Walking Street Rock
I must confess this week was a rather pleasant one. Given this month's Pattaya Trader's theme: “Night Life & Entertainment”,I suddenly found myself in charge of a peculiar task. My monthly mission now involved a research task- I was to walk the crowded sidewalks of Walking street looking for the top Rock and Roll Bars our lovely Sin City has to offer...
Of-course I had no choice but to take this task head on and do exactly what had to be done: One beer at a time, I was going to bar hop from bar to bar until I had the ultimate list of the top venues that have live band performances - after all, what would Pattaya be without all it's Rock n Roll?
To ensure my research would be as loyal as possible to the infamous “ Rock Attitude” I decided to begin the walk the only way a real Rock and Roller would - backwards!. So, making my way from the end of walking street (by Bali Hi pier that is) I begun what would turn out to be another amazing night filled with intoxicating riffs, catchy vocals and the right amount of beers. Here are some of the facts uncovered...
“To ensure my research would be as loyal as possible to the infamous rock attitude we all love, I decided to begin the walk the only way Rock 'n' Roll would: Backwards.”
Utopia Rock-House, an unexpected blast from the past :
Location: Almost at the end of walking street, about 50 meters past Soi 16 on the left hand side if you are walking towards Bali Hi Pier.
Price-Range: Bottled beers go for 110 THB, draught Singha is 90 THB per glass and you can get bottles of spirits starting at 800 THB for Sang-Som, the Black Label bottle will cost you 2000 THB to open !
Stepping into the Rock House of Pattaya certainly took on an unexpected turn when I noticed the guys playing here are the same band members that used to make up the Climax Band! They were a really good band that used to play at the Climax Bar in Walking Street some 10 years ago when I was a kid my friend and I would get drunk and sing along to their Green Day covers every single weekend.
You can imagine my surprise (and excitement) to find them still making a living out of their Rocking Ways. Things were different however: they have a new drummer (later I found out their awesome drummer Ricky has sadly passed away last year), an extra man in charge of keyboards and a scrawny looking man with the voice of an angel.
Certainly a recommendable show, both the main guitar player with his speed solos and catchy riffs (not only the kind that resembles Jimmy Hendrix’s style of playing - very similar to the “Guitar GOD's” unique ways) coupled with the singer’s amazing range and harmonious power - all guaranteed a pretty inspiring performance.
The Rolling Live 2:
Location: On Walking Street right at the Soi 16 intersection
Price-Range: 95 THB for local bottled beers, 200 for imported ones like Corona
Another iconic rock and roll bar at “Walking”, the venue has an open bar style with no air-con, certainly a lot roomier than Utopia Rock House and with a slightly different style..
The music played at the bar varies depending on the band (they have 2 rotating groups) which will always play Rock and Roll music, but the second band (which comes on at around 11 pm) focuses more on newer, more 'hip' rock songs and experimental sounds (they even performed a Shakira song in a “Metal style” while I was there) the other band, which generally starts playing at around 8-9 PM will mainly do metal and old-school classic rock and roll.
I was rather surprised to have spotted a few younger couples at this bar including some Russian backpackers and a couple of British expat, which again, I think, reflects the band's willingness to play more current songs rather than focus only on the classic aspect of Rock 'n' Roll .
Location: Right Across from Rolling Bar 2 which is located at the intersection of Walking Street and Soi 16
Price-Range: Slightly more expensive than the other places, expect to pay 160THB for all bottle beers, their Sang-Som bottles start at 700 THB
In all fairness, I probably wouldn't call this venue a rock bar since their performances focuses on other music genres ranging from Latin rhythms to the latest pop hits. Why mention them in this article you wonder? Well it's simple: They are quite good!
The band has 6 members including 2 male rappers/singers, a very powerful female voice, percussion, keyboards and guitars - which gives them quite a range regarding the songs they can play,
If you like live performances but don't feel like some old-school Rock and Roll, you should definitely come check this bar out. The fancier decorations and air-conditioned room all go to make it a much better option when having to entertain a female counterpart.
Blue Sky 3:
Location: Right at the corner of Walking and the begging-in of soi BJ.
Price: Bottle beers are 95 THB
I'm not exactly sure if it was the timing, but based on the few songs I saw the band perform I can tell you this was the Metal venue of the evening. Before I could order my first beer “The Ace of Spades” from Motor-Head kick-started the crowd into a loud roar of cheers.
Both the band and the singer perfectly compliment each-other with powerful spot-on vocals and face-melting guitar skills. The musical equipment used at this bar seemed to be slightly superior to the other bars as their guitars and bass lines seemed to be that much clearer. I would absolutely recommend this bar for any Heavy Metal fan.
Location: On Walking Street, opposite Blue Sky 3 and the entrance to soi BJ
Price-Range: You can have bottled beers for 95 THB and the Sang-Som glasses will cost you no more than 100 THB. So quite the standard Walking Street prices we are all used to !
Ok, this bar might not have a live band but they certainly keep the Rock and Roll blasting all night, so they really do deserve a mention ! Quite an old feature on Walking, I used to start my teenage drinking sessions in this same bar every single Friday, my teen years are certainly past, but Abby's bar remains as iconic as always.
Apart from the friendly hostesses who will stop at nothing to ensure you are kept happily intoxicated, I should mention that there is a huge CD collection that gives this bar an attractive perspective. By being polite you will quickly notice that you are given access to this great collection of tunes as you can sit back, relax and request any of your old-time favorite songs. The beers are cold, the high-quality sound system loud and you have the choice of whichever song you want to be played next , what else do you need?
The Blues Factory:
Price: Bottle beers are 110 THB
What can I tell you? Jimmy Page from Led Zeppelin has been spotted in here checking out Lam Morrison's amazing guitar performances. If it's good enough for Jimmy, it's certainly good for me! I will warn you that I have heard Lam doesn't play here any longer (which would certainly devalue this venue) and the fact he wasn't there when I went does seem to support this. But hey! Give it a try during the weekend, you might get lucky and see the man himself on stage.
The Stone House:
So I reach the end of my journey at the “beginning of Walking street” !. Now, it might have been because I got to this bar at around midnight, but the music styles that were being played didn't impress me that much. From popular Issan style songs to corny 80's hits, there just wasn’t enough Rock and Roll and challenging guitar solos for me to recommend this bar to music lovers.
That said, if you are looking for some female attention this is the place. After all, this was the busiest bar of all the bars I visited on the night, and though the music did not per say fulfill my Rock n Roll needs, the atmosphere in this huge venue was indeed festive and a good place to end my evening!