I arrived in Bangkok for the first time about thirty years ago and the best little music bar in town was atop a semi-derelict house at Ratprasong Junction, the site of which is now the Inter-Continental. I’ve never checked it out if just a coincidence, but with the demise of that great little bar, the most significant music event was the arrival of Saxophone Pub at Victory Monument .
While the opening of the roomy house and subsequent arrival of a loyal clientele looking for good food, good music and loads of sanook was a slow build, the pub owners soon saw the rewards of building the business around a music policy that today guarantees music every night of the week and sometime two or three bands in one evening, often playing on until past 2 in the morning. And for more than two decades, this famously relaxed spot has been a favourite among musicians and music lovers alike and a platform for new bands.
As the name suggests, they do have jazz. But now, with live bands each night you get to hear live sets from either aspiring new groups or established professionals with anything from jazz, blues and reggae to mainstream hard rock.
The restaurant is separated into two floors, the second floor with a combination of booths, comfortable seats and floor seating Thai-style. The first floor has the main bar and is intentionally set up for getting involved in the music, but with plenty of nooks and crannies and space to dine too.
There is pool on the second floor but with all this choice it is not cramped by any means. The pub also features monthly art exhibitions by noteworthy artists in Thailand. Revenues from art sales are dedicated to Sound and Vision Foundation, which supports art-educational funds for children.
Saxophone Pub and Restaurant is certainly one of the best jazz and blues music venues in Bangkok and has helped launch the careers of Thai household names like Koh Mr Saxman, T-Bone Band, Neung Jakkawal Band, The Emergency, JRP Little Band and many more.
Thailand’s favorite ska group, T-Bone, performs here often, as does Thailand’s own blues maestro Chai Blues and his protege Ped Bluesman, but the variety means that any night you step by, you won’t be disappointed.