The buzz: The brand new hotel by Zinc, Glow Pratunam, is located on top of Shibuya 19, where it seems they’re aiming to attract shopaholic tourists. But this 3-star hotel also offers a rare new restaurant at which to wine and dine, since there are only really food courts in the area.
You can’t fail to spot this venue thanks to its totally over the top mock gothic castle façade. In fact, the inside is almost a letdown after such Spinal Tap ostentation. What you get instead is a gloomy almost cave-like space where dark wood dominates the boxy low-ceilinged room. At the far end, there’s a good sized stage and a decent space for some moshing. Expect to hear everything from hard rock to 70s/80s Rock n’ Roll classics.
The buzz: It’s an unlikely neighborhood in which to make a strong architectural (or dining) statement. Lit Hotel is near BACC, MBK and the Jim Thompson house, but that doesn’t exactly make Soi Kasemsan the equivalent of Ari or Thong Lor. Whether the brand new hotel’s elegant design will suffice to put the Bistro of Creative Drinking & Eating (BCDE) on the map, only time will tell.
The buzz: Ratchathewi’s cheap and cheerful bar enclave Cocowalk, just got a new opening, The Cave, which goes for a theme park look in sharp contrast with its more hum-drum neighbors.
It’s unfortunate that @Rajdhevee’s food is so disappointing. With all the bars in Coco Walk being so similar, it’s refreshingly different to cross the street into this 1001 Nights-themed shop house where you can sit on pillows (relax, there are chairs on the ground floor), quaff Belgian beers and listen to some pretty odd performers. The owner was definitely passionate about the décor: he even decorated the back of the house, which is in a quiet soi.
The buzz: A collector of Indian and Middle Eastern antiques decided to put them to good use by getting some partners together and designing a colorful nighttime venue for the otherwise pretty dull area around Ratchatewi BTS. As the buzz grew, they added bonafide Thai dinner options to their existing glab glaem menu. The result is an atmospheric but unpretentious restaurant with comforting and inexpensive fare that frees up your wallet for all the booze on offer.
The décor: Lots of Moroccan/Indian-style bric-a-brac, a large bar and a flatscreen TV on the first floor, screening random musical concerts during dinner service. And, if television is not your thing, upstairs, in the shoes-off section, is a large arrangement of floor seating involving low tables and floor cushions.
The food: The glab glaem fare involves snacks like crispy salmon skins (B60) and many kinds of fried chicken, including the New Orleans version (B90). The pride and joy here seems to be the ox tongue stew over rice (B180) and the gaeng keow warn with roti (B120), though there is also a range of Isaan standards to choose from, such the yam naem (sour sausage salad, B120) and the deep-fried Spanish mackerel with raw mango salad (B120).
The drinks: Apart from the usual line of cocktails, sodas like lime and mulberry (B55) and local and imported beers, they have a decent list of Belgian beers, particularly from the Leffe line (B180-200), as well as a wine list.
The crowd: As seems to be common for newly-opened places, the crowd right now is comprised largely of the owners’ friends. The neighborhood and the late-night live music means, though, that you can expect to see a laid-back, mixed Thai crowd, there for easy listening and easy eating.
Asia Hotel is a throwback to another era, when hotels hadn’t yet discovered the words “contemporary” and “trendy,” when it was all about mirrors, sprawling lobbies with ceilings low enough to touch, escalators and chandeliers. But that kind of kitsch feels very warm and welcoming in 2010, and it gets even better at Rio Grill “Brazilian Churrascaria.” The entire room is clad in wood and features heavy sweeping arches.