The buzz: Ari's latest cocktail bar takes inspiration from Hawaii to create the neighborhood's first you-gotta-leave-Thonglor-and-see-this opening since we can't remember.
Like nothing else being done in Bangkok right now. Pakalolo takes its Hawaiian theme, adds a dose of the Florida Keys and punches it into something fun and fresh. There's a geometric bamboo ceiling courtesy of the guy who did Wonderfruit's stage
, as well as some artfully flamboyant banana-leaf wallpaper. It all says "cocktail hour at the coconut lodge" in a kitch, wink-wink kind of way. The space, mind you, is tiny, so if past Ari form is anything to go by, you'll be queuing up to take your seat—either a bar stool that looked like it was pinched from Hemingway's veranda, and or one of the handful of four-person tables.
The drinks: If you hadn't guessed already, this is not one for beerdy, spirit-forward bores. Order the Lilia (B280) for a hit of elderflower and thyme that goes right up your nose, along with pear vodka, gin and pink guava juice to make the whole thing go down easily. Awa Awa (B320) is just as fruity, with rum, honey, vanilla, peach schapps and a combination of passion fruit, orange and gooseberry. Unique and refreshing but with a strong kick of rum. The Thai craft beers on offer are just as fruity: Lamzing Sticky Mango Pale Ale, Stonehead Lemongrass Kolsch, Sandport Bang Bang IPA and Mahanakorn Pale Ale (all B200). Pro tip: wear a Hawaiian style shirt and get one free cocktail.
The food: Pakalolo's menu takes you from America to Japan with a stopover at Oahu. The freshness of the prawn and pineapple salsa (B240) is truly impressive—basically a katsu prawn but with a sweet and sour sauce made from tropical fruits. This is one more place where you can find Hawaiian-style poke bowls; wasabi salmon (B180) for a Japanese profile, or tuna with an intense Thai kick (B180)—keep a glass of water by your side. Though the space definitely screams "bar" louder than "restaurant," you can still have a proper fill with the Hawaiian Loco Moco (pan-fried minced beef and fried egg topped on Japanese rice, B240),while the sushi rolls (B280-380) are best for sharing.
The music: You guessed it: ukelele. But the soothing island rhythms get switched for easy-listening deep-house later in the night.
The crowd: It's Ari—T-shirts, sandals, ripped jeans, you get the picture. Surprisingly, a few families also seem to be wandering in, as well as the odd person over 30. But overall it's very young and hip. Choltanutkun Tun-atiruj