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Cheap Charlie's: Bangkok's favorite Sukhumvit dive bar
Matey, beery, grungy: this is the Bangkok bar that put the X in expat. But where's Charlie?
For anyone who's walked by the infamous Sukhumvit 11 dive Cheap Charlie's and not stepped up to the bar to enjoy a drink with the noisy outdoor crowd -- - there is no inside -- the place can be something of a curiosity.
Cheap Charlie's was founded by a man named, yes, Charlie three decades ago in 1982. Back then the place was a small outdoor bar at the side of a small alley in Sukhumvit Soi 11.
Fast forward 29 years, and the place is still a small bar at the side of a small alley in Sukhumvit Soi 11.
But that’s not to say it hasn’t changed a bit over the years. While Cheap Charlie's is basically just a bar counter with seats and a couple of tables, its unique and ever-changing décor is a sight to behold.
“People bring things and add them to the bar whenever they pass by or come back,” says owner Satit, brother of the eponymous Charlie, who died 12 years ago. “We have a lot of return customers and when they come back they add a little bit of their adventures to our place.”
Even the bar’s tiny toilet has gained notoriety -- for being one of Bangkok’s worst; its “no shit, only pee” sign is as much a part of the bar's charms as its eclectic décor.
'It's the good life, really'
The clientele is also notably different from many establishments' in Soi 11 -- patrons are mostly expats rather than tourists. This was confirmed at the time of the interview when four older gentlemen walked in and greeted Satit with a big hug and sat down to recant their memories of Thailand at top volume.
Over the years Cheap Charlie's has welcomed a variety of customers; one side of the bar is adorned with business cards, old and new, donated by everyone from freelance translators to heads of companies and CEOs. It is even said that a former U.S. Ambassador frequented Charlie's during his downtime.
Open 4.30pm-1am daily
1 Sukhumvit Soi 11
Transport Nana BTS
Telephone 08 7096 8444 mobile
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