Posted: May 06 2014

Halfway down soi 8, where Tailor On Ten in located, you find Det5, a restaurant, bar and live music venue with good food and relaxed atmosphere. Best thing, it’s perfectly located for a beer after work – or after a successful fitting at Tailor On Ten. We spoke to owner Aram and her husband Bob.

How long has Det5 been here?
We’ve been open for 23 years. It started as a small beer bar in 1991 and moved to this location eight years ago, when we also turned it into a restaurant. We’re a bit unique in this location as we have different areas; you can relax outside, hang by the bar, sit near the music or play pool.

How have you seen the soi change since you moved here?
It’s not really changed, but it’s grown a lot, with new hotels and restaurants. It’s a very vibrant soi and it’s blossomed with all the new businesses. I think it’s really cool, both for locals and tourists. 

What inspired you to start Det5?
Aram was an employee at the bar, when the owner decided to sell. She asked if I wanted to take it over and I did. Now we’re quite music focused. That came naturally, as in the beginning, people would come and they got to play their own music on the cassette player. It was a bit more difficult requesting a song back then!

What was your best day at work?
Aram: Every day. I love every single day.
Bob: How about the 20th anniversary? That was a great day!
Aram: For you maybe. For me every day is a great day!

What’s the best day to visit Det5?
Mondays are open mic night, that’s always good. Anyone is welcome and we provide instruments. We get some good groups and lots of solo guitarists. Last week we had two guys reading poetry. That’s very unusual and it took a while before we all realized we couldn’t just keep talking if we wanted to hear the words.
Fridays are free buffet night, that always draws a good crowd as well.

Speaking to Bob, who often spends his evenings at the bar talking to customers, we find out that he mainly supports the business as a husband and that he actually met Aram at the bar, on a night when he had first refused his friend’s invite to go for a drink.

I love music so I immediately liked the place… and the owner. Now I to spend time here for the music and meeting people. But my day job is as a gemologist. I work in a lab where we provide 3rd party certificates for precious stones. I moved here from Belgium with my family 26 years ago for my dad’s work. My family is still here and I still LOVE Thailand. It’s a great place to be.

That’s a long time! Any travel destinations to recommend in Thailand?
Cha Am is one of my favorite places, because it always stayed the same. I went for the first time 18 years ago and the main stretch hasn’t really changed. The big resorts have stayed out so the place has maintained its character and it’s very down to earth. My regular restaurant has had the same owner and the same great service for 15 years.

Let’s talk a little bit about clothes. How would you describe your personal style?
I’m very particular about shirts. I don’t care much about brands but I like patterns and colors. Different combinations and weird designs. I like English shirt companies, they’re really good quality and you can get double cuffs, which I like.

Luckily we stock a range of fabrics from Britain’s most reputable shirting company, Thomas Mason, and we have, ahem… let’s say plenty of cuff options.
Yes, I really do need to come in one day. I’ve never had anything tailored. I rarely wear suits as it’s just too warm here, so only when I travel for business.

What piece of clothing can no man live without?
A good shirt. Nicely tailored, good fit with a bit of color. The shirt is the first thing you see, unless you wear a suit. It’s really a direct expression of your style.

What would you wear for a special occasion?
I like formal Chinese clothes with the standing Mandarin collar. Shanghai Tang makes some beautiful such jackets. I have a full Chinese dress in black wool with green lining. I sometimes wear it for events here at the bar. It’s great for black tie or national dress occasions. It’s very formal but not what people expect. The classic Thai silk formal-wear is also very classy. They make beautiful fabrics.

To finish up, what would you recommend from the Det5 menu?
Ooh, that’s a tough one. The kitchen staff is good with all types of food but most people go for Thai and since we’re in Thailand, that’s what I recommend. My favorites are the larb (spicy minced pork ‘salad’) and the pad pong kari (yellow curry). People really like our menu as we do generous portions, with good quality at reasonable prices.

And finally, any funny anecdotes?
We do all sorts of events. We’ve hosted birthday parties ranging from 2 to 80 years old. The most interesting event was a sit down wedding for 96 people. It was someone we know, who had trouble finding a venue and asked us on a whim. The event company made everything pink, with flowers, cushions and thick cloth over our wooden benches and tables. The place ended up looking like a five star ball room!


TOT Recommends:
The pad thai is excellent (both the regular and the vegetarian version).
If you want a break from Thai food, they make great pastry pies.
And don't miss out on the free buffet on Fridays!


41 Sukhumvit Soi 8, Bangkok
Tel: +66 2 653-1232

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