No part of Bangkok is so saturated in worthwhile bars as the crumbling streets of Charoenkrung and Chinatown’s Soi Nana. If you’re looking to splash out on a payday bar crawl, here’s where to go.
92 Soi Nana, Charoenkrung Rd., 080-264-4471. Open Tue-Sat 8pm-1am.
The pot-stirring team behind Teens of Thailand puts Thai ingredients in the spotlight at this Chinatown mainstay. Wild garlic, organic cacao, tiger’s ear leaf—foraged ingredients form the backbone of one of the most creative menus in the city. Opt for the Eastern Honey (B360), and you’ll get honey-and-gin drink served in a highly ’grammable beeswax cup.
35 Maitri Chit Rd., 097-134-4704. Open Mon-Thu 7pm-midnight; Fri-Sat 7pm-1am
Neon Chinese letters signs and a do-nothing approach to shop-house restoration give this 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 created their signature cocktails. Opium, for example, sees a classic negroni spiked with ginseng and herbal liquor, while Five Rivers infuses the flavors of Chinese five spice into rum.
8 Soi Nana, Maitri Chit Rd., 081-454-4959. Open daily 6pm-midnight.
This modern izakaya fuels nights out in Talad Noi with perfectly juicy charcoal grilled skewers, an effortlessly cool vibe and ample sake, shochu and umeshu. The artsy but unpretentious design, simple but flavorful skewers and a drinks list that would make any sake somm nod in approval help to make Jua a regular haunt.
672/49 Charoenkrung Soi 28, 02-103-6598. Open Mon-Sat 6pm-midnight; Sun 5-10pm
Exclusively for Citi credit card members:
Set in a building that could be used in the dictionary to define “hard-to-find,” this craft cocktail hideaway gives you good reason to spend a night out in the Old Town. The monthly-rotating cocktail menu at this hipster-baiting sanctuary puts different local ingredients in the spotlight, but you’re just as well off picking your favorite spirit and throwing caution to the wind.
3/F, 469 Phra Sumen Rd., 091-731-9752. Open Thu-Sun 7pm-midnight
All dark woods, vintage signage and spare lighting, this Chinatown beer bar swings to the sounds of upbeat piano jazz while pouring craft beers from the likes of Anderson Valley and Tuatara at some of the best prices in town. In the fridge, you'll find beers from top local craft brewers, plus the freshest brews from local importers, like Toppling Goliath’s highly rated Pseudo Sue IPA.
16 Soi Nana, Charoenkrung Rd., 081-839-2832 Open Tue-Sun 6pm-midnight.
Niks Anuman-Rajadhon’s first Soi Nana bar—the one that broke all the rules—still packs them in nightly, thanks to its next-level gin selection and stripped-down shophouse vibe. The awesome G&Ts and devil-may-care, anti-sellout ethos help, too.
76 Soi Nana (Charoenkrung Rd.), 081-443-3784. Open Wed-Sun 6pm-12:30am
Located in the crumbling streets of the up-and-coming Charoenkrung area, this restored shop-house has plenty of raw appeal, emphasized with mood lighting and simple wooden tables. Here, you'll find potent cocktails mixed with Thai fruits, herbs and spices. There's also a good line of home-infused ya dong (Thai herbal whiskey) as well as a kitchen specializing in Thai tapas (as well as a few classics like pad Thai). Come nightfall, enjoy your meal while Thai musicians take the stage to play traditional music from the Central region.
69-71 Soi Nana, Charoen Krung Rd., 098-467-2944, Open daily 6pm-1am.
Another year has gone by, but nothing can dull the shine on this tropical, tucked-away, party-loving hotspot. The drinks remain delicious, potent and downable as ever, while a steady flow of good vibes and DJ takeovers are guaranteed. At the end of 2019, the crew revealed a new menu with a solid 20 signature drinks and specially curated rum flights and tastings.
672/65 Charoenkrung Soi 28, 083-838-2750. Open Tue-Sun 7pm-2am
You’ll feel like you’re entering the secret garden as you ascend the creaky wooden staircase that leads to this rustic rooftop bar. Through a maze of hanging plants, flower tube chandeliers, exposed brick walls, fairy lights and wooden ladders, you’ll be met with international dishes and Garden of Eden-themed cocktails.
Rooftop/F, Oneday Wallflowers, 37-39-41 Soi Nana, 096-727-6789. Open daily 6pm-midnight
BK B.A.D. Awards 2019 is available as a free booklet inserted in BK Magazine issue number 751 (Nov 23) and as a downloadable PDF version here.