Morning Coffee: Bo(ok)hemian

Bookhemian Cafe, Phuket

Sometimes good things do come from the pages of Lonely Planet. Normally (in Southeast Asia, at least), visiting one of the bars or restaurants recommended in its pages will lead you to a place filled Lonely Planet readers of the most insufferable sort. Bo(ok)hemian is not one of those places. Despite its goofy name, it’s a nicely ramshackle hangout in the oldest part of Phuket, stocked with used Thai books and local art. The coffee is great, too, and cheap.

It was a quiet evening when I visited late last month. Most of the nearby shops had already closed for the day. Two Thai twentysomethings sat at a table on the sidewalk, eyes fixed on a white Macbook, while a Chinese couple looked through the books. Gig posters and indie CDs were on display near the cafe’s entrance. I couldn’t help but think that Bo(ok)hemian represented another face of globalization, the kind described in Andrew Potter’s book The Rebel Sell: a localized version of the same indie culture that can be found in Mile End, the Lower East Side and Kensington Market.

But it’s hard to begrudge a place like this — it seems so comfortable in its surroundings. This being Chinatown, many of the nearby shops featured a Chinese door altar; Bo(ok)hemian lacked one, so it pasted a photo of a classic altar on the column outside its front door. It’s a nice gesture that makes the cafe seem at home amongst the crumbling shophouses as the Muslim-owned textile shops and timewarp Chinese restaurants down the street.

Bookhemian Cafe, Phuket

Bookhemian Cafe, Phuket

Bookhemian Cafe, Phuket

Bookhemian Cafe, Phuket

Bookhemian cafe, Phuket

This entry was written by Christopher DeWolf , posted on Saturday October 10 2009at 07:10 pm , filed under Asia Pacific, Interior Space, Society and Culture and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink . Post a comment below or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

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