As the popular hotspot on Al Sufouh Road has recently added an ice bar to its sprawling space. Yes, you did hear that right – an ICE bar.
To gain entry just buy two German, herb-based short beverages and get two tokens to enter the freezer-like container, which is a cool -16°C. Once inside, you can chill – pun fully intended – while kitted out in sleeping bag-like overcoats at tables made from blocks of ice next to a bar that serves only more of those herby refreshments. We are told the bar is closed when we visit (after having purchased tokens, we’d like to add) but manage to have a peek behind the icy doors after a little persuasion. Not surprisingly, it is empty. But that doesn’t mean we can’t snap a few selfies before deciding life in an igloo isn’t for us and heading back into the heat. We will report back again, in thermals, when the bar is fully operational.
Ice bars apart, Barasti’s superb beachfront location is perfect for those not overly keen on freezing their extremities.
Having started out as a humble beach shack in 1995, there’s no denying its rep as one of the busiest bars in town. The place gets packed on any given night with a cool and casual crowd. By day, sunseekers line its beach (get down early on Fridays to nab one of the oversized beds) while party-lovers flock to the bar at night. And while it may not have the glitz and glamour of, say, Blue Marlin Ibiza, access is certainly easier. Barasti welcomes its customers with open arms (you just need ID at the door) and entrance is free all year round. For both young and old, its appeal is obvious – a great location, laid-back vibes and an ‘anything goes’ dress code.
As the bar turns 20 next month, it’s clear it shows no signs of slowing down, and somehow still manages to strike a great balance between casual beachy vibes and full-scale party mode. In cooler months, revellers can take to the sands to dance to a live DJ who pumps out everything from EDM and dance tracks to commercial chart hits and reggae beats. Head down at 1am on a Friday and you’ll think you’ve arrived at one of Thailand’s famous full-moon parties, complete with flashing laser lights. For those who prefer a more relaxed scene, stick to
Barasti’s middle deck, where you can enjoy shisha and live music. The bar might currently be covered with a giant air-conditioned tent, but come Sunday October 11, you’ll be able to view the Marina skyline again when the cover is taken down.
Tables here operate on a first-come, first-served basis, so it’s worth getting there pronto to secure one if you need a bite to eat. The food menu is pretty basic – fish and chips, kebabs and pizzas – but while it won’t bowl you over, it’s decent enough. As for refreshments, keeping with its beachy theme there are plenty of fruity mixed drinks and imported hops (Barasti, in fact, has the highest consumption of a certain Mexican hops outside of Mexico).
Sit on a high stool with a bucket of the stuff, watch the sun set with a chilled mixed drink or recline on a sofa in front of a 7×4 metre screen showing the latest sporting action. Just don’t expect service to be anything other than slack and Barasti is a place geared towards ensuring you have a good time, whether you come dressed up or in flip flops. It’s easy that way.