Update June 1, 2018: Bad Taste Cafe will be open for the last day on Saturday.
“The economy is bad. The junta causes unrest, but the bar is in too much rest. So we can’t really go on,” Taophiphop said Friday.
On the first floor of a random house down a random street in Lat Phrao, a tall man serves food and drinks foods while projecting random memes upon a wall.
On a recent evening, Taopiphop Limjittrakorn was shimmying the Dougie to electronic hits while people posed for photos with the Windows Blue Screen of Death projected on their faces.
Were the Internet a brick-and-mortar bar, then that bar would be Bad Taste Cafe.
“This is where Internet collides with reality,” 28-year-old Taopiphop said before excusing himself to use a toilet he describes as “aesthetic.”
Bad Taste opened as a tribute to a visual and music style downloaded directly from the internet, namely a 21st century nostalgia for ‘80s and ‘90s retro tech – at least how it’s reimagined today.
Musically it means vaporwave, described as “a satire of corporate and consumerist culture and modern capitalism, specifically as a critique of mainstream EDM” by the Encyclopaedia Britannica of millennials aka KnowYourMeme.com.
“Vaporwave or aesthetic is hard to explain, but you know it when you see it. There’s some Japanese letters, some Roman statues, and a chill, gooey viscous feel, like you just drank a bunch of cough syrup,” Taopiphop said.
He was as drawn to its open-source ethos as a geek generation’s analog to hip-hop.
“As a law graduate, I was interested in how vaporwave mixes and matches stuff, even other people’s stuff, to be something that’s new or whatever. They’re copying but contributing to the mass of free information online,” Taopiphop said.
Vaporwave’s visual companion is called aesthetic, whose afficianados get sentimental about annoying Windows 98 error dialogs and chunky MSPaint creations, especially when they’re pasted over backgrounds of pastel colors.
“It’s nostalgia for the era we grew up in, since we grew up with the birth of the internet,” Taopiphop said.
Since it opened, Bad Taste has hosted astrology meetups, vaporwave DJs, board game and PlayStation 4 nights, and most recently a Children’s Day event for patrons to wear their old school uniforms.
“People are addicted to smartphones today, but I want people to meet in real life more because it feels good. So I made the Internet into a real place,” Taopiphop said before launching into a description of what he thought a VR bar in the future would be like.
Eavesdropping at Bad Taste is like reading the comments section on a favorite nerd webboard, with customers trading thoughts on things such as Bitcoin, political memes or the dark side of YouTube.
“There’s a lot of progressive, liberal influencers and Internet activists too,” Taopiphop said, pointing to a Confederate flag and a photoshopped photo of a ballerina Hitler. “So I hung those up to be ironic.”
One of Taopiphop’s favorite Bad Taste combos is some simple pan-fried eggs with mhoo yor and gun chiang sausages (70 baht) and a drink of absinthe and apple juice.
“This drink’s name is Abb-Cher,” Taopiphop said, obviously making it up on the spot after his bartender couldn’t give him an answer. “When you drink it, you act abbeaw (cutesy) while pretending to be Cherprang,” he said, referring to the leader of girl group BNK48.
The Abb-Cher (280 baht) may or may not have any of the effects Taopiphop described.
Other dishes include waffles topped with larb chicken (120 baht), french fries (70 baht) and a breakfast set that Taopiphop is planning to whip up for anyone who asks.
“Everyone should have a good breakfast. I plan to make sticky rice waffles too,” he said.
At Bad Taste, customers can discuss memes with their crush or borrow the projector to pull up a YouTube video everyone has “just gotta see.” You spend time at Bad Taste Cafe the same way you waste time on the Internet, but are less unhappy about it.
The grand opening event of Taopiphop’s bar starts at 9am and runs all day until midnight on Saturday. It’s the first day that Bad Taste will be open at their new times, and Tao says he will debut some of his new dishes. Bad Taste Cafe is located on Soi Lat Phrao 21, Yaek 2, a short walk from MRT Lat Phrao Exit 4.