In the old days, Soi Sukhumvit 71 was known as a quiet—really quiet—upscale residential neighborhood with shortcuts aplenty from Ekkamai. But things have changed. The city is expanding from the west, and so are the developments. Elegant condos, cool restaurants and bars, artsy galleries and chic boutiques now sit between old shop houses and street food stalls. Smiling old-timers now share the sidewalks with young locals and trendy (Nihonjin) expats. Is Pridi slated to become the city’s hip new hood? Time Out Bangkok roams its street to find out what the buzz is all about.
Where to eat, shop and visit in Soi Pridi Banomyong
Sri Lankan-born roaster Karo Iyash, whose full-body Thai tattoos are equally famous as his brews, finally opened his own coffeehouse on Soi Pridi Banomyong 26 earlier this year. Karo uses beans from different origins, including Thai micro-lots (beans with distinct characters) from yellow bourbon trees in Doi Saket, and known international coffee growers (eg., Kenya, Panama). Signature drinks include hot lavender latte (B160) and a spicy Mexican mocha injected with Mexican hot sauce, (B160). If you want something non-caffeinated, try the refreshing home-fermented ginger beer on ice (B120), or a variety of teas imported from Karo’s home country.
After four “grinding” years working as baristas in Australia, Teerawat “O” Buranaprasopchai and Maytika “May” Panjaroen, armed with the latest brewing skills, have come back to Bangkok and have opened this minimalist coffee shop that focuses on Australian-style espresso, cold brew, and pour-over coffee. The couple has named their first cafe Single Lane, a reference to the long and narrow shape of the place and their mission to highlight single-origin coffee. Apart from these fresh brews, the shop also serves a variety of quirky drinks such as Summerest (B150), a blend of coffee, peach tea, prune juice, and Chinese dates. Pair your coffee with freshly baked goodies that include lemon cake, carrot cake, and croissants supplied by Australian bakery Conkey’s. For non-coffee fans, the peanut banana shake (B130) is a must-try.
Tuangpat “Ploy” Rattanavatin, founder of Saphankwai rooftop hotspot Dumbo jazz bar and daughter of musician, has loved music and vinyl records for as long as she can remember. But it wasn’t until she went to study in NewYork that she started collecting old vinyls from the ’50s to the ’80s. She ended up with such a massive collection that her mom suggested she bring them home and open a store dedicated to her obsession. That was how Trackaddict Record came to life three years ago. This tiny, well-hidden shop is packed with an impressive selection including rare finds like Pink Floyd’s The Wall (1979) and up-to-minute movie soundtracks. Prices start from B300.
A brand-new community space sits behind a curved white articulated facade in the middle of Soi Pridi Banomyong 31. Its first floor is home to a coffee bar-slash-lifestyle-store (merchandise include vinyl record equipment, Thai leather bags) by Craftsman, one of the rising star roasters in the city, while the second floor houses the showcase restaurant of natural wine importer, Marchwood. Craftsman’s blends are from Doi Sam Meun in Chiang Mai, and have been co-developed with local coffee processors. Fruity and full-bodied, these blends are great for making espressos (B95), lattes (B110) and flat whites (B110). Non-caffeinated choices are also listed on the menu. Try the cold Valrhona Choc (B150), which mixes milk and dark chocolate. These drinks can be paired with brunch plates from Marchwood, which include Fruits on Toast (B290) and Brioche Toast (B320). Marchwood also offers a three-course meal with wine pairing for dinner (B1,800).
Owned by famous celebrity chef Supamongkon “Art” Supapipat, one of the judges of Top Chef Thailand, Chef’s Table by Chef Art serves carefully created dishes at the chef’s own home. Seating is limited, the setting is private, and meals are only available via advanced reservation. Chef Art chooses the ingredients and prepares the menu according to the season, so you’re guaranteed a different meal each time you dine here. Patrons can also inform the chef beforehand on what kind of food they would like to eat.
If mysticism and magic appeal to you, then you will like Featherstone, a bistro and cafe that attempts to bring out the inner gypsy in each of its customers. The first thing you’ll see, as you walk past the entryway, is a small corner shop where all kinds of handmade products and collectibles, such as handbags, scarves, stones and crystals, are displayed. To the right is an airy space decorated with teal walls, marble-topped tables, French bistro-style rattan chairs, and a massive stained glass window. The menu is less exotic, featuring a long list of Western comfort fare such as pastas, salads and colorful soda drinks.
This bar, which takes its name from the song of ’80s English studio band, The Rah Band, stands in a converted shophouse on a quiet residential alley without a notable sign but a small moon badge. Clouds Across The Moon reimagines the song, its accompanying music video and the far-out fashion of the ’80s fashion through UV lighting, random bric-a-brac and decorative space-age details. The house’s signature cocktails are also the in-universe textual, such as the sweet-scented Moonflowers (B280) which mixes vodka, triple sec, elderflower syrup, lemon and lime juice or Clouds Across the Moon (B280), which mixes vodka, peach schnapps, and sweet vermouth, smoked with applewood. More straightforward is Half Moon (B140), a shot of sake served with lemon with plum powder on top. If you want something casual, try the popular Caipirinha (B250), for which the mixologist will burn the brown sugar to create an atypical yet interesting scent.
