All that shopping deserves a stiff drink. Here, in Bangkok's retail and business center you'll find a wide range of drinking holes, from five-star hotel cocktail bars and glitzy cigar lounges to low-key craft beer haunts. 

BK's annual B.A.D. Awards celebrate all that's good in Bangkok nightlife. Long filled with shopping malls and five-star hotels, Siam and Phloen Chit is now home to a slew of bars to match the ritzy surrounds. However, it's not all wallet-busting, high-wire mixology and swanky rooftops—there are plenty of hidden gems to discover, too.  

 

1881 by Water Library

Cocktails. Water Library’s gastro bar at this breezy, partly open-air mall is inspired by a 19th-century steam power plant. The kitchen is all about comforting dishes, ranging from a classic burger to tiger prawn pasta. Throw in a solid cocktail list ticking all the right boxes (classics, barrel-aged, etc.) and handsome industrial decor that combines leather, brassed metal and the obligatory bare bulbs, and you’ve got one welcoming pit-stop.

Groove@CentralWorld, Rama 1 Rd., 061-825-7348, 095-072-7777. Open daily 11am-midnight.

 

The Balvenie Bar

Cigars/Whiskey. Lurking in the rafters above a cigar and spirits-specializing boutique, this offshoot bar from the renowned Speyside whiskey lets you pull up a rich, tobacco-leather wingback and knock back 35-year-old single malts with some of the best smokes from Latin America.
2/F, Cohiba Atmosphere, 63/3 Soi Ruamrudee, Phloen Chit Rd., 02-650-9009. Open Mon-Sat noon-midnight.
 

The Beer Bridge

Beer. Decorated in a Brooklyn industrial style with high ceiling, dangling light bulbs and fancy Graffiti murals, the Beer Bridge is a casual hangout sport carrying over 150 labels of beer to accompany Western fusion dishes. Take you pick from classic comfort dishes like pizzas, burgers and steaks or from a number of Thai staples. For those who want to share, Beer Bridge also offers a lineup of tapas-style small plates.

G/F, Portico, 31 Soi Lang Suan, 02-050-5158, Open daily 10:30-1am.

 

Beer Republic

Beer. Located inside the Holiday Inn Hotel Chidlom, this vast, industrial warehouse-inspired venue serves both mass and craft beers plus Thai and European bar food. Aiming for both the after-work and heavy partying crowds, they stock over 70 labels of beer. Hungry? They offer both Thai and European comfort pub food, to go with nightly live music.

Holiday Inn, 971 Phloen Chit Rd., 02-656-0080. Open daily 11am-midnight.

 

Character


Cigars/Whiskey. As if Aqua weren’t exclusive enough, it’s now also home to this Oriental Express-inspired den of cigars and single malts. From servers who feel more like personal butlers, order up South American smokes to go with your favorite decades-old Scotch.
Anantara Siam, 153/2 Mahatlek Luang Soi 1, 02-254-4726. Open MonSat 1pm-midnight.
 

Char 

Rooftop. Over at the grill at this rooftop bar, they cook up some amazing beef from Australia's Darling Downs. Char takes up the top two stories of Hotel Indigo, with a stylish dining room downstairs and the rooftop bar up above to benefit from those amazing views across Bangkok's "Embassy Row." 

25-26/F, Hotel Indigo, 81 Wireless Rd., 02-207-4999. Open daily 6pm-midnight. BTS Phloen Chit.

 

Cru Champagne 

Rooftop. The bar’s located on what used to be a helicopter landing pad on top of the five-star hotel Centara Grand at CentralWorld. Access Cru from a little elevator at Red Sky, which drops you out right on top of the hotel, where you get a stunning, 59th-floor, 360-degree view of Bangkok. The drinks list is all about Champagne, so come prepared to order a bottle of G.H. Mumm Cordon Rouge Brut.

59/F, Centara Grand & Bangkok Convention Centre at CentralWorld, 999/99 Rama 1 Rd., 02-100-1234. Open daily 5pm-1am.

