The top alfresco rooftops, gardens and riverside terraces to eat and drink in Bangkok.
KEY: RooftopGarden Riverside Terrace Live music
Acres of concrete, plants and steel are devoted to communal courtyards and nightlife venues at this community mall. Perhaps best are the potent cocktails at Evil Man Blues and the warehouse-style clubbing experience at Beam. Also check out the cocktails and karaoke at Savoy, the Mexican-inspired tapas of Melbourne-born Touche Hombre, the Spanish tapas of Toro and the Korean fusion of Hopeland.
72 Sukhumvit Soi 55 (Thonglor), 02-392-7999. Open daily 6pm-2am
A Bar NEW!
On top of its great views of the city skyline, another thing Above Eleven has going for it is its adventurous menu. While most other rooftop venues play it safe with homogenous international dishes, here the focus is on Peruvian-Japanese fusion cuisine (aka Nikkei cuisine). In small plates like acebichado rolls (seabass, ika karage, avocado) and skewers of anticucho beef heart, you’ve got a wonderful accompaniment for the views, bettered only by their signature Pisco Sour.
33/F, Fraser Suites Sukhumvit, 38/8 Sukhumvit Soi 11. 02-207-9300. Open daily 6pm-2am. BTS Nana
This shop-house boutique hotel in Tha Tien, the neighborhood opposite Wat Arun, is well worth a visit. Head up to its rooftop—stairs only—and you’ll find an alfresco terrace where practically every table gets prime river views. Dishes add a Thai touch to Western classics, from light bites like deep-fried calamari served with a salted egg yolk and shrimp roe sauce, to a take on osso bucco (braised veal) in massaman curry.
392/25-26 Maharaj Rd., 02-221-1188. Open daily 6am-11.30pm
Aire Bar NEW!
The first shopping center to sit on the riverbank is themed according to the city’s architecture of old. It includes over 1,500 boutiques covering quirky fashion and intriguing souvenirs, as well as a variety of eateries, beer gardens and wine bars. The gigantic venue is also home to a ferris wheel and stage shows. We particularly recommend the seafood at Kodang Talay.
2194 Charoen Krung Rd., 02-108-4488. Open daily 5pm-midnight. Free ferry from Sathorn Pier
This rooftop restaurant-slash-bar sits on the 26th floor of the riverside Avani hotel. It's all very sharing- and booze-friendly, which translates to artfully presented tapas plates with the odd nod to Asian flavors.
26/F, Avani Riverside, 257 Charoen Nakorn Rd., 02-431-9100. Open daily 5:30pm-1am
Located on the rooftop of the long-standing-yet-always-happening Ekamai Shopping Mall, Baan Puen lives up to its name, which literally translates to "a friend's house." You can expect to hear lots of Thai and international covers performed acoustically, to go with simple spicy dishes whipped up by one of the partner’s aunts.
3/F, Ekamai Mall, Ekkamai Soi 10, 061-824-1747. Open daily 6pm-2am
Blue Parrot NEW!
The top floor of this modern American restaurant hides a few outdoor tables, where a brutalist raw concrete balcony overlooks Sathorn Soi 12. Fresh, simple, well-executed, original yet devoid of gimmicks, there's a reason Bunker’s food has people excited. Some of it verges on tapas portions, but the flavors are anything but small: wagyu tartar spiked with daikon radish; cured foie gras paired with candied cashew and chili mango; smoky wagyu short rib glistening with fat.
118/2 Sathorn Soi 12, 092-563-9991. Open daily 5:30pm-midnight
Le Cabanon NEW!
Over at the grill at one of the latest rooftop bars in town, they cook up some amazing beef from Australia's Darling Downs. Char takes up the top two stories of Hotel Indigo, with a stylish dining room downstairs and the rooftop bar up above to benefit from those amazing views across Bangkok's "Embassy Row."
