The vibe: Located in the heart of Bangkok’s most fashionable nightlife district, Thonglor, Badmotel is a firm favorite with the cool kids for its edgy design, good music and great drinks. The three-storey shop-house blends white-washed, modernist furniture and splashes of color, with each floor maintaining it’s own unique atmosphere, from full-on dancefloor to chill pre-game lounge.
The music: Daily live sets from leading Bangkok DJs like DJ Moola from Vacancy and Pipe from Superzaaab mix old school R&B, boogie and funky house. Look out for the occasional concert, too.
Drink this: Start the night with innovative cocktails like the Extra Anejo (meaning Extra Aged in Spanish), an elegant concoction made with Chivas Regal Extra and the Venezuelan rum Diplomatico Reserva as the two main base spirits, Aperol and aromatized wine, served over ice in a goblet (B325). Otherwise, keep things simple with Chivas Regal Extra on the rocks (B250) or a bottle to share with your friends (B3,200).
Thonglor between Soi 15 and 17, 02-712-7288.
Open daily 5pm-2am.
The vibe: Like Black Amber Social Club (above), this hidden gem on Ekkamai Soi 21 has a real speakeasy feel, rewarding customers with a masculine, gentleman’s club vibe. It’s run by some very cool cats, who make syrup under the brand Socrates and organize the Made by Legacy flea market. The interior combines apothecary-whimsy with homey charm: leather couches, wooden tables and steel shelves showcasing jars of spirits. Do note that it’s only open three nights a week: Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.
The music: Different themes run each night, but you can mostly expect all-vinyl sets of electro-house, hip-hop and R&B. They also throw the occasional themed party.
Drink this: With Socrates’ syrup specialists at the helm, you can expect all sorts of exciting and flavor-packed syrups used in your cocktails. We highly recommend the popular James Dean (B220), a twist of classic Old Fashioned with Jameson Irish Whiskey on the lead. Or check with the barman for seasonal specials.
2/F, Baan Ekkamai, Ekkamai Soi 21, 094-417-9898.
Open Wed, Fri-Sat 8pm-2am.
The vibe: Chavin “Kwan” Nantaterm started Black Amber last year as a super-stylish gentleman’s barbershop and tattoo business before introducing a gentlemen’s whisky bar. The 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 whisky in hand.
The music: Mostly old school R&B, jazz and blues but the piano does come to life for jazz performances every Fri-Sun from 8:30pm onwards.
Drink this: Whisky is the main focus, here. The shelves are filled with familiar bottles like The Glenlivet, Jameson and Chivas Regal 12, which start from a reasonable B200 by the glass. There’s a list of whisky flights to enjoy as well. A good start is the Chivas Regal flight, consisting of Chivas Regal 12 years, Chivas Regal Extra and Chivas Regal 18 years (B540). You can also complement your drinks with a choice of Cuban cigars starting from B375 a piece.
160/17 Thonglor Soi 6, 092-276-2772.
Open daily 6pm-1am.
The vibe: Joining WTF, Opposite Mess Hall and Zudrangma Records in Sukhumvit Soi 51 alley, Studio Lam is an intimate drinking spot run by Bangkok’s talented DJ Maft Sai, of the aforementioned Zudrangma label. His vinyl store has popularized Thai dancehall and world music in Bangkok while his sets of rare grooves are transmitted around the world as radio podcasts with a loyal following. In keeping with the music, the lively, dimly-lit bar features a massive block party-style tube sound system that pumps out jams to a makeshift dance floor.
The music: World music and dancehall, meaning popular Thai oldies like luk thung and molam, along with rare beats from Africa to Central America. Definitely the most eclectic playlist in town.
Drink this: The cocktails are just as carefully selected as the music, thanks to in-the-know and chatty barmen who won’t shirk away from matching you shot for shot. Try the infused spirit (aka ya dong) served either as shots or mixed as cocktails. One is usually enough. For the rest of the night, we’d recommend you switch to Jameson Irish Whiskey.
Sukhumvit Soi 51, 02-261-6661.
Open daily 6pm-2am.