Keyyes Picks: The Best Bars In Bangkok


From modern lounges to slick rooftop bars, the scene is flourishing


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Keyyes Picks: The Best Bars In Bangkok
Bars September 11th, 2018

Welcome to Bangkok, a city that pulses with insane humidity, spicy foods, and 10 million people. And once a year, strangers on the street will engage you in water fights. The city is welcoming and overwhelming, and we can assure you it’s endless fun. We suggest you nurse a good cocktail to recover. Here are eight bars to end your nights at.

The WoodShed, part of the popular Harvest restaurant, is best for live jazz and small-batch craft spirits.

The WoodShed

24/1 Sukhumvit Soi 31
Bangkok 10110

T: (66) 2262-0762

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The Vibe

If you like Harvest for its rustic charm and hearty European grub, we’re happy to report that it has added a cocktail bar to its repertoire. Keeping its cottage theme and pastoral feel, The WoodShed is dressed in refurbished old wood, fairy lights and leather couches, with a tree that’s grown through the roof.

It is easy to feel right at home here. The staff will serve you well — the service is approachable, not suffocating. Plus, if you’re up for craft spirits, well-executed drinks and old-school live jazz, look no further. There’s a band every Monday to Saturday, 9pm to midnight, performing various types of jazz. New Orleans, Dixieland, you name it.

What to Order

The team’s highly selective about what they bring into the bar, and so, only craft, small-batch spirits can be found here. Think Rock Rose Gin from Scotland, Elephant gin from Germany, and French whisky like Michel Couvreur. But apart from the rare spirits, The WoodShed is also proud of its hand-crafted cocktails.

Suparb Mopa (Joe, for short) is the guy behind the bar, and he’ll be the first to tell you that majority of the drinks are made from fresh fruit juices and house-made ingredients. Start the evening with The Red, made with sloe gin, red currant, sparkling wine and lime.

The only things more impressive than the 28th floor views are Aire’s laid-back attitude and crowd-pleasing libations.

Aire Bar

22/5 Sukhumvit Soi 24, Level 28, Hyatt Place
Bangkok 10110

T: (66) 2055-1234

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The Vibe

The spectacular views of Bangkok are this rooftop bar’s standout feature; after all, you are on the 28th floor. The only things more impressive than the city lights at dusk are its laid-back attitude — no dress code, no judgemental door bitch — and crowd-pleasing libations at reasonable prices.   

What to Order

The cocktails are courtesy of Australian mixologist Nick Braun, who’s also known for his work across Australia (the Eau de Vie, for instance) and Southeast Asia. His take on the Moscow Mule is known here as the Suffering Bastard, which combines locally produced craft gin with Kentucky bourbon, ginger beer, lime and bitters. It’s well-balanced and not too sweet, which you’ll enjoy along with their generous portions of light bites.   

Bunker offers flavourful Asian-American cuisine and reprised nostalgic cocktails.  

Bunker

118/2 Sathorn Soi 12
Bangkok 10500

T: (66) 2234-7749

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The Vibe

Hidden in a small corner street of Sathorn lies a rough Brutalist facade. Behind that concrete facade sits a contemporary destination extended across three levels. It’s here that the warmth of Bunker embraces you.

It’s a restaurant and bar made of good things only — mid-century modern architecture, New Wave ’80s and unpretentious fine dining, led by a strong cohort of culinary geniuses. But most of all, it is led by Arnie Marcella, the former head chef of the one-Michelin-starred Aldea in New York, and he’s been killing it since its opening in 2016.

What to Order

People come here for Marcella’s big, comforting flavours — Asian reimagined with a touch of American. The dry-aged pork chop and steak are impeccable, but the drinks are also good reasons to stay. Designed to compliment the food, the bar features reprised nostalgic and modern classics — standouts include the New York Sour and Doctor Fairy, a simple mix of rye and absinthe — as well as a neat collection of craft beer and boutique wines. Work your way through, from cocktail to Pinot Grigio, and save your regrets for the next day.

Vesper, one of the top bars in Asia, is the intimate and classy bar that shields you from busy Bangkok.

Vesper

10/15 Convent Road, Silom
Bangkok 10500

T: (66) 2235-2777

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The Vibe

Only a five-minute drive away from Bunker, Vesper’s another bar you can’t miss. Inspired by Duke’s in London, the once sprawling bar and bistro has evolved since 2014, having gone through a major facelift to bring you two separate experiences. Guests can choose to indulge in spice-heavy Mediterranean next door, or skip dinner and huddle with other cocktail lovers in Vesper’s standalone bar (fun fact: it is 27 on Asia’s Best 50).

The space is all grown up, complete with sleek green marble, mirrors and curtains that shield you from the outside. Intimate and classy, it’s the perfect hideaway from the bustling Silom road.

What to Order

Vesper, named after James Bond’s favourite martini, has something for everyone, each with an interesting backstory. Start with the Vesper (of course) or Penicillin, and as soon as you’ve polished that off, get ready for a little art history.

The bar’s biggest selling point lies in the first half of the menu, which presents an interesting take on Modern art. It pays homage to great artists and their iconic paintings, such as Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Cans (pictured above), which comes with roasted corn-infused bourbon, sherry, apple, almond and popcorn.

