The best cocktail bars in Bangkok
This cozy bar on the lobby level of Playhaus Thonglor Boutique Hotel was given a revamp by six of Bangkok’s leading bartenders. The entire venue is decorated after four famous stage plays including Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and the Rattanakosin-era epic See Pan Din.
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.
While it had long fell in the border between an Italian restaurant and a cocktail bar, Vesper has been brought back to life—after two months of renovations. This time, it comes detached from the kitchen and becomes a standalone bar with a more polished look and an even more exciting take on the Modern art-focused cocktail list. From the bistro-style bar with grown-up look comes a glam drinking den complete with sleek pine-green marble bar top, reflective light bulbs, more mirrors, and curtains hiding the space from the outside — all of which contribute to a more secretive-with-edge feel. Bar manager Supawit “Palm” Muttarattana delves into art history to give Vesper’s signature Modern art-inspired cocktail menu a complete makeover. For example, he reinterprets Neo-Impressionist artist Georges Seurat’s pointillist masterpiece A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte (which depicts people relaxing by the bank of a river) in the form of a smooth afternoon concoction with tea-infused vodka with refreshing sweetness from orange and strawberry, served in a tea cup within a cute basket with cookies and strawberry (B360). Edvard Munch’s The Dance of Life, in which the Norwegian painter portrays different psychological stages encountered in life through individuals with different emotions on the dancefloor, comes a savory vodka-based drink that combines ingredients with polemic flavors like the spicy capsicum, sweet honey, aromatic Tonka bean and intense sesame to deliver
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.
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.
Mixologist Naphat “Yod” Natchachon helms the upstairs bar to deliver conceptual concoctions such as a Gin and Tonic with preserved mangosteen shrub (B350), and cognac infused with neam leaves and coffee with sweet vermouth, and smoked with anise (B420).
Situated on party street, Sukhumvit Soi 11, Havana Social keeps itself unseen, hiding behind a telephone booth and requiring a secret code to get in. The interior presents an interpretation of pre-revolution Cuba in the ′40s, said to have been the “Las Vegas of the Caribbean” at that time.
In case you have no idea where Soi Thonglor 1 is, Just A Drink (Maybe) makes for a good reason to explore this mysterious alley hidden within Bangkok’s nightlife capital. The playfully named bar is set in a casual, laidback atmosphere that easily convinces the post-work crowd to get “just one drink” before going home. But that’s not gonna happen here.
Sugar Ray was a mainstay in Ekkamai’s nightlife scene for a reason—its creative cocktails and rustic-meets-minimalist speakeasy vibe drew both eclectic hipsters and cocktail connoisseurs to the second floor of Baan Ekkamai. The bar, however, has just gone through a complete makeover, and it includes a new address on Sukhumvit Soi 24. Tucked within new restaurant complex Octo Seafood Bar (we won’t spoil the fun by telling you where the entrance is, but we will say that you have to hunt down a chap that looks as if he’s dressed for Comic Con in the medieval times), the new Sugar Ray is now a sleeker and more dapper version of its former self. Dressed in fine black marble and leather, the dimly lit space now features ample bar seating, which was conspicuously absent in its former digs. In true Sugar Ray fashion, the guys behind the bar are still up for conversation, mostly on cocktails or the bar’s selection of fine whiskey. Head mixologist Vipop Jinaphan and his team have come up with a short list of signature drinks that cater to all kinds of flavor-profile preferences. Un Poco Loco (B420) is a fruity and sour drink that packs a punch with a mix of tequila that's sous-vide with saffron, Amaro, mango, yogurt, lime, salt and bitter. East Coast Boulevard (B420) is a twist on the good old Boulevardier, infusing Bengalese spiced tea into Campari and the smooth blending of rye whiskey, sweet vermouth, Punt e Mes, and chocolate and grapefruit bitters. Local flavor shines in Born an
For first-timers, the experience of discovering this hidden gem in the Old Town can be quite spine-tingling. In a small alley by Brown Sugar jazz bar is an abandoned-looking building that sits behind a spirit house (it’s an ideal setting for a Thai horror film). A heavy gate leads to a spooky stairway that climbs up to a third floor.