Time Out welcomes February, a month that celebrates both love and the Chinese lunar new year, by compiling a list of bars that are the perfect alternatives to those candlelit restaurants we usually take our dates to on Valentine’s Day. The deluge of Chinese-themed watering holes in the city’s bar scene affords the chance to celebrate both occasions at the same time and in a fun, special way. Here are our picks for the coolest bars that give off both romantic and oriental vibes.
Best Chinese-themed bars
Good for: Ladpraoian couples that are bored
Situated in a converted shophouse that's steps away from Phahol Yothin MRT station, Ninetails Bar @ Booster attempts to immortalize the ancient Chinese tale of the nine-tailed fox, a creature that possesses magical powers and can take on a human form. Its interiors are reminiscent of an old Chinese tea house, featuring oriental elements like Chinese lanterns, vintage wooden furniture and a portrait of an Asian women that may just be a depiction of the legendary magical fox. Asian ingredients like black grass and chrysanthemum take centerstage in signature cocktails that's designed to pair with bold-flavored Chinese-style bar chows and appease the Lad Phrao crowd.
Good for: Couples in the mood
Ba Hao, which means “number eight” in Chinese (eight is considered a lucky number in Chinese culture), spreads over four floors that includes a cocktail bar as well as a small hotel. A blinking neon-lit logo radiates a red glow that’s evocative of the lights and gritty feel of Shanghai’s red-light district. Home-style Chinese furniture, however, takes away any brothel notions by injecting the intimate vibe of an old-school coffee house. The bar offers a selection of craft beer in bottles and on tap, as well as a number of Chinese-inspired cocktails. Don’t miss amazing bar chows that implicates Chinese-style street bites like duck dumpling and Chinese scallion pancakes.
Good for: Couples who enjoy the simple things in life yet are up for adventurous flavors
In an area in Yaowarat packed with rustic shophouses, the undistinguished minimal entrance of Rabbit Hill—consisting of a red wooden door and classic Chinese circle window—leads to a whole different world. The red hues and cool Oriental elements typical of a Chinese-style bar dominate the dimly lit space like gigantic paper lanterns hang over a colorful mural—inspired by vintage Chinese advertising posters—depicting a woman enjoying a glass of beer. Rabbit Hill puts a spotlight on famous Hong Kong-born craft beer Moonzen like Monkey King Amber Ale with caramel and vanilla notes, and a hint of peach and Dragon King Fujian Radler, an IPA with a hint of pomelo, the native fruit of Fujian. To accompany your beer, Rabbit Hill has a selection of simple and comforting Chinese-style bar chow.
Good for: Beer-loving couples
Pijiu, which means “beer” in Chinese, is the newest brainchild of the guys behind craft beer importing pioneer Beervana. Located a few steps away from Teens of Thailand, this Thai-Chinese shophouse is decorated much like a hotel lobby bar in 1950s Hong Kong. Five taps on regular rotation offer imported brews. Bottled labels afford more options including the legalized Thai brew Happy New Beer from Khao Yai. Bar snacks are also a star at Pijiu like the Chinese Cold Cuts, a platter that puts together shrimp crackers, smoked duck, kun chiang (traditional Chinese sausage), moo wan (sweet pork with coriander and spices).
Good for: Couples who love both coffee and booz
Situated next to Peppina pizzeria, the dimly-lit cocktail hub features a vintage-style, red-lit setting decorated with Oriental teahouse furniture and shelves lined with East Asian clichés like Japanese lucky cat charms, Chinese tea sets and jars storing exotic-looking herbs. Manned by the Sugar Ray team, the bar menu sticks to Dim Dim’s Asian-inspired vibe by incorporating Chinese herbs into the concoctions it Dim Dim slings together. At the day time, the Chinese bar is helmed by baristas from Singapore-hailing A Stimulant by Sarnies who conjure up creative caffeinated drinks.