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The best new bars of 2017 so far

How many have you visited? 

By Choltanutkun Tun-atiruj | Apr 04, 2017

  • The best new bars of 2017 so far

3 Bears      

Following in the footsteps of Golden Coins Taproom, 3 Bears is the latest Thai craft beer brand to open its own bar. This space ticks all the beer bar cliches (from dangling bulbs to raw concrete) and only pours beers from the namesake brewery, all priced at B240: Goldilocks Blonde, Hunter’s IPA, Gorilla Stout, Jackal Pale Ale and Summer Snow Champagne Ale. You’ll also find tapas like crab cakes (B140) and nachos (B140).

1154 Sukhumvit Soi 22, 095-456-8298. Open Mon-Fri 4pm-midnight; Sat-Sun 11am-midnight

 

Ba Hao  

Bangkok’s current fetish for Chinese-themed bars reaches its zenith at this latest spot for the Soi Nana neighborhood. Neon Chinese letters signs and a do-nothing approach to shop-house restoration give it the requisite look of old Hong Kong cool, complete with open frontage that spills onto the Yoawarat streets. The guys from The Never Ending Summer and Junker and Bar created their signature cocktails. Opium (B288) sees a classic negroni spiked with ginseng and herbal liquor, while Five Rivers B288) infuses the flavors of Chinese five spice into rum, Drambuie (whiskey liqueur) and Fernet Blanca (a bitter herbal liqueur). For something lighter, try Forbidden Gold (mashed plum with peach liquor, lime and tsingtao beer, B288). One of the owners, Tikhamporn Chuenkittivoravat, was trained as a chef at Mandarin Oriental Bangkok. Here she serves traditional Chinese comfort snacks: duck wontons served with chili sesame oil (B218) or jian bing (Chinese crepe stuffed with tofu cracker, grounded pork, chili and hoisin sauce, B248).

8 Soi Nana, Maitri Chit Rd., 081-454-4959. Open Tue-Sun 6pm-midnight

 

Brewski  

This beer bar sits 30 stories above the center of Sukhumvit. But just as good as the views are the drink prices, starting at just B70. Brewski feels kind of like going to the rooftop of your condo for a beer. Kick back on the big, lounge-y sofas with an ice-cold La Chouffe  (B280/pint, B100/100ml), a Belgian blond beer that despite the eight-percent ABV tastes smooth, easy to drink and fruity.

30/F, Radisson Blu Plaza, 486 Sukhumvit Soi 27, 02-302-3333. Open daily 5pm-1am

 

Cru Champagne  

From the hotel’s 59th floor, where you get full 360-degree views over Bangkok, this bar specializes in G.H. Mumm Champagne (from B5,400 for a bottle of G.H. Mumm Cordon Rouge Brut) as well as fruity and flamboyant cocktails perfect for sunset hour. Pull up a cool, pebble-shaped sofa and enjoy drinks with over-the-top presentation like The Swallow’s Nest (B488), a shocking-pink glass of Absolut Elyx vodka, Cointreau and five fruit juices. Also be sure to order the kurobuta pork belly steamed buns with Korean chili paste (B285). 

59/F, Centara Grand & Bangkok Convention Centre at CentralWorld, 999/99 Rama 1 Rd., 02-100-1234. Open daily 5pm-1am

 

Dim Dim 

This candlelit, Chinese-themed cocktail bar exudes oriental cool through vintage tea boxes and rows of waving lucky cats. Bartenders whip up drinks with Chinese twists like the Oolong Tea & Orange Sour (B280), a twist on the whiskey sour made with oolong tea and orange peel-infused Wild Turkey 81 bourbon. Just as exciting is the house-infused chrysanthemum vodka—try it in a shot (B280). Hungry? There are crispy Chinese pork platters and Hong Kong-style congee.

27/1 Sukhumvit Soi 33, 02-085-2788. Open Mon-Sat 6:30pm-1:30am

 

Duke  

Bangkok’s latest whiskey and cigar lounge is also a serious art gallery. Tucked away in the fittingly swanky Gaysorn shopping center, Duke from the Water Library group welcomes you with a variety of colorful contemporary Thai art pieces before you reach the beautiful, dark wooden bar. The huge list of whiskey charts all the big Scottish and Japanese must-try labels, and even such delicacies as Michel Couvreur’s Clearach French single malt (B690/shot; B8,600/bottle). Smokers will find cigars from Cuba, the Dominican Republic and other prominent producers, with prices starting from B280.

