Check Inn 99, Venerable Old Bangkok Nightspot

Many of you end up coming to Bangkok, so I want to give plug for Bangkok’s oldest entertainment venue, Check Inn 99. Founded in the early 1960s. It’s seen a fair share of celebrities including Bob Hope, who was known to frequent the place back in Vietnam War days when he was over entertaining the troops. It is NOT a girlie bar or even a pick-up joint. The owner, Chris, is very firm but gentle in keeping the freelancers away.

He bought the place three years ago, saving it from the wrecking ball with just hours to spare, maybe just 30 minutes to hear him tell it, and has turned it into quite a nice old-style entertainment venue with a live in-house Filipino band named Music from the Heart who’s been there for more than decade. Amid the chaos of the lower-Sukhumvit neighborhood right outside the door, it’s an oasis that you would feel comfortable taking your mother to if she came here. I’m giving Check Inn 99 a plug, because Chris is doing a wonderful job with it. It’s actually his hobby, he runs his own company during the day. Last night (Saturday night) the wife and I were there to watch the final of six performances of Moulin Rouge, but other projects for this year include a live performance of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. They did The Rocky Horror Picture Show around Halloween last year. They often have different themed music nights too – Golden Oldies, Andrews Sisters etc.

Here is a good overview of Check Inn 99’s history. <–(Warning: Pdf file.) Note the young lady in the photo with Bob Hope – she’s still there. <–(Another pdf file.)

I know some of you come to Bangkok, and if you want an inexpensive venue to relax with a few drinks and good food while listening to good music, this is a good place to go. I have no connection to the place except that I do know the owner.

From the title, I thought Barbara Feldon would figure into it. :stuck_out_tongue:

(Her birthday is this month, but she won’t be 99. :wink: )

Cool!

But ‘venerable’? From the 1960s? From the headline I was expecting some kind of 1890s British colonial club, all dark panelled wood and the stink of cigar smoke…

(And yes, I know that Thailand was never a British colony…)

Venerable in terms of local nightspots. It even predates Patpong. I guess there are places with an old British-colonial feel, but they’re not nightspot venues. Such as the old 135-year-old-plus Oriental Hotel, now called the Mandarin Oriental and part of the Mandarin chain. But not nightspot venues. This one I think is the oldest, from the days when Sukhumvit Road was still mostly a dirt path.

It did go through some periods of sleaze. Chris said when he bought it, it had been a “hostess bar” and came with a 40-room short-time hotel right on top (I think that’s in one of the links in the OP), with lots of prostitutes living there. He chucked them all out and sealed up the entrance to the hotel. He tells me the rooms are just gathering dust up there now.

And of course, I screwed up the band’s name. It’s actually Music of the Heart.