Chinatown's latest cocktail bar is all about Thai ingredients.
The buzz: Teens of Thailand founder Niks Anuman-Rajadhon proves that Chinatown is still where it’s at with a new cocktail bar where all the drinks are about Thai ingredients.
The decor: The bar is hidden inside a tiny sub-soi inside Soi Nana, opposite Teens of Thailand. The limited, narrow space offers scant seating arrangements, with stools at the bar providing the perfect spot to watch the bartender in action and talk to him about the rare local ingredients in the drinks. While sitting there, look up and you’ll see a massive shark hanging over your head—a nod to co-owner Gun Leelhasuwan’s childhood obsession with the creatures. Steep, cramped wooden stairs lead up to the second floor where, by March, you will get a chef’s table concept but for tasting cocktail ingredients.
The drinks: Niks has been spending a lot of time up North recently, tasting random plants grown on the mountain and bringing back ingredients to use in this bar. Following ToT’s style, the menu here also changes very frequently, depending on what ingredients they’ve found. Kiattikoon “Toon” Auengkum, formerly at Bunker, is the head bartender here. His Wild Honey Daiquiri (B360) is fresher than your usual daiquiri, made with wild honey from Khao Yai National Park and served icy cold. Martini-drinkers cannot miss the Pickled Elephant Garlic (B360), a mix of vodka, Rhum Agricole, dry vermouth and brine from the pickled garlic—savory and surprising. For something fresh and fun, try the Tiger Ear (B360), made with a blend of two rums, dry vermouth, cucumber bitters, citrus, Howor syrup and “Tiger Ear” leaves, which have a taste somewhere between oregano and mint. People in the north often eat them with buffalo laab.
The crowd: Cool Bangkokians who like to hang out in the Old Town instead of Thonglor, plus a lot of ToT’s loyal customers.
Why you should care: These guys are trying to educate drinkers with local ingredients that most Thais haven’t even heard of before. It helps that the drinks are also yummy and priced under B400. Choltanutkun Tun-atiruj