Who needs friends when you've got good booze?
Why: This Gaysorn gem opens early from 11am but what really sets it apart is the in-bar art gallery devoted to Thai talents. On a quiet day, you can just pop by to check out works by Kriangkrai Kongkhanun and Sarakin Krue-On, glass of whiskey in hand. They’ve got art books for sale, too.
The drinks: Duke offers one of the biggest whiskey selections in Bangkok, with the list divided by region. One must-try is Michel Couvreur’s Clearach (B690/shot; B8,600/bottle), a French single malt whiskey aged in French cherry wood barrels for a sweet and flowery aroma.
1/F, Gaysorn Village, 999 Phloen Chit Rd., 080-587-9520. Open daily 11am-midnight
Why: This clandestine Old Town wine bar, tucked above Brown Sugar and below Ku Bar, is so hidden your friends won’t be able to track you down. Though it’s a little bit dark for reading, you can order up a glass (or bottle—why not?) while gazing out the window at the street scene and letting your thoughts run wild.
The drinks: Dedicated to everything natural wine, the list changes from week to week. Prices tend to hover around B1,500-2,600 by the bottle and B300-380 by the glass.
2/F, 469 Phra Sumen Rd., 02-067-6731. Open Wed-Sun 6pm-midnight
Why: One of the perks of being located in a shopping mall, Riedel opens its doors to wine connoisseurs from 11am. The small, outdoor terrace boasts front-row views of CentralWorld and the general hubbub of Ratchadamri Road. When not overtaken by smokers, it’s a great spot in which to squeeze into a corner and watch daily life go by.
The drinks: One of Bangkok’s fanciest wine bars, they stock over 40 labels by the glass thanks to the use of state-of-the-art wine dispensers. Drop by for the buy-one-get-one happy hours every Mon-Fri from 4-8pm. Start with a Mosel Valley riesling, like the Weingut St Urbans-Hof Goldtroplchen Piesport Kabinett (from B160/30ml).
2/F, Gaysorn, 999 Phloen Chit Rd., 02-656-1133. Open daily 11am-midnight
Why: Located stumbling distance from BTS Phrom Phong, this wood-clad, English-leaning boozer is a true neighborhood pub. And it opens at 9am, encouraging shameless, quality day-drinking, or even a pint of beer while working on your laptop. Even at later hours, it’s a great spot to belly up to the bar to watch the footie.
The drinks: Fuller’s (B290) to start, and pints of Carlsberg (B119 all day) after that.
Room 597-597/1-3, P.B Building, Sukhumvit Soi 33/1, 02-662-3390. Open daily 9am-1am
Why: From the outside, this corner shop-house has all the old-world charm of your Japanese friend’s home. Don’t be intimidated by the unmarked door (for bearings, look for the neighboring Hanakaruta)—inside, the dramatic lighting and wall bearing a parade of labels provide a setting in which to lose yourself. Prepare to be mesmerized by the bartender Kei Sawada’s next-level cocktail techniques.
The drinks: Classics with a twist, made with Japanese precision and delicacy. Get their gin and tonic (B380), which features Ki No Bi Kyoto Dry Gin, a drop of elderflower syrup, Fever Tree elderflower tonic, soda water and an olfactory bouquet of six herbs as the garnish. Kei begins his G&Ts with a “Japanese style of cooling the glass”—essentially, ice and water first and a quick stir before any of the heavy-duty stuff is added.
36/5 Sukhumvit Soi 39, 083-019-9062. Open Mon-Sat 6:30pm-midnight