We’re not saying you wasted your last trip to Bangkok if it was all for the shopping and good food, but if yummy tipples are something that bring you joy, a bar-hop should definitely be in the cards for your next one. Having hosted this year’s Bar Awards (check out the winners here), Bangkok’s bar scene has really heated up, with flavour-forward drinks trending of late. Want in on the action? Here are some of our favourite cocktail bars around the City of Angels to booze up your itinerary.
Neon lights, Hawaiian shirts, and a lively playlist are just a few of the reasons why Tropic City’s urban-tropical aesthetic is elevated from your run-of-the-mill tiki bar to something of an oasis of booze. With well-balanced cocktails and quite a curate selection of rums, you get high quality tropical tipples served with a cheeky smile and friendly service from BK Magazine’s Bar of the Year. And it doesn’t hurt to have the Bar Awards’ Rising Star Arron Grendon, who also won the Chivas Masters Global Competition in 2018, on hand as well.
Tropic City is located at Soi Charoen Krung 28, Khwaeng Bang Rak, Khet Bang Rak, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10500, Thailand, p. +66 83 838 2750, e. email@example.com. Opens Tue-Sun 7pm – 2am.
If you had a Thai aunt with a love of culture, a penchant for drinking, and a dubious backalley business, then an experience at Tep Bar is what we suppose a night at hers would be like. What we’re trying to say is, there’s something about slipping through the cultural speakeasy’s nondescript entrance in Chinatown’s shady dark alleys that made us feel strangely at home. We just wish we knew all the words to the live Thai folk music that plays nightly. And if you think you can take a strong drink, try a shot of their super-concentrated herbal liqueurs (purportedly with aphrodisiac benefits too) that aren’t for the faint of heart – they go for THB350 a pop.
Tep Bar is located at 69, 71 Soi Yi Sip Song Karakadakhom 4, Khwaeng Pom Prap, Khet Pom Prap Sattru Phai, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10100, Thailand, p. +66 98 467 2944. Opens daily, 6pm – 1am.
If you only have time for one stop in Bangkok, make it Vesper; those who’ve had the privilege to taste one of Head Bartender Supawit “Palm” Muttarattana’s magical cocktails have yet to stop gushing. After all, there’s a reason why he’s 2019’s Bartender of the Year (and if you need a second opinion, winner of this year’s Campari Bartender Competition Asia). The bar itself is an eclectic twist of colour and music, with a urbanite twist on vintage European pink and greens. The current menu is an Art Book that conceptualizes each cocktail as their take on a distillation of famous modern art installations and sculptures, like ‘The White Trumpet Flower’ inspired by Georgia O’Keeffe. Friday nights also welcome a range of curated 80s synth, disco Motown and nu-electro funk on the turntables.
Vesper is located at 10/15 Convent Road, Khwaeng Silom, Khet Bang Rak, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10500, Thailand, p. +66 2 235 2777. Opens daily 5.30pm – 1am.
The Bamboo Bar
One of Bangkok’s finest – they’ve won Best Hotel Bar in Bangkok for three years consecutively – it’s also Bangkok’s oldest jazz institution, swinging with live blues and bebop tunes by night. Aside from single malts and vintage wines, the artisan cocktails on the menu thrive off local produce and draws inspiration from regions around Thailand. For example, Thai tea-infused liqueurs and traditional fermented coconut flavours are played up in the Street Artist, finished with a flourish of balsamic vinegar paint for a yummy, savoury drink. Oh, and major props to Head Bartender Pinsuda Pongprom for scoring a power point for women in the industry.
The Bamboo Bar is located at Mandarin Oriental Bangkok, 48 Oriental Avenue, 10 Bang Rak Bangkok 10500 Thailand, p. +66 2 659 9000. Opens Sun-Thu 5pm – 1am, Fri-Sat 5pm – 2am.
