We appreciate the touted and self-described “renaissance” of the proprietors and future entrepreneurs who are seeking to turn Sukhumvit Soi 11 into the next Bangkok “it” spot, an area that started off hot years back before falling victim to some griminess, a bit of sleaze and ‘sponsor’ seeking women. One of the clubs that has been a fixture in many Bangkokians belief that Sukhumvit 11 is transforming in a great new direction is the freshly opened and highly popular Oskar.
So what to make of a venue like Oskar?
It is undeniably popular, and there is something fascinating about the place that seems to draw you in every time you walk by. Whether its innate curiosity or an energetic aura or simply flocks of hot women we definitely love the pulse Oskar emits. To get a better sense of where the root of this enigmatic energy comes from, we hollered at Serge, the DJ and all around fountain of positivity at Oskar.
“The first reason Oskar has this aura is that the owners all seem to get along and are on the same page about what they want for the club,” said Serge. “I can tell you from previous experience this is rare in Bangkok.” KohSpot nodded while thinking of Curve, but then thought to ourselves that all owners get along at the beginning of a successful new venture. We’ll see what happens when they hit their first speed bump and true character and personality unveil.
Another reason is the design, Serge mused. Oskar is not a large space, but the owners made a conscious decision to have an oversized bar that wraps around with huge bay windows so everyone can see the inside. The result is the bar looks busy even if it’s a mediocre night, and if it’s busy it is literally slammed.
And finally Serge, with a little dose of swagger, pimped his skills at the turntables for producing a completely enveloped mood of audible awesomeness offering up deep-house, afro-latin and funk, all spun at levels that creates a sense of cool sophistication but still allowing conversation.
Oskar is more of a club lounge, similar to Nest before 11 pm, where people can relax, talk, listen to tunes and imbibe. The crowd is older than at some of the other clubs along this strip, and while nicely dressed, there is not the same see and be seen vibe at the venues of Penny’s Balcony or the honestly named SeenSpace on Thong Lor.
While it’s convenient to say a club’s popularity rests simply on it being popular, creating a self-fulfilling loop that runs until some of Bangkok’s tastemakers decide a place is no longer trendy, maybe Oskar’s popularity is as simple to define as having a place to relax.
Oskar also has a kitchen offering several old favorites, but its most popular dishes are a handful of cocottes, similar to French casseroles, such as duck parmentier. The ratatouille (220 baht) with Japanese rice was hearty and delicious.
Oskar strategically priced its drinks a bit cheaper than the other clubs in the area, and while this may please some customers, our one quibble was with the bar and drinks they served. KohSpot believes that people that are going to enjoy a nicer venue are willing and expect to pay nicer prices in exchange for quality. But not only were the drinks at Oskar over sweetened with what felt and tasted like cheapened ingredients, our bartender didn’t know what a Manhattan was, which felt all sorts of wrong for a spot that’s vying to win the title of Bangkok’s new “it” spot. Our mate, still struggling from last night’s hangover deep into the evening, ordered a Bloody Mary that came equipped with a celery stalk that resembled a small forest. You might want to stick with beer or bottle service at Oskar.
If KohSpot learned anything from our experience on Soi 11, admittedly a place we still have a hard time growing to love, its that bar owners shouldn’t treat their business like a pre-club stop – customers won’t either. You want to get customers in, and stay in. Oskar seems to have gotten that right as a steady stream of denizens seems to keep this place buzzing, full and fun late into the weekend nights.
Whether Oskar can help assist or even act as a catalyst for the Soi’s renaissance is yet to be determined, but in the meantime, it’s a great venue with a wonderful crowd to enjoy a cosmopolitan type of evening on the town.
Location: 24 Sukhumvit Soi 11, on the right-hand side just before you hit Bed.
Mass transit: BTS Nana
Hours: 6 pm-2 am daily