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Duke 

Cigars/Whiskey. Whether you want cigars from Cuba, the Dominican Republic or other prominent producers, they’ll have it. It’s also an art gallery, showcasing local talent whose work stretches from eye-catching papier-mache sculptures to grand, statement oil paintings. Big-spenders take out membership packages, which run into the hundreds of thousands and furnish you with ample credit at the bar.
1/F, Gaysorn Village, 999 Phloen Chit Rd., 080-587-9520, 094-647- 8888. Open daily 11am-midnight

 

 

Hair of the Dog 

Beer. Their first branch hidden above the lively La Monita acts as a gathering spot for drinks (especially Americans) thanks to excellent imports from the US. After years of growth on Bangkok’s craft beer scene, this bar remains one of our firm favorites.
2/F, Mahatun Plaza, 888/26 Phloen Chit Rd., 02-650-7589. Open daily 5pm-midnight.

 

HOBs the Playhouse 

Beer. Bangkok’s very first beer-centric bar has branches all over town (seven at last count). Our favorite could well be the one at Groove at CentralWorld, which is decked out in vintage style and adds frequent live music to the classic beers on tap. Think classic Belgian beers and hearty burgers and sausage platters. 
CentralWorld, 4,4/1-4/2,4/4  Ratchadamri Rd., 02-613-1322. Open daily 11am-11:30pm
 

Hyde & Seek

Restaurant-bar. This almost-decade-old cocktail and gastro cuisine pioneer recently reopened in a swanky new spot at Plaza Athenee hotel with renewed focus British and American comfort food (think salt and pepper shrimp, Yankee Wagyu Burger or bangers and mash). The cocktails list includes easygoing hits like the South Side, made with Tanqueray gin, Citrus, gomme syrup, bitters and mint. Playful sister restaurant Hyde & Seek Peek-a-Boo remains at the nearby Groove at CentralWorld.
Plaza Athenee, 61 Wireless Rd., 02-168-8669. Open daily 11:30am-2pm, 5:30-10pm
Hyde & Seek Peek-a-Boo, Groove at CentralWorld, Rama 1 Rd., 02-646-1099. Open daily 11am-1am

 

 

The Loft 

Cocktails. Bangkok’s beau monde are making a beeline up the rolling brass staircase of the Waldorf Astoria’s F&B suite and into this intimate cocktail den thanks not just to those stunning interiors by AvroKo, but also because head barman Michele Montauti has found his natural habitat: refined, spirit-forward, and with a strong nod to time-worn traditions. The original Waldorf Manhattan is superb, hough you’d be just as happy with a surprisingly affordable bottle of Cava. For something even more luxurious, seek out The Champagne Bar hidden one floor above.
56/F, Waldorf Astoria Bangkok, 151 Ratchadamri Rd., 02-846-8888. Open daily 5pm-midnight. 

 

 

Penthouse 

Cocktails/Rooftop. We’ve had nothing but praise for the showpiece bar at the Park Hyatt ever since it opened in 2017. The interior is stunning. The drinks are the right price and don’t skimp on the premium stuff. The music is decent. If we had one complaint, it’s that not enough people are taking notice.
34-36/F, Park Hyatt, 88 Wireless Rd., 02-011-7480. Open daily noon-2pm, 6-10:30pm. 

 

Red Sky

Rooftop. The 55th-floor view from Centara’s rooftop puts this bar in the same league as other high flyers, like Vertigo at the Banyan Tree. Al fresco dining and drinking takes place under a swooping, red-lit arch, while chef Christian Ham’s seasonal menus spotlight classic, rich steak dishes. Don’t miss the truffle-infused wagyu beef tenderloin Rossini—a menu staple and proven crowd pleaser.