The stylists at Craftsman will get the job done for you, whether you want a trendy haircut (B500) a hot towel shave (B500), or your beard styled (B450). The space is dressed with industrial and retro-style interiors—think black and white walls, exposed concrete floors, vintage-style barber chairs, and metal cabinets. Craftsman also carries top-rate hairstyling products from famed brands like Suavegito and JS Sloane. And if you feel like sipping on a highball while getting your new look, Craftsman also serves glasses of Jameson upon order. The venue is obviously a hit among the city’s dapper gents, judging by the opening of a second branch at The EmQuartier.
Ensconced in Soi Pridi Banomyong 1, Aroon is a casual venue that offers good vibes, cheap drinks and alternative music. The place also serves as a cooking school during the day (see more info at aroonbangkok.com), which explains why the walls are decorated with Thai-style kitchen elements, such as a rice-winnowing basket, a clay pot, and a bamboo fan. Aroon is fast becoming known for its selection of cocktails made with Thai spirits. Try Suriyapprakha (B200), a mix of Thai brandy and passion fruit, and topped with burnt cinnamon, or the mojito-inspired Yim Chuen (B200), which mixes Thai dark rum with kaffir lime and ginger juice. Happy hour starts and goes on until late (20:00 to 22:30), and offers draft beer and wines starting from B180.
This Japanese restaurant is all about the traditional dishes of Okinawa, a chain of islands in the south of Japan. Okinawans are said to have the longest lifespan in Japan, a fact attributed to the more health-conscious cuisine from this region. Try the Okinawa soba (B149) if you want something to warm you up on a rainy day, or Okinawa-style steak (B199) or shabu-shabu (B449) if you want to bulk up with some meaty protein. The decor is as Japanese as it gets—the walls are covered with photographs of famous Japanese attractions and papers featuring handwritten Japanese characters. The establishment also offers Japanese language courses on the third floor of the restaurant.
Old shipping containers and aluminium sheets provide a home for this upcycled-wood furniture warehouse by young graphic-designer-turned-carpenter, Wachira "Nott" Thonglor. Woodwork production classes at London’s Chelsea College of Art enrolled entitled Noot a frequent contact with natural materials and carpenter’s art for years. Back in Thailand, Nott took over a year to do research on various wood from several provinces in the country before putting up If I Were a Carpenter in 2013. At his furniture studio, Nott focuses on the stories of aged wood—taken from old wooden houses—to craft homey yet sophisticated made-to-order dining sets, benches, console tables and the like.
The accommodations at this cozy little place range from mixed rooms (starts at B350/night), to private rooms (B950/night), to family rooms (B1,450/night), all of which come with breakfast. The living room area is what’s worth a mention. Featuring a clear ceiling, the space benefits from natural light and is ideal for lounging around on bean bags or playing board games. Staying guests will never get bored or lonely since Local Time always has fun activities, such as yoga, beer tasting and jamming sessions. The hostel also has a coffee shop where non-staying guests can come and linger.
Just a few blocks down the street from Phrakanong BTS station is one of the most legit Korean barbecue buffet spots in the area. The Korean-owned Mapo Galbi offers patrons a traditional Korean barbecue experience (B299/person), where you cut the meat yourself with scissors they provide and then cook it on a tabletop grilling pan. The eatery also offers other traditional Korean dishes like kimchi soup, bibimbap, and tteok-bokki. It’s open until 3 am everyday and is popular among late-night stragglers wanting to fill up their bellies after an alcohol-fueled spell at the clubs.
Known for its artisanal bread, Conkey’s is a perfect spot to start your day with a perfectly made crusty baguette or buttery brioche. Other favorites include the plain croissants (B90), fruit bread (B280), and meat pies (B160), which always sell out way before the day ends. Apart from serving freshly baked bread, this bakery also hosts recurring garden picnics (a pet-friendly one at that) where other artisanal vendors and restaurants sell hot food and scrumptious treats.
Five years ago, a group of art- and hip hop-loving friends decided to turn an intimate shophouse into a place that supports independent Thai and Japanese artists. Goja, which means “mix” in Japanese, is designed to be multi-functional, providing a space where people can enjoy artwork and coffee during the day, and decent cocktails and eclectic music at night. (Come on the second and fourth Thursday and Sunday of the month to groove to reggae and hip hop tunes.) The Goja team is also working with a few Thai music producers on an album called Phrakhanong, which just released later on online platforms such as iTunes, Spotify and Amazon Music.
This quirky shop offers all kinds of pre-loved merchandise from Japan. The ground floor is flush with antique furniture, clothing, handbags, and kitchen necessities, as well as stuff that you probably don’t need but will still end up buying anyway, such as ceramic ware and Japanese anime figures. Meanwhile, the second floor is filled with high-quality maternity stuff like pushchairs, and baby clothes and toys. The store is big, and everything comes with a price that won’t empty out your pockets. Don’t worry about getting bigger pieces back home—Masaru provides a delivery service. The store also offers promotions every once in a while, so make sure to follow their Facebook page or Instagram to keep track.