25-26/F, Hotel Indigo, 81 Wireless Rd., 02-207-4999. Open daily 6pm-midnight. BTS Phloen Chit
Italian cuisine courtesy of one of Bangkok's most lauded chefs (Norbert Kostner), a riverside terrace and the Mandarin Oriental's iconic Author's Lounge in the background make this one of the river's easiest spots to recommend. It's more casual than the other restaurants at Bangkok's oldest hotel (though they'll still shoo you away if you turn up in shorts), dishing out Italian staples like wood-fired pizzas, and meatball and fondue.
Mandarin Oriental, 48 Charoenkrung Soi 40, Oriental Ave., 02-659-9000. Open daily 6-10:30pm
Good food takes center stage at the loft-like, open-plan community mall from the siblings behind Roast cafe. The ambitious project works kind of like a food court, only a really, really good one. Diners can order their favorite dishes from the various food kiosks—fusion burgers from Soul Food 555, Mexican from Barrio Bonito, pies from Holy Moly, to name a few—then dine at the central communal area inside or outside. The coffee from Roots is some of the absolute best in town.
335 Thonglor Soi 17, 089-152-2677. Open daily 9am-midnight
The Courtyard (House on Sathorn)
The name says it all. At the very center of The House on Sathorn, the beautifully restored mansion next to W Hotel, you’ll find this open-air courtyard, prettily decked out with chic furniture that sticks to the overall vintage tone. Chef Fatih Tutak whips up comforting yet delicate food and dessert but the highlight may well be the much-hyped afternoon tea set (B1,350), which lets you go crazy with refreshing sorbet, scones, sandwiches and other delicacies with a choice of TWG tea from the House collection, under the shade of the patio umbrellas. Available from 2:30-5:30pm daily.
The House on Sathorn, 106 Sathorn Rd., 02-344-4000. Open daily noon-midnight
This outdoor bar serves only craft beer. There are 20 labels on tap rotating monthly and 50 bottled varieties, with a particular focus on hoppy, high-alcohol-content IPAs from familiar names like Deschutes, Rogue and Anderson Valley.
16 Sukhumvit Soi 23, 02-661-3220. Open daily 2pm-12am. BTS Asoke
Cru Champagne NEW!
Book in advance to get one of the best spots at this hotly in-demand restaurant right across the water from the Chao Phraya's star attraction, Wat Arun. The menu of classic Thai dishes like beef massaman curry with roti and pad Thai is of a bankable standard, but you can also trust in their European grill dishes such as the New Zealand tenderloin or roasted rack of lamb. Spread over two alfresco stories, we recommend you request the top tier to get the perfect river view as the backdrop to your meal.
Arun Residence, 36-38 Soi Phatu Nokyung, Maharaj Rd., 02-221-9158/9. Open daily 11am-10pm, Fri-Sun 11am-11pm
Designer Alan Barr’s striking reinvention of a house at the quiet end of Sukhumvit Soi 47 puts the backyard to use with some lively and lounge-y garden furniture. The restaurant brings together freshly brewed coffee, modern Australian cuisine and well-paired cocktails. The charming garden patio is made for outdoor brunch.
28 Sukhumvit Soi 47, 02-662-4936. Open daily 5:30pm-midnight, Sat-Sun 11am-3pm
Goji Terrace NEW!
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
This rooftop serves up one of Bangkok’s most stunning sunset scenes—looking straight over Lumphini Park and onto the gleaming skyscrapers of Phloen Chit. Maybe that’s why it’s one of the few spots that attracts a local crowd, one that like to knock back Champagne and smoke cigars while reposed on the almost-too-comfy scarlet daybeds. Oh, and they give out enough complimentary cashews and olives to make you say, “let’s screw dinner.”
29/F, Sofitel So Bangkok, 2 North Sathorn Rd., 02-624-0000. Open daily 5pm-1am (Bar). MRT Lumpini
This grand old villa reborn as a cocktail lounge and Italian grill restaurant boasts some of Bangkok's most incredible cocktails—head bartender Pailin “Milk” Sajjanit just got named Southeast Asia Bartender of the Year at the 2016 Diageo World Class awards. The adjoining restaurant specializes in charcoal-grilled cuts of seriously premium meat (Spain’s dry-aged rubia gallega is the star of the show), best enjoyed on a seat from the spacious garden terrace.
