Besides the bar-scene, Bangkok has a wide variety of places that offer a great evening out for people looking to enjoy themselves. Below I have described the most common categories. I have only named a few places, because many come and go fast. Check the links on the Sidebar to find the places that are hot >>>

Beer Gardens

In the relatively cool season from November until around February beer gardens pop up all over the place. Most of them are supported by a particular beer brand, that not only provides the beer but also the chairs, tables, tableware, and beer-girls and boys to take your order. Contrary the name, food is a big issue here. Many beer gardens have a show while you eat and drink. Singers, dancers and a band perform the latest pop songs (Thai and foreign), and may play an oldie like "Hotel California" when they spot a foreigner. Sometimes they even have a competition or a game. A good place for a relaxing evening. Food and drinks are quite cheap. [in front of Central World (seasonal)]

Western Discotheques

Western style discotheques are like the discotheques abroad. They have a band playing modern songs and/or a DJ. The dance floor has tables grouped around it. The public consists of middle and higher class Thai, mixed with resident foreigners. The entrance fee is steep (although sometimes free), the drinks are expensive and food is not always available. Dress up for this one. [Narcissus (Sukhumvit Soi 23) • CM2 (Siam Square)]

Thai Discotheques

Typical Thai discotheques do not have a dance floor. People just dance around their table in the semi-dark. Most discos have a show with song (mostly Thai) and dance and many feature a katoy (transvestite or transsexual) trying to kiss guys in the audience. Some also feature a bikini lady. She (may be a he) is one of the singers and takes off more and more clothes during the show, until she's just wearing her bikini. In most places food is not available. The public consists mainly of Thai people. There are different classes of establishments. Entrance fee depends on class and varies from free entry to buying a mandatory bottle of whiskey. [Hollywood (Ratchadapisek Road)]

Cocktail Buses

The cocktail bus (or tuk-tuk) is usually an old Volkswagen bus turned into a cocktail bar. A wide selection of cocktails is available, and at a reasonable price. I think the cocktails are too weak, so I give the bartender some extra money to make mine stronger.

Since they are mobile business, locations are not fixed. They can be found in touristy areas like Khao San or Sukhumvit Road.

Beer Halls

Also in Bangkok you can find enormous beer halls. They always have a good show with band, singers, dancers, sometimes a concert by a famous local artist. Drinks (some have their own brew) are not very expensive, food usually is. This is not a place to go dancing, but more a place to sit down and be amused. Mostly visited by Thai people. [Tawan Daeng Rama III (Rama III Road)]

Country Bars

Wooden chairs and tables, dark, and a life band that plays songs for life (pleeng peua chivit), alternating with a DJ playing whatever he feels like. Decoration comprises buffalo skulls and other animal remains. Communist style decorations are popular too. Late in the evening (alcohol first) you see people dancing in Thai style (or disco, depending on the choice of the DJ) around their tables. The public consists of ordinary Thai and especially the country bars in the outskirts of Bangkok have a very local feel. This sometimes includes a fight. The food is good but expensive, drinks are reasonably priced. [Baan Mai Daeng (Viphavadi Road) • Beurak Mai Thai (Pahonyothin Road Soi 30)]

Luuk Thung Bars

The band or singers in a luuk thung bar sing and play traditional Thai music. A singer is accompanied by a group of dancers, either girls with boots and short skirts or guys in big suits. The public can buy flower garlands to give to the singers, and the good ones have almost no space around their neck left to keep them. Some places even stage likay, a traditional Thai costume song and dance. Food is available but doesn't come cheap. [Tawan Daeng - Luuk Thung (Pattanakan Road)]

European Pubs

English and Irish pubs are quite popular in Bangkok. These places look the same as abroad, with a lot of wood on the walls and various draft beers. A popular place to watch a game too, most pubs have big T.V. screens all over the place. Games like pool and darts are available. On some evenings they have a life band playing western songs, or have the weekly quiz night. Popular with resident foreigners and Thai office workers. Both food and drinks are expensive. [Dubliner (Sukhumvit Road soi 33/1) • Shenanigan (Convent Road)]

Thai Bars, Cafe's, Pubs

Thai bars come in many many variations. Mainly Thai people meet here to eat and drink with their friends. There are two types of Thai bars.

In the first type the bar may have a singer + guitar player or a DJ, always playing low volume. The owners have given a lot of attention to the decoration, and many places look really fashionable and modern. Many of them are set up by graduated Arts students. Food and drinks are generally not expensive. [Phra Athit Road]

The second type is a lot wilder, and often has a loud live band or DJ with people dance around their tables later in the evening. This is a place to dance and make new friends. Decoration is minimal, and the place is quite dark, lighted with black light and/or laser. [Ratchadapisek Soi 4 • RCA]

Karaoke Bars

After work, plenty of Thai people go for dinner with their colleagues and sing karaoke before going home. Many smaller bars/restaurants have a karaoke machine and unfortunately most people are not too shy to use it. Food, drinks and songs are cheap. The bars that I know have no name, but this type of bar is spread all over the country. Open your ears and you will find one. Note: Don't confuse this type of bar with a hostess bar, where one can sing karaoke too (among other things).