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The inaugural Wishbeer bar review: Niche Beerville

As you likely know, here at Wishbeer, we love beer. While we enjoy drinking beer at home, it can get a bit boring, especially since Bangkok has so many excellent establishments. So, over the next few months we will be visiting Bangkok’s most popular beer bars and blogging about them!

To launch this new section of the blog, we sat down and came up with a list of bars and restaurants that are known for selling a wide variety of craft beer and randomly picked one to visit over the weekend. The bar that gets the honor to be the first to be reviewed by us is Niche Beerville. Note: This review was carried out blind – the bar did not know we were coming and we did not tell them we were reviewing them.

About Niche Beerville

Niche Beerville is a standalone beer bar offering a wide selection of craft beers from around the world. Started by self proclaimed beer lover Prasert Sritaborvornpaiboon, this inside/outside beer bar has a lot to offer people willing to trek a little further out of the city for good eats and great beer.

First impression

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Copyright Robert McBroom – 2014

The first thing you see when arriving at Niche Beerville is an ample parking lot with enough room for close to 50 or more cars. Walk past the parking lot and you are greeted with a huge beer bottle fountain and a large outdoor patio with tables and chairs for close to 60 people. At the far end of the patio is the indoor section with the bar and even more tables.

The indoor section has seating for another 30 or so people and is tastefully decorated in a modern style with wood tables and a marble like countertop bar. Our overall first impression is that Niche Beerville is large, with a ton of space for parties of all sizes, but offers a great chill vibe where you can sit back and relax with a great pint.

Beer and drinks

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Copyright Robert McBroom – 2014

Upon being seated our group of four was presented with menus. When people say Niche Beerville has a wide selection of beer, they aren’t kidding! The main beer menu looked to have about 160 beers listed, plus there were two more special menus with about 10-15 beers each on them.

Needless to say, the beer selection will not leave one wanting. The menu is divided by beer type e.g., Lager, Pale Ale, Triple, Dark Ale/Stout, etc. on one side and had pictures of the beer bottles on the other. I think this is a great way to show off your beer. The people that know what style of beer they like can easily pick from one side, while others who may not know what they want can pick beer based on the label. Personally, I have found some great beers by simply picking a label that looks cool!

The vast majority of beers on the menu come by the bottle, but there is a section of about 8 draft beers at the top. This includes the popular Hoegaarden, a Brewerkz Daily, Brewdog Daily, Schneider Weiss and Bavaria to name a few.

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Copyright Robert McBroom – 2014

A cool thing to note is that almost every beer available comes in its own glass. For example, I ordered a pint of Brewdog’s Punk IPA which came in its own branded pint glass. Beer served in its own glass is an important thing for many Europeans, especially the Belgians and the Germans. However, this is just now starting to take off in the US and Canada. It’s really cool to see an establishment taking care to do it right here in Thailand.

While this bar is basically as close as we are going to get to beer heaven, there are drinks on the menu for those who may not like beer. While my buddy and I both had beer, the ladies in the party opted for cider. The hit of the evening (with the party) wasn’t actually beer, but the Brother’s Toffee Apple Cider which tasted amazingly close to a caramel/toffee apple. It made for a perfect dessert!

There is also a few name brand whiskeys sold by the bottle. To be honest, everyone in the bar was drinking beer with by far the most popular choice being Schneider Weisse. I saw a good 20 or more bottles go out to customers while we were there.

If you love the beer, they also allow you to purchase a few to take home with you, placing them in a nifty carrying case. Just ask the server and they will be able to provide you with more info.

The food

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Copyright Robert McBroom – 2014

A bar/restaurant in Thailand won’t last long unless they offer at least a simple menu of popular Thai/western dishes. At Niche, the food menu was extensive with a good mixture of Thai, Japanese and Western with many dishes being Thai/Japanese or Thai/Western fusion.

