Nothing beats a great night out after a long week at work. Whether cocktails in a swanky joint is your thing, downing a beer or two while enjoying live music, or dancing like there‘s no tomorrow, Time Out's got you covered. We've rounded up the best bars and clubs in the city. Find them in the lively neighborhoods of Silom, Thonglor and Soi Nana Chinatown.
The best bars and clubs in Bangkok
After wielding design magic on Maggie Choo’s and Iron Fairies, Australian designer Ashley Sutton is back with Sing Sing Theater. Decorated with metalwork, wood, lanterns and neon lights, the place combines inspirations from Shanghai in the ′30s with futuristic Blade Runner-esque elements. The dance floor is the heart of the place and is sometimes used as a stage for many a gimmicky performance. The balcony on the second floor is the best spot for enjoying the shows. The drinks list includes specials like the Cabinet Escape, a gin-based cocktail served in a birdcage (interesting) and Bank in Lemon, another gin-based drink. The music is always pumping and spans house, hip-hop and hit standards.
You might be surprised to find out what’s hidden inside Fat Gut’z Saloon Eastville. A dragonfly-shaped key opens the door to a small walkway leading to what appears to be an abandoned forest chapel and that familiar Iron Fairies magic. The latest incarnation of the iconic Bangkok bar plays with ta familiar sense of fantasy and discovery, from an oak wood seating area to the gnarly tree roots lining the wall and steel mine architectural elements. This second branch might be smaller than the first but it’s equally full of secrets, especially as they plan to launch as a member-only club in the near future. For now, it’s a heavily jazz-inspired venue with live performances followed by a DJ set every night. The food and beverages at Iron Fairies Dragonfly stay true to the Thong Lor original. You can find old classics such as Binzy’s Beef Burger (named one of the best burgers in town couple of years ago) as well as the Serious Ribs, pork ribs marinated in a BBQ sauce served with onion rings, cheesy spinach and coleslaw. Newer, notable dishes include Squid N Chips, Deep-Fried Calamari, and the Original Hot Buffalo Wings with yummy blue cheese sauce. With almost 20 signature cocktails (as well as a separate classic menu), Iron Fairies Dragonfly isn’t short on variety. The Thong Lor branch’s most popular cocktail, Smoke in a Bottle, uses vodka as its base and oregano smoked in a bottle to release the aromatic scent when you open the cork. Other drinks
Nestled in the quiet street of Sukhumvit soi 51, WTF Bar & Gallery took over a old shophouse and turned it into an laidback and convivial bar just like what you’d find in a random street in Paris or Brooklyn. The space is tiny and is usually crowded every night. Forget trying to snag a seat and just hang around the bar. Grab a bottle of Singha or ask for one of the cocktails of the day (check the board above). A playlist of indie-pop and world music tracks is courtesy of next-door vinyl shop Zudrangma records. The second and third floor serves as a gallery space.
Located behind a wooden door next to Ainu Japanese restaurant, Rabbit Hole is a three-story bar that retains the rustic structure of its converted shop house shell but revels in a luxurious renovation involving polished copper and brass. Whiskey fans can pick their favorite from a selection of bottles straddling the copper rack behind the bar. The drinks list combines herbal, smoked and homemade ingredients to play up signature cocktails. A must-try is the Cosa Nostra, an Old Fashioned-inspired drink with cherry-infused cognac served in a cigar-smoked rock glass.
This beer bar carries over 300 labels from all around the world. Located in Thonglor, right in the middle of youth-friendly Seenspace, the bar works both as a post-grind hangout and a pre-game spot. Enjoy Belgian tipples with beer-friendly dishes like wings and fries, and “healthy” burgers created in collaboration with burger master Daniel Thaiger. If Thonglor is not your destination, visit the bar’s other branches at Asiatique Riverside and Sukhumvit Soi 11.
Run by the same team behind cult favorite Sugarray Bar in Ekkamai Soi 21, Q&A serves innovative cocktails within a setting reminiscent of a vintage train carriage. The bar is nestled inside a little alley on Sukhumvit Soi 21 with just a little sign above a green marble wall to give you a hint. Position yourself on the pretty caramel stools by the bar so you can chat with the gentlemen preparing your drink. The cocktails list rotates on a monthly basis, registering classics with a bit of a tweak. Have a go at the Pinkish, which gives a twist to the usual Negroni mix by using homemade rhubarb and grapefruit gin as the base spirit.
Australian interior designer Ashley Sutton took the concept of the secret speakeasy bar to the next level when he created Maggie Choo’s. Inspired by Shanghai in the 1950s, the bar is a visual spectacle of stone sculptures, dungeon-like smoking rooms and heavy steel doors. If the qipao-clad ladies aren’t ushering you to your table, they’re lounging on swings hanging on chains from the ceiling. The drinks list, created by celebrity mixologist Joseph Boroski, offers swanky choices that hype up local fresh ingredients. Entertainment varies on a nightly basis. Expect DJs spinning upbeat hip hop tunes one night and a velvet-voiced crooner singing jazz and blues in another. Maggie Choo’s is always a reliable venue for impressing first-time visitors to Bangkok.
Tep Bar, one of the crowd-pullers at Soi Nana in Chinatown, puts a Thai spin into tapas-style dining. The prawn crackers, served with sweet chili paste, are an all-time favorite, and greatly complement their infused yadong, or Thai whiskey, shots (one is believed to be an aphrodisiac).
Located on Soi Nana in China Town, this gin bar – the first in Thailand – is hidden behind a big wooden door just waiting to be discovered. This place serves almost 80 gin-based drinks (the drinks list changes daily, mind you). Plus, its mixologist, Niks Anuman-Rajadhon, is always there to make sure you have a good time. Last time we went, he created Passoa CNX (passion fruit from Chiang Mai mixed with gin) for us to try, and it was awesome! If you love gin (and you should), Teens of Thailand will surely be your favorite new hangout.
This small bar in the lobby of Playhaus Thonglor Boutique Hotel was once known as Behind the Scene Lounge & Bar before it got taken over and revamped by six of Bangkok’s foremost bartenders. Grab a seat beside the bar and let the barman customize a drink for you. Or choose one of their signature drinks. Our favorite is the Dead Poet, an elegant martini with saffron-infused gin at its base.