1/F, Gaysorn Village, 999 Phloen Chit Rd., 080-587-9520. Open daily 11am-midnight

 

FooJohn  

Step inside this old shop-house and you're transported to a retro Hong Kong diner like something out of In the Mood for Love—think warm lighting, carefully positioned mirrors, vintage mosaic tiles. Downstairs you'll find a hip bistro serving cold cuts and crepes alongside wine. A prohibition era-themed cocktail bar sits upstairs, where French spirits are spotlighted in classic cocktails based on The Savoy Cocktail Book (first published back in 1930). 

831 Charoenkrung Soi 31, 085-527-3511

 

Golden Coins 

Following the closure of much-loved beer bar Let the Boy Die, one of its founders, Pipatnapon “Piek” Pumpo, is back with a new project. The six-tap craft beer bar exclusively serves strains of Piek’s own Golden Coins beer, priced at B180 per glass or B100 during 5-7pm happy hours. The food comes from The Commons’ barbecue specialist Meat and Bones spotlighting flavorful pork (B360) and beef ribs (B550).

Ekamai Mall, Ekkamai Soi 10, 082-675-9673. Open daily 5pm-midnight

 

Ku Bar 

Hidden far from sight in the Old Town, this cocktail bar carries an alluring air of mystery. A dusty concrete staircase leasds the way to a marble counter amid a decrepid room where Anupas "Kong" Premanuwat, who worked as a mixologist at New York's acclaimed Angel's Share speakeasy (home to the current Bacardi Legacy global champion, Gn Chan), pours a monthly rotating cocktail menu (starting at B350) that spotlights local ingredients plucked from the fresh market. Kong shows off Japanese-like attention to detail in the "10 Her (B360), which mixes jub liang herbal tea with gin, honey, egg white, lime and burnt sugar. Thanks to Kong's wine-loving wife, Elaine Sun, they also have some standout "orange wine" (white wine made using the methods of red wine) like Matias Michelini "Via Revolucionaria" Torrentes (B370/glass, B1,750/bottle) from Argentina. Phra Sumen Rd., 02-067-6731 Open Thu-Sun 7pm-midnight

 

Pijiu Bar 

All dark woods, vintage signage and spare lighting, this Chinatown beer bar swings to the sounds of upbeat piano jazz while pouring craft beers courtesy of Beervana. B260-290 for 500ml doses of stuff like Los Locos Mexican lager and Tuatara Weiz Guy Hefeweizen is some of the best pricing in town, while the fridge features new local names like Happy New Beer (from B220). Drinking snacks are in the works—think Chinese cold cut platters, Sichuan chicken knuckles and perhaps even some dried goat meat.

16 Soi Nana, Charoenkrung Rd. Open Tue-Sun 5pm-midnight

 

Sky on 20  

This 26th-floor rooftop bar offers laidback garden vibes and views of both Sirikit Lake and Benjasiri Park. The fruity but not-too-sweet cocktails come courtesy of Portuguese bar manager Joao Dos Santos and start from as cheap as B250, while to eat you have tapas like spicy Spanish chorizo with squid (B340) and pizzas (from B430). It’s not as flashy as most Sukhumvit rooftop bars, but that makes it a relaxed place for cheap drinks and actual conversation among friends.

26/F, Novotel Bangkok Hotel, 19/9 Sukhumvit Soi 20, 02-009-4999. Open daily 5pm-2am

 

Vanilla Sky Rooftop  

Decked out with LED lights, Vanilla Sky gives off a fancy sky bar atmosphere, but still remains easy-going. Gin and tonics take a starring role in the cocktail menu, all priced at B320 and with some unusual flavors the mix (think peppermint and passionfruit or chestnut and chamomile). Some stuff to keep in mind: they don’t do proper food, only light bar snacks like salted beans, nuts, popcorn and Dorito chips, while a lack of elevator directly to the roof means clambering up a long flight of stairs from the 35th floor. 

35/F, Compass SkyView Hotel 12, Sukhumvit Soi 24, 02-011-1111. Open daily 5pm-2am


Key

 Rooftop
 Cocktails
 Beer
 Cigars
 Live music
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