When walking around the streets of Bangkok, you are bound to see a few longhairs wearing a Slayer or Metallica t-shirt. Then, you see a heavily-tattooed dude chilling with a cigarette with a Chang beer set down at his table. His shirt – Immortal. Is he a black metal fan? He very well could be, but the shirt in question most likely represents Bangkok’s legendary Immortal Bar.
The bar has been a focal point for metal in the country in its 23-year history. Opening in 2000 and existing in a few different locations, it has hosted some of the most significant metal shows in the country, including its own home-grown heavy metal festival called Immortal Fest.
The COVID era took its toll on live venues around the world, with many closing their doors for good. Immortal did temporarily shut its doors, though it has risen again, proving that the name of the venue is no coincidence.
Immortal Bar officially reopened on April 1, 2023 at the new location at 71/1 Soi Damnoenklang Nuea, Borwonniwet, Phra Nakhon, just 20 meters from the famed tourist hotspot, Khao San Road. The free show/kickoff party featured Fall of Pangea, Divide Socotra, Black ‘Ciety, and Captain Morgan.
In addition to the new location, Immortal Bar is also under new management. Joining long-time owner Lakfah Sarsakul (Fah) is Psy Sadako, a renowned musician who spent much of his musical career in China fronting Scare the Children, along with his girlfriend Lucy. The three of them are committed to steering Immortal Bar into a new era. “Me and my girlfriend wanted to open a rock/metal bar together,” says Sadako. “We moved to Bangkok and one night I met Fah at a metal party at his house. We talked together and he asked me if we needed a partner for our bar. So, it was perfect timing. We had the budget and he had the name. We decided to invest and to reopen Immortal.”
He says of the reopening, “Intense and stressful. We gave ourselves a deadline of April 1st and we worked like crazy to make it happen. And we made it. No major problems, a lot of good people, good bands, a good day.”
Being close to the tourist hub of Khao San Road, there are bound to be a few travelers with metal on their minds, which begs the question – is Immortal getting frequented by more expats? “So far yes. but we are still in the process of promotion and communication to adapt ourselves to the location,” explains Sadako. “Of course, we want more of them at the bar. Every time we see a metal t-shirt on the street, we want to invite them. The little universe we created is so much better and special than anything you will find on Khao San.”
A fair chunk of time has passed since Immortal closed its doors during COVID. During the pandemic era, several new bands have emerged in different countries and are now tearing up their respective scenes. But what about Thailand? “From what I see, there are some new bands that have big potential here. Even the cover bands we have booked at Immortal since the opening are very impressive. Along with the bands that played the grand opening show, there is also Fah’s band who are quite famous here: Carnivola. There are some old-school grind, deathcore, hardcore and thrash bands. It’s very interesting to see the scene here. I also can’t wait to play with my band.”
With shows now happening weekly at Immortal Bar, it’s worth wondering when the Immortal Fest will be back in full force. ”Fah is going to have it happen again soon. He has been really busy with the reopening but I know it’s something he will never give up on, so it will happen….”
Immortal Bar has hosted concerts by international touring bands in the past such as Necrowitch, Rotten Sound and D.R.I. Sadako says it is only a matter of time before the bar starts booking foreign acts once again, “We are working hard on getting bigger bands to come into Thailand. More information coming soon!”