On the occasion of International Women’s Day, we’re celebrating kickass women in all fields, and as avid drinkers on the scene, the bar industry is one we just couldn’t leave out.
After all, Bangkok has plenty to be proud of on that front. Our bars are amongst the best in the region, and even with a dreaded pandemic causing us to embrace the other kind of alcohol more (have you showered in sanitiser today yet?), there’s no denying that Bangkokians are still just as thirsty for a tipple.
Yet whilst the cocktail you select for the night is extremely important, it is paramount to point out that the person shaking and stirring it can make or break your entire experience, too. The relationship between the one behind the bar and the one in front is a really special one, as you’ll know if you’ve been there before. Date night? Heart ache? Birthday? Wednesday? They are here for you.
It takes a lot to be a bartender, and to be a great bartender at that. And whilst it is a largely male-dominated industry, we’re proud to see that even in Bangkok there is a rise in female bartenders who are really bringing something to the table. They’re setting the bar (no puns intended) really high for other aspiring female bartenders, and women looking to break a glass ceiling alike.
Read on for five of our favourite female bartenders in Bangkok this minute, each boasting bucketloads of courage, skill, and personality. Consider it a toast to strong drinks and even stronger women. May we meet them. May we know them. May we be them. Cheers — and Happy International Women’s Day!
[Featured and hero image credit: Ann Pongprom of The Bamboo Bar]
Name: Suwincha ‘Chacha’ Singsuwan
‘Hood: Crimson Room, Lumpini (but roams around all four of the group’s bars, really)
How she’s switching it up: Chacha won the Bacardi Legacy Cocktail Competition in Thailand, and also ranked fourth in the global finals. She’s the head bartender at Rabbit Hole, and also behind Liberation and Crimson Room.
Womanly words of wisdom: “Drink water as well!”
Name: Pinsuda ‘Ann’ Pongprom
‘Hood: The Bamboo Bar at the Mandarin Oriental, Charoenkrung
How she’s switching it up: Ann is the head bartender at the The Bamboo Bar, which ranks as Thailand’s best bar and within the Top 10 for the Asia’s 50 Best Bars List.
Womanly words of wisdom: “Keep pushing to be the best you can be, talent will prevail and you can achieve all your dreams.”
Name: Lily K.
‘Hood: BKK Social Club at the Four Seasons Bangkok, Chao Phraya River
How she’s switching it up: Lily is a Cambridge graduate and was previously bar manager at one of Asia’s 50 best Bars. She is now managing the hotly anticipated BKK Social Club, alongside Philip Bischoff of the Manhattan bar in Singapore, the Number 1 bar in Asia (2017, 2018) and Number 3 in the world (2018).
Womanly words of wisdom: “Don’t let society define you — define yourself.”
Name: Tamaryn ‘Makham’ Cooper
‘Hood: Asia Today Bar, China Town
How she’s switching it up: Tamaryn is part of the notorious team at Asia Today, and is the winner of the Campari Bartender Competition in Thailand. She is also the youngest female Campari Competition champion ever.
Womanly words of wisdom: “Always remember where you came from. Stay humble.”
Name: Piyada Moon Mae
‘Hood: 80/20 Restaurant, Charoenkrung
How she’s switching it up: Mae hails from the beloved Vesper bar team and is now head bartender at 80/20 restaurant.
Womanly words of wisdom: “Give yourself enough respect to walk away from anyone who doesn’t see your worth.”