= Live music
A house-turned-restaurant whose name literally translates to “rice” in Spanish, Arroz vies for the title of best-paella-in-town with the offerings of Spanish chef-owner Victor Burgos. Quaintly residential, the property also features a generous garden, where you’ll find plenty of typically Mediterranean patio furnishings, terracotta tiles and colorful mosaics—the perfect spot to share huge pans of seafood paella (B2,300 for four).
112 Sukhumvit Soi 53, 02-258-7696. Open daily 5:30pm-10pm
Sitting beneath faux-hemian craft cocktail joint Sugar Ray, Batt Tempura’s operation stretches to four tables plonked in a parking lot and a cupboard-sized kiosk where young chef Jakrachai “Champ” Ruayrean mans the stoves (or rather, stove). His fry-work might not be on par with the grease-free finest of Thaniya’s salaryman strongholds, but there’s definitely charm to his moist, lightly battered whiting (B65/2 pieces) and sticky, sweet shrimp (B85/2 pieces). Vegetables taste guiltily excellent too, whether it’s the marshmallow-soft bite of a plump slice of pumpkin (B40/2 pieces) or satisfyingly non-watery shiitake mushroom (B30).
77 Ekkamai Soi 21, 089-016-5565. Open Tue-Sun 2-11pm
Birds is one of the rarest of things in 2017 Bangkok: an excellent restaurant that will cost you under B1,000 a head including booze. Order up a whole roast chicken with all the trimmings (B875), and share it among friends out on the spacious, lounge-like terrace with plenty of the not-too-shabby house red (B140/glass).
Nanglinchi Rd.,Soi Amon, 095-594-6675. Open Tue-Fri 5:30-10:30pm, Sat-Sun 11:30am-3pm
Here’s a restaurant plucked straight out of vibrant Phuket and squeezed between Bangkok’s drab high rises. Behind tiki-looking wooden-panel doors, you’ll find a yard brimming with coral reef-inspired colors, a pool, and even a petanque strip. The open-air setup lets you kick back on a sunbed or in a mini cabana, while there's a dedicated play area to keep the little ones occupied. Taking cues from his homeland, French chef Nicolas Valanchon keeps things light and easy with the likes of marinated prawn skewer (B430) served with to-die-for pomme dauphine, and chilled soups like carrot and coriander with salad (B180).
50 Sathorn Soi 10, 02-235-4822. Open Wed-Sun 11:30am-11pm; Mon 11:30am-11pm
Brewski feels like going to the rooftop of your condo for a beer. Shelves and lights made from plumbing fixtures add the requisite industrial touch. The best views are to be had from the balcony bar stools at the edge of the venue set 30 floors above the ground. Grab a draft La Chouffe (B280/pint) and chow down on Thai beer snacks like sai krok Isaan (Thai-style pork sausages with fresh chili, ginger and peanuts, B120).
30/F, Radisson Blu Plaza, 489 Sukhumvit Soi 27, 02-302-3333. Open daily 5pm-1am
Another old-house-turned-restaurant in the rising Narathiwat neighbourhood, Le Cabanon serves up Mediterranean seafood dishes in a setting that evokes holiday homes in the French coastal town of Cap Ferret. Enjoy an evening out on the dark wood terrace under sky-blue beach umbrellas with dishes like the scallop carpaccio (B450) followed by grilled lobster (B900-1,800).
44 Akhan Songkhro Soi 3, 092-568-0444. Open Tue-Fri 5-11pm
Located above urban surf park Flow House, the upstairs bar is an inner-city oasis. Outside on the balcony, let the artificial turf, palm trees, wicker beach loungers and sound of rushing water whisk you far away from hectic city life. Pull up a stool at the long bar overlooking the wave machine, watch the tricks (and wipe-outs) below, and knock back the exotic, dark purple Stone Head with Butterfly Pea (B200) beer.
A-Square 26, 120/1 Sukhumvit Soi 26, 095-445-1465. Open daily 5pm-midnight
At first glance Chez Jay looks like little more than a boho collection of sofas, stools and low tables blending with the trees and string lighting of an open-air mall. The bar is outside because inside there’s barely room for the single dining table and a small kitchen. The food is Mediterranean-Italian (marinated anchovies [B200], lasagna [B325]), while the wine is excellent and affordable (starting around B200/glass).
G/F, 49 Terrace, Sukhumvit Soi 49, 092-639-2895. Open Mon-Sat 5pm-1am
This low-key bamboo shack on the lawn of Kram restaurant is classier than your typical Koh Phangan joint. Pull up a stool and enjoy some laid-back conversation with the bartender or claim a patch of grass out on a lawn strewn with old-style mats, triangle cushions and coffee tables. The Sweet Juan (B280) mixes chili-infused tequila with fresh pineapple juice, lime and cilantro, garnished with a slightly burnt big chili, for a flavor that's fresh with just a hint of fire, is the perfect hangover-cure.
