Great beer, beautiful views, cool culture
For several years now, the word “craft” has been used to define a certain way of living in Thailand. Signifying the so-called “slow life”, the craft movement is a conscious shift away from our mass-produced culture—hearkening back to the way we existed before, when we still made things by hand, with patience and personal investment. So widespread is this movement that an online community called Craft ‘N Roll has formed around it. And now, Craft ‘N Roll has a brick-and-mortar hangout preaching the gospel of Thai-made goods—in particular, beer!
The Craft ‘N Roll Café occupies the cavernous, naturally ventilated building beside the Chao Phraya River that once housed To Sit Restaurant. The main floor now has a bar with 10 taps and natural wood benches for group seating, and a loft above it offers smaller tables for intimate chatter. The patio outside provides the best seats in the house though, especially at sunset when the temperature cools down and this wide, silvery stretch of river starts to shimmer.
The taps change from time to time, but certain labels will forever be fixtures. On a recent visit the options included three styles from mainstay brand Sandport, highlighted by its wonderful Too Much Coffee Porter, a dark beer with roasted notes and a pleasant fizziness. Other frequent figures include Happy New Beer, which makes a consistently tasty session IPA, and Outlaw, whose Blondie Pale Ale and Gateway IPA come all the way from Loei. A roughly 330ml pour will cost you between B150-B180 here—about as cheap as it gets for the good stuff in Bangkok—and these beers come from some of the better home-brewers in Thailand.
It isn’t easy to get to the bar, though. It’s practically in Nonthaburi, tucked away in an alley off Charan Sanitwong, where the skeletal frame of an imminent MRT line suggests more convenient access two years from now (for the time being, the best bet is to shuttle up the river to Payap Pier, take the ferry to Thonburi, and hail a motorbike taxi). However, this out-of-the-way location serves a couple of somewhat practical purposes. Home-brewing still technically breaks Thai law, and selling home-brewed beer is just as big of an official no-no. Thus the isolation of this drink spot means the excise police won’t visit quite so frequently—and it makes the bar a destination, a place to go specifically to try the excellent array of Thai-made craft beer currently being churned out by the kingdom’s craftiest craftsmen.
But it won’t be just a bar for long, either. There are plans to add a shop, selling clothing, jewellery, and other handmade goodies (expect monthly special events too). At Craft ‘N Roll Café the spirit of the slow-life movement is alive and well.
Craft ‘N Roll Café
115 Soi Charan Sanitwong 95/1
Tel: 09 8260 9292
Open daily: 5pm-midnight