So many cocktails, so little time. Head to these bars for mixologists whipping up masterpieces in a glass.
Too many rooftops allow stunning views to be let down by substandard drinks. That’s not the case here. This beautiful space overlooking Benjasiri Park is divided into two floors and two bars, one with a focus on dark spirits, one specializing in gin, and both well worth your time.
37/F, Bangkok Marriott Marquis Queen’s Park, 199 Sukhumvit Soi 22, 02-059-5999. Open daily 6pm-1am
A joint venture between the teams behind Ku Bar and the rapidly expanding Sugar Ray empire (Q&A, Thaipioka, Sugar Ray, Sugarray Apartment), this two-story, speakeasy keeps it classy with stiff cocktails, live jazz and cigars. The bar team focuses on the classics, often giving them a subtle twist with local ingredients.
29 Sukhumvit Soi 31, 02-163-4778. Open daily 6pm-2am
Thai ingredients dominate the cocktails at this moody Chinatown shop-house bar, where pink neon light and a huge model shark hanging overhead strip away pretension. We love hearing tales from the hair-raising foraging expeditions that go into making their unique concoctions.
35 Soi Maitri Chit, 097-134-4704. Open Mon-Thu 7pm-midnight; Fri-Sat 7pm-1am
One of Bangkok’s cocktail pioneers still remains an industry favorite. Here, you will find bartenders from around town coming to wind down with after-shift drinks—if it’s good enough for those guys, it’s good enough for you.
L/F, Playhaus Thonglor, 205/22-23 Sukhumvit Soi 55 (Thonglor), 061-519-5891. Open daily 7pm-2am
Bamboo Bar, Bangkok's oldest jazz institution (the original bar dates back to 1953), has always been a world-class music destination, but under bar manager Jamie Rhind’s supervision, the cocktails have entered rarefied air, too. Moody lacquered dark wood and a mirrored ceiling combine with lovably kitsch touches—tiger-print upholstery, wicker chairs—to complete the look.
1/F, Mandarin Oriental, 48 Charoenkrung Soi 40 (Oriental Avenue), 02-659-9000. Open Sun-Thu 5pm-1am; Fri-Sat 5pm-2am
Yen Akat's leafy, chilled out cocktail bar remains one of Bangkok's hottest openings. The drinks are tasty and easy to down, which goes hand-in-hand with the easy-going vibe that the bar’s got going on. Expect fruity concoctions with nods to local ingredients like chili and mango.
15 Yen Akat Rd., 083-437-3515. Open Tue-Sun 5pm-2am
This new experimental bar comes from craft cocktail guru Fabio Brugnolaro (formerly of Sul and Vogue Lounge) and deals in photogenic, low-waste drinks.
49/9 Sukhumvit Rd., 083-072-2770. Open Tue-Sun 6pm-1am
Tim Butler’s ever-evolving, transcontinental cuisine has made Eat Me a fixture on regional restaurant lists, and in mixologist Buntanes “Pop” Direkrittikul he has a worthy ally. Pop’s gastronomy-inspired creations don’t shy away from bold Thai flavors (khao mun kai in cocktail form, anyone?), ensuring this is far more than a run-of-the-mill watering hole.
1/6 Soi Phiphat 2, Convent Rd., 02-238-0931. Open daily 3pm-1am
From the Locker Room team, this other hideaway pairs classic cocktails with Thai-twist companions in a dark and moody space.
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It’s been a good year for Saphan Khwai, in no small part due to openings like this Shanghai mafia-themed faux gambling den, where cocktails are laced with Chinese herbs.
488 Phahonyothin Rd., 062-490-5126. Open daily 7pm-2am
Iron Balls Distillery
Ashley Sutton (of Sing Sing Theater and now-closed Iron Fairies) is behind this stunning steampunk gin distillery in Ekkamai. Until lately, it was about concoctions made using Iron Balls gin, but this year, they threw their own vodka into the mix, too.
G/F, Parklane, Sukhumvit Soi 63, 02-714-2269. Open daily 6pm-midnight.
Second branch: Iron Balls Parlour, Sukhumvit Soi 45, 063-225-1331. Open daily 8pm-2am
Run by Joseph Boroski, creator of cocktail lists for sophisticated bars and many five-star hotels, this is a hidden gem among Bangkok's countless bars—and by hidden, we really mean it. Turn left down a dark, damp alley near the start of Soi Thonglor. Once inside, you’ll be served cocktails tailored to your requirements (there’s no menu) using ingredients you can’t find anywhere else in town.
Sukhumvit Soi 55 (Thonglor), 02-712-6025. Open Sun-Thu 7pm-2am, Fri-Sat 7pm-3am
Hidden inside the boutique Josh Hotel, this tiny 1920s-style speakeasy is painted in deep red and surrounded by mirrors. Expect strong cocktails that reveal stories of owner Mr. Josh’s travels.
G/F, Josh Hotel, 19/2 Ari Soi 4 (Nua), 02-102-4999. Open daily 6pm-2am
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 puts different local ingredients in the spotlight.
