36/11-12 Soi Lang Suan [BTS Chit Lom]
Timings: Daily 6pm -1 am, closed on the 2nd and 4th Sundays
This is a far cry from the boisterous pubs and imperious lounge bars of Bangkok city. Located in a narrow alley, Café Trio is a cozy place with dim lighting, plush couches and soft music. The owner-bartender Patti is present every night to serve her regulars. The walls are adorned with many paintings, which add to the atmosphere. Regulars come here for the live jazz performances. The drinks cost neither too much nor too less. Like the atmosphere, service is also laid-back.
Sukhumvit Soi 11
Timings: Mon-Sat 5pm – 12:30am
This is more of a wooden shack with a few bar stools than a regular bar. Tourists and expats fill the place and usually there will be a crowd standing. The place is cramped with knickknacks like tribal masks, buffalo skull, beehive and sex toys hanging from the beam above. The well-stocked bar offer drinks at very low prices. G&T sells for 60baht, while beer costs 50 baht. Remember to “Only piss in toilets”, a signboard here tells you. The perfect place to spend some nighttime, with drinks and excellent company.
27/3 Soi Sri BumphenlSoi Ngam Duplee, near Malaysia Hotel [MRT Lumphini]
Timings: Mon – Sat 10pm till late
This no-frills, self-service, pay-as-you-go bar has its own devoted clientele. The owner Sam Wong has the largest collection of music videos in Asia, probably in the world. The two fridges are stocked with inexpensive drinks for the patrons to serve themselves. All types of music are played here from 50’s jazz to the latest in MTV. Another funny thing is Wong’s opens shop as and when he feels like it.
Shades of Retro
Soi Tararom 2, Thong Lo [BTS Thong Lo]
Timings: Daily 1pm – 12pm
Payment by cash only
This is a furniture store-cum-café with antique furniture, vinyl records, and rotary telephones. This is a hangout for artists by day and people-watching crowd at night. Those who enjoy jazz come here throughout the day. The couches are cozy to curl up with a coffee or a cocktail. The crowd here is very friendly and the atmosphere very relaxing.
The Ascott Building, 187 South Sathorn Rd [BTS Chong Nonsi]
Web site: www.huuinasia.com
Timings: Daily 11am-1am
This is a restaurant- bar-lounge-gallery, which is almost too stylish. The chic décor with dark woodwork and silk sofas in soft hues is very impressive. The open atrium has a tall bar and marble-topped tables. The restaurant in the mezzanine floor serves international food. Hu’u, pronounced as who, has a high-society clientele. The cocktail menu is too good and innovative. Everything about the place is bordering on extravagance.
This is the backpacker’s mecca located in and around Khao San Road. Hippie De Bar is a chic cocktail joint, tucked away in one of the narrow alleys. Sunset Street is a row of interesting bars mostly frequented by backpack crowd. The stylish Lava lies in a basement and plays house and hip-hop. Cafe Democ is a fake European club churning out electronic music to the older hip crowd.
For a cool relaxing evening, head to the row of cafés and bars along Phra Athit Road. This is a favorite haunt of young Thais and expats. Coffee & More is a renovated ancient bungalow, good for cheap caffeinic drinks. Graceful and refined Hemlock is a preferred hangout of the artsy crowd for its cheap Thai food. Bar Bali and Joy Luck Club are also inexpensive, but have friendly ambience. ThonPo is the place to try seafood. Their long menu, airy premises, excellent views and delicious food are worth trying.
Hippie De Bar, 46 Khao San Rd, Daily 10am – 1am, B120
Lava, 249 Khao San Road, 02-281-6565, Daily 8pm – 1am
Cafe Democ, Ratchadamnoen Rd at Democracy Monument, 02-622-2571 Tue-Sun 4pm – 1am
Coffee & More, 102/1 Phra Athit Rd, Sun -Thur 10am – 10pm, Fri & Sat-Midnight
Hemlock, 56 Phra Athit Rd, 02-282-7507, Mon-Fri 4pm-Midnight, Sat 5pm-Midnight
Bar Bali, 58 Phraathit Rd, 02-629-0418, Daily 5pm – 11.30pm
Joy Luck Club, 8 Phra Sumen Rd, 02-280-3307, Daily 11am – 1am
Thon Po, 43 Phra Athit Rd, 02-280-0452, Daily 11am – 10pm
If you find Khao San Road, RCA and Silom Soi 4 too crowded, the western end of Sarasin Road, just north of Lumpini Park is the right place for you. The young hippie crowd frequent this area, but westerners do not venture this far. The fun-loving crowd, hip music and low prices – the best ingredients for an enjoyable night. Monday nights are the most popular here. The Room is double-storied and airy, with modern décor, bright colors and good food at affordable prices – the tags are many. As night progresses, it gets packed with chic crowd swaying to the house beats. 70s Bar is the place for 70s and 80s music and Euro pop. Zarazine has live music, while 2nd Round and Bard plays all kinds of music with focus on hip-hop. Upstairs I-Chub is for Karaoke fans. Brown Sugar is a mature place with live jazz.
These bars place their tables and chairs on the pavement under the trees, which gives them a European look. This is ideal for time-passing and people-watching.
Bars in the air
If you are not interested in spending nights in the exhaust-filled Bangkok streets, you have another choice up in the air. i.e., in the skies to be exact. Bangkok has a few high-altitude bars, which offers their guests an excellent view of the city.
61st Fl Banyan Tree Bangkok 21 / 100 South Sathorn Rd
Web site: www.banyontree.com
Timings: Daily 5pm – 1am
You can almost reach out to the moon from up here. Moon Bar is situated on Banyan Tree’s rooftop with 360? view. One part is a grill restaurant, while the bar occupies the other end. At a height of 200m, it is a perfect setting for honeymooners. Cozy sofas, perfect cocktails, tasty snacks and soothing jazz. What are you waiting for?
32nd Fl Millennium Hilton Bangkok
123 Charoennakorn Rd [BTS Saphan Taksin]
Timings: Daily 5pm – 1am
The 32nd floor of the Millennium Hilton is the venue of this stylish and awesome all-glass bar. At a height of 130m, it offers splendid views of the Bangkok city. The plush couches, trendy cocktails and excellent jazz – what more do you want for a perfect evening?
37th Fl Sofitel Silom
188 Silom Rd [BTS Chong Nonsi]
Timings: Daily 6pm-2am
This bar-restaurant-wine retail shop has smart décor and fun-filled atmosphere. This is the right place for wine lovers. Wines are sold at wholesale prices with no corkage fee. With many house wines to choose from go by the sommelier’s suggestions. The French food is perfect, the music good and the views through the glass walls awe-inspiring.
9 State Tower 1055, Silom Rd
Web site: www.thedomebkk.com
Timings: Daily 6pm – 1am
Located atop the State Tower, Skybar is one of the highest outdoor bars in the world. Distil is an indoor-cum-outdoor bar with cozy sofas, finest liquor and breath-taking views. Ocean 52, which lies next to the Asian seafood serving Breeze, also offers stunning views of the city from above. The dress code here demands casual but smart attire.
83rd Fl Baiyoke Sky Hotel
222 Rajaprarop Rd
The superb views are the only things this watering hole has to offer. The archaic atmosphere, flashy décor, not-so-good cocktails and cheap live band playing boring music is definitely not worth wasting away a beautiful evening. For the awesome views, go up to the 84th floor where the open-air revolving deck is located.