The New Venue

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There is no doubt about it, the so-called “Dark Side” is where the action is in Pattaya. Where restaurants and bars are closing on the ocean side, new ventures are opening up around Lake Mabprachan, and The Venue is one of these.

It is very easy to find by coming down Siam Country Club Road from the Sukhumvit end, across the intersection with the traffic lights (the only one) and around two kilometers further on the road veers right and goes up hill and the brightly lit Venue is on the right.

Look for the sign.

It had become a little run down, but a change in ownership has sparkled the place up. Attention has been given to the acoustics in the building as many top bands/musicians headline evenings there, with the undercard being an excellent Filipino duo which plays up to 9 p.m.

As part of the renovations, the previously minimal kitchen has been enlarged and the new chef (Scott) has designed a very different menu, and it was this side of The Venue that the Dining Out team went to review.

Great listening to the Filipino duo.

Rustic seating outside (but covered) gives a very casual atmosphere, whilst inside it is more ‘bar’ style with sit-up seats and marble table tops along one side, and free standing tables for smaller groups.

The menu is fun, making it worthwhile to look for the humorous titles, and is also photographic, so even those who do not speak English can see what they are going to get. The dishes are also explained, so you know what was done to get your “Kraut Dog” for example. The menu is called the “Smokeshack” menu and has numbers as well as descriptions, ensuring you get your correct choice when it comes from the kitchen.

Outdoor table.

The menu begins with Light Bites and Bar Snacks (B. 100-160) beginning with nachos and salsa and having a BBQ ribs dish at the top end.

Sandwiches are interesting (B. 120-280) with the Pulled Pork Panini (B. 180) described as a “slow-cooked juicy pork shoulder in a piquant tomato based sauce, so tender it is pulled apart and the pulled pork is served in a roll covered in smokehouse BBQ sauce with creamy coleslaw.”

Hefty cheese sandwich.

Other choices include a Baja Fish sandwich, a Chicken satay Panini, a Chicken Parma Sub and even Doner Kebab.

Next up is a page of Hot Dogs, most around B. 150 including the Slum Dog Millionaire at B. 160.

Burgers next with an Aussie burger (B. 260 for the homesick chaps from Down-Under), with the mandatory beetroot (or it isn’t an Aussie burger)!

Yes they do pizzas, beginning at B. 160 for the Margherita through to a salmon pizza with capers, anchovy and mozzarella (B. 320).

And yet it keeps going with one section called Main Meals with most at B 240 including a half rack of ribs at that price.

“Basket” meals for kids are B. 160 including Catfish fingers and fries (I didn’t know the ubiquitous catfish had hands)  😉

We sampled many dishes and could see why the pulled pork was so popular. A meal in itself.

Chicken satay burger.

After we had finished eating, The Venue asked for our honest opinion and we honestly agreed that The Venue has managed to successfully combine a bar, a restaurant, and a music club with friendly staff and relaxation. If we had a complaint, it was merely that the portions are very large and perhaps at the next menu change offer ‘small’ and ‘large’.

We stayed for the live rock and roll band which came on at 9 p.m. after the Filipino duo. Headlined by Pop Joralai, the 7 string lead guitar with his bass player working a 5 stringer. If you like full-on rock, Pop can deliver, but will play all requests (The Shadows, for example) for those not quite into the head-banging mode! Pop when asked about some Bluegrass music said that he would “try” and then launched into a virtuoso performance with the band. Great fun!

Well worth a visit to the ‘dark side’. Fabulous entertainment, and you won’t go hungry or break the bank!

The Venue, 36/7 Moo 4, Siam Country Club Road, telephone 086 309 1030, plenty of street-side parking, open 7 days, kitchen 12 noon – 10 p.m.

Good sized back ribs.