Tag Archives: pub

Drinking in CDMX

At the Babilon Club

To wrap up the trip to Mexico City, no topic would be more appropriate than drinking. I drank every day during the eight-day stay. Each day was different. How cultivated was that! Let’s go through it.

Day 0

I arrived at the hotel late in the night. There was no restaurant, only a fridge with basic food and beverage. I took a couple of Modelo Especial and paid for them at the reception. I came down for more later.  That was enough to wind the night down.

Modelo Especial in the hotel room
Day 1

The first full day of the city exploration involved a lot of walking. I had a break with margaritas in Roma

Margarita at noox Versalles 94

There weren’t many choices at lucha libre. I had Tecate to drink with the show. However, they stopped selling just when the final match started, which was fair enough. Arena México was already rowdy by then.

Tecate at Arena México

After the show, despite a low lit street, I decided to walk to the hotel and stopped by at a convenience store for some Bohemia to drink in the room.

Day 2

The day tour to Teotihuacán was tiring. My original plan, an underground music concert, wasn’t convincing. (The tour guide didn’t know anything about the venue and it would be too soon to go offbeat then.) 

So, after freshening up, I headed to Zona Rosa. I pick a bar that wasn’t too much for the night and got some long island ice teas to start with. The music caught my ears. It was the first time I heard contemporary Spanish pop-rock (not sure they were all Mexican), which I’d never heard in Mexican bars in DC. Listening by the sounds of some tracks, I guessed they could date back to the ’90s. There were a lot more to learn.

Then I switched to Indio beer and moved to another bar, the Babilon Club. I got to try chamoy (not a fan of having a sticky and sour thing on the tip of a beer glass though.) Later on, I joined locals on the next table. They were a Mexican gay guy and an American girl, who identified herself as a Mexican. Finally, there was someone I could talk to in length in English. The night went berserk. I went along with them around the area. We almost ended up at her place but decided to call it the night and parted. 

Day 3

Those first few days in the city were already intense. I needed to take it easy on the following day. In the evening, however, I was being brave and got myself to a real local diner in the neighbourhood. The moment I entered the shop, other customers turned and looked at me. But once I sat down on a table, they went back to their drinking. 

It didn’t freak me out. It even reminded me of the typical diners in Thailand, with a different language. Spanish was a great barrier for me. But I managed to order something.  The plan for the evening was just dinner and moderate beer. But they only have 1.2 litres of Victoria beer. That became an unexpected bloat.

Day 4 

It was a big day at Iztapalapa and I needed a beer after an exhausting photo shoot. There was no alcohol sold at the event. I commuted back to the hotel to settle. I got to another local bar, which wasn’t too far from the one I went to on the previous evening. But it was for a very different customer group. They got a range of beers that I could try. Then I started to order some tequila along with beer. The combination got me hooked that I’d pay the price later. Ultimately, I was just grateful they still open on Good Friday.

Around 11 pm, they closed the front door but I could still sit there for 45 minutes. On the way to the hotel, I stopped by a convenience store for more beers. But they didn’t sell them. That was probably a good thing.

Day 5

With a hangover, it was another easy day for me, visiting museums and stuff. Then I revisited Zona Rosa in the evening. I got to another gay bar in the area and back to the Babilon club. The staff recognised me and he seemed to be glad to see me again. I noticed that Indio beer had different label designs. Again, I was having beers and tequila. Then I hopped in and out some dance clubs but didn’t feel like staying there any longer.

Day 6 

Of course, I got a hangover but the second last day was flexible. I took advantage of the empty city on Easter Sunday to photograph the city’s streets. Then I got a chance to have a good session on Mexican independent beers. Finally!

I still wanted to check out the underground music scene as intended on the first few days. So I took a train to a music event. I didn’t know any of the line-ups but it didn’t matter. The music was pretty cool. The audiences were engaged. To get myself immersed in the scene wasn’t easy even though those youngsters were nice and harmless. I had a good time nonetheless. Checked!

I went back to Zona Rosa. It took 10 minutes on foot anyway.  But the Babilon Club was closed. So I ended up at a dance club for a couple of drinks. Enough!

Day 7

The last drink destination was another craft beer venue. I ordered beers on the board and sat down to write a travel journal. While I was jotting down my experience so far, the group of people on the next table greeted. They asked where I was from. I replied I was from DC but not an American (I didn’t even expect them to know where Thailand was.) But once they found out I was originally from Bangkok, their eyes simultaneously wide opened with cheer. Apparently, they all used to live in Bangkok, became friends there, and got together again in Mexico City for a wedding. What a co-incidence!

To be honest, there was a melancholy vibe on the last day. Yes, it was a classic feeling of saying goodbye to a new love interest that you started to get accustomed to and wanted to find out more about it.

No discrimination signage in the toilet at the Babilon Club

There were some uniquenesses in the drinking culture such as chamoy and salt & lime with beer. Craft beer movement was exciting. Drink prices were affordable. And, most of all, the hospitality was just wonderful. I’d say it was quite a ride, drinking in CDMX.