No, we’re not talking about the BBC’s leading Asian news programme. In fact, the narrow-spaced bar is perfect for hipster crowds that prefer the under-the-radar bar scene of Soi Nana to Thonglor’s streets. Borne from the same creators of Teens of Thailand just across (albeit with some tongue-in-cheek competition), we can’t say for sure what’s now on the every-changing menu, but we do know that they work with whatever flora founder Niks Anuman-Rajadhon can rustle up from his excursions in the mountains up North. Wild honey from Khao Yai National Park sparks a refreshing twist on your usual Daiquiri (THB360), and Howor syrup and Tiger Ear leaves makes an herbaceous Tiger Ear (THB360).
Asia Today is located at 10/15 Convent Road, Silom Bangkok, 10500 Thailand, p. +66 2 235 2777. Opens daily 5.30pm – 1am.
If you’re big on experimental drinks, get transported into a steampunk Wonderland, awash with saucy red lighting and vibey disco music at Rabbit Hole. Whether it’s a truffled pandan and gin infusion (Cry Me The Moon (THB380)) or a sprightly Doi Chang coffee cocktail with an exploding ball of orange liqueur in the middle (Naked Elephant (THB450)), Rabbit Hole’s menu teeters on the edge of genius and madness. From Percorino cheese and aloe vera to konbu dashi vinegar and rosemary – inventive and unexpected drinks are the name of the game here, and they just get curiouser and curiouser.
Rabbit Hole is located at 125 Sukhumvit55 (Thonglor), klongtonnuea, wattana, Bangkok 10110, Thailand, p. +66 98 532 3500. Opens daily 7pm – 2am.
Bangkok’s New Bar of the Year is barely a year old, but it’s already the new kid on the block on everyone’s lips, with a menu fueled by the passion of the ghosts of rebellions past. New-age techniques and high-tech machinery open up a whole new world of inventive drinks: from spirits infused by waterbug pheromones to clarified tomato and sous-vide red cabbage. Get ready for a history lesson unlike any other with drinks like the fruity umeshu and apricot-flavoured Shhhhzzzz, based on WWII-era propaganda poster, “Silence Means Security”. It takes the poster’s iconic “finger on the lips” literally: with ingredients like sous-vide Thai finger root and finger leaf. Spirit-forward and great fun, there’s no reason why Liberation shouldn’t be on your to-go list.
Liberation is located at Piman 49, Sukhumvit Soi 49, Bangkok, Thailand, p. +66 93 654 2500. Opens daily 7pm – 1.30am.
In the vein of speakeasies, nothing says top secret like having a bar as a front for another bar. Casual sports bar (with really good wings, might we add) on the outside, sleek and sexy upscale establishment on the inside. Each classic cocktail on the menu comes with its own new-age Thai rendition, so it’s perfect for both the cocktail charlatans and sticklers for the classics. Channel your inner Bond with a Vesper Martini (THB360), or try the floral alternative using Jasmine-infused vermouth and chrysanthemum bitters in the Bond Loved Jasmine (THB390). We’ll give you the general address, but you’ll have to figure out your way in after that (Google Maps gives nothing away).
#Findthephotobooth is located somewhere near 11 Sukhumvit Road, Khwaeng Khlong Toei Nuea, Khlong Toei, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10110, Thailand, p. +66 2 117 2636. Opens daily, 6pm – 2am.
Old Town may seem like the muted, peaceful cousin of Bangkok’s city centre, but don’t be fooled: a thriving nightlife bubbles just beneath the surface. Take Ku Bar, for example. Hidden deep past spooky alleys and decrepit stairways, the minimalist marvel passes on bombastic names and let’s its creations speak for itself, with menu items changing every month, crafted with fresh market produce and intricate flavour profiles by bar owner Anupas “Kong” Premanuwat, alumni of New York’s (ironically famous) Angel’s Share speakeasy. Don’t miss out on their natural wine bar – Kangkao – downstairs in the same building too.
Ku Bar is located at 469 Phra Sumen Rd, Khwaeng Wat Bowon Niwet, Khet Phra Nakhon, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10200, Thailand, p. +66 2 067 6731. Opens Wed-Mon, 7pm – 12am.
Featured image courtesy of Vesper/Facebook.
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