UPDATE 2013 - Phuket Brewery closed some time ago - not making enough money. I think the place was just too big for Phuket, not in a tourist area and while it was packed when they had concerts, it was almost dead on weekdays. We went to a Sek Loso concert one night and went a couple of times with the family, and the kids enjoyed the magic show and the atmosphere, but for such a large place with so many staff, it needed to be much busier. It was taken over by an entertainment company called "Whisky and Moonlight" for a while and was then converted into a big LadyBoy show called Aphrodite Cabaret, which is still open.
I admit to not being a nightlife person - noisy bars and clubs are not my thing... thus there's not a great deal on this blog relating to nightlife in Phuket or bars or clubs! A lot of the nightlife in Phuket is related to bargirls, ladyboys and everything in between. Not really family entertainment. What I like to find is a place that has a good atmosphere, is not a rip off and preferably has good beer!
Enter Phuket Brewery, just opened last November - a huge entertainment venue just outside Phuket Town, opposite the Tesco Lotus store, impossible to miss.. I mean, there's half a boat sticking out the front of the building, more or less everyone will see it when driving from the airport to the beaches.
I had been putting off a visit due in part to laziness and in part because I heard it was very expensive. The Brewery is just 5 minutes from my house, and could become my local pub! Certainly not as expensive as I thought, and there's even a happy hour from 7 - 8pm (we found that out when we got the bill)! I had a friend visiting from England and we both like good beer, so I thought it was time to try the Brewery.
It does look a bit fancy and expensive. The entrance is like stepping on board a cruise ship, all polished wood and portholes for effect, mirroring the boat on the outside. You can sit outside to eat or just for a drink, or you can head into the theatre. Inside there is an impressive looking wooden and copper bar, with the freshly brewing beer right behind the bar - all the pipes and valves of the microbrewery out in the open and it looks great!
The house band had already started before 8pm. It's a large theater, I reckon must seat over 1,000 people. Only about 30 people when we arrived, but it did fill a little later, maybe around 200 people there by 10pm, not bad for a week night.
So, what's Phuket Brewery all about? Well, for me, number one - (the word Brewery is a hint) - BEER! The microbrewery makes 3 different beers, a dark beer, a lager and a weizenbier (wheat beer). It looks good, it tastes great. Normal price 130 Baht for half liter, but only 75 Baht during happy hour. There are also 0.3 liter glasses and huge beer towers containing 3 or 5 liters - good for large parties.
Here's some of that beer - in the photo below you see a dark beer and the weizenbier.
But, this is not a drinkers den. The beers are good, but the Brewery is aimed at families, work social evenings, ladies nights out and concerts - some of the big names in Thai rock have been already such as Carabao and Sek Loso. I wonder if they can attract any big Western bands? When we were there on Thursday it was just the house band, which was not too bad. Also some Thai dancing and a magic show. I think kids would enjoy it, though they'd have to be allowed a late night by mum and dad.
There is an upstairs balcony too which would seat several hundred people. On this quiet week night the balcony was not being used but I went for a look upstairs and also wandered down to the stage. They have an impressive array of live video screens around the venue and 3 different cameras shooting all the action from the stage. From the balcony I could look back down on the bar area too.
So, you've got beer, entertainment, concerts, friendly staff, oh and they do food too - not super cheap, but I think for the western food about the same as you'd pay elsewhere. Open every day, easy to find, and only 5 minutes from my house. Did I mention the beer? Who's meeting me for happy hour? :)