Real European drafts
At the junction in the middle of Nimmanhemin Soi 11.
T: (081) 531 4765, (081) 531 9161
Chiang Mai’s unpretentious Beer Republic is a specialist beer bar with an astonishing array of foreign beers and ciders on tap — at last count we got to at least 15 — at reasonable prices considering how far they’ve come.
Chiang Mai’s night life is very broadly speaking split into a few distinct geographical zones on a rough demographic basis. There’s the backpacker bars and cafes of the Tha Pae quarter and Somphet, the sleazy bars and expat drinking holes along Loi Kroh, the Thai karaoke bars of south Chiang Mai and the mostly well-heeled young Thai and student hangouts of Nimmanhemin. But Beer Republic, in Nimmanhemin, seems to have hit the spot with a large and very mixed crowd of locals and farangs.
On offer are the usual suspects such as Leffe and Stella from Belgium, Paulaner, Erdinger, Bitburger and so on from Germany, but also the more unusual Old Speckled Hen and Green King IPA from England. Many of the fancy European lagers are found in bottles in some of Thailand’s more upmarket bars, but good quality draught real ale is much harder to find, as is the draught cider of which they offer several varieties.
A well-chilled cider goes down very nicely thank you in this hot weather, and we found their ales, lagers and ciders all of remarkable quality. And considering how far they have come — and the importing hoops they have no longer had to jump through — we also thought the prices were reasonable. Most imported draught goes for 200 to 220 for a pint — which is actually a 500ml glass — and you’d have a tough job finding such beers at such prices in Bangkok’s Sukhumvit or Ko Samui.
For 250 baht you can also order a sampler of five small glasses of different beers, or go the whole hog and get a 10-beer sampler for 500 baht. Food is mostly standard, though well-prepared pub grub with a few Thai flourishes, and again it’s reasonably priced. Large house-made burgers with all the trimmings are 170 baht, salads go for around 70 to 80 baht, or try the cold meat or cheese platters, which are enough for two and go for 190 baht. It won’t compare to a cheap khao soi, but again these are mostly imported products.
Decor is pleasantly understated and simple, without the gimmicks of many of the other Nimmanhemin bars, and service is efficient and friendly with some English spoken, though you can wait a while on a busy night. There’s an air-con upstairs area, outside seating or plenty of bar stools.
By Mark Ord
Last updated on 20th September, 2013.