One of the many things we love about Bangkok is that the city is never lacking of new trendy bars to check out. This month, the city is brimming with its continued love for speakeasies and rooftop bars, but also welcomes a new wave of Korean liquor haunts. From infused soju to cocktails inspired by Asian artists, here are all the spots you need to sip, toast, and clink at this month.
Hero image credit: Vesper Cocktail Bar
If there is one thing Bangkok loves, it is a speakeasy. And if there is one speakeasy you should visit this February, it is 008. Helmed by Diageo’s Southeast Asia World Class winner of 2016 Pailin ‘Milk’ Sajjanit, this new Thonglor hideout seems like the kind of place we’ve seen and visited many times before, and yet somehow it still works. Located on the 11th floor of the brand new Akyra hotel, 008 has something of a jazzy gentleman’s club feel, between cosy big armchairs and a warmly lit dark wood bar. The drinks are well-rounded, interestingly inspired, and wholly enjoyable to sip – especially if you like strong drinks. Try the aptly-named ‘1920s’ cocktail (THB 360), made with gin, Campari, and clarified orange-infused Dolin vermouth for a cool New York take on the classic Negroni. Sip it amongst the seductively private interiors, which boast an air of extravagance in a totally unpretentious way. A good space to unwind with an ambience that really hits the spot in smoky style, with seriously spirit-forward cocktails created by one of the city’s greatest.
008 Bar, 11/F, Akyra Hotel, Sukhumvit Soi 55, Bangkok, +66 2 392 8959, Open daily 6pm-1am
Sot Soju Bar
Soju is set to be so hot this year – and Bangkok is really surfing the wave of the trend with a growing variety of new Korean bars. Located on the 8th floor of the Novotel Bangkok Sukhumvit 20, Sot Soju Bar brings a beautiful bit of Seoul to the city boasting a sophisticated soju drinking experience with a side of Korean tapas-style bar snacks. Serving only organic aged soju made from specialty rice, the bar highlights a particular brand of soju called ‘Hwayo’ – a surefire level up from the traditionally green-bottled soju you find in regular Korean restaurants. Hwayo is known to be distilled and treated to the tunes of classical and K-pop (of course) music, and indeed, the cocktails they serve here may just make your heart sing. Try the ‘Kimchi Mary’ (THB 420), made with Hwayo 41, tomato juice, cucumber, lemon juice, a pinch of pepper and salt, bay leaves, and angostura bitters; or the ‘With Love from Seoul’ (THB 390), made with Hwayo 41, orange juice, grenadine, rosemary, lemon juice, egg white, and peach bitters. Prefer something more hardcore? Knock it out of the park with infused soju shots: be it pear, cinnamon, and orange peel (THB 450/shot) or pine needles from South Korean mountains (THB 590/shot). You won’t know what hit you.
Sot Soju Bar, Novotel Bangkok Sukhumvit 20, 19/9 Soi Sukhumvit 20, Bangkok, +66 81 949 4851, Open Tues-Sun 6pm-1am
The Art Book: The Finale at Vesper
They may be inspired by art, but at this point, we all know who the real artists are here: Group Bar Manager Supawit ‘Palm’ Muttarattana and the Foodie Collection’s Choti Leenuthaphong strike again. Presenting the third and final rendition of Vesper’s infamous ‘Art Book’ cocktail menu, the James Bond’s London-themed bar presents a new drinks list inspired by both Asian and Western art this time, even expanding the repertoire to sculptures and installations. Try the Ai Weiwei-inspired ‘Coca Cola Vase’ (THB 400), made with Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva, Luo Han Guo (yup), Sichuan pepper, vanilla and coca cola, for a rum-and-coke that is mind-blowingly unlike any you will have had before. For a serious mouthful, try the Damien Hirst-inspired ‘The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living’ (THB 440); a really strong one made with The Botanist gin, Jose Cuervo Reposado tequila, Bianco Vermouth, Hoarfrost Oolong, charcoal, and orange and lime salt. It’s hard to pick only a few to recommend, and it’s evident why the new menu has taken almost a year to develop. The cocktails are beautifully and deeply thought through, and are executed to the perfection only the award-winning Vesper team knows how. Also, Bar Manager Palm just recently won the Campari Asia Regional 2018/2019 Championship in Milan, so if you’re looking for someone incredibly inspiring to toast to (or with), look no further.
Vesper Cocktail Bar, 10/15 Convent Rd., Silom, Bangkok, +66 2 235 2777, Open daily 5.30pm-1am
1826 Mixology & Rooftop Bar
Where the Rembrandt may have formerly been most famously known for Indian restaurant Rang Mahal, the Sukhumvit hotel is boasting yet another reason to visit Soi 18. Opening at the end of last month, 1826 Mixology & Rooftop Bar sits on the 26th floor of the hotel, overlooking the city in a relaxed setting with some extremely Instagrammable cocktails. The menu is made up of 12 story-telling and 6 seasonal cocktails, served alongside fusion bar bites from the Rembrandt’s three restaurants: Mexicano, da Vinci, and yes, Rang Mahal. You’ll need the snacks, because the cocktails are definitely on the sweeter side, but make for a great option for those who like a fun cocktail. Try the ‘Hanging Garden of Kurseong’ (THB 350), which draws its inspiration from the famous tea gardens in West Bengal. It’s made with Earl Grey tea-infused gin, organic pineapple juice, blood orange, and cinnamon-infused red wine, and actually comes in an eye-catching hanging cup. With a resident DJ every Friday and even a cigar humidor on location, here’s another great excuse to head to a Bangkok rooftop and unwind – or at least, do so as soon as the smog clears. It’s always good to have something to look forward to after all.
1826 Mixology & Rooftop Bar, 26/F, Rembrandt Hotel & Suites Bangkok, 19 Sukhumvit Soi 18, Sukhumvit Rd., Klong Toei, Bangkok, +66 2 261 7100, Open daily from 5pm-1am
The name of this bar literally translates to the word ‘alcohol’ from Korean, which is already an exciting premise from the get-go. Themed around a ‘deconstruct and reconstruct’ concept, SUL comes to Thonglor as yet another Korean gastropub, with a focus on creative and innovative drinks and food. Aiming to pack a true Takewondo kick in each sip, the unique Korean-inspired cocktail menu brings an explosion of flavour to all five senses, and uses Korean spirits as the base for all of them. We love the ‘Bulgogi Old Fashioned’ (THB 390), remixing the classic Old Fashioned with the addition of bulgogi, dark chocolate and palm sugar; or the ‘Last Man Standing’ (THB 350) which includes Korean ginseng, vanilla, and spices. Yoghurt lovers should try the ‘Plum Yogurt’ (THB 320), made with plum, Yakult (yup) and fresh yoghurt, and everyone needs to sample and swoon for the Pork Belly Injeolmi (THB 350) or Kimchi Risotto (THB 320) as a hearty side. Bangkokians have been crazy for Korean culture for a while now, and yet SUL still manages to bring a tantalising new reason to give in to the hype in a new way. Cheers.
SUL BKK, Soi Thonglor 10, Wattana, Bangkok, +66 95 795 5396, Open Tues-Sun 6pm-1am