Bar Dusk’s sinister setting pulls Bangkok back into the Metal Age

Photo: Nicky Tanskul / Coconuts
Photo: Nicky Tanskul / Coconuts

Deep inside the Hub Phahon-Ari complex lies a lone staircase tucked to the right between its bars and eateries. Go up and you’ll find a lone, sinister red door at the top of the second floor, muffling the sounds of thrashing guitars and double bass drums coming from inside.

This crimson portal is your gateway into Bar Dusk, an alternative spot for metalheads and hard rock fans who prefer their music far more aggressive and headbanging than the usual classic rock heard at other bars.

Photo: Nicky Tanskul / Coconuts

Opened for three weeks now, Bar Dusk’s theme leans heavily on the kind of music it plays – and vampires. That’s noticeable in its blood-red walls, pictures of famous bloodsuckers, from Nosferatu to Bela Lugosi’s Dracula, and numerous crosses hanging around the room.

There’s gnarly art too, including one of a vampire dying with a stake in its heart, as well as movie and rock gig posters in the bathroom. Oddities such as a skeleton with wings and a disembodied corpse of a female vampire can also be seen. 

At the top of the room lie shelves of records. On one end, you’ve got the classics – Nazareth, Iron Maiden, Rush, and Rolling Stones. On the other, more brutal black metal albums from the likes of Hellhammer, Impiety, and Archgoat.

Upon entering the bar, the thrashing guitars, death growling and heavy drums attack your senses as you look for a seat. The music genre changes every night – customers can check what’s playing via the bar’s Facebook page.

Photo: Nicky Tansku / Coconuts

Photo: Nicky Tanskul / Coconuts

Dusk was founded by three friends, Kasiti Sangkul, Ratiporn Chaipiyaporn, and Kotchanot Tienchinvara, who opened up this small slice of music nirvana after seeing that there were no bars that played their favorite rock subgenres.

They cite The Rock Pub on Phaya Thai road as the one other place where hardcore rock fans can flock but, according to them, it caters to an older generation of fans with its selection of more mainstream rock music.

“We love rock music so much, but it’s hard to find a rock music-themed bar in Bangkok that plays the kind of rock or metal music we like,” Kasiti told Coconuts. “There used to be places like that but they’re gone, such as Immortal Bar.”

Both Kasiti and Ratiporn have been longtime friends, with Ratiporn having a fascination for the fanged creatures of the night. Kotchanot, an interior designer, put in motion the striking blood-red design of the bar, which took only about a month to create.

Photo: Nicky Tanskul / Coconuts

“We’ve been talking among ourselves for a long time now that we wanted to open up a red-black vampire-themed bar that plays rock and metal music that rotates every day,” Kasiti said.

Whereas other bars mainly focus on giving patrons a place to sit and talk, Bar Dusk focuses more on providing a listening space for like-minded music lovers to chill out and drink while listening to music.

Raitporn adds that it was surprising to see different customers come in every night depending on the music they played. For example, one night could be themed around J-rock (Japanese rock), or shoegaze, or death metal, and the bar would see different patrons each night.

“Because we rotate genres every night, the vibe completely changes each time with the kind of customers that come in,” Ratiporn said. “It creates an expansive community where people can discuss with each other about the music they love.”

“Apart from our friends that come and support us, we’ve met people who we’ve never seen before who are into music such as black metal or J-rock,” Kasiti added.

But what about the drinks? Drinks aren’t the main focus of Dusk, something that its founders have felt misunderstood as they’re often described as a cocktail bar. Nevertheless, there are two signature cocktail drinks including a strawberry-tinged Negroni called Vampire’s Tears and another called Metallic Dream, both priced at THB365.

A variety of beer, spirits, shots, mixed drinks and Japanese snacks are also available. 

Bar Dusk opens every Tuesday until Sunday from 7pm.

Tonight the bar will be playing death metal but later in the week they offer less abrasive genres including heartland rock on Wednesday, post/math rock on Thursday, J-rock on Friday, Thai rock on Saturday, and 90’s alternative on Sunday.

FIND IT
Bar Dusk
The Hub Phahol-Ari, 2nd Floor
28 Alley, Samsen Nai, Phaya Thai
7pm-2am, Tuesday-Sunday

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