We were worried. Following the opening of Dark Bar at the turn of the year, it seemed Ekkamai was only interested in welcoming cozy little cafes. That's all changed in the past month or so with these exciting openings.

Stay up to date with everything in the Ekkamai neghborhood

Meatlicious

Gaggan Anand, culinary whiz behind Asia's Best Restaurant, has opened a new venture on Ekkamai where back-to-basics meat grilled on wood-fired ovens takes over from the fancy, molecular Indian fare of Gaggan—all washed down with beer (don’t even bother asking for a wine list).  There’s a healthy obsession with prime Japanese ingredients, from  A5-plus Miyazaki gold-winning beef to tuna fresh from Tsukiji. But if you’re not the type to drop B3,000 on 200g of butter-like Japanese cow, then you’ll also find more earthy cuts like Argentine grain-fed tenderloin (300g/B990) and delicious country-raised local roast chicken (B390). Or simply grab a rich bowl of beef khao tom (B60) and pull up a stool at the outside beer bar.

8 Ekkamai Soi 6, 091-698-6688

Upstairs at Mikeller

Craft beer house Mikkeller pulls in a crowd devoted to tasting the finest hops from around the world in a laidback setting. But up on the second story of this leafy, converted family home you'll find something quite different: a nine-course fine-dining beer pairing experience helmed by a former sous chef at Chicago's three-Michelin-star Grace restaurant. He describes his food as progressive American, meaning a mix-and-match approach to techniques and ingredients that's unbounded by geography. It's only open Fri-Sat dinner time, and 3-4 days notice is recommended.

26 Ekkamai Soi 10, 02-381-9891

722 Craft Experience

Occupying the rooftop garden at Paradise Sukhumvit Hotel, this bar serves up craft beer, cocktails and American comfort dishes beside the pool. The space is dominated by wood and steel furniture but has a definite house party vibe. There’s 12 different taps of beer, from Singha (B120/330ml) and Hoegaarden (B250/pint) to more esoteric drops like Stone IPA (B300/pint) and Stone Delicious IPA (B310/pint). Last time we visited, they also had the limited edition Christmas beer from Mikkeller. The head bartender has worked at both Demo and J. Boroski, so knows a thing or two about flaming shots and customized drinks. As for food, they’ve teamed up with the BBQ Sandwich King restaurant in Chaengwattana to serve ribs, chicken wings, quesadillas and more comforting grub. DJs spin electro-pop and old-school R’n’B, plus live cover bands perform every Wed-Thu and Sat.   

9/F, Paradise Sukhumvit Hotel, Ekkamai Soi 12 (Soi Preedee 31), 093-426-3591

Cha Panya

Cha Panya’s location tucked down Sukhumvit Soi 59 affords lawns on all sides of the little tea house while the teas are carefully brewed in state-of-the art glassware with your own three-minute sandglass. Serious connoisseurs will order zhu lang xiang, a fermented green tea from Wu Dong Mountain (B360) which has lychee notes ending on a sweet and sour taste; but easy-drinking lattes and iced teas start from B130. Cha Panya is also dedicated to connecting Chinese tea and mindfulness, hosting players of the Chinese game of Go and meditation sessions in a dedicated room.
 
26/1 Sukhumvit Soi 59, 094-550-4659. Open Tue-Sun noon-9pm

Seven Suns

Seven Suns aims to make serious tea drinking more accessible. The open shop is set up with a big counter, making it easy for passersby to stop and take a look at the offerings and also encourages people to try some tea without the pressure of having to sit down or necessarily even buy. Its owner, entrepreneur-slash-tea connoisseur Han Mei, uses products from his family’s brand in London, China Life. Priced at B150-180 per pot with free water refill, the loose-leaf tea selections covers it all, from hand-picked white and green teas to pu-erhs and matcha, sourced from China, Taiwan and Japan.  Easy options like iced tea (made in-house with fresh fruits) and unsweetened milk teas are available at B90-B95, while Mei also plays around with funkier options like the matcha, raspberry and lime shot (B80) and fresh avocado soya milk (B95).

1/F, Parklane, Sukhumvit Soi 63, 085-664-2616. BTS Ekkamai

 

Featherstone

Alongside the feathered earrings, handmade stone jewelry and artisanal French soaps at Ekkamai’s new boutique, you’ll also find a charmingly decadent bistro serving Western comfort food from salad and pasta to steak and pizza. Don’t miss the Down to Earth salad (greens, cherry tomatoes, black olives, sunkist orange, radish and feta cheese, B220), smooth mashed potato with chicken skin (B160) and duck confit with raspberry sauce (B380). The coffee is also impressive. Ceresia single origin drip coffee is priced at B120 while customized blends for espresso start at B90. We also love the deconstructed lavender soda, either, dubbed Wild Gardenia (B140), which is presented with floral ice cubes, or the yummy French vanilla frappe (B140) made using real vanilla beans. 

60 Ekkamai Soi 12, 097-058-6846

Cubic 63

The blank space next to Sherbert Club has been turned into a pop-up beer garden. Looking more like a smaller-size weekend market than your typical beer garden, the space sees with food and drink stalls operate from inside shipping containers. Here, you’ll have Heineken and Tiger for draught beer, while beer importer Wishbeer rolls out a long list of imported bottles. As for food, you’ll find drink-friendly option from Thai, like fried chicken and spicy salad, to international favorites like pasta and grilled sausage. Some days, you'll also find food trucks like Angel Wings, Hashtag Burger and Hot Wheels Pizza. Live music daily. 

Sukhumvit Soi 63 (Ekkamai), next to Sherbert, 089-497-4441 and 089-693-6555. www.fb.com/EkamaiGourmet    

Light Room 

Dark Bar was such a success that its owner snagged another spot in the same Ekkamai complex and opened this place; Dark Bar’s futuristic electro-loving neighbor. Sounds like a great idea until you factor in that, whenever it opens its doors, the crowd from one disappears to the other. We only wish is were open more often.
 
Ekkamai Soi 10,  090-528-4646. Open for events only. www.fb.com/darkbarxlightroom

Bangkok Planetarium

After eight months' renovation, Bangkok Planetarium just unveiled its B95-million makeover. Still sitting at the same Sukhumvit Road location it has occupied since 1964, the planetarium has been upgraded with an aurora-themed decor, new digital projectors and a state-of-the-art 4K-resolution Digistar 5 digital theater system. The new projector will be capable of screening more than 9,000 stars, including those of the Milky Way and other faraway galaxies. Entry is free until Jan 9. After that, final ticket prices are still TBA, but we’re not expecting too much change from the former prices, which were B20 for children and B30 for adults. Daily shows will continue to happen at 11am and 2pm.

National Science Centre for Education, 928 Sukhumvit Rd. BTS Ekkamai. www.fb.com/bkkplanetarium

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