To most foreigners, Bangok’s nightlife is known for brightly lit hostels, extravagantly dressed women or men and rather questionable live shows found along dingy streets.
Yet, what few people know, is that this vibrant city has a very different face too – where renowned mixologists, glamorous high-soc Bangkokians and in-the-know expats can enjoy decors and concoctions that easily match and surpass those of London, Paris and Singapore or Hong Kong. In fact, in this year’s ranking of Asia’s 50 best bars, 7 were in Bangkok. Whether hidden in a street corner or behind unlikely doors, here are some of the bars that will definitely make a stopover in Bangkok worth it!
Located on the edges of Chinatown, TEP bar is the perfect way to finish off an evening of tasting strange and wonderful street food along bustling Yaowarat Road. A tiny hole in the wall, TEP bar is tucked away in an unpretentious side street that has recently become a favourite for bar hoppers. The cocktails are good but standard: the main attraction of TEP, is the live band singing traditional Thai songs that will entrance visitors late into the night – make sure to come early to get a table near the stage!
The sleek train-themed Q&A bar, is hidden behind a grey courtyard in one of Bangkok’s more commercial districts, Asok. With its plush leather stools, authentic décor and Orient-Express type feeling, cocktail-lovers are taken back in time. Just tell the bar tender what kind of cocktail you are looking for, or go on a ‘cocktail journey’ and learn about the multiple iconic cocktails – either way, you won’t be disappointed. Just don’t forget to bring a scarf, because the air-conditioning tends to get cold there.
Trained at the infamous Vesper bar, award-winning mixologist Pailin “Milk” Sajjanit opened this haven for local and international cocktail lovers at Akyra hotel, in Bangkok high-society’s favourite neighbourhood, Thong-Lo. Home to over 120 different liquors, the different concoctions are history in a cup, adapted from and inspired by prohibition-era recipes, key events and notable people, all to be enjoyed whilst looking out at Bangkok’s glitzy skyline.
Hidden away in a small house on a side-street of Thong-Lo below a Barber and Tattoo Shop, Black Amber’s jazzy live tunes and 20th Century living room vibes make it the perfect place to sit back, relax and feel the understated glamor of an era gone-by. Perfect for both date nights and group get-togethers.
Find the Photobooth
As a well-known and loved speakeasy, it is hard to not list this bar here. Hidden behind two bars and a photobooth located in Bangkok’s nightlife (and red light) district, Nana, it is worth visiting just for the experience. Come here to escape the loud clubs, tourist-traps and seedy sports bars, and don’t forget to take some pictures on your way in and out!
Other cool hidden and not-so-hidden bars
Located right next to TEP bar and entirely flower themed, with a cute terrace to enjoy the floral scents and colourful petals. Go here
Find The Locker Room
By the same authors as Find the Photobooth, this bar is hidden behind a row of gym lockers. Go here
Not so hidden, but still a Thong-Lo, award-winning classic. Go here
Go there for the decadent décor and Sunday evening drag-queen night! Go here
Not to be missed if you love creative cocktails. Go here
Part of the majestic Mandarin Oriental hotel, for glamorous nights. Go here