On its opening in 1999, Bed (23, Sukhumvit Soi 11, Bangkok, Thailand) was lauded as "the hottest club in Asia" -- with much more truth than most claims of this type, mind you. The Big Mango's notoriously fickle hi-sos have long since moved on to whatever the flavor of the month happens to be, but while the heat has decreased a little, Bed remains by far and way the coolest club I've ever been to. (Except maybe Tantra in Tokyo, but that one I can't node about...!)

Bed Good

What gives Bed its name and elevates it beyond your run-of-the-mill ultra-trendy bar is the nightly Bed Supperclub. Reservations are essential (be sure to request a bed!), and you'll be told in no uncertain terms to show up by 8:30 PM. This is, after all, a supper club, not a restaurant -- there's a set menu and only one seating, so if you miss it, that's just too bad. (However, the Thai concept of punctuality being what it is, the actual serving only starts at 9 PM.)

The first thing that strikes you on arrival to Bed is the external appearance: it's a two-story building shaped like a squished oil drum, painted a striking white, with a UFO-like ramp leading up to the entrance. On entry, you'll notice that white is indeed the theme of the day, with everything in sight colored a completely surreal pure white, down to (as you'll notice the first time one of them bends over a little) the panties of the microskirted waitresses. On both sides and both floors (the 2nd is just a balcony), extending for the entire length of the room, is a white bed, with white pillows and white leather padding, and little white tables on which you'll be eating your meal. Take off your shoes, lie back and relax, order a little something to drink, and try wipe off that shit-eating grin and any trails of drool off your face as you contemplate the fact that places like this actually exist outside the movie set of A Clockwork Orange.

Enough description-- this is a place that has to be experienced in person. Suffice it to say that the food is very good (contemporary, if not white), service is friendly, the DJs funky, and the weekend banquet's special shows interesting.

Bed Bad

Alas, a harsh return to reality will be presented in the form of the bill, which will run to 1000 baht per head for the weekend 4-course meal plus drinks at around B200 a pop and, yes, even B100 for the coffee/tea that you thought was complimentary. Fine, $30 may not be all that much by New York standards, but in Bangkok that's a month's salary for your average Joe. Consequently, the disappearance of Bangkok's elite has been made up for by importing the only other people who can throw around money like that -- namely farang tourists, all too many of the middle-aged Patpong variety who've dragged along their entirely unimpressed rented girlfriends.

The second side of Bed, the bar/nightclub, also seems terribly boring after the supperclub. The antiseptic whiteness is diluted with shades of gray, there's no dance floor to speak of, and the musical selection isn't quite what you'd expect from Asia's hottest club. Combine this with the fact that most of the clientele has filtered in from dinner -- non-dinner guests need to fork out a 500 baht cover charge, although that does get you 2 drinks -- and Bed isn't exactly rocking most nights. Q Bar, just around the corner, tends to be a much better choice if it's drinks, music, or interesting people you're after.

Another not-so-little negative has been introduced by Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra, who in his clean-up campaign has decided to introduce semi-regular police raids complete with compulsory piss tests on nightclubs like Bed. If any customers test positive (as happened at Bed), the club is forced to close at midnight, and since the dinner ends around 11 PM, you have exactly one (1) hour to get your groove on.

But at least there's some excitement left, since you can still head down to the bar's basement and try to figure out which bathroom is for men and which is for women. (Tip: one squiggle vaguely resembles an "F", while the other tries to be an "M".)

Getting There

The Skytrain's Nana station has an exit right on Soi 11. Bed is near the other end, but if you somehow manage to walk past, then it's just Nature's way of telling you that you probably don't want to end up in a police urine test right now anyway.

Personal experience