These two parallel sois (Sukhumvit Soi 55 and 63) represent the nightlife hub of Bangkok. Beyond the main strips and their glamorous clubs and nightspots, you'll find other cool gems hidden down rabbit warren-like alleyways.
Click here for the best bars in Nana, Asoke and Phrom Phong or Siam and Phloen Chit
BK's annual B.A.D. Awards celebrate all that's good in Bangkok nightlife. And there's no party like a Thonglor or Ekkamai party. Here's where to drink and be merry in this nightlife hub.
Music. Thonglor night clubs tend to be full of posers trying to “be somebody.” Luckily, you can forget about that here, because it’s full of quirky Japanese hippies who are cool without even trying. The decor really adds to the bar’s eccentricity—nothing matches but somehow everything goes. You won’t know the music, but do give their boozy homemade concoctions a try.
810/22 Thonglor Soi Thararom 2, 082-012-0720. Open Tue-Sat 7pm-2am.
Rooftop. This rooftop bar feels just like going to a friend’s house from low-key industrial look mixed with some unusual touches like big teddy bears and a bunk bed. What makes it stand out? A nice rotation of live bands every night and a solid menu of creative Thai food.
3/F, Ekamai Mall, Ekkamai Soi 10, 061-824-1747, Open daily 6pm-1am.
Cocktails. 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.
Karaoke. This might be the most elegant punch bar ever, thanks to the old black marble and flock wallpaper. The whole thing feels like a glamorous living room, but one with a DJ booth in the middle. Once drunk enough, stumble downstairs to the karaoke rooms, where you’ll find a knowingly kitsch, slightly sleazy blend of Persian rugs and stuffy pink sofas. Punch is the drink of choice: Art Nouveau silver punch bowls look like they might have been stolen from the real Savoy in London, and hold giant portions of sweet, grown-up tonics flecked with fruit and herbs.
1-2/F, 72 Courtyard, 72 Sukhumvit Soi 55 (Thonglor), 02-392-7636. Open daily 6pm-2am.
Nightclub. It might seem like the club only opened yesterday, but that didn’t stop Beam from undergoing a big makeover this year to make sure it runs with the best international clubbing standards. Snakehips were brought over to celebrate as guests got to experience its new sofa-heavy main room, melted disco ball sculptures, and shaken up weekly event lineup that sees the music policy get more accessible but no less cool.
1/F, 72 Courtyard, 72 Sukhumvit Soi 55 (Thonglor), 02-392-7750. Open Wed-Sat 9pm-2am.
Beer. Probably 72 Courtyard's most easygoing opening boasts of a hefty 20 beers on tap, from Leo and Asahi to La Chouffe and L’Olmaia LA5. These are served alongside East-meets-West drinking snacks like pork wontons and barbecue ribs .There's bar seating and tables outside for when the weather's fine, while inside has larger spaces suitable for playing games like jenga, chess and even beer pong—all available on the house.
G/F, 72 Courtyard, 72 Sukhumvit Soi 55 (Thonglor), 02-392-7770, Open daily 5pm-2am.
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Beer. The Commons now counts not one, but two counters devoted to niche craft beers, both on tap and by the bottle. The ground-floor original offers the biggest selection—expect the likes of BrewDog Punk IPA and Limburgse Witte—or you can also head upstairs where The Beer Cap mk. 2 serves nine rotating taps. Top marks go to the refreshing Bridge Road Beechy summer ale and the sweet-sour Duchesse De Bourgogne.
355 Thonglor Soi 17, 02-185-2517, Open daily 11-1am.
Whiskey and Cigars. Starting out as a super-stylish gentleman’s barbershop and tattoo business before introducing a gentlemen’s whiskey bar, this spot’s Victorian curiosity cabinet-inspired decor features the owner’s private collection of Gothic trinkets, from an alligator skull to an ostrich skeleton. The atmosphere isn’t nearly as moody as it looks, making it a great spot to kick back whiskey or cigar in hand.
Thonglor Soi 6, 092-276-2772. Open Tue-Sat 6:30pm-2am, Sun 6:30pm-midnight.
Cocktails. The team behind some of Bangkok’s most sophisticated cocktail bars—Sugar Ray, Q&A, Thaipioka—is behind this neon-drenched slushie cocktail bar where everything goes down a little too easy. If you’re looking for a massive night out, the sort you’ll immediately regret come sunup, start with the Slushy Long Island—as potent as you’d imagine.
Arena 10, Thonglor Soi 10, 090-656-0711. Open Tue-Sun 7pm-2am.
Wine. This wine bar serves up carb-loaded dishes, amid rustic-industrial wood, concrete, neon signage and hanging bulbs. To go with that pizza, enjoy a long list of wine or cocktails like the smoothie-like Strawberry Frose.
