Niks Anuman-Rajadhon and the guys behind gin haunt Teens of Thailand deserve recognition for having a hand in transforming the notorious alley of Chinatown’s Soi Nana into a happening bar-hopping destination. Recently, rumors arose that Niks, along with Kiattikoon “Toon” Auengkum (the former head barman at Bunker), was opening another rum bar across the street. But when Asia Today finally opened, it was revealed to be a rather simple bar with a strong focus on exotic Thai ingredients.
While Teens of Thailand combines a watering-hole vibe with interiors representing the gritty side of Soi Nana—think a sleazy, dimly lit neon glow and explicit photographs—Asia Today presents a mixed bag of kitschy elements. “Asian elements, to some outsiders, is associated with bad taste, which consists of stuff that don’t go together,” explains Gunn Leelhasuwan, who’s also responsible for the look of Teens of Thailand. “We’re not trying to fix the stereotype but glorify it instead.” Tipplers are therefore bombarded by items that invoke a post-modern feel, like a white shark dummy hanging from the ceiling, framed old sleazy posters, and a cheeky self-referencing sign that says, “This bar is better than Teens of Thailand.”
The bar focuses on creating cocktails made with lesser-known ingredients, including bai hor wor (an indigenous herb from the Pga K’nyau community in northern Thailand), bai hoo seur (an aromatic plant that’s used in larb) and thirteen types of honey sourced from different reg