Daddy & The Muscle Academy seems to call out from across Siam Square. Despite being in the dead center of Thailand’s hipster paradise — where each store, tea shop, and person is cuter than the last — this shop still manages to draws the eye in an instant.
Decked out in pastel blue with rainbow-colored fluorescent lights and a fake palm tree in the window, the design here all points to fun eccentricity. The tiny black-and-white octagonal tiles of the front stairs invite visitors in with the sweet/creepy message “Daddy Heart U.”
Inside, fun items for sale piled everywhere: shoved onto overflowing racks, piled onto tables, and stuffed into every corner. Vintage items share shelf space with Thai designer offerings and they also have racks devoted to their own brand of items that include Hawaiian shirts, tie-dyed tops, and straw hats.
The shop takes its highly unusual name from a 1991 documentary about the world’s first leather daddy — though there is nothing related to the gay scene, leather, or bondage in the store. We guess they just fell for the phrasing, which is pretty memorable.
As you delve deeper into Daddy, the cashiers are housed in a fortune-telling booth. Further on, a bunk bed sits unmade with rainbow heart-printed sheets, inviting sleepy scenesters to climb up for a break from seeing and being seen. Beneath, secondhand berets and cheetah-print fur hats — far too hot for any sane, sweaty person to don in Thailand — vie for your attention.
A wall-painted sign behind declares “Cool Kids Never Sleep,” and maybe that’s why the bed was empty when we stopped by since this store is nothing if not catering to Thailand’s cool kids.
If you push on further, a velvet curtain at the back of the store can be moved to reveal a tiny eatery, only big enough for three or four Instagram influencers at a time. The Pixie Dust Cafe advertises that they serve “potions for all creatures.” Guests can order up a frothy mug of Harry Potter-inspired butterbeer (THB100), rainbow-colored ice cream (THB80), and fruit sodas (THB90).
They carry Thai indie brands like Sretsis and Morning Cheri. A candy printed tote bag will set you back THB590 while a crayon printed bucket hat will ring up at THB990. They also do limited-edition collaborations, like a recent pink take on a Thai schoolboy sneaker with shoe company Rompboy.
At most times of day, there are a handful of browsers in this store since it’s a cute and curious place — and a perfect spot for photos. Fans call Daddy their “happy land,” or praise its mix-and-match aesthetic. A hand-painted sign on the wall sums up the Daddy frame of mind perfectly, saying, “Don’t grow up, It’s a trap!”
Of all the adorable, twee things to look at here, the one that got us right in the feels was the sticker bar. As we saw the rows of tiny perforated squares with dancing teddy bears, dinosaurs, and mermaids, we were immediately transplanted back to a simpler time, when perfecting our sticker album was our biggest concern and getting mom to fork over the dough for puffy, smelly, or oversized adhesives was our game.
Incorporating elements that seem, by turn, Alice in Wonderland, ‘50s sock hop, and thrift store chic, this shop is worth a stop even if you don’t buy anything except a THB10 sticker.
Daddy & The Muscle Academy
236/11 Siam Square Soi 2
Open daily, 12-9pm