72 Courtyard, 72 Sukhumvit Soi 55, 02-392-6922. Open daily 6pm-2am.
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Music. An abandoned room in Thonglor’s Liberty Plaza building roars to life with the sound of underground music, from indie and reggae to d’n’b and psytrance. With its raw industrial design, black walls and red neon lights, this is a proper live music venue that combines a stage for bands, a DJ desk, a quality (loud!) sound system, and a friendly crowd to guarantee a good night. Plus, the drinks are a steal.
1/F, Liberty Plaza, Sukhumvit Soi 55 (Thonglor), 088-419-7380. Open Wed-Sat 5pm-2am; Sun 5pm-midnight.
Nightclub. Located behind the long-standing Nunglen Bar, Do Not Disturb is a club specializing in EDM from local DJs as well as live bands. It is decorated under a motel concept, with ten fake hotel doors to keep visitors guessing as to the real entrance and an interior divided into the different zones of a hotel.
Behind Nunglen and Escobar, Ekkamai Soi 5/1, 094-414-9266, Tue-Sun 8pm-2am.
Thonglor’s Game Over takes its gaming seriously, offering high-end PC gaming consoles alongside PlayStation and Wii. Add in board games, beer pong, pool, giant Jenga and plenty of beer and cocktails and you’re in for the ultimate booze-filled geek out.
Liberty Plaza, Sukhumvit Soi 55 (Thonglor), 02-170-7684. Open daily 11-2am.
Cocktails. Bartenders labor over serious, booze-heavy cocktails amid a photogenic mix of wood, marble, brass and neon at this sexy little cocktail lounge. Funk, old-school hip-hop and r'n’b provide the soundtrack as you knock back glass after glass of potent stuff like the Jet Lagged, which sees bourbon, coffee liqueur, sweet vermouth, black walnut bitters and Grand Marnier poured into one very powerful wake-me-up.
G/F, 72 Courtyard, 72 Sukhumvit Soi 55 (Thonglor), 02-392-7740, Open daily 6pm-2am.
Cocktails. 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.
Cocktails. Here, Thonglor gets on board with Bangkok’s gin boom—and they’re serious about their selection, stocking over 50 gins from around the world. This comfortable, friendly spot is neatly tucked away on the residential Thonglor Soi 1, yet still within reach of Sukhumvit Soi 55’s shenanigans, making it the ultimate choice for pre-gaming.
44/3 Thonglor Soi 1, 095-341-9056. Open Tue-Sun 5pm-1am.
Cocktails. B.A.D. Awards 2017’s Best Cocktail Bar moved digs barely six months after opening. The new spot remains hidden behind a wall of gym lockers, but now occupies a Thonglor shop-house. Prop up the bar for innovative reinterpretations of classic drinks by four bartenders whose portfolios span some of Asia’s best bars.
406 Sukhumvit Soi 55 (Thonglor), 061-524-2689. Open daily 6pm-2am.
Cocktails. Take one of Thonglor's better coffee joints, Blue Dye, transform its upper floor with some old-time USA bric-a-brac, stock up an impressive back bar and you have the neighborhood’s coolest speakeasy. Apart from all the classic cocktails, the bar also offers 10 signatures. Start with No.1, a triple-strength negroni topped with a bitter Angostura-flavor candy.
2/F, Blue Dye Cafe, Sukhumvit Soi 36, 080-616-4676. Open Tue-Sun 7pm-2am.
Beer. Even in an age when every ‘hood in town boasts its own tap room, few can compete with the lineup of 30 brews from Denmark and beyond at Ekkamai’s Mikkeller outpost. Bonus points for the huge front lawn (barbecue time!) and quiet neighborhood setting.
26 Ekkamai Soi 10, 02-381-9891. Open daily 5pm-midnight.
Rooftop. This Ekkamai rooftop restaurant might only be six floors up, but there's nothing obstructing its cool, 180-degree views of the neighborhood. Once up there, you'll be greeted by bare concrete steps in the center of a minimal glass cube. And thanks to its floor-to-ceiling windows, you can enjoy sunset from either in- or outdoor tables. Regularly hosts DJ nights and even mini markets.
6/F, Tha City Loft hotel, Ekkamai Soi 6, 094-516-6663. Open Tue-Sun 5pm-midnight.
Rooftop. A rooftop bar with the added bonus of being right by Thonglor, this place is our favorite diversion tactic to use on out-of-town friends when they start mumbling “skybar.” Cocktails don’t come quite at street-level prices, but you do get a stunning view of downtown Sukhumvit, coupled with an upbeat crowd of tourists.
45/F, Marriott Sukhumvit, Sukhumvit Soi 57, 02-797-0000. Open daily 6pm-1am.