Drinking in Tokyo: Almost Like a Local

Selfie at the last pub in Tokyo (before blackout)

It was impossible for me not to drink while in Tokyo. The questions were: what to drink, where to go, and how smashed it could be. And I did so, almost like a local did or to the same level as I would in the home cities.

The first two nights of the four-night stay were mild. It started with some mainstream beer at the capsule hotel on the arrival. The following day, I got to taste the first craft beer of the trip in Tsukiji Market and more beer along the day. That was it. 

The last two nights, however,  were worth elaborated.

The Night Observing Locals

The drinking ramped up on the third night. I booked Shinjuku walking tour from Air BNB Experience. The guide showed us the area including where to drink. Of course, there wasn’t a shortage of it. I expressed I was into craft beer. He didn’t take us to one but after the tour, he directed me to a local brewery, Yona Yona Beer Works. Their beers were very impressive. I ordered more than I should have just because it nearly hit the end of happy hour. The cutest thing was a sheet of paper laid down to indicate what beers on it.

As the result, I was drunk already when wandered off. However, I went back to where the guide showed us—Omoide Yokocho—to get the feel of izakaya culture. This alley was my kind of scenery and atmosphere. But with the amount of beer prior consumed, I could only get one sake and some snacks on skewers and needed to catch the train back before it got too blurry to do so.  

But it didn’t end when got back to the hotel. After re-checking-in and changing in a robe, I order a potato soju at the bar. It was just after midnight and there were more people than any other time I was at the bar. I  could just assume they were stereotypical Japanese salarymen.

Last drink at the capsule hotel bar

The Night Drinking with Locals

That night cost me a bad hangover in the morning after but I managed to Sensoji Temple. It was a long walk and got back to the hotel late in the afternoon to decide how to spend the last night in town, searching for a pub within a walking distance.

I ended up in a local, 338 Counter: Ueno Music Cafe & Bar. There was no expectation but the place was the tiniest I’ve ever been to. It was on the second floor of a small building. The seats were only at the bar and could accommodate just less than ten people. When I entered the room, others had to squeeze to let me sit at the near end of the bar.

Full house at 338 Counter: Ueno Cafe & Bar

On the other hand, that intimacy translated into a cozy and friendly mood. The hospitality of the pub owner and other customers was incredible. Apparently, the night was exactly its three-month anniversary. The owner kept feeding us food which I had to turn him down because of the sushi (with sake) I had earlier.

The only lady in the house introduced me to Kirin Whiskey that I stuck with all night. She also drew each one of us a portrait and gave us as a gift. When other guys found out I was Thai, they told me they took a holiday in Thailand every year. There was even a framed photo of them, riding an elephant, in the pub. Later on, a new customer got in and handed his music to the owner to play. We made more space for him.

The night went on, the group of the guys left, and I was pretty pissed. The owner walked me down the building but I decided to get back up. There were only four of us left. We took a selfie and that was the last thing I remembered. I wasn’t sure if I could let myself get intoxicated like that if it wasn’t Tokyo.

Consequently, the next morning was a real challenge, getting to Haneda Airport in a peak hour with a terrible hangover. I made it on board though. It was a reasonable price to pay for an extraordinary night.

Beers in LA

One of some few things I liked about living and working in the States  was beer. I was curious to see what east coast had to offer when I got to LA last November. And it wasn’t a disappointment at all. On top of that, there was a good guide to take me for a pub-crawl—my nephew.

Angel City IPA, Angel City Brewery

The first taste of the local, Angel City IPA, was a brief introduction at a pub next to Egyptian Theatre before the movie. Unfortunately, the only choice I prefer at that same night at the Thai pub was Blue Moon. So, it didn’t count.

The day after we had a big yum cha lunch with my cousin and his family. And his son offered me to be a guide to the local breweries in Art District. We got to Angel City Brewery, Wurstküche, and Art District Brewing Co. That was one of the best things in the trip for having good drinks and chat with a right person. Moreover, what made it so special was that the person was your own relative you hadn’t met since we were little kid.

Somehow, it wasn’t enough. After parted with the family, it was still early in the night (with three hours time different from DC). I got down to the Brickyard pub to get some more beer. There, no beers on taps, no worries. It was a chance to explore from bottles. And I got some journal written and digested my thoughts on the trip so far. I had been full on. By the end of the night, I was pretty smashed.  Well, there were nine different beers I had that day.

The morning after, the plan to get out somewhere, like a cool café by Venice beach to write something, was scrapped. I stayed in the room for the whole last day of the trip. However, it really didn’t feel like I needed to do anything more. Considered missions accomplished.

Toilet Collection 2014-15

Another mobile photos of toilets in 2014-2015. Mostly in drinking around my neighbourhood in Bangkok, Phra Khanong, and also in some cities I’ve been: Yangon, Kuala Lumpur and Washington DC.

Less is more. Somewhere in Sarendah, Salangor, Malaysia. 7 January 2014.

Toilet Collection 2013

Throwback mobile photos of toilets, mostly around drinking here and there in Bangkok and some cities I visited in 2013.

In another country. Lion World, Yangon, Myanmar. 3 February 2013.

Voulez Vous. Ho-Jia Restaurant, Bangkok, Thailand. 25 December 2013.