CheckInn 99 checks into a new venue on Soi 24

To owner Chris Catto-Smith, it was nothing short of a miracle. His bar, the home away from home for generations of expats, closed down this past weekend after 60 years of operation. He hoped to reopen, but where?

Finally, he got an offer. It came from one of the old owners of the bar who couldn’t deal with seeing the old place disappear forever.

Bent Peter Laasholdt and Chris Catto-Smith.

Danish expat Bent Peter Laasholdt owned the CheckInn 99 for a few years starting in 1983 and also ran it as a live music venue and restaurant. He has been in Bangkok for 35 years and involved in the running of several high-end Scandinavian restaurants. Now, he owns Admirals at 24, a bar and restaurant in the basement of the Oakwood Apartments on Soi 24.

His offer to Catto-Smith? He’ll retain the day trade, when he is busiest serving meals and drinks to the building’s residents, and Catto-Smith can take over evenings in the venue. Included in the deal is use of the building’s parking lot and a rooftop bar that will, at the beginning, be open for special events.

The rooftop bar provides patrons with a panorama of the city’s skyline and includes views of the nearby Landmark Hotel and Emporium shopping mall.

An additional benefit is that the building is a serviced apartment so that when Catto-Smith’s overseas regulars come to visit each year, they can make an advance booking and rent an apartment right on the premises.

Beore you ask, yes, he has a loyal following of people that come from overseas to hang out at his bar and, when they are in town, they come to CheckInn 99 every night.

All of the regulars will be thankful to see that the “new” CheckInn 99 is hardly a generic space. Much like the now-closed CheckInn 99 in Nana, Admirals also has a bit of retro charm and the feeling of a place that’s been around forever and where you can relax.

In fact, you might even be able to relax in the same chairs you graced in Nana. Catto-Smith said that they may bring over some of their iconic wicker chairs and “cozy little tables that face the band” from the old venue.

Catto-Smith said, “the GM of Oakwood would love to get as much of the character of CheckInn here as possible. We’re talking about bringing in the lights and maybe some of the paintings. The staff will definitely bring over the photos of Mama Noi,” he said of the old venue’s now-deceased mamasan and famed Bangkok character.

Whatever happens, he said, the changes will come slowly as the two venues figure out how to best co-exist in the space.

CheckInn 99 will reopen this Sunday with a buffet lunch at 1pm and jazz jam from 2:30 – 6:30pm. Catto-Smith says that the day will also be “a look-see” at the new place for the regulars. House band “Music of the Heart” will take the stage in the new venue on Monday night. The new CheckInn 99 is 200 meters from BTS Phrom Phong.


Check out time: Say goodbye to historic Bangkok expat spot ‘CheckInn 99’

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