The Playground for the Young at Heart
Never has a high-end opening been so shrouded in mystery—or raised so many eyebrows. An adult playground? “Innovative ping pong tables” and modern tacos? Snapshots of seriously cool interiors decked out in dark wood and steel cages contrasted by playful, pastel artwork on social media and vaguely paraphiliac text in advertising? What exactly is this place, and what is it trying to sell?
The fog of mystery has finally cleared. This is Bon Bon. And, if you didn’t guess from the series of provocative clues, it’s the latest in the FICO empire of bars, lounges, and anti-clubs, joining the likes of Bangkok Betty, Iron Fairies, and Fat Gut’z. Bon Bon doesn’t stray far from the script, either.
Taking over the corner plot at Seen Space once occupied by Mr. Jones’ Orphanage—a venue that always seemed like an outcast come nightfall—Bon Bon leaves ample room to play. Inside, the look and feel bears resemblance to the shadowy, cast-iron effects of those other FICO undertakings, but the ground floor is more spacious, more open to the chatter of the night, more duly decorated for upscale-casual social gatherings. Expect DJs rather than jazz on the stairs, and dancers in steel bird cages rather than swings. Yet in whimsical flourish, the staff uniform looks as if it were inspired by Willy Wonka—vibrant silk worn under white overalls—so there’s still some trademark weirdness.
For drinks, proceed either to the bar in the centre of the floor or pop into the “secret” ice room, where cocktails, “drunk” with the aid of a spoon and served in “glassware” carved from ice, are more granita than gin fizz. In keeping with the trends, many feature ya dong. And the food? A sort of modern Mexican tapas (salmon ceviche, kimchi pulled pork tacos, skirt steaks, fully loaded nachos).
A glass-topped ping pong table, near the entrance to the ice lair, offers spirited, one-on-one forms of entertainment. There’s another table like it outside, on the patio, where scoops of ice cream are also available—ice cream that can be paired with champagne or homemade sodas.
So now the “adult playground” angle has come into pretty clear focus. Enjoy ice cream with booze, boozy competition with friends new and old, and satisfy your more self-indulgent desires, but in a distinctly adult and prurient manner (with booze). If life begins at 30, as they say, then Bon Bon is merely reminding us of our roots. At least, it seems to suggest, we haven’t forgotten how to play.
Seen Space, Thong Lo 13 | 0 2185 2378 | facebook.com/bonbonbarasia