1098/2 Rama 4 Rd., 02-286-8833. Open daily 6pm-1am
Retro house, big garden, unfussy Thai dishes—a classic restaurant formula that sadly seems to be in decline. This place does it just right with great dishes such as gaeng kua poo bai chaploo (curry with crabmeat and wild betel leaf) and khao soi gai (Northern-style noodles with chicken). Inside is homey and relaxing, but the best spots are outdoors where you’ll find bean bags and movies projected on the wall.
113 Sukhumvit Soi 39, 092-938-6690. Open Mon-Fri 11:30am-2:30pm, 5:30-10pm; Sat-Sun 11am-11pm
The top-floor fine-dining venue of the Sofitel Bangkok is about as lofty as they come. Looking to embrace the Gallic roots of the hotel chain, the decor makes you feel like you’re dining in a grand Parisian apartment thanks to the parquet flooring, stately fireplace and wood paneling. But we say head to the outdoor balcony for an impressive panorama of Sukhumvit.
32/F, Sofitel Bangkok Sukhumvit, 189 Sukhumvit Rd. (between soi 13 and 15), 02-126-9999. Open daily 5pm-midnight for drinks and 7pm-10.30pm for dinner
The renovated house on Soi Goethe sits peacefully in grounds that include a cozy outdoor terrace where you can dine outdoors, lounge on a sofa or play a game of petanque. The chef, Nino Scognamillo, takes La Casa Nostra in a comforting direction with creations like grilled Sardinian pecorino cheese with eucalyptus honey and fresh figs, paprika-spiced roasted octopus on potato veloute, and plenty of pasta dishes. Owing to the partnership with Global Vineyards, their wine menu is a peach.
22 Sathorn Soi 1 Yaek 2 (Goethe), 02-287-2402. Open daily 11:30am-midnight
Lhong 1919 NEW!
While its younger counterpart upstairs is known as one of the fancier restaurants in town, the original beer house on the bottom floor is about as casual as it gets with unassuming blonde wood tables, bare white walls and lots of space to move around. Its 30-strong on-tap selection of craft is one of Bangkok’s largest, as is the menu of 250-plus bottled beers. The spacious lawn hosts some fun garden barbecues, too.
26 Ekkamai Soi 10, 02-381-9891. Open daily 5pm-midnight. BTS Ekkamai
This Mexican spot sits in a garden down the surprisingly peaceful Thonglor Soi 7, far from the bustle of the main drag. And the Mexican owners’ traditional corn tortilla tacos are so good you’ll want to keep the place a secret. The carnitas (braised pork) comes with a mind-blowing sauce made with imported Mexican chilies. Other fillings include al pastor (spiced marinated pork with pineapple) and choriqueso (house-made chorizo mixed with melted cheese). Wash your meal down with a Day of the Dead beer or margarita.
145 Thonglor Soi 7, 090-913-2131. Open daily 5-11pm
Out front of Thonglor's molecular cocktail specialist sits a spacious outdoor terrace with lots of couches, while inside the purple-lit glass-house you'll find nightly live bands—plus room for dancing before moving onto the neighboring clubs. Cocktails stick to molecular techniques, like the Flaming Lamborghini (Blue Curacao, Sambuca, Baileys Irish Cream, Kahlau and Fireball).
171 Thonglor Soi 10, 080-770-9800. Open Mon-Sun 6pm-2am
A rooftop bar with the added bonus of being right by Thonglor, this place is our favorite diversion tactic to use on out-of-town friends when they start mumbling “skybar.” Cocktails don’t come quite at street-level prices, but you do get a stunning view of downtown Sukhumvit, coupled with an upbeat crowd of tourists.
45/F, Marriott Bangkok Sukhumvit, Sukhumvit Soi 57, 02-797-0000. Open daily 6pm-1am
At this sprawling live music, rising indie bands look to make their name playing to an easygoing crowd of heavy drinkers. In between sets, stake out a table in the beer garden for some spicy gab glaem (drinking food) and a big bottle of Leo beer—better yet, a tower.