113 Sukhumvit Soi 39, 098-253-9356. Open Mon-Fri 5pm-1am; Sat-Sun 3pm-1am
The bar’s located on what used to be a helicopter landing pad on top of the five-star hotel Centara Grand at CentralWorld. Access Cru from a little elevator at Red Sky, which drops you out right on top of the hotel, where you get a stunning, 59th-floor, 360-degree view of Bangkok. The drinks list is all about Champagne, so come prepared to order a bottle of G.H. Mumm Cordon Rouge Brut (B5,400).
59/F, Centara Grand & Bangkok Convention Centre at CentralWorld, 999/99 Rama 1 Rd., 02-100-1234. Open daily 5pm-1am
The candlelit space exudes oriental cool through vintage Chinese tea boxes, rows of waving lucky cats and splashes of red. A slender outside counter seats just four, where you can order up a Chinese jerky-infused old fashioned (B360), chase it with a chrysanthemum vodka shot (B280) and bump knuckles with friends as they come and go from next door’s Peppina.
27/1 Sukhumvit Soi 33, 02-085-2788. Open Tue-Sat 6:30pm-1:30am
This alfresco bar is located round the back of the Marriot Marquis hotel, facing right onto Benjasiri Park. As a result, there’s a residential-neighborhood feel to drinking here that feels totally unlike Bangkok. Booze focuses on draft beers like Brewdog Punk IPA 5.6% (B230 for 250ml; B350 for 470ml), Maisel's Weisse Original 5.2% (B200; B330) and La Chouffe 8% (B240; B370).
L/F, Marriott Marquis Queen's Park, 199 Sukhumvit Soi 22, 02-059-5999. Open daily 6am-11pm
Set in a glasshouse replete with tropical touches, this restaurant is a new reason to brave the congested traffic of Lad Phrao. Hanging ferns, banana-leaf wallpaper and vintage parquet floors complement rustic Thai food from all around the country. Thanks to the massive glass window, you can get as much natural light sitting inside as outside. Try the yum pak kood (B180), made with an edible fern from the chef’s own garden in Ratchaburi.
33 Nak Niwat Rd., 095-949-9299. Open daily 11am-midnight
While we were ogling the makeover of Warehouse 30’s old storage facilities on Charoenkrung, local design firm PIA Interior went and did the same over on the Khlong San side of the river. Lhong 1919 takes a group of old warehouses and a Chinese shrine dating back to King Rama IV (1851-1868) and turns them into 6,800 sq meters of co-working space, eateries and art and design shops spotlighting the work of young artists. This winter, you’ll find us perched at Rong See Rim Nam (the newest brainchild of iBerry) eating miang dok bua (lotus petal wrap with Thai-style condiments, B230) by the river.
248 Chiang Mai Rd., 091-187-1919. Open daily 8am-8pm
Loulou forks and glasses
This laidback French restaurant serves up flavors with an exciting Mediterranean touch. Drop by for an easygoing after-work vibe in the glasshouse-like, artwork-dotted interior, or lounge back on a white sofa under patio umbrellas on the terrace. For dishes like the stracciatella salad (B430), the kitchen sources its milky, gooey cheese from a producer in Chiang Mai, while the Royal Projects vegetables ensure crisp, refreshing bite. Elsewhere, the menu highlights cured gravlax salmon (B380) accompanied by homemade wasabi sauce and tangy lemon cream.
459/61 Suan Phlu Soi 8, 095-496-1142. Open Tue-Sat 5pm-1am
Bangkok's newest Cuban-themed bar sits on the 32nd floor of the Compass SkyView Hotel, where it offers rum-heavy drinks amid sweeping views of Benjasiri Park and downtown. Step inside and be greeted with mid-century Cuban furnishings and green Havana hues. Intricate tile-work and floor patterns transport you, mojito in hand, right back to the 1950s. Outdoors is a spacious open-air terrace complete with comfortable armchairs. Start your night with The Ruby (B370), an easy-to-drink mix of Belvedere vodka, elderflower syrup, strawberry puree and cranberry juice. Above it sits the rooftop Vanilla Sky.
32/F, Compass SkyView Hotel, 12 Sukhumvit Soi 24, 02-011-1111. Open daily 5pm-2am
Ekkamai’s new rooftop restaurant might only be six floors up, but there's nothing obstructing its cool, 180-degree views of the neighborhood. Once up there, you'll be greeted by bare concrete steps in the center of a minimal glass cube. And thanks to its floor-to-ceiling windows, you can enjoy sunset from either in- or outdoor tables. The continent-spanning dishes play with global flavors, from a Thai plahang tangmo-derived watermelon salad (with spinach, bonito flakes, shaved Parmesan cheese and sumac vinaigrette, B210) to pulled pork and mango quesadilla (B229).
6/F, Tha City Loft hotel, Ekkamai Soi 6, 094-516-6663. Open Tue-Sun 5pm-midnight
The new Pizza Massilia's raw wooden boards, an exposed ceiling and screens of foliage give the bright blue interior tropical-warehouse edge over Ruamrudee’s classical stylings, while the fairylight-strewn garden seating is just what the neighborhood ordered. Try one of these fancy specials, like fassone beef carpaccio (B590), or keep it simple with a margherita (B290) and one of the best burrata salads in town (B1,290 for 250g/B1,690 for 500g).
