pay.  It must have been a big night as we could only get one down before retiring to our respective beds with only a brewing hangover for company.  But I learned something that night, and again in the morning – never order a drink that comes with whipped cream on top.

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