This Ari dive bar is for one year only. The clock is ticking.
The buzz: This pop-up dive bar manned by independent filmmaker and freelance artist Natchanon Vana is to be the after-hours alter ego of Some Time Blue, the coffee shop in the Sahamongkol International building. Sofia’s Room is the culmination of years of Vana’s collected dive bar ideas, adapted from his experiences touring drinking holes the world over. But there's a catch—Vana says this experimental bar project will only remain open for one year.
The decor: Fans of Some Time Blue will know the space, which shuns the current coffee shop cliches in favor of bare concrete, more classic, Victorian furnishings and esoteric art on show. At night, when the lights dim, the venue takes on a clandestine, library-like feel.
The drinks: Vana’s gin-heavy drinks menu is a short list of finely-tuned cocktails. Look out for the signature Fei Fei (gin, blueberry syrup, cranberry juice, egg whites, Bitter Bianco, rosemary garnish, B250) and Clear Storm (white rum, Chalong Bay, ginger beer, Angostura bitters, rosemary garnish, B200). Finish the night with a crisp and very dry martini (B200), the barman’s personal favorite.
The food: Dishes rotate daily, so you might find yourself biting into a juicy beef pie (B150) or a fruit tart (B70), or twirling a fork in a bowl of stir-fried spaghetti (B160). Only on Fridays is the menu fixed, and includes the spicy-tangy yum nhaam (fermented pork, sliced pork skin, dried chili and deep-fried rice, B120), and a plate of five fresh oysters served with a chili paste and fried shallots (B450). The oysters require a one-day advance order because Vana gets them fresh from a friend who runs an oyster farm in Surat Thani.
The crowd: Sofia’s Room operates Mondays, Wednesdays and Friday with a different crowd to go with each night. Mondays are quiet, with a posse of university students talking in hushed tones. Wednesdays and Fridays turn out a more professional crowd and the bar comes alive with the collective post-work chatter of people in the film and music industry.
Why you should care: You've only got one year to get a taste of what this dive-bar aficionado has to offer. If we’re lucky and the crowd holds, Sofia’s Room will be open every night. Neon Boonyadhammakul