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The ultimate guide to Bangkok's after-hours drinking scene

Bangkok's drinking scene has been shaken up by police raids and closures. But here's where you can still party till dawn.  

By BK staff | Aug 03, 2017

  • The ultimate guide to Bangkok's after-hours drinking scene
    Sing Sing

HIP-HOP

Blaq Lyte

Why you go there: Because you know there’s a life to hip-hop after 2008, and you’re fed up with the techno playing in every other club in town.
How it looks: Like the old Badmotel has been taken over by Millennial squatters for a couple months. There are neon lights, hologram stickers, random holes in the walls, Sharpie scribblings and a DJ booth dropped at random in the middle of it all. 
What you dance to: The same Drake and Kendrick Lamar beats as at Sugar (see below), but without the fights between customers.
Who you wind up in bed with: A 23-year-old whose hair shows the remains of about six different dip dyes—but damn do they know some turnt sportswear. 
Beers start at: B200
Whiskey soda starts at: B250
2/F, Badmotel, 331/4-5 Sukhumvit Soi 55 (Thonglor),  098-253-9356. Open Tue-Sun 9pm-2am
 

Sugar

Why you go there: You’re drunk and in the mood for some late-night, straight-up “hood” rap—and maybe to see a drunk fight or two between random strangers.
How it looks: Coyote dancers, confetti, dudes in snapbacks, way too many floors, raw concrete, chicken wire… that’s all we can remember, it’s kind of a blur.
What you dance to: Gangsta hip-hop from ASAP Rocky to old Jay-Z.
Who you wind up in bed with: No telling. You’ve always been too drunk to remember.
Beers start at: B190
Whiskey soda starts at: B200
37 Sukhumvit Soi 11, 061-391-3111. Open daily 10pm-late 
 

Sway

Why you go there: Because the “urban eatery” tagline hasn’t been true in years. Ever since Thonglor’s party crowd got wind of this place’s super-late hours, it’s basically been a mini nightclub disguised as a “chill chill” bar. 
How it looks: The massive central bar reminds you of its early aspirations as a craft beer spot, though these days you’re more likely to see the industrial, riveted steel tables taken over by spirit bottles and mixers, while the back of the bar gets down to pumping beats. 
What you dance to: Urban music from the early 2000s, along with R&B, hip-hop, trap and the latest EDM. 
Who you wind up in bed with: Baby-faced boys who drive Mercedes and girls in foundation two shades lighter than their skin. 
Beers start at: B120
Whiskey soda starts at: B200
Arena 10, Thonglor Soi 10, 02-711-6052. Open daily 5:30pm-1am

World Beat

Studio Lam

Why you go there: You’re aware there's a world of music outside of house and EDM, or WTF is packed with too many people you want to avoid. 
How it looks: On a good night you won’t be able to see what’s in front of you, but you’ll feel the good vibrations of the massive sound system.   
What you dance to: Global grooves, from luk thung and molam to some limited-run psychedelic Turkish 7-inch DJ Maft Sai brought back from his travels. Shazam is no help in here. 
Who you wind up in bed with: A tourist in a tank top and elephant pants.
Beers start at: B140
Whiskey soda starts at: B220
Sukhumvit Soi 51, 02-261-6661. Open Tue-Sun 6pm-2am
 

Havana Social

Why you go there: You want to hang out on Sukhumvit Soi 11, but also want to keep it classy. Or at least pretend to, while drunkenly salsa-ing to cheesey South American beats.
How it looks: It’s supposed to bring you back to Cuba in the 1940s, with crumbling plasterwork, faded colonial shutters and a massive, wood-paneled back bar. 
What you dance to: Latin music. The people who can salsa properly ensure the rest of us get shoved to the side in a circle while watching them throw each other around. 
Who you wind up in bed with: If you can salsa dance, someone else who can salsa dance. If you can’t, tough luck.
Beers start at: B120
Whiskey soda starts at: B180
Sukhumvit Soi 11, 02-061-5344. Open daily 6pm-2am

POP

Club SX

Why you go there: Because you’re a sucker for their private Hummer service, if you’ve got more baht than sense. You and the lads want to let off some steam at the end of the week, but you don’t want to go too low-brow (or too far from the action of a certain red-light district). 
How it looks: Like Las Vegas meets Ratchada: red velvet, gold trimmings, Victorian artworks and burlesque dancers. There’s a small dance floor with a disco ball and a petite balcony given some edge by funky street art. 
What you dance to: ‘80s and ‘90s chart fodder like Rick Astley and M People played with not an iota of irony.   
Who you wind up in bed with: Definitely not one of the coquettish dancers. It’s not that kind of place, guv. 
Beers start at: B200
Whiskey soda starts at: B350
6/F, Pullman Bangkok Grande Sukhumvit Hotel, 30 Sukhumvit Soi 21, 02-171-5299. Open daily 8pm-late
 

