Everyone who has been to Bangkok has heard of the Q Bar, one of the city's most renowned nightclubs. For years, it was the party spot and cutting-edge night venue in Thailand.
Owner David Jacobson, famed for his know-how in putting together top party venues, decided it was time for the Q Bar to be laid to rest, and now he has resurfaced in a much more intimate establishment.
Smalls, a hole-in-the-wall cocktail and jazz bar has been all the latest buzz in the Bangkok bar community.
The intimate setting at Smalls — Photo courtesy of Smalls Bangkok
Smalls is set in a three-story shophouse over on Suan Plu off of Sathorn Road, which seems to be Bangkok's most up-and-coming new drinking spot, with several small and intimate venues serving drinks in a classy and eclectic environment that caters to a mix of well-heeled Thais, foreigners, bohemians and stylish bar connoisseurs.
While Smalls certainly is small, it does have three stories to choose from. The top level is an open-air roof hangout, and the second floor has a balcony plus indoor seating set around a dumbwaiter, just one of the many interesting knick-knacks and curios that are part of the scene here, giving patrons plenty to talk about over their signature drinks.
The drink list is pretty extensive, and given Jacobson's Francophile leanings and prior stint running the cozy Parisienne-style Le Derriere in the back of the Q Bar, there's plenty of absinthe on the list, with a traditional absinthe fountain at the bar. There are Belgian beers, fine wines and some light snacks like chicken wings to go with the alcohol.
Bangkok nights at Smalls — Photo courtesy of Smalls Bangkok
In complete contrast to the Q Bar, Smalls is a place where you can talk and be heard, but it's also a great venue for music, as they feature live jazz here with the Dan Phillips Quartet showing up each week. Phillips is a real virtuoso, and it's a great intimate venue to see him perform in. The bar also has had a few DJ evenings and other local performers taking to the small stage.
There are plenty of themed nights as well. Sundays sees Smalls serving up excellent Vietnamese Pho, and Mondays sees two drinks for one for people in the hospitality industry.
Stepping through the classic revolving doors at Smalls, one feels far away from Bangkok; the vibe and look is far more Paris, Berlin, or New York, as is the clientele.
It's one cool, eclectic and novel joint, well worth a trip to.