55/F, Centara Grand at CentralWorld, 999/99 Rama 1 Rd., 02-100-6255. Open daily 6pm-1am (last food order 11:30pm)

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Riedel


Wine. Gaysorn’s ultra-fancy wine bar boasts one of Bangkok’s largest selections by the glass thanks to a state-of-the-art wine dispenser. Its lavish interior, with elegant open-pore wooden tables and swooping circular booths, stirs well with the prim-and-proper types who drink and eat here. With that said, the wine list isn’t as wallet-damaging as you might expect.
2/F, Gaysorn Village, 999 Phloen Chit Rd., 02- 656-1133. Open daily 10am-midnight
 

Roof 409 Bar & Bistro

Rooftop. This rooftop bistro and bar offers a happening vibe thanks to clean black-and-white industrial decor (think New York subway tiles and metal cafe chairs), a DJ booth that pumps out house tunes and a loungey area overlooking Phloen Chit. The fourth floor views can't compete with the most famous rooftop bar on top of hotels, but you do get a suitably urban vibe due its very central location. Overall it's a laidback and highly affordable option with a menu of fuss-free comfort food such as risottos, pastas or fish and chips. 
4/F, Mercury Ville, 504 Phloen Chit Rd., 02-658-5655. Open daily daily 11am-midnight

 

Siwilai City Club 

Rooftop/Music. This vast complex of restaurants and bars whips out refreshing tropical cocktails amidst the airy view of Phloen Chit’s neighbourhood. Order the grilled pineapple iced tea (with double-roasted chili and cinnamon syrup) or go with its original twist on classic spirit-forward drinks like the Black Pearl Old Fashioned instead. The venue also boast some amazing musical acts on a
regular basis.

5/F, Central Embassy, Phoen Chit Rd., 02-160-5631. Open daily 11am-midnight.

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The Speakeasy 

Rooftop/Cocktails. This rooftop cocktail lounge takes you back to the jazz age. The two-story space sports prohibition era-inspired decor, featuring lots of dark woods and Art Deco touches. A balcony on the 24th floor lets you take in 180-degree views of Bangkok’s business district, while an alfresco rooftop offers a more leisurely atmosphere. 

24-25/F, Hotel Muse Bangkok Langsuan, 55/555 Lang Suan Rd., 02-630-4000. Open daily 5:30pm-1am.

 

St. Regis Bar

Cocktails/Jazz. The five-star hotel’s 12th-floor bar with incredible views of Royal Bangkok Sport Club has become a destination in itself. Not only will you find some amazing local jazz and blues bands playing live (think the same people you find at Brown Sugar rather than stuffy hotel lounge piano), but the drink list combines trending bottles from both home and abroad (think local producers like Iron Balls, Kristall and Chalong Bay rum). The gin tonics are a match for any hipster outfit, with specific gins paired with the right tonics and herbs.

12/F, The St. Regis Bangkok, Ratchadamri Rd., 02-207-7801, Open daily 9am-1am.

 

Up and Above

Whiskey/Wine. Bangkok’s most high-end Japanese hotel, The Okura Prestige, does a great line in both Japanese wine and whiskey. Check out their list of premium bottles like Suntory Hakushu 12 Years Old and Taketsuru Pure Malt. On the menu you might find everything from marinated hamachi sashimi to braised pork belly in a sweet soy and miso glaze. The 24th-floor views only add to the appeal.  

24/F, The Okura Prestige Bangkok, 57 Wireless Rd., 02-687-9000

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Wet Coming Soon!

Wine. Anyone who’s had the wine pairing at Gaggan in the last two years will know that thanks to somm’ Vladimir Kojic the experience is right up there with the 20-plus course degustation menu—you just go along for the ride and enjoy. That’s why Bangkok’s foodie community has been waiting eagerly for his long-touted natural wine bar, Wet, to open up shop in the house next door for sometime. We can report that this temple to organic, biodynamic and small-batch producers is expected to open for real in the not-too-distant future. Grab yourself one of the 40 counter seats and you’ll also get to try how Gaggan interprets bar food.

 


B.A.D. Awards is BK Magazine's annual guide to all that's good in Bangkok nightlife. Read the full list here or download the PDF version here