Ce La Vi

Why you go there: It’s ladies' night and you’re making the most out of the free-flow bubbly. Actually, you may not even end up there at all. It depends if you impress the assho—we mean, security guys downstairs.
How it looks: A glamorous, double-height strip of wood panels and mood lighting that pokes a middle finger at the raw-industrial trend.
What you dance to: Show off your skills to all the Met 107 FM top 30 hits, mixed with fail-proof classics like “Single ladies, I can't hear you, make some noise!”
Who you wind up in bed with: Total gym bros or past-middle-aged men with something thick in their pants—their wallet.
Beers start at: B180
Whiskey soda starts at: B240
39/F, Sathorn Square Complex, 98 Sathorn Rd., 02-108-2000. Open Tue-Sat 6pm-2am
 

DND

Why you go there: There’s a Thai pop band playing whose name sounds kind of familiar, and half your friends are super excited. 
How it looks: Smaller than you’d think, with a petite stage up front decorated with a vertical dotted neon “DND” sign. The outdoor smoking terrace is one of the few remaining throwbacks to 2014’s fake grass era. 
What you dance to: Commercial Thai live bands or rave music. There’s rarely an in between. 
Who you wind up in bed with: Fresh-faced first jobbers from ad agencies and communications departments. 
Beers start at: B260
Whiskey soda starts at: They only sell Chivas by bottle at B3,900. Includes free flow mixers.
Behind Nunglen and Escobar, Ekkamai Soi 5/1, 094-414-9266. Open Tue-Sun 8pm-2am
 

Sing Sing

Why you go there: You’ve got that one friend in town who’s been reading all about Bangkok and think they know better than you do. That, or you drank way too much wine over dinner at Quince and can’t quite remember anything after ordering that Marou chocolate tart that’s now all over your shirt.
How it looks: The tiny dance floor acts as a hub for a network of mezzanines, sunken bars and Ashely Sutton's trademark warren of secret passages leading to single-table balconies and speakeasy-style backrooms.
What you dance to: Cheesy remixes of mainstream pop, from house renditions of old Chris Brown to Kendrick Lamar played at high-tempo.
Who you wind up in bed with: Someone French.
Beers start at: B190
Whiskey soda starts at: B245
Sukhumvit Soi 45 (next to Quince), 063-225-1331. Open daily 9pm-2am
 

Maggie Choo’s

Why you go there: Because that same out-of-town friend who wanted to visit Sing Sing has been begging to go here as well. And though it has the pretensions of a jazz bar, it also plays a soundtrack of stuff you actually like—so the night won’t be that bad. 
How it looks: Button-tufted leather couches and upholstered swings carrying blasé-looking ladies dressed in embroidered cheongsams. Unless it’s Sunday, when it’s the turn of guys with six packs’ to sit on those. 
What you dance to: You don’t. You sit at your table with a bunch of your friends while the live band is playing.
Who you wind up in bed with: On Sunday night, you want one of those shirtless six-pack men. Every other night, a middle aged European tourist.
Beers start at: B180
Whiskey soda starts at: B280
Underground/F, Hotel Novotel Bangkok Fenix Silom, 320 Silom Rd., 091-772-2144. Open Mon-Thu 7:30pm-2am; Sun 7:30pm-2am; Fri-Sat 7:30pm-3am

EDM

Beam

Why you go there: Because it’s permanently stashed in your spacious family minivan driver’s most recent locations. 
How it looks: Raw concrete, smooth lines and laserbeams, courtesy of UK architect-of-the-moment, Amanda Levete (also see: Central Embassy)—just perfect for IG.
What you dance to: Niche electronic music. Forget about your typical EDM top 40, here; Beam goes more for African drum solos with a hint of “WTF-is-this?”  
Who you wind up in bed with: The niece/nephew of a local politician.
Beers start at: B220
Whiskey soda starts at: B360
1/F, 72 Courtyard, Sukhumvit Soi 55 (Thonglor), 02-392-7750. Open Wed-Sat 9pm-2am
 

Safe Room

Why go there: Because you’re one of the few people who’s actually heard of the underground UK DJs which this late-night party room at Whiteline brings in. 
How it looks: An empty concrete shell on the second floor of a shop-house. 
What you dance to: Depends who’s promoting the night, but normally a combo of techno and drum ‘n’ bass. If you know more than two tunes per night, you’re in. 
Who you wind up in bed with: An English teacher from the UK.
Beers start at: B120
Whiskey soda starts at: B180
2/F, Whiteline, Silom Soi 8, 087-061-1117. Open Thu-Sun 7pm-midnight
 

