Neon red Chinese letters and a do-nothing approach to shop-house restoration give this Chinatown bar 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 (two other Bangkok hot spots) created their signature cocktails. Opium sees a classic negroni spiked with ginseng and herbal liquor, while Five Rivers infuses the flavors of Chinese five spice into rum, Drambuie and Fernet Blanca Don't miss owner Tikhamporn Chuenkittivoravat's duck wontons—she trained at the Oriental as a chef.
While the setting is Chinese retro (vintage tea boxes, waving rows of lucky cats), the drinks are anything but old-fashioned. One of the guys behind Q&A cocktail bar has concocted a menu of infused spirits and Chinese twists in the likes of the Oolong Tea & Orange Sour, a take 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. Bar snacks stick to theme in the platter of crispy pork and Hong Kong-style congee.
27/1 Sukhumvit Soi 33, 02-085-2788. Open Tue-Sun 6:30pm-1:30am
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 above, where French spirits are spotlighted in classic cocktails based on The Savoy Cocktail Book (first published back in 1930), while the top two floors are Spare Parts, a smokehouse and beer and bourbon specialist.
831 Charoenkrung Soi 31, 085-527-3511. Open Wed-Sun 6pm-midnight
Red lanterns, neon signage and patterned tiles are no longer the preserve of Yaowarat’s new wave of hip and happening bars, thanks to Ninetails Bar & Booster, which brings the trend for all things moody and Chinese to Ladprao. This two-story joint shop-house sits opposite Union Mall where its serves up cocktails laden with plum, tea and chrysanthemum—try the deceptively smooth Ninetails Poison (hazelnut syrup, dark rum and Chinese tea) or potent Curse of the Golden Flower (chrysanthemum juice, gin and vodka). Bar snacks include spicy green beans or fried rice speckled with crispy mullet fish, bacon and Chinese sausage.
Ladprao Soi 4, 096-859-9571. Open Tue-Sun 5pm-1am
All dark woods, vintage signage and spare lighting, Pijiu Bar swings to the sounds of upbeat piano jazz while pouring craft beers courtesy of Beervana (who are partnered with the place). 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.
Inconspicuously nestled amid the bustle of Chinatown, Rabbit Hill celebrates Asian drinking culture. The Hong Kong craft beer Moonzen is the most popular choice, but a wide selection of Japanese sakes and whiskeys are also available to get you sozzled before stumbling over to Soi Nana. Chow down on Chinese-style bar snacks like paper-wrapped, deep-fried chicken and cold jelly pork knuckle amid bright red decor.
1 Suntipharp Rd., 092-646-6636. Open Tue-Sun 5pm-midnight