Shenanigans opened quietly over the weekend after a Friday false start (the paint wasn’t quite dry) and it quickly became kind of a big deal. At the time of writing this post (Tuesday, July 3), the kitchen is still not serving food. That didn’t stop large groups of people from settling in at the bigger tables last night to watch Brazil play Mexico. They just popped across Surawong for some Burger King and brought it back to Shenz. The biggest problem thus far for the sparkling new joint is too many customers. They ran out of beer on Sunday and Monday and were forced to borrow some from their sister bar, The Paddy Field on Soi 2. The staff seemed shell-shocked Monday night as endless waves of tourists crammed into the patio and the spacious, air-conditioned area inside. Earlier in the evening, they hosted their first live artist—Dom from Tiny Moon—and it was a mellow, soothing precursor to the fervor that would follow.
No one was prepared for the instant popularity of Shenanigans. At the moment, there aren’t enough trained servers, the kitchen isn’t open, and they’ve underestimated tourists’ and expats’ capacity for beer. The folks over there are already fixing these problems, though clearly they are very good problems to have. In an area that has been in steady decline for the last year or two, this new hot spot is a welcome addition. Other bar owners on the soi are suddenly quietly hopeful that Shenz will drive some much-needed foot traffic through Patpong, though when the kitchen does open (today, tomorrow, or Friday at the latest), and when they double their daily beer stock order, and when they get a few more support staff (confidentially I’m urging a few of my lovely friends to join the team), I won’t be surprised if Shenanigans sucks up the entire Patpong customer base. Between you and me, I think the Shenz owners should already be looking for ways to expand their real estate.
It’s truly a gorgeous venue. The owners clearly put a lot of money and effort into creating a bar that looks and feels like a place you wanna be. There are Irish-themed pictures and posters on the walls (one with all the Irish family coats of arms—I found mine in less than a minute) and old Irish memorabilia on display. On top of that are a whopping 10 flat screen TVs (one is a massive projector screen on the outside patio). Also interesting is their list of beers on tap. The old standby’s are there—Tiger, Guinness, Heineken, Beck’s, Hoegaarden etc.—plus some eclectic choices like Kopparberg, Budweiser, East Coast IPA, and Old Speckled Hen (full beer list here: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10160511082575564&set=p.10160511082575564&type=3&theater ). The food menu also offers quite an assortment beyond traditional Irish fare. They do have a ton of that, but they’re also doing some innovative things with food and beer pairings, plus a lot of great stuff you’d never expect to see on an Irish bar’s menu (check out the menu here: https://www.facebook.com/Shenanigans-Irish-Bar-Bangkok-204040313723655/menu/ ). And the rumor is—don’t tell anyone—that by August they’re going to do a Sunday Roast and, AND a weekend sports breakfast for 99 baht! Fingers crossed for both of those.
Sometime soon I’m going to sit down with two of the owners—John and Jason—to pick their brains about how the idea for Shenanigans came to be, and what roads they took to find themselves in this very special place, and how they’re beating the odds. So stay tuned for that. In the meantime, get over and check out their newest joint on the corner of Surawong and Patpong Soi 1. If you hope to get a seat, you should arrive early. Happy hour starts at 7 a.m.
And follow me on Twitter @BangkokSeven for nightly updates from the red-lights, and browse the photo archive on my Facebook page.