Glow 

Why you go there: For some of the darkest techno in the city, as played by DJs whose names you recognize from Kolour parties. 
How it looks: Multiple floors with narrow stairs just perfect for falling down when drunk. The dance floor in front of the DJ booth is strictly reserved for people who like to high-five the DJ. Easy, since he/she’s basically right in the middle of the action. 
What you dance to: Deep, dark techno with jazz influences from names like Sunju Hargun and DOTT. 
Who you wind up in bed with: European dudes who claim they’ve DJ’d at festivals you’ve never heard of.  
Beers start at: B200
Whiskey soda starts at: B250
96/4-5 Sukhumvit Soi 23, 086-614-3355. Open Wed-Sun 10pm-3am
 

Levels

Why you go there: You drank too much at Havana Social and going to a proper nightclub definitely feels like an amazing idea, because, c’mon we haven’t done that in aaaaages. 
How it looks: Kind of Vegas-inspired. The cavernous venue is split into four zones: an open-air terrace, a lounge, a VIP section upstairs and the club-proper. The high-ceilinged main room, or lounge, is decked out with a huge LED chandelier above a circular bar and a bunch of monochrome sofas surrounding a sizeable dance floor. 
What you dance to: Mainstream EDM at volumes so loud it splits your ears.
Who you wind up in bed with: International partygoers clamoring for social pics. And that’s all we’re saying. 
Beers start at: B250
Whiskey soda starts at: B250
6/F, Aloft Hotel, 35 Sukhumvit Soi 11, 082-308-3246, 095-248-3897. Open daily 9pm-2am
 

Demo

Why you go there: Because Beam’s more of a stickler for the 2am curfew. 
How it looks: One of the first places to go down the old-building, warehouse route. But this is Thonglor, so also expect tables on the dance floor for EDM ravers to mix their Black Label soda while trying to wiggle a dance move. If you pay a visit on the weekend, forget about dancing, let alone walking anywhere.
What you dance to: Mainstream EDM in the main room, hip-hop in the other room. If you don’t know at least five tunes, then you probably live under a rock. 
Who you wind up in bed with: Off-duty pretties; dudes with mafia connections. 
Beers start at: B250
Whiskey soda starts at: B250
Arena 10, Thonglor Soi 10, 085-250-2000. Open Tue-Sun 9pm-2am

Dive bars

Jam

Why you go there: You planned to be there. Why else would you be drinking under a Charoen Rat highway, two clicks from any other nightlife spot? 
How it looks: Think about how you wanted your bedroom to look when you were 15: old petrol barrels as tables, friendly adopted street dogs, walls plastered in flyers from past big nights, and a massive bar covered in kitsch toys. 
What you dance to: Niche music, from jazz-infused hip-hop, to heavy metal, to molam with a hint of reggae.
Who you wind up in bed with: Bearded dudes in Hawaiian shirts. Thammasat alumni.
Beers start at: B90
Whiskey soda starts at: B100
41 Charoen Rat Soi 1, 083-5451-833. Open Tue-Sun 6pm-midnight
 

12x12

Why you go there: You once met this Japanese DJ who told you you had to check it out. He only spins vinyl, none of which sounds like actual music. 
How it looks: Like it grew organically. What from the outside appears like a residential Thonglor house gives way to a corridor of billowing fabrics and woody bric-a-brac rivaled only by Cheap Charlie's (RIP). 
What you dance to: Electronic soundscapes with no beginning, middle or end. 
Who you wind up in bed with: A Japanese hippie.
Beers start at: B120
Whiskey soda starts at: B140
810/22 Thonglor Soi Thararom 2, 094-260-4713. Open Tue-Sat 8pm-2am

Wong’s

Why you go there: After bumping and grinding (not to mention drinking like no tomorrow) at Beam, you’re still in the mood. 
How it looks: A red-lit corridor of sweaty expats and party boys, all way too drunk to still be drinking—which you have to, since they’ll kick you out if your glass is empty. 
What you dance to: Whatever VHS gets dug up from owner Sam’s bottomless archive of Toto, Gloria Estefan and Queen.
Who you end up in bed with: We’d really not like to think about it. 
Beers start at: B120
Whiskey soda starts at: B140
Soi Sribumphen, Rama 4 Rd., 081-901-0235. Open daily 10pm-very late
 

Mustache

Why you go there: It’s 2am, Thonglor’s called early doors, but you’re not wasted enough yet to think Wong’s is a good idea. 
How it looks: Very dark, with a haze of cigarette smoke that makes the non-existent decor even harder to see (that’s right: this is one of those rare smoke inside places). 
What you dance to: Techno, deep house, and nothing else, usually courtesy of journeymen Bangkok DJs like Nakadia and Dan Buri. 
Who you wind up in bed with: A 3 who you thought was a 10 because you were both so trashed. And worse: that’s their sweaty wifebeater on your bedroom floor. 
Beers start at: B180
Whiskey soda starts at: B220
544/5 Ratchadaphisek Soi 7, 081-844-7080. Open 8pm-late 
 

 

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