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The Bull's Head

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"This is like your good old traditional British pub," says Billy Brunsdon, the manager. "Many places claim to be real British pubs, but nowhere else in Bangkok has the magic and charm of The Bull's Head or The Barbican [the second establishment operated by the Great British Pub Company]."

The three-floor venue, which has been open for over a decade, is incongruously situated on Sukhumvit Soi 33/1, also known as "Little Tokyo." The clientele is 60 percent British and 20 percent Thai, with the remainder comprising every nationality from Japanese to Jamaicans. It's a favorite stopping point for former British soccer stars passing through the City of Angels; Lee Sharpe, Gerry Armstrong and John Beresford have been recent visitors.

The Bull's Head's quintessentially English mood is accentuated by a collection of delightful black-and-white photographs of British icons, including Queen Elizabeth, Bobby Moore, Sean Connery, Michael Caine, Mick Jagger, Spike Milligan, Frankie Howerd and Benny Hill. Another factor that contributes to the place's devoted following is the 99-CD juke box, proclaimed as “the best in Asia” by the modest Mr. Brunsdon. "It has a lot of stuff that you just don't hear in other places," he says. "The selection runs from the 1950's to the present, so there is something for everyone."

The Bull's Head is open seven days a week from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m., and serves a traditional English breakfast all day long. They have very reasonably priced, innovative set lunches, for 195 baht (two courses) and 245 baht (three course), that change every week. Their selection of draft beers includes Guinness, Kilkenny, Tiger, Heineken and the English real ale, Old Speckled Hen. Strongbow Cider is also on tap. There is, of course, an extensive selection of bottled beers. In the spirit of diversity, there are concoctions that Mr. Brunsdon describes as "exotic cocktails designed for the discerning palate of the international jetsetter." Fans of the sitcom Only Fools and Horses should picture one of Del Boy's daiquiris.

Three of Chef Jim's most popular creations are British standards: fish and chips, steak pie, and toad on the hole (which is Yorkshire pudding and sausage, for those unfamiliar with the byways of Brit cuisine). And yes, they do it "on" the hole and not "in." If you still have any room left inside, tell them to bring on the créme brulee or banoffee pie.

Regular activities, including stand-up comedy, live music and, for the more cerebral, chess, add flavor, but Mr. Brunsdon says that success boils down to the standard of their food and the quality of their friendly staff (remembering names, for example). With 80 percent of the pub's patrons being regulars, the atmosphere is always friendly and welcoming. He describes the The Bull's Head's clientele as open-minded, fun-loving, and non-intimidating. Perhaps this explains why you will regularly see patrons dancing or riding around the bar on each others' shoulders. Alternatively, an impromptu violinist or bagpiper might start playing out of the blue; not an everyday occurrence in Bangkok. It's your round, mate.
595/10-11 Sukhumvit Soi 33/1
Klong Toei
Bangkok 10110
02 259 4444, 02 261 0665
02 662 1491
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  From Siam BTS Skytrain Station:
Distance: 4.0km
Direction: Compass Direction graphicEast South East
Taxi Fare: 86 baht
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Skytrain: Phrom Phong (0.2km)
Subway: Sukhumvit (0.9km)
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