|Written by Hawaii50|
|Friday, 26 January 2007|
| The feeling one gets walking into the Sudsanan Pub And Guay Jab Yuan is more of a large private party for close friends at someone’s home, rather than a public establishment or a nightclub. The relaxed and friendly atmosphere felt like a gathering place with an interesting mixture of art, techno and philosophy students from neighbouring universities mixed among writers, musicians, wannabees, NGOs of various callings, and a hippy looking crowd reminiscent of far gone eras. Most clients are repeat customers with new faces showing up through word of mouth.|
Sudsanan opens its doors nightly at 6 p.m. and closes at 1 a.m. It is a pleasant and comfortable wooden house with a spacious living room housing the main part of the restaurant where tables and chairs are placed far enough from each other and from the band stage to offer some privacy. The surrounding veranda offers some additional sitting arrangements overlooking the mango trees outside. There are sufficient parking spaces within the Sudsanan property.
The menu offers low priced simple and popular Thai dishes. Listed items include yums (spicy salads), soups, salads and steamed fishes with prices ranging between 45 and 160 baht. The special of the house is “Guay Jab Yuan” (a thick Vietnamese noodle soup). The bar offers most local and imported beers and spirits. Advertised on a blackboard at the bar were Sex on the beach, Siam Cocktail, Pina Colada, and Mexican Mango cocktails, with prices between 55 and 85 baht.
Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays are Jazz nights alternating with folk acts, while the rest of the week offers 3 different bands nightly. The main attraction of each evening is the middle act which features the owners Souat at the guitar, Houag at the bongos, and Pleuay at the khane (Isan bamboo mouth organ) giving excellent renditions of their own compositions and other favourite folk songs. This very band won the Chulalongkorn Songs for Life Contest Award in 2005.
The closest I can get to aptly describe Sudsanan home style music will have to be a mixture of “fusion folk” and “yellow soul”. Each song tells a personal story with everyday’s life challenges as a re-occuring theme. The music is played acoustic, plugged but agreeably soft. Prominently hung behind the band is a banner which proudly reads “8 Years Sudsanan”. Sudsanan’s tale is a tortuous story of a pursuit of failed childhood dreams. Classmates Houag and Souat left their home in Surin some 15 years ago, lured by visions of striking it big musically in the bright lights of Bangkok. After a few years eking out a living through different niteries in Bangkok, playing others’ music in order to please dinner crowds, they worked their way up to Chiang Mai where they eventually opened the original Sudsanan nightclub. I visited it in August last year and must admire the Houag & Souat team for having made such a leap forward. They have retained the old original Sudsanan magical formula and have moved it to a much improved location and conditions. They are now offering “their own brand of music to their own crowd”. It is recommended for those of you looking for a different evening among a friendly, super relaxed and laid back musical experience. And to be mindful that there is something different for everybody.