TeePee Bar in Chiangrai
If we only went by names then Sperm Pub would easily beat TeePee Bar for the coolest bar in Chiang Rai award, however it’s what’s inside that truly counts.
TeePee bar looks like a combination biker roadhouse / hippy flophouse / junkyard located down Paholyothin Road near the center of town. Started in 1993, this little bar in a small, old house sandwiched between 2 larger concrete shophouses has nothing if it doesn’t have atmosphere. Upstairs offers a chilled out patio overlooking the street, but downstairs is where all the fun happens, because that’s where the wigs are.
Yes, wigs. TeePee’s style is reminiscent of so many ramshackle bars on Thailand’s southern beaches, except that the decorations are also part of the entertainment. Plastic Halloween props like severed hands are scattered around the main room, mixed with old musical instruments, tattered magazines and paperbacks like the History of Punk in German, hats, masks, goggles, and about a dozen wigs. Proprietor Mr. Too explains that he wants people to be free to express themselves and make their own fun. What better way than Thompson Twins hair, rotting guitars, and of course alcohol?
Drinks are reasonable and are paid for at the bar. Unlike most Thai establishments, you can buy drinks by the glass so you don’t have to be burdened with the responsibility of finishing a whole bottle. Beers in bottles are of the small variety, seating is on cushions on the floor, and the stairs down from the patio are all but un-navigable after a few drinks, but so much fun is to be had you’ll hardly notice.
Music is usually a combination of reggae, classic rock, and a bit of Thai ‘phleng pheua cheewit’ or songs for life, most slow enough for novices to strum along to and look convincing. The clientele is always a mixed bag of Thais and foreigners looking for a chillout or on the party train, and even on a quiet night the owner, staff, and regulars provide good company. The bar closes at 12, but you can stay inside for as long as you’re tolerated, which usually means until you stop being fun or buying drinks.