1/8 Sukhumvit Soi 49, 02-015-0297. Open daily 11:30am-2:30pm, 5:30pm-midnight
Cocotte’s sister restaurant ditches the farmhouse for the Mediterranean seaside, serving up imported seafood alongside hefty slabs of meat. The outdoor area features an a la plancha (flat-top grill) station, from which you can order grilled fare. Get the Spanish-style big plates like a paella (B2,400, feeds two) in which bomba rice is cooked in lobster bisque with half a Maine lobster and chicken.
39 Ekkamai Soi 12, 063-267-7778. Open daily 11am-3pm, 6-11:45pm
The Raweekanlaya is a new boutique hotel in the Old Town whose grand colonial structure can be traced back to the late 1800s. Now there’s a genuine reason to settle yourself down on its terrace shaded by gorgeous old banyan trees: a new Thai menu that spotlights ingredients plucked straight from the hotel’s organic garden, such as beetroot and roselle. Try the grilled beef steak with sticky rice and Thai melon salad (B640) to go with a refreshing butterfly pea or pandanus juice (B80).
172 Krung Kasem Rd., 02-628-5999. Open daily 6:30am-10pm
Just in time for the winter breeze, Bangkok’s newest beer garden has opened in Ari. With links to Bavaria’s Schneider Weisse brewing company, Schneider Haus (www.fb.com/SchneiderHausBangkok
) is set in a spacious house hidden in Ari Soi 4 that comes with a nice garden, perfect for this time of year. Pretend it’s properly cold out with a heartwarming bowl of German venison stew (B390) and a big glass of the eponymous beer (B260/500ml).
Ari Samphan Soi 4, 098-426-9456. Open daily 5-11:45pm
Giant tie-dye daybeds and hammocks take over a sand-colored terrace looking out over extraordinary Phloen Chit views. This acts as the focal point for two different wings: one dedicated to dining, the other drinking. The six different eateries are all tied together by one common thread: local ingredients used to create Western dishes, often with a Thai twist. The Eatery is Siwilai City Club at its most ambitious, offering inventive morsels like a mushroom panna cotta (B350), while next door’s The Deli offers braised beef brisket in ciabatta (B350) and an Angus beef burger with jaew sauce (B350).
5/F, Central Embassy, Phloen Chit Rd., 02-160-5631. Open daily 11am-midnight; Fri-Sat 10am-midnight
Take the small staircase up from the 25th floor and be greeted by an open-air space filled with a mix of circular couches and low seating in pastel grays. The laidback garden vibe is complemented with a few trees wrapped in fairy lights, but otherwise the decoration is toned down from your usual rooftop bar, allowing the views to speak for themselves. Our favorite dish: the parma ham pizza (B430).
26/F, Novotel Bangkok Hotel, 19/9 Sukhumvit Soi 20, 02-009-4999. Open daily 5pm-2am
The top two stories (plus half a rooftop) of Charoenkrung hipster hangout FooJohn Building is a new barbecue and bourbon house. Deli-Q food truck's Texas-born owner Caitlin Lee Chullasapya takes care of the rooftop smoke pit, where she smokes her ribs (starta at B420) for 6-8 hours, along with delicious Sriracha-marinated chicken wings (B180).
3-4/F, FooJohn, 831 Charoenkrung Soi 31, 087-593-9973. Open Wed-Sun 7pm-midnight
This is the riverside Thai restaurant Bangkok's been waiting for. The third branch of Supanniga sits on the deck of Tha Tien’s Riva Arun, where the scenery is paired with decor that's a cozy mix of earthy tones and vibrant splashes of yellow and orange, and the food (Trat and Khon Kaen cuisine in flavorful standbys like chili paste crabmeat, B240) is complemented by a special coffee menu from Roots.
Riva Arun, 392/25-26 Maharaj Rd., 02-714-7608, 02-015-4224. Open daily 11:30am-10:30pm
Mikkeller, the Danish microbrewery that opened a bar in Ekkamai in 2014, follows it up with a new Ari bar and restaurant specializing in tacos. Fun and playful, with rainbow-colored chairs and brightly painted window frames contrasting with the exposed white brick. The laidback beanbags from the lawn of Mikkeller Ekkamai also make a return, albeit in a smaller outdoor space. As for the tacos, go with the fried barracuda (B280) coated in a crispy thin batter and drizzled in spicy mayo, or the beef steak (B220) with herby chimichurri sauce.
Ari Samphan Soi 1, Phahon Yothin Rd. Open Tue-Thu 5-11pm; Fri-Sat 5pm-midnight
This rooftop bar takes over the top of the Compass SkyView Hotel, with views stretching over Thonglor in one direction and towards downtown from the other. Despite some simple, wooden furniture upholstered in vibrant prints, and a sprinkling of palm trees, the massive marble bar backlit with colored LED lights retains a distinctly “sky bar” vibe. Our favorite drink, the Honey Spice (B350), sees dried chili-infused gin mixed with homemade honey-and-rosemary-infused syrup and tonic water, garnished with dried chili for a well-balanced kick.
35/F, Compass SkyView Hotel, 12 Sukhumvit Soi 24, 02-011-1111. Open daily 5pm-2am