Lad Phrao Soi 8 (Yak 3), Lad Phrao Rd., 085-146-8017. Open daily 6pm-1am. MRT Phaholyothin (Exit 1)
Rawee Ganraya NEW!
The 55th-floor view from Centara's rooftop puts this bar in the same league as high flyers like Vertigo at the Banyan Tree. Alfresco dining and drinking takes place under a swooping, red-lit arch, while chef Hugo Coudurier's seasonal menus spotlight classic, rich steak dishes. Don't miss the US grain-fed beef tenderloin—a menu staple and proven crowd-pleaser.
55/F, Centara Grand at CentralWorld, 999/99 Rama 1 Rd., 02-100-6255. Open daily 6-11:30pm
Ari Soi 4, 02-619-6886. BTS Ari. Open daily 5pm-midnight
Sala Rattanakosin calls itself a restaurant with guest rooms, and half of the renovated four-story building is dedicated to fine wining and dining. The design keeps remaining traces of the original building and accompanies them with a minimal blackand white theme. Chef Tony Wrigley whips up some pretty impressive Thai food on the riverside terrace, and there’s also a rooftop bar where you can sip excellent cocktails with a view.
39 Soi Tha Tien, Maharaj Rd., 02-622-1388. Restaurant open daily 7-10:30am, 11am-4:30pm, 5:30-10pm; rooftop bar open daily 4pm-midnight
Credit by: www.facebook.com/samsarabkk/
Tucked down a little alley behind Wat Pathumkongka in a charming old wooden house, Samsara makes a charming first impression. The place feels halfway between a gallery and a friend’s house, brimming as it is with personality: expect to find colorful vintage furnishings, all sorts of cat-related curios and paintings hanging on the wall. Most of the tables are set out on the terrace and reservations are a must for the ones with the best views. The tasty Thai cuisine is augmented by Japanese touches since some of the owners hail from Japan.
1612 Songwat Rd., 086-978-9331,02-639-6853. Open Tue-Sat 5pm-midnight
This restaurant run by Somkiat "Joke" Pairojmahakij of Seven Spoons is set in what was once an old boatyard right by Phra Arthit Pier, meaning you can still see remnants of this former life, in the form of the old pulleys, crates and buoys that adorn a dining area that's been polished up in an industrial style. The food focuses on Modern American comfort dishes, while they also serve a decent selection of wines and craft beers.
47 Phra Athit. 02-629-5165. Opening Tue-Thu 5:30pm-midnight; Fri-Sun 5:30pm-1am
Schneider Haus NEW!
Siwilai City Club NEW!
Sky On 20 NEW!
It’s long, steep climb to the top—and you may not get a seat on weekend nights—but Skytrain Jazz’s rooftop location and grungy shophouse location gives it a wonderfully gritty urban feel. Sip on Singha as the BTS rattles past, basking in the pale light of Century Movie Plaza’s giant marquee. This is not a rooftop bar to escape the big bad city, it’s where you come to remember why you love it.
5/F, 6 Rangnam Rd., 02-640-0303. 089-895-4299. Open daily 5pm-1am
Chef Thanunya “Gai” Kaikaew is the only female chef from the Iron Chef Thailand TV show. Her specialty lies in sweets, so it’s no surprise that desserts star at her restaurant. The lovely wooden house and garden it inhabits wouldn’t be packed out on weekends were it only for vanilla souffles, though. Thanunya also has a solid savory menu with plenty of brunchy nods; and she is backed by impeccable service.
417 Narathiwas Soi 24, 02-674-0442. Open daily 11am-10pm
This rooftop cocktail lounge takes you back to the jazz age. The two-story space sports prohibition era-inspired decor, featuring lots of dark woods and Art Deco touches. A balcony on the 24th floor lets you take in 180-degree views of Bangkok’s business district, while an alfresco rooftop offers a more leisurely atmosphere.
