Suits and Brown Sugar

Bangkok Travel Blog

 › entry 15 of 25 › view all entries

Let me start by apologizing for taking so long to update, but I have a good excuse.  It seems the backlight on my laptop screen is down for the count and so updates from here on in will have to be made from elsewhere, and this is the first chance I have had to do so. 


As for Bangkok related things, I stuck around Bangkok again this weekend and checked out some other parts of the city.  This past week, I finally met the one American lawyer at my firm (he had been out sick) and he told me about a great Jazz/R&B bar, so John and I decided we would meet up Saturday night to check it out.  


Before we did that however, I decided to visit one of the many tailors here in Bangkok to have some suits made.  For the same prices as a medium level of the rack suit in the U.S., you can have a suit custom made for you in Thailand.  Dress shirts also cost around the same as in the U.S., but are also custom made.  I did some research (asked around the firm and checked the internet) and found out which tailors were supposed to be the best and on Saturday afternoon, I visited Raja’s Fashions to see Mr. Bobby.  


Mr. Bobby’s shop is relatively small and seems smaller because all of the walls were filled with rolls of fabric.  I was greeted immediately upon entering by one of his employees and I told her I was interested in having a couple suits and shirts made.  She asked me if I wanted anything to drink so I ordered a beer.  Purely by coincidence, John was already looking at fabric because his American partner had recommended the same place, so I sat down next to him on the couch to look at the books of fabric swatches she had laid out for us.  On the wall next to the couch are signed photos from the many celebrities, public officials, and dignitaries that Mr. Bobby has made suits for and right near the bottom, we saw that former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson was a client.  It seems that Mr. Bobby is tailor to all the cheeseheads who visit Thailand.


We looked through the dozens of books of fabric choices and I finally settled on a dark, navy and a light gray for my two suits.  I showed the woman who had helped us my choices and she made note of them in their order book.  After a couple of minutes, Mr. Bobby came over and introduced himself and then asked me to step over to the center of the shop to take some measurements and discuss what style suits I wanted.  After taking 20-25 different measurements, he asked about whether I wanted two or three buttons (I asked for 2), single, double, or no vents (double), pleats or no pleats (one of each), and several other options.  Then he handed me a piece of tailors chalk and asked me to go look at the rolls of shirt fabric and mark the ones I wanted for my shirts.  I selected an assortment of mostly classic whites, blues, and combinations thereof since I will probably need them for once I start working.  The woman who had helped us previously made note of my choices and I arranged to come back Wednesday for my first fitting.  


After John and I had both finished at Mr. Bobby’s, we decided to grab some dinner before we checked out the Jazz/R&B bar.  John hadn’t eaten anything all day and was starving and had a craving for a sandwich, so we ended up just hitting a Subway.  Nothing adventurous I know, but we have been Thailand for three and a half weeks already so it’s not like we haven’t eaten our share of Thai food.  


After dinner, we headed for the Jazz/R&B bar, which was called Brown Sugar.  It’s located on the opposite side Lumpini Park, which is essentially Bangkok’s answer to Central Park in New York or Hyde Park in London, from the nearest sky train and metro stops, so we decided to cut through the park.  As you probably imagined, Lumpini Park is a huge in the middle of the city with ponds where you can rent paddle boats or canoes, pavilions for picnics, open fields for sport, and lots of paths for jogging and biking.  We walked through it and then had to figure out where Brown Sugar was located.  We had an address, but that’s not always the most useful in Bangkok as I have yet to figure out the pattern with which they number their streets and houses (actually, I don’t think there is a pattern).  Turns out we guessed the wrong direction and had to turn around and go back the way we came, but we eventually found it.


It was a small, two level bar, that looked like it was pretty much a dive.  Their was a muted TV behind the bar showing the movie the “Pacifier” starring Vin Diesel with Thai subtitles, and a four-piece band, which hadn’t started playing yet, was crammed in the corner.  John and I aren’t ones to judge a place by its appearance (especially when that place serves alcohol), so we took a couple seats at the bar and ordered a couple beers.


A couple of minutes after we got our beers, the band started playing and it turns out they were really good.  They started out with a great version of “Ain’t No Sunshine” and if anything got better as they continued their set.  The music was much better than one would have guessed from looking at the place and it was definitely a good idea to check the place out.  We stayed for a while, and had a couple more beers before we decided to call it a night and head for home.  We made a quick stop off for some late night, post-bar food.   Then I took the metro back to my apartment. 

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photo by: rintjez