If you asked me where my favorite bar in the entire world was, I’d think long and hard about a disco in Brazil (Help – since closed down), that floating island bar in the Philippines (Lakawan Island), and even my local rowdy watering hole back in college (Huskies). But then, I’d probably conclude that Bear’s Cocktails in KohSamui trumps them all.
Located in the Lamai Beach neighborhood of KohSamui (Koh means ‘island’) in Thailand, you probably wouldn’t think much of Bear’s at all when you first came across it. In fact, you probably wouldn’t even notice it at all – even if you were looking for it!
All About the Thailand Bar Called Bears Cocktails
That’s because Bear’s Cocktails bar has no walls. It also has no roof, and the only floor is the dirt-packed ground. Bear’s also has no sound system, no flashing neon lights, and no air conditioning or even fan.
You see, Bear’s Cocktails consists of just a kart where Bear and her sister mix strong medicine for local Thais, expats, and tourists alike every night. The entire décor consists of four plastic tables and a slew of cheap plastic stools. That’s it, and instead of reservations or occupying a table by yourself, everyone sits down among everyone else, family style.
But this is a serious bra, as the 79 Baht (about $2) cocktails they mix from Mojitos to Margaritas, Sex on the Beach to Long Island Ice Teas will help you feel no pain. Pretty soon, aided by the high-alcohol social lubricant, you’ll be chatting, laughing and exchanging info with the other “bar” patrons – cool people from all over the world.
Bear’s Cocktails is everything that’s right about a bar experience – relaxation, not taking yourself too seriously, meeting other folks, and letting loose.
Parking? Bear’s pops up every night in a dirt-packed parking lot, so that’s not an issue.
Bathroom? There are bushes a little way down for the fellas, and ladies can go into the McDonalds or other nearby restaurants and bars to use their Comfort Room.
Hours of operation? Bear usually pulls up and starts reading her cart around sunset, and closes in the wee hours whenever the mood strikes and the patrons all stumble off.
Security? They definitely have that covered with Bear’s formidable and stern sister, who speaks very little but sees everything in perfect complement to Bear’s gregarious and entertaining nature.
Together, they range from fun to jaw-aching hilarious. You’d be wise on a slow night to buy them a cocktail and ask for a few stories about their childhood, upbringing, and tumultuous start in KohSamui – it’s crazy and something out of a movie!
Speaking of slow nights, those are fewer and further between these days, as just about everyone who visits Bear’s ends up coming back during their vacation, and then when they return to KohSamui. It’s the perfect antidote to today’s stuffy, pretentious, antiseptic, money-grubbing, and tourist trap bars. In fact, that’s the reason Bear’s Cocktails has an inspiring perfect 5-star rating on TripAdvisor with 233 reviews, and is rated as KohSamui’s #1 nightlife venue in Lamai Beach, even amidst expensive clubs and beachside bars!
I always send friends who are visiting Thailand and KohSamui to Bear’s, because I know they’ll have an amazing night and be part of something still 100% authentic. I can tell you that Bear doesn’t need the money – she does it because she loves to see people having fun and the sense of community and realness. And that’s why I go – to meet other people who want to make lifelong friends while sipping delish cocktails under the night sky in Thailand!