Over the course of my two month stay in Thailand, I’ve had a host of amazing experiences. I’ve gone ocean kayaking, hiked a mountain and eaten a number of exotic foods. But one recent night, a realization struck me. I’ve never been to an authentic Thai music bar. Sure, I’ve gone to the Jazz Co-Op and Boy Blues Bar, but never to anything truly traditional, or unique to Thailand. So I whipped out my phone, and my search began. After some time, I came across Hom Bar, a popular and trendy location with great live music. I soon discovered that a concert was taking place at the venue that night, with a few popular Thai indy bands gracing the stage. Excitedly, I dressed up in my nice concert attire, booking a grab taxi to the location, just outside of Chiang Mai.
Upon arriving at the bar, I was surprised by its overall size. Hom Bar is quite large, with numerous closely spaced tables surrounding a small center stage. This presents a stark contrast to most western bars, which are typically smaller and not as open.
Modern, stylish, and fun, I found Hom Bar to be truly a genuine Thai experience. Before the show, I spent some time exploring the bar and the surrounding area. The main seating area, which is under a large roofed section, is encompassed by a number of restaurants. 15 restaurants in total surround the covered area, offering everything from hamburgers to Thai food. The food and drinks are served A La Carte, and brought to tables inside and outside of the venue. A VIP balcony overlooks the stage, and on the sides, bars serve a wide range of liquor and drinks. Hom Bar is very fresh and new, abounding with character and a fun California-like vibe. It’s a bar I could maybe imagine existing in some liberal town back in the United States, with it’s modern architecture and random decorations, which add a lot, complementing its simple laidback atmosphere. The wall behind the main stage is brick, illuminated by colorful fluorescent mood lighting. A number of random decorations hang on the stage wall, interspersed with purple spotlights, which bathe the audience in an array of bright colorful beams. Neon signs hang on parts of the metal building, their psychedelic colors lighting up dark areas. A number of old street signs and beer logos also adorn the polished wood and brick architecture. There is even an old car hanging from the ceiling in one corner of the venue.
The music at Hom Bar is excellent, and the bands very talented. The concerts change frequently, depending on the month. “Each month we have a different music theme. Next month’s theme is hip hop,” explains Pim Pimradapa Wongthonglua, a server at the bar. Varying themes are chosen by the owner, and as a result, numerous different bands take the stage. The music played at the concerts ranges from indy music to even rap and folk music. Everything that is played at Hom Bar is in Thai. This presents a stark contrast to some of the other bars I’ve been to in Chiang Mai, such as Boy Blues Bar or the Jazz Co-Op, where the bands often play covers of english songs. The concerts at Hom Bar, which happen once a month, are quite large. “About 700-800 people will show up for the concert tonight. On a normal night, when there isn’t a concert, around 400-500 people show up,” says Pim. On the non-concert days, 3 bands take the stage. The first is always a Thai folk band, the second and third rock bands. On the night I went, which was a concert night, the popular Thai band MEAN played, along with a lesser known group called Siromongkol. “The bands that play here on regular nights change each day,” explains Pim.
I found Hom Bar to be much more expensive than many of the other bars in Chiang Mai. This is due to the fact that it’s a live music venue, and people have to pay an entry fee to get in. The tickets vary significantly in cost, depending on how close to the stage the seats are. “Right in front of the stage is 1900 baht. The second level, underneath the roofed section, is 1500 baht. Outside of the roofed area tickets cost 300 baht,” says Pim.
If you’re looking for a fun night out, be sure to check out Hom Bar. This well-known bar boasts great music, a nice atmosphere and quite a range in food and drinks.