Cafe CMBC: A Diamond in the Rough
One of the things many of us love about Chiang Mai are the many dive bars and small restaurants that litter the city with their delicious foods and cheap beer; beer you’ll never have to pour yourself if you don’t want to. No matter how long you live here, it seems you always stumble across a new bar that is frequented by loyal patrons. When I first moved here, I went to meet a friend at a bar in the Old City, just across the moat from Miguel’s Mexican Restaurant. This bar was CMBC and I fell in love (no really, I met my wife there).
Chiang Mai has excellent bars with live music, some of which I hope to highlight in this column soon. But if you’re like me, you enjoy a DJ playing some good tunes just as much as a live band, and need a little bit of both in your life. Upon entering CMBC for the first time I was very pleased to be greeted by a local DJ playing some great disco, funk, house, and techno. If you like electronic music, CMBC is a great place to relax, have a few drinks, and enjoy some good underground music. You won’t hear many of the party bangers you may have the pleasure of enjoying at Zoe in Yellow, which there is a time and a place for, but not at CMBC.
The owner, P Natt, has been moving the bar around for a while now, but the loyal clientele always follows. Some may remember CMBC as Chiang Mai Bar that was once posted up in the Zoe in Yellow complex and also in the shops across the road from Kad Suan Kaew before that. In April, CMBC moved to its brand new location on Nimmanhaemin soi 17 and it couldn’t be better. Slightly larger than the last location, it has still kept its decor and charm. It has some nice space outside and features many of Chiang Mai’s local DJs playing good music without any pretention.
Natt and his friend, Chang, are also co-owners of 99 decibel, a studio and DJ school here in Chiang Mai. You may have seen them DJing as Double Trouble at some of Northern Thailand’s big events like Warm Up’s Jive Festival in Pai. 99 Decibel offers DJ lessons as well as courses in production software like Ableton Live, Logic, and Cubase. Classes are only available in Thai, but I’m happy that there is an outlet for people interested in quality electronic music in Chiang Mai. DJs spin music nightly and many of Chiang Mai’s most seasoned DJs call CMBC home. You can catch me DJing there on Saturdays at 8pm and stick around for my friend DJ Jeremy. But even when I’m not DJing and CMBC, you still may find me there soaking in some solid tunes.