Sake. Stopping short of a flight to Tokyo, this sleek sake bar’s your surest bet for making like a Japanese salaryman. Untuck your shirt, loosen your tie and let the passionate staff guide you into the wonderful world of rice wine—more than 90 bottles of the good stuff.
Park Lane, Sukhumvit Soi 63 (Ekkamai), 02-382-0131. Open Tue-Thu, Sun 5pm-midnight; Fri-Sat 5pm-2am.
Cocktails. This retro tropical bar hidden behind thick, pink curtains inside the fine-dining restaurant Prelude is a fun little spot to try cocktails with local flavors. Fresh, tropical and easy to drink, their Forest Flower offers an upgrade on your standard G&T with the addition of red shiso, elderflower and white wine vinegar. If you're feeling indecisive, you can always go for the Mystery Box—a customized surprise by the bartender.
2/F, Arena 10, Thonglor Soi 10, 061-384-1067. Open Tue-Sun 6pm-midnight.
Cocktails. 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.
Art. Japanese golf brand turned streetwear label Russeluno has arrived in Bangkok. Russeluno Cafe devotes its second floor to a racks of brightly colored, print-heavy T-shirts and outerwear. Even livelier is the ground-floor which screams “street culture” through neon signage, wall murals, vinyl-only DJs and the occasional concert. Drop by from 5pm for daily happy-hour deals on beer and fruity cocktails. Be sure to try the on-point jerk chicken or pork, fresh from a barrel barbecue out front.
101/1 Sukhumvit Soi 63 (Ekkamai), 02-170-7987, Mon-Fri 11am-midnight; Sat 5pm-midnight.
Music. The headline venue of arguably Sukhumvit’s coolest 30-meter stretch of real estate, this world music bar doesn’t do quiet nights. Beat the mid-week hump with Tuesday’s jazz vinyl night or Wednesday’s live molam sessions or hold out till the weekend when ya dong -fueled creative types pack the dancefloor no matter which DJ is on duty.
Sukhumvit Soi 51, 02-261-6661. Open Tue-Sun 6pm-2am.
Nightclub. Fried chicken wings meets hip-hop soundtrack meets potent drinks at this relentlessly busy Thonglor nightspot.
Arena 10, Thonglor Soi 10, 02-711-6052, Open daily 5:30pm-1am.
Cocktails. This stylish yet low-key bar’s minimalist interior is cushioned by a jungle of potted plants and warm lighting. Thai-influenced creations play with ingredients that, at first glance, seem to have no place in a cocktail—turmeric vodka; black sesame whiskey; even reduced cow fat. You’ll leave wondering why they don’t feature on more drink menus.
Salil Hotel, 44/7 Thonglor Soi 1, 087-713-6943. Open daily 7pm-2am.
Dive. What’s empty before midnight, packs out around 1am, and ends with smoky hair and a daylight walk of shame? This place. A small neon sign that reads “T-Rex” lures you off Thonglor’s main drag and into this bar that looks like a funky vintage Chinese teashop decked out with framed movie posters. Downstairs is as no-frills as they come, all couches and high tables with just enough room for a live band. In comparison, upstairs carries more of a sleek gentlemen’s club vibe thanks to leather sofa sets, though the terrace keeps things cool and vintage.
416/2 Thonglor Soi 14, 095-773-5445. Open Mon-Sat 6pm-2am. BTS Thong Lo
Yes, this rooftop joint does use fake grass (and even grass-covered tables), but we like the laidback atmosphere and good tunes. The mismatched wooden sofas and rattan chairs make it feel a little like a traditional riverside restaurant, but the clientele is way less tourist-y. Most of the cocktails are girl-friendly—sweet and sour, pretty and not too strong. Try the strawberry mojito (classic mojito with strawberry juice) or Ocean 10 (a Long Island ice tea with blue caracao).
5/F, Nakiya Restaurant Building, Thonglor Soi 13, 088-696-9445. Open daily 6pm-2am. BTS Thong Lo
Karaoke. The karaoke dive bar to end all karaoke dive bars is mushrooming all around town. The setup is basic: raucous bar downstairs, karaoke rooms upstairs—where you can snare a pretty affordable, three-hour all-you-can-drink and all-you-can-sing deal. We’ll plump for the original venue, on the corner of Sukhumvit Soi 53, where in our experience they’re most accommodating of non-Japanese.
2 Sukhumvit Soi 53, 02-662-4549. Open daily 11am-2am. BTS Thong Lo.
Art. Years after Somrak Sila and Christopher Wise kickstarted the bar-meets-gallery shop-house thing, WTF remains the go-to place around Thonglor for a cultured but hard-drinking crowd. Low-level indie tunes hum amid Portuguese-inspired decor, though most of the patrons tend to smoke, chat and drink out on the street.
7 Sukhumvit Soi 51, 02-662-6246, Open Tue-Sun 6pm-1am.