Sit back, breathe in the (sometimes) fresh air, and grab a cold one.
The makings of a good alfresco bar are not complex: breeze, good drinks and a few bites. During the hottest months in Bangkok, the best alfresco bars still manage to keep you cool—without the sky-high prices of rooftop bars. Here’s a collection of the city’s best according to the 2023 BAD Awards panelists.
There’s nowhere else in Bangkok where you can pretend like you’re drinking in a (very hi-so) cave, surrounded by stone walls in an open-air space—that’s one of the things that makes Zuma our favorite alfresco drinking spot. Of course, the newly launched Japanese garden cocktail menu also makes this venue special. When you’re done with drinking in the open-air, you can head back inside for some Japanese fusion dishes. If you find yourself there on a Sunday, it’s an unmissable brunch.
G/F, The St. Regis, Ratchadamri Rd., 02-111-8999. Open Mon-Sat 11:30am-3pm, 6pm-late; Sun 11am-3:30pm, 6pm-midnight.
It’s like a tropical Balinese oasis in the middle of a concrete jungle with two-floors and a deck looking out on Phrom Phong traffic. A bar this size and quality right in the middle of the city is not something that comes along often in Bangkok, so take advantage of it by joining outside for a bottle of wine and occasional good tunes among the plants. The food menu is also impressive, filling comfort food.
15, Sukhumvit Soi 20, 095-239-0805. Open daily 7am-midnight.
Even though the new location in Yen Akart is slightly smaller than their old Sathorn venue, the pool and vibe here are still super inviting—especially if you want to start drinking at lunch while sitting out in the garden. Blue Parrot looks like something plucked straight out of Phuket and squeezed inside the pandemonium of Bangkok. Just kick back on a sunbed or in a mini cabana and that’s your afternoon sorted.
21/1, Soi Meksawat, Yen Akat Rd., 065-114-6910. Open daily 11:30am-midnight.
Though the inside and upstairs are well served, the real fun happens behind the greenery of the outside area at Hemingway’s. Moved from its old location a few sois down, nowadays Hemingway’s is Soi 11 institution, a reliable spot for high-end pub food, easily crafted drinks, and open-air camaraderie. The music is usually a little new wave for the bar’s namesake Papa, but the vibe here is inevitably a laid-back, all-day hideaway from the hurly burly and turns into a party as the sun goes down.
23, Sukhumvit Soi 11, 02-653-3900. Open daily 9am-late.
Also a runner up in the BAD Awards “best beer” category, Chitbeer has been one of the best reasons to visit Koh Kret for over a decade. It’s hard to get a better alfresco vibe than an open-air terrace that hangs over the edge of the river island. This mid-city oasis might look low key, but the folks here take their beer very seriously. Bangkokians should note, though, that the new year brought a fresh iteration, Chit Hole, closer to downtown that also has a big open-air seating area.
219/266, Baan Suan Palm, Koh Kret, 089-799-1123. Open Sat-Sun noon-9pm.
Between the gargantuan beer list sourced from 17 countries, the food menu, weekly deals, and beer-focused tasting events, the ’50s-era Thai house on Ekkamai Soi 10 that Mikkeller calls home feels more like a craft beer embassy than a humble bar and restaurant. Serving from big selection of taps and a startlingly diverse range of bottles, Mikkeller is home to people who care about beer and friends just enjoying the green, open space.
26, Ekkamai Soi 10, 082-283-1274. Open Mon-Fri 5pm-midnight; Sat-Sun 11am-midnight.
The F&B crown jewel of the glitzy Park Hyatt hotel in Phloen Chit, Penthouse Bar and Grill comprises a whopping six venues stretched across three levels—the topmost area being an open-air bar where you can sip on cocktails and beer while the traffic quietly rages below. The 36th-floor rooftop is one of those properly grown-up hotel bars that changed the game in the area when it was launched. Bonus: they have two-for-one wine deals during happy hour each day from 5-7pm.
Penthouse Bar + Grill, 34-36/F, Park Hyatt, 88 Wireless Rd., 02-011-7480. Open daily noon-3pm, 5:30pm-late
Perched atop a wide-open area on the fifth floor of the swanky EmQuartier shopping mall, Escape brings a wealth of Instagram-ready nooks and crannies for anyone willing to explore this tropical themed rooftop bar. The entire venue, from the bars to the tables and DJ booth, sit in the open air. The result is one of the most breezy places to grab a drink in the city. Top that with a great selection of beats from rotating DJs and a very respectable happy hour and you have a place worth visiting.
Escape Bangkok, 5/F, The EmQuartier, Sukhumvit Rd., 02-258-6515. Open daily 5pm-midnight.