3/F, 469 Phra Sumen Rd., 091-731-9752. Open Thu-Sun 7pm -midnight
Rosewood Bangkok’s crowning glory features an entrance hall lined with 6,000 records that you can play and even buy. Once inside, sultry Art Deco light fixtures meet retro brown leather sofas and a spiral staircase leading up to a clandestine cigar lounge. Cocktails take an easy-drinking music theme.
30/F, Rosewood, 1041/38 Phloen Chit Rd., 02-080-0030. Open daily 7pm-midnight
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Thonglor’s hot new cocktail bar has been the talk of 2019 thanks to the Avengers-esque team of bartenders—comprising members of Rabbit Hole, Canvas, Backstage and Tropic City—and their scientific approaches to flavor extraction. The menu here is filled with surprises and opportunities to explore new flavors and techniques.
Piman 49, Sukhumvit Soi 49, 093-654-2500. Open daily 7pm-1:30am
This not-so-secret speakeasy combines the cocktail prowess of some of Asia’s best bartenders, who revamped their past-present-future menu in September 2019 resulting in some of the best cocktails you’ll try this year.
406 Sukhumvit Soi 55, 061-524-2689. Open daily 7pm-2am
Glamor is the name of the game at the Waldorf Astoria’s sky-high showpiece cocktail and cigar den, where glittering views over Ratchadamri meet stunning Art Nouveau decor. Despite being in a hotel, we find ourselves returning to this glitzy bar again and again thanks to excellent drinks, five-star service and a surprisingly unstuffy vibe.
56/F, Waldorf Astoria Bangkok, 151 Ratchadamri Rd., 02-846-8888. Open Sun-Wed 5pm-midnight; Thu-Sat 5pm-1am
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We love Penthouse for one simple reason: they don’t rip you off. In fact, we don’t reckon there’s a cheaper beer at a five-star rooftop in Bangkok. It also helps when the view’s this stunning, plus that name—the Park Hyatt—it just sounds good.
34-36/F, Park Hyatt, 88 Wireless Rd., 02-011-7480. Open daily 5.30pm-midnight
235/13 Sukhumvit Soi 21, 02-664-1445. Mon-Sat 7pm-2am
Step inside this three-story shop-house and you’ll find a charming, dimly-lit, narrow bar with a huge rose gold booze rack behind a marble bar. The classic drinks with technical twists and infusions attract Thonglor’s pretty faces, as well as a lot of bar owners and veteran mixologists.
125 Sukhumvit Soi 55 (Thonglor), 081-822-3392, 098-969-1335, Open daily 7pm-2am
Don’t be intimidated by the unmarked door; within, you’ll find the stuff of Japanese liquor geeks’ dreams, courtesy of spirit importer and owner Bacchus Global. Head bartender Kei Sawada, unfailing in his exacting precision and delicacy, brings a vast array of homemade ingredients to his concoctions. Try the classic cocktails with Japanese twists.
36/5 Sukhumvit Soi 39, 092-294-4457. Open Mon-Sat 7pm-1am
This hidden bar near Phrom Phong comes from the team behind The Key Room No. 72, a speakeasy hidden inside Ari’s Josh Hotel. This bar is likewise located within another venue—the southern Thai restaurant, Marigold. Expect spirit-forward signatures and well-balanced, fruitier concoctions, served in a space embellished with Art Deco interiors and lots of jade green.
51 Sukhumvit Soi 26, 02-005-0226. Open daily 5pm-midnight
This sleek and minimalist opening from the masterminds also behind Q&A and Thaipioka is located inside the sprawling Octo Seafood Bar. On top of the classics, you can expect signature cocktails with Asian twists.
88/2,88/9 Sukhumvit Soi 24, 094-417-9898. Open Tue-Sun 7pm-2am
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 shop-house vibe. The G&Ts here are next-level.
76 Soi Nana (Charoenkrung Rd.), 081-443-3784. Open Wed-Sun 6pm-12:30am
By the same team as Q&A and Sugar Ray, this place has a similar long layout, with added Japanese coziness. The living room-like space houses a light wooden bar lined with cute chairs, where quality drinks are served up in ceramic glassware.
Salil Hotel, 44/7 Thonglor Soi 1, 087-713-6943. Open daily 7pm-2am
When it opened in late 2017, this playful tropical bar kick-started a seismic shift away from Soi Nana and deeper into the back alleys of Charoenkrung. Since then, the accolades—BAD’s Bar of the Year 2019; no. 31 in Asia’s 50 Best—do the talking.
672/65 Charoenkrung Soi 28, 083-838-2750. Open Tue-Sun 7pm-1am
This long-standing cocktail den specializes in stiff drinks and stellar service, courtesy of head barman Supawit “Palm” Muttarattana, winner of the inaugural Campari Bartender Competition Asia. It is hallowed ground for devotees of the classics. Drop by next door’s newly opened sister bar 1919 to try a Negroni how it’s supposed to be made.
10/15 Convent Rd., 02-235-2777. Open Mon-Sat 5:30pm-1am; Sun 5:30pm-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.