The Golden Beer Bar Closes
The Golden Beer Bar closed on 30th September 2015, after first opening way back in 1997. It was located on Soi 4, a stones throw from Nana Plaza, and was connected to the long standing and iconic Nana Hotel (As of August 2016 room rates were around 1500 baht). The owner has sold up and a
soulless premium franchise bar and restaurant is due to take it’s place.
I never really went to the Golden Bar that much, but I liked the fact that it was there. If I did want a beer or 2, it always seemed that nearly all the best seats were taken. It was like a slice of history sitting there, unchanged, year after year. A bar stuck in some sort of weird time warp where everything was old fashioned. Yes, it was dingy, a bit dirty, but it was like a throwback to a bygone era in the past that is currently being erased and forgotten at breakneck speed.
It had it’s place, but too much time has passed now and the bar hasn’t moved with the times, or rather it couldn’t move with the times. The Golden bar had a loyal following with people returning year after year, also the customers had a reputation for being cheap charlies. I don’t buy that. I think the guys that frequented the place just had good judgement on what is a good bar.
The Golden bar did the basics right, reasonably priced drinks, perfect people watching and ladies inside that didn’t hassle too much. It also had the bonus of being one of the best bars to drink at and eye up the freelancers. The service was fine and in the last few years it was very rare to hear stories of any unsavoury incidents that happened in the bar.
The view from the Golden bar gave a wonderful sight of the front of Nana Plaza, and its adjacent premises. If you blinked you could have imagined sipping you beer in any one of the 18 years it was open for, the bar was that unchanged and oozing nostalgia.
The one time that I ALWAYS did go to the Golden bar was during the Songkran Thai New Year festival. Songkran is basically 3 days of drunken waterfighting madness. With it’s prime position near Nana Plaza and opposite the huge Hillary 4 bar (before 2012 it was Strikers), people tended to congregate near the Golden Bar and contribute to the Songkran bedlam.
If you were on the hunt for freelancers, you couldn’t go wrong with sitting on the side of the bar next to the Nana Hotel car park. Smile, speak slowly and clear, and negotiate a price that both parties are happy with.
On my last visit I couldn’t get a front or even a table seat in the low season. I had to hunch over the bar alone nursing my beer, while trying to watch some sport on a grainy, flickering widescreen TV. Watching sports must have been low on the priorities for many Golden Bar customers.
The Golden Bar drink prices were very reasonable. Not jacking the prices up yearly or at every given opportunity. This meant little hassling for the lady drinks which you can see in the above pic were a very reasonable 80 baht.
Drink receipts were all hand written, not on par with the automated bills that many of the bars on Soi Nana use today.
Thinking about Bangkok bars that are high on the nostalgia factor, they are getting thin on the ground these days. One notable exception would be the Country Road Bar on Blade Runner Alley (or what is left of it – Oct 2015). If you get the chance to visit this bar, you won’t regret it, especially if you like playing pool or live music.
The above video has some footage inside the Golden bar from September 2015.
Check here for Bangkok112 recommended hotels close to Nana Plaza.
So another one bites the dust. The Bangkok Nightlife Scene is constantly evolving at the moment, with in particular money pouring into Nana Plaza bars in preparation for this years high season.
When, in place of the Golden Bar, the new premium franchise bar and restaurant opens what will the clientele think of all the scantily clad freelancers loitering around? If you are paying 300 baht for a beer and 600 for a burger then surely seeking out freelancers won’t be your scene. And how about the ageing Nana Hotel itself?
Maybe this move is only the first step, and a bigger development is on the horizon for the Nana Hotel? No doubt the freelancers will move around to new spots for getting customers if needed, with the walk at the front of the current Strikers bar being popular at present. Time will tell what will happen but the old saying rings true that is absolutely no sentiment in business, and you must evolve or die.