The vibe: Q Bar has kept its eye on the little space behind their long-standing Sukhumvit Soi 11 club for quite some time. Formerly a print shop turned illegal gambling den, a police intervention finally liberated the place allowing the Q-team to move in with a bold plan to rip out the ceiling and set up a 19th century French boudoir. Pop in, order some oysters or cold cuts, have the bar staff pour you a Vieux Pontarlier through the absinthe fountain, and let the green fairy weave its magic.
The décor: Full-on, late 1800s French—lamps with frills, velvet red couches, checkered floor, painted wood panel walls, and a genuine custom-built zinc bar with the maker’s stamp on it. Q Bar swears they shipped nearly all of it from France and the general effect is pretty stunning. The lack of roof, with some upper parts of the walls left bare, creates an edgy contrast with the opulent bourgeois décor.
The food: The short menu is resolutely Gallic, too. Get a bottle of Grace Point white wine with 12 oysters for B1,990. Or just snack on some saucisson and cheese (B390 a plate).
The drinks: Plenty of Champagne and cognac, here. (Q Bar has one of the best stocked bars in town.) But the focus at Le Derriere—that means “The Behind” in French, by the way—is on absinthe. Kiddies can have it in cocktails like the Mosquito (absinthe, lime, soda, mint, B350) but we recommend you have it the traditional way, where the absinthe is poured over ice, through a fountain on the bar, onto a slotted spoon with a small sugar cube and into your glass. There are five varieties available, ranging from 55 to a whopping 89.9 percent of alcohol (B350-690). We recommend the Vieux Pontarlier, (65 percent, B590), with just a dash of water and ice.
The crowd: It’s still early days and you really have to know about the place to find it, but you’ll probably see a fair share of expats and visitors. Note that you have to go through Q Bar to get in but entry is free for ladies all night, and for gents until midnight.
Why you’ll come back: For one, we’ve got a crush on the Thai waitress who speaks English with a French accent (and fluent French, of course). Along with the imported furniture, liquors and bar, she shows just how seriously Q Bar has taken its bohemian Paris of the 1890s theme. More importantly, we think it’s a perfect “one last drink” kind of spot after a good meal in the neighborhood. Gregoire Glachant