24-25/F, Hotel Muse Bangkok Langsuan, 55/555 Lang Suan Rd., 02-630-4000. Open daily 5:30pm-1am
Located in the small community behind Wat Devarajkoonchon, next to Thewet Pier, the venue is a 60-year-old house that’s 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 served on plain dinnerware; it’s not the most authentic, but it’s very pleasant and comforting. Try the highlight kua gling moo (stir-fried minced pork with herbs). Steve’s casual and simple vibe makes for a relaxing experience—one that’s only enhanced by the sunset views and sounds of the river.
68 Sri Ayutthaya Soi 21, 081-868-0744, 02-281-0915. Open daily 11am-10.30pm
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, crab cakes and beer-battered fish and chips go down as easily as bar manager Dheeradon Dissara's Thai-infused cocktails. Try the Gold Gold Gold (prosecco, mango puree and gold leaves) and Pina Pamila (Malibu, rum and palm juice).
Jam Factory, 41/5 Charoen Nakorn Rd., 02-861-0953. Open daily 11am-11pm
Supanniga x Roots NEW!
This themed community mall looks to recapture the charm of the old town's architecture. The riverside pavilion consists of over 50 open-air restaurants and shops spread over seven buildings styled in keeping with the area's former reputation. There's also a riverside promenade and community garden. As well as shops dedicated to fashion and beauty, you'll also find specialists of antiques and Thai amulets. Dining highlights include new branches of pizzeria Peppina and brunch spot Gram.
11/1, Maharaj Rd. 02-866-3163-4, 090-926-5265. Open daily 10am-10pm
Sitting on top of Hotel Once, this multi-level bar and grill offers 360-degree views from its upper level. You come here for quiet, intimate evenings and small gatherings among friends in an area of the city which is only just waking up to nightlife—but which has the authentic atmosphere of old Bangkok. The food menu however is not so Thai, offering a selection of barbecue specials like pork, chicken, beef, salmon and shrimp as well as pastas. To drink, it's cocktails or local and imported beers.
8-9/F, Hotel Once Bangkok, 2074/99 Charoenkrung Soi 72/2, 02-688-2596. Open daily 6pm-midnight
Alfresco 54th-story views complement fresh, Mediterranean decor that feels anything but stuffy. It's a fitting backdrop for an equally laidback menu of authentic tapas: some 40-odd treats like Joselito ham, live Boston lobster sashimi, oysters, Cochinillo suckling pig and wild porcini mushroom croquettes. Thirsty? There's a whopping 36 wines by the glass here.
54/F, Centara Grand at CentralWorld, 999/99 Rama 1 Rd., 02-100-6255. Open daily 4pm-1am
The space is looking kind of tired now by comparison to rooftop newcomers like Sofitel So and Marriott Sukhumvit, but one of the city’s first sky-high dining options remains a popular choice for special occasion dining. Make sure you book a seat by the railings in advance then head up over 60 floors to drink and dine with incredible views of the city.
61/F, The Banyan Tree, 21 Sathorn Rd., 02-679-1200. Open daily 5pm-1am
Viva & Aviv has long been the best riverside tip for a spot of daytime drinking. Soak up the river view and breeze while watching the tourist boats plying up and down the river, and enjoy the range of inventive cocktails along with the funky house soundtrack spun by Thai and international DJs.
River City Complex, 23 Yota Rd., 02-639-6305. Open daily 11am-midnight. Sri Phraya Pier
Yes, this rooftop joint does use fake grass (and even grass-covered tables), but we like the laidback atmosphere and good tunes. The mismatched wooden sofas and rattan chairs make it feel a little like a traditional riverside restaurant, but the clientele is way less tourist-y. Most of the cocktails are girl-friendly—sweet and sour, pretty and not too strong. Try the strawberry mojito (classic mojito with strawberry juice) or Ocean 10 (a Long Island ice tea with blue caracao).
5/F, Nakiya Restaurant Building, Thonglor Soi 13, 088-696-9445. Open daily 6pm-2am. BTS Thong Lo