For our appetizer we ordered fried pork neck with chili, pepper and salt. The dish came out quickly and had pieces of tender, succulent pork neck deep fried and coated with salt. Fresh diced red chillies were scattered on top adding a perfect level of spiciness that enhanced the dish. I tried Brewdog’s Punk IPA with the pork and the bitterness in the beer paired perfectly with the spicy/saltiness of the dish.

For mains we got a dish of grilled shrimp with Woon Sen noodles that came out in a clay pot. The noodles were perfectly cooked and shrimp was a good size. It even came out deveined – something you don’t see too often here. We also had a sausage platter with four different sausages including an excellent Chiang Mai sausage and a chicken, bacon and mushroom roll that came out with a tasty gravy and au gratin potatoes which went perfect with a Dead Guy Ale and a Tuatara Pale Ale respectively.

Service and atmosphere

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Copyright Robert McBroom – 2014

Many people who visit Nice Beerville comment that it has a chill and laid back vibe. This is 100% true, and you feel it as soon as you walk in. Just after we got there and sat down the band started up, playing a good mixture of Thai and Western indy rock hits. Some bars here crank the amps and mics to a level where talking with the person across from you is nearly impossible. But at Niche the band serves to add to the atmosphere and were loud enough so you can recognize the songs and even sing along, but not so loud that you couldn’t talk with the people around you.

The servers were attentive and took the time to get the order right, ensuring they understood what you want. I tried to order one beer and it was out, so the server brought over three similar beers for me to choose from; a cool touch. The staff did speak some English, so if your Thai isn’t great you should be ok. Plus, the pictures on the menus really help.

As we stated above, the bar has a chill, laid back atmosphere. This extends to the whole bar; if you arrive starving and expect your meal to arrive within minutes you may be disappointed. But, if you are looking to sit down, enjoy a few beers and chat for a couple of hours then you will feel right at home.

Price

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Copyright Robert McBroom – 2014

The majority of beers on the menu cost around THB 250-280 for a 350ml bottle, which is about what you would expect to pay for quality craft beers at a bar here in Bangkok. There were some larger beers on the menu along with probably the largest selection of rare beers in Bangkok. Prices reflected this with some beers costing over THB 1,200 per bottle.

Food varies with appetizers and salads around THB 150 to 200 and mains being around THB 300-400.

The bill for the four of us covered 8 drinks (6 beers, 2 ciders), one appetizer and three mains and came to just over THB 3,200, which is about what you would expect to pay for a night out at a place like this.

Where can I find Niche Beerville?

If you would like to venture a little further afield than the usual suspects on Sukhumvit or Silom, you can find Niche Beerville along the Ram Inthra – At Narong Expressway just north of CDC; across the street from Crystal Park. If you are coming from the south, hop on the expressway and go north, getting off at the Kaset Nawamin exit. Do a u-turn at Kaset and head south on Pradisit Manudharm road (below the expressway). You will find Niche on the left about half a kilometer from Kaset Nawamin.

There is ample parking right in front of the restaurant, so you should be able to find a spot if you are driving. We strongly recommend however, that you take a taxi there, and one home, largely because some of the beers are high in alcohol percentage and you may find yourself a wee-bit tipsy; even drunk!

Final thoughts

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Copyright Robert McBroom – 2014

Overall, our experience at Niche Beerville was great. The bar has a ton of room, the beer selection is great and the food was tasty. This is definitely a chill bar, so if you are looking for a quick beer before heading somewhere else, you should try another bar. But, if you are looking to kick back with some friends, enjoy a few beers in a place with great atmosphere this is a great spot to go. We will definitely be back.

One thing to be aware of however: The type on the beer menu is quite small, it’s hard to fit 160 beers onto one page, while still keeping it manageable. So, be sure to point the beer out on the menu so that the staff know what you are ordering.

Wish of the week

Brother’s Toffee Apple Cider
This was the hit of the evening with the group when we visited Niche. It literally tastes like a toffee apple – sweet caramel and apple, the definition of saccharine and childhood. Personally, it was a bit too sweet for me, but then again, most things are here in Thailand. If you are looking for something a bit different or for the non-beer drinker, give this a try!

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