Bangkok Blues

 

926 W. Broad St (or Rt. 7 East) 
Falls Church, VA, 22046 
(703) 534-0095

 

Residing at 926 W. Broad St, Falls Church, VA, 22046, Bangkok Blues Restaurant and Bar is well known and praised for its Thai cuisine, live music and table service.

Our facility has two serving areas, Diner and Bar. The diner side is a non-smoking dining area servicing Lunch and Dinner in fine dining table service along with buffet line service.

We offer Live Music nightly (click here for our calendar) in an excellent sound system, and a true blues decor and ambiance; all to suit your taste buds for a great time together.

The bar side features a large full bar with ventilated smoking area along with multiple sets of TV, great sound system, cool decor, and personalized service.

Hours of operation:

Sound Engineering is performed by S&D Outlet at (703)569-5273. Please call Darrell for all technical and sound system questions.

Lunch: Tue-Fri: 11AM -3PM

Happy Hours: Tue-Thu: 5-7 PM

Dinner: Mon-Sun: 4:00 -11:00 PM

Bar: Everyday 5:00 PM - 2:00AM

Live Music: Mon-Thu: 7:30-11:00 PM

Fri, Sat: 8:30PM-1:00AM,

Sun: 7:00-10:30 PM

SATURDAY NIGHT - JUNE 17TH BANGKOK BLUES PRESENTS AN INTRIGUING EVENING OF MUSIC AND ART FEATURING ONE NATION CLASSIC ROCK AND ROLL SHAUN VAN STEYN “CAPTURING THE RAW ESSENCE OF LIFE IN VISUAL POETRY”

SHOWTIME: 9:30 pm $5.00 ADVANCED TICKETS, $7.00 @ DOOR www.bangkokblues.com for info & directions

926 W. Broad St. Falls Church, VA 22046 (703) 534-0095

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Bangkok Blues

By Eric Brace
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, February 1, 2002

As a teenager in Thailand, Chai Siribongkot caught the music bug from GIs stationed there during the Vietnam War. "They brought a lot of rock-and-roll with them," he says in his clipped accent. "I heard a lot of that and always wanted to play."

Now, more than 30 years later, he's steeped in American music and has turned his love of rock, jazz, blues and country into his vocation, having transformed his restaurant Bangkok Blues into one of the area's more entertaining live music venues. But Siribongkot's road from Thailand to Falls Church was a long one.

When his parents objected to his playing electric guitar, a young Siribongkot left home and joined a touring Thai rock band, taking up electric bass because no one else in the group could play it. When a music booker invited him to come to the United States in 1989, Siribongkot and his now ex-wife flew to Denver. "I ended up staying and joining a blues band and playing at ski resorts," he says.

He returned to Thailand for a short while to become a member of one of that country's biggest pop bands, Kon Dankwien. "The bandleader was a friend from high school, and he asked me to come back and go on tour with them," Siribongkot says. He recorded one album with them and another under his own name before returning to the States so his green card wouldn't expire. He landed in Los Angeles, where his solo act -- playing guitar and singing along to computerized drum loops and synthesizer parts -- found an audience in the Asian community.

"Then I met a Thai singer and she said 'Go to D.C.! You'll be very big!' " Siribongkot says. "So I came here, and found a gig at Thai Flavor, you know the old Thai restaurant? We were supposed to be at Thai Flavor for three weeks but we ended up there eight months, every day, seven days a week."

Siribongkot then took his solo act on the road for more than seven years. "New York, Chicago, Boston, Texas, Las Vegas! It was so fun to be doing it just myself with a computer!" he says with excitement. "It was a real show, an act with costumes and things, not just singing. I was crazy. People seemed to like it."

Almost two years ago, he quit touring and returned to Washington to open Bangkok Steakhouse with his second wife, Kleo Sounrut. "You know, in Thailand they don't have good steaks, and here in America you don't have the good hot sauce," he says, "so I put Tiger Steak on the menu, a New York strip with a good hot sauce! I take the best of both worlds. Like our steak pad thai. I make this up."

He also wanted live music in his club, but because he couldn't afford to pay musicians at first, he played with his own band on Friday and Saturday nights. Then one day George Welling came in for dinner.

Welling is a swing guitarist who plays in the Tom Cunningham Orchestra. He also has a Western swing band, the Oklahoma Twisters. "It's my neighborhood Thai place," Welling says, "so I was in there eating and I noticed these trombones hanging on the walls. The place had changed hands, so there was some new decor. I talked to the owner, who turned out to be Chai, and asked if he liked jazz."

That conversation opened the door to Welling putting together a band to play the first Thursday of every month at Bangkok Blues. "He said he was playing his Thai rock stuff on weekends, but he wanted jazz on Thursdays," Welling says. "I'd been wanting to put together a little breakout group from the Cunningham Orchestra to play the same sort of big band swing but with a small combo, so I asked some of the guys, and they were all for it."

It was Siribongkot who dubbed the group the Siamese Cats. "Perfect, right?" asks Welling laughing. "Except we can't play anywhere else now, because of that name!"

Almost a year ago, a burglar walked away with Siribongkot's guitars and amplifiers (not to mention the karaoke machine that made Sunday nights there so fun), and he decided his playing days were over, choosing to focus on the restaurant instead of replacing his stolen equipment. That was when he changed the restaurant's name from Bangkok Steakhouse to Bangkok Blues. There are fewer steaks on the menu now, but chefs Sompon Pongampai and Manit Kulsrisombart make some of the best Thai food I've had in the area, and that's saying something.

Siribongkot now books music Wednesday through Sunday: mainly blues on weekends, jazz on Thursdays and folkie singer-songwriter acts on Wednesdays. On Sundays there's a jazz guitar session featuring Rusty Bogart and Tom Principato from 2 to 5 p.m. All of the music is played on a small stage in the main dining room (there's also an adjacent bar area) whose walls are covered with those trombones that Welling noticed, as well as record jackets, sheet music and miscellaneous instruments.

"It's my collection," Siribongkot says. "My wife and I, we had our honeymoon in New Orleans, and I started buying things there. It's been in my attic for a long time. I love all that stuff, and I still go to yard sales and look for anything musical, like old posters, records with great old covers, used guitars, whatever, you know. I'll put it on the wall!" 

 

 

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