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The ultimate guide to riverside drinking in Bangkok

We’ve all tried and failed to find that perfect riverside drinking spot when the heat permits. Get it right with this handy guide.

By BK staff | Dec 01, 2017

  • The ultimate guide to riverside drinking in Bangkok
    The Summer House Project

High-so

Ciao Terraza

The swanky Mandarin Oriental's most affordable eatery dishes out wood-fired pizzas at mortal prices (starting B340) right beside the Chao Phraya River. As you enter through the venerable Author’s Lounge, you’d never guess you and your date can get away for under a grand apiece—just go easy on the B260 Singhas.

Mandarin Oriental Bangkok, 48 Charoenkrung Soi 40, Oriental Ave., 02-659-9000

Sala Rattanakosin

Both locals and expats have flocked to this stylish, so-called “restaurant with guestrooms” to grab a spot on the spacious deck and feast their eyes on the splendid view of Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn) across the river. There’s also a rooftop bar up on the 5/F which is pretty stunning (though it does get windy up there). Classic cocktails start from B220, while the signature Taiyou (sake, Phraya rum, lime juice, simple syrup, lime wedge, sweet basil) is served at B420 and filled with Asian flavors and strong liquor.

Sala Rattanakosin Hotel, Maharaj Rd., 02-622-1388. Open daily 7-10:30am, 11am-4:30pm, 5:30-10pm

The Deck

There are many restaurants in Bangkok blessed with the backdrop of the Chao Phraya. Few, however, can boast a spectacle as inspiring as a brightly lit Wat Arun directly across the river from your table like this one. Get the sweet and spicy king river prawn Thai salad with lychee, mint and lemongrass (B360) to go with the view.

Arun Residence, 36-38 Soi Phatu Nokyung, Maharaj Rd., 02-221-9158/9. Open Mon-Thu 11am-10pm; Fri-Sun11am-11pm


Lo-so

Jack's

Tucked behind the Shangri-La hotel on Pier no. 2 you’ll find a riverside drinking den of the old school—flexing plastic chairs, classic Thai stir fries (including a knockout pad krapao, B120) and ice-cool, sub-B100 Leos. God bless you, Jack’s.
 
Pier 2, Charoenkrung Soi 42/1. Open daily noon-2am

Steve Cafe and Cuisine

Located in the small community behind Wat Devarajkoonchon, this a 60-year-old house has been made bright and bold with a few licks of paint and the addition of some wooden furniture. The food is mostly typical Thai dishes; it’s not the most fancy, but it’s very comforting. Steve’s casual and simple vibe makes for a relaxing experience. The tom klong pla salid (spicy soup with dried fish and mushroom, B160) will cure your hangover from the previous night.

68 Sri Ayutthaya Soi 21, 081-868-0744, 02-281-0915. Open daily 11:30am-11pm


Hipster 

Sheepshank Public House

Set in what was once an old boathouse right by Phra Arthit Pier, Sheepshank’s themed decor of old pulleys, crates and buoys is topped only by the river views, which are particularly stunning come sundown. The menu, from Seven Spoons’ chef Somkiat “Joke” Pairojmahakij, charts new American fare (get the duck confit salad, B320), but the list of American craft beers is just as appealing.

47 Phra Athit Rd., 02-629-5165. Open Tue-Thu 5:30pm-midnight; Fri-Sun 5:30pm-1am

The Summer House Project

Starchitect Duangrit Bunnag followed up Never Ending Summer with this Euro bistro with a vast terrace that leads right up to the water. Comfort food like Fisherman’s Stew (B240), crab cakes (B350) and beer-battered fish and chips (B550) go down as easily as bar manager Dheeradon Dissara's Thai-infused cocktails.
 
41/5 Charoen Nakorn Rd., 02-861-0953

Viva Aviv

A naval theme with a dash of industrial chic and pirate-inspired interiors—the bar is made out of old wooden crates, with lobster traps accessorizing the walls and sailboat hardware hanging from the ceiling. A mini tiki-style bar near the entrance sells cocktails “to-go,” complete with straws and plastic cups—classy! The outdoor seating is simple with a ground floor view of the river. Start your weekend early by grabbing the Mina Passion (fresh passion fruit, lime juice and Ketal One, B325) at 11am.

B/F, River City Shopping Complex, 23 Yotha Rd., 02-639-6305. Open daily 11am-midnight

Checkmate

This bar, standing right beside the Chao Phraya River as a part of Asiatique, evokes bygone times with its bare brick exterior and industrial touches, which lend it an ever-so-slight loft-feel. Needless to say, the decor is largely chess-related, exemplified by the black 'n’ white checkered wallpaper. All classic cocktails are priced at B190—order a Long Island Ice Tea, perfect for a cool, breezy evening watching the sunset.

Asiatique The Riverfront, 2194 Charoen Krung Soi 72-74, 081-866-4055. Open daily 5pm-1am


Rooftop

Attitude

There is a reason to visit Thonburi. It stands 26 stories above the Chao Phraya, offers cocktails with a floral, flamboyant edge and serves Asian-influenced tapas plates at not-too-crazy prices (think B200-400).

Avani Riverside, 257 Charoen Nakorn Rd., 02-431-9100

ThreeSixty Jazz Lounge

Flanked in every direction by slanted glass windows, guests can look out across all of central Bangkok from the less-visited Thonburi side of the river while sipping on a cocktail or a glass of wine. Get the signature Isan Summer (B450) cocktail inspired by Isaan food: a mix of rum, orange juice, fresh passion fruit, Thai tea syrup, garnished with burned kaffir lime leaf with toasted rice on the glass rim. Aim to get there just before sunset to enjoy the twilight sky over Wat Arun and the Grand Palace at its most stunning.

Millenium Hilton Bangkok, 123 Charoen Nakhon Rd., 02-442-2000. Open daily 5pm-1am

 

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