Fun fact: The House on Sathorn used to be the home of a Thai aristocrat and the centre of the Soviet Union’s Asian operations.

The House on Sathorn

106 North Sathorn Road, Silom, Bangrak
Bangkok 10500

T: (66) 2344-4025

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The Vibe

Welcome to The House on Sathorn, once home to a Thai aristocrat and the centre of the Soviet Union’s Asian operations. Some 130 years later, it is now known as the 36th best restaurant in Asia.

As one of Bangkok’s most ambitious restoration projects — it’s located on the compound of the W Bangkok — this massive mansion is a throwback to interiors of pastel, dark wooden floors and rich tapestry. Enjoy afternoon tea in the pretty courtyard, feast like a king in the dining room, then mosey your way through to the right wing of the mansion. That’s where the bar is, and that’s where your night really begins.

What to Order

The leading man here is Michele Montauti. He used to work at J. Boroski, a hidden gem among Bangkok’s (and Hong Kong’s) countless bars, so you know the cocktails here are legit. If you want to begin with something spirit-forward (good choice), there’s the special three-week aged Negroni that’s infused with saffron and star anise.

Otherwise, The Flying Pig — shaken with whisky, Grand Marnier, passion fruit and egg white — makes for something more refreshing. Once you’ve built an appetite for layering flavours, a cigar menu is available to complete the experience.

Above Eleven is another fine example of the many lively rooftop bars taking over Bangkok’s city line.

Above Eleven

Sukhumvit Soi 11, Level 33, Fraser Suites
Bangkok 10110

T: (66) 2038-5111

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The Vibe

Defined by a buzzing garden atmosphere, delicious drinks and Bangkok’s city line at your feet, Above Eleven is Southeast Asia’s first Japanese-Peruvian nightspot. The music’s a big plus, too — with festivities courtesy of a killer jazz band. And if you’re itching for some serious dancing, there’s salsa night every Wednesday.

What to Order

Nikkei cuisine, or Peruvian-Japanese, occurred over 120 years ago since the first wave of Japanese immigrants entered Peru. It’s a perfect match, given how both traditions use fresh fish. As such, ceviche at Above Eleven is a must, apart from tuna tartare tacos and lomo saltado (sautéed beef tenderloin on fried potato and rice).

For a little bit of everything, various platters are offered to take you through the different territories of Nikkei cuisine. The drinks are no slouches either. Shower your liver with pisco and umeshu sours, and don’t be shy if you’re craving a Manhattan. The bartenders are classically trained and they’ll be glad to take requests.

Havana Social is full of rum, boisterious fun and Cuban cigars. To enter, you must have the password.

Havana Social

1/1 Sukhumvit Road, Soi 11
Bangkok 10110

T: (66) 2061-5344

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The Vibe

Tourists and party-goers flock to Sukhumvit Soi 11 like moths to a flame, because it’s home to some of the best night spots in Bangkok. Havana Social, a pre-revolution Cuba-themed bar hidden behind a retro phone booth, sits on this street. There is no signage, but if you see “Telefono” across from Fraser Suites Hotel, you’re in the right place.

Dial the code on the phone (read: call Havana Social for it) and the back of the booth will open up. The space is convincingly old Cuba, with shuttered windows, spare lighting and retro knick-knacks scattered around. It’s the perfectly positioned end-of-day trap, where like-minded folks can enjoy tipple, cigars and Latino beats all in one.

What to Order

A good variety of tipple is offered but since you’re here, we recommend taking full advantage of their stock of rum. The list goes on from Puerto Rico to Venezuela, and you can order it by the glass, bottle or cocktail, if the sweet tooth is calling.

The cocktail menu is divided into two sections: pre- and post-revolution. In other words, classic and experimental. The Cuba Libre, spruced up with frozen Coca-Cola, is a classic choice, but if you prefer something different, order the Bloody Revolución. It’s a house original made from lemongrass-infused gin, tomato juice, lime, and blackcurrant and lemongrass soda.

The Bar Upstairs is a wine bar decked in rustic wooden furniture and lush greenery.

The Bar Upstairs

33/30 Sukhumvit Soi 11
Bangkok 10110

T: (66) 2821-5110

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The Vibe

Climb up to the third floor of Brasserie Cordonnier and you’ll never guess how such a peaceful space can exist in frenetic Tuk-tuk Land. The Bar Upstairs, a wine bar decked in rustic furniture and lush greenery, is the perfect escape from the raucous city. Run by the folks behind Havana Social and Above Eleven, the bar opened just in July and is already drawing a crowd in. The grass is definitely greener here.

What to Order

The food here more than satisfies — credit goes to Brasserie Cordonnier — but it is wine the guys are serious about. There are two cellars built; one for the premium selections and the other for the more affordable. The menu ranges across over 170 international labels, and it celebrates organic wines like the Vosnes Romanee 2013.

If you’re not feeling the wine, head bartender Davide Sambo can whip up one of his many floral or fruity cocktails. Just remember to pad your stomach, the croque monsieur is delicious.

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