One of the many things we love about Bangkok is that the city is never lacking in new trendy bars to check out. Yet whilst we normally release this column on the monthly, September saw a slower slew of new watering holes added to the city’s drinks scene. Blame it on the rain or blame it on PM2.5, we’re happy to see that as we slip into October, we’ve luckily found a couple of new places to uncover. Following mooncake season and the Vegetarian Festival, this month Chinese themes and red neon lights reign supreme at new Bangkok bars. A chic spot for pre-dinner drinks has opened right next to every urbanite’s beloved Vesper, and one of Thonglor’s most iconic speakeasies welcomes a new menu and a new downstairs concept. Highly ‘grammable as always, and tantalising to taste, here’s where you should sip, toast, and clink this October to take it all in.
[Hero and Featured image credit: 1919 Italian Bar & Restaurant]
1919 Italian Bar & Restaurant
Our beloved Foodie Collection strikes again. From the same team that brought us Il Fumo, 80/20, and Vesper, 1919 Italian Bar & Restaurant comes nestled in right next to the latter as a celebration of contemporary Italian drinking and dining culture. Embracing the classic aperitivo (is there anything hotter than an aperitivo in Bangkok right now?) head here for a relaxed and refreshing take on many Mediterranean favourites.
Whilst the new venue describes itself as equal parts bar and restaurant, from the drinks menu, definitely go for the classic Negroni (THB 300), which is made with the very special Cinzano 1757 Rosso. Other highlights include the ‘Make Him An Offer He Can’t Refuse’ (yes, from The Godfather, because of course), whilst the smooth showstopper is certainly the Truffle Negroni (THB 490), which highlights the true essence of black truffle aromas in elegant form. For lower ABV preferences, there’s also a sweet ‘Spritz’ selection. Following the drinks repertoire, you can already guess that it is none other than Campari Bartender Competition Asia champion (and serious Negroni maestro) Supawit ‘Palm’ Muttarattana behind the cocktail menu, and if you’re still wondering why the joint is named ‘1919’, head there yourself to ask him and find out – or stay tuned for our full review coming soon.
1919 Italian Bar & Restaurant, 10/15 Convent Rd., Silom, Bangkok, +66 2 236 5558; Open Mon-Fri 11am-12am, Sat-Sun 5.30pm-12am.
Honest Mistake Bar
A bar that has a motto that reads, “some mistakes are not always bad”, is a bar that we’re definitely curious about. Inviting guests to “search for unintentionally hidden mistakes’, Shanghai-gangster theme bar Honest Mistake feels like a cross between a throwback to a Chinese pawnshop in the 1920s and an escape room adventure. Located at Saphan Kwai and set up very much like a speakeasy, the cocktails here are Chinese-inspired, and make for an interesting and less ordinary kind of evening out. Go for the Shanghai-style G&T (THB 340), which is infused with Chinese herbs and Chinese brandy. Like a time portal to a different era, country, and vibe, it’s a new and exciting venue for those who were starting to get a little bored of the usual Bangkok haunts.
Honest Mistake Bar, Aqua Ari, Saphan Kwai, Bangkok, +62 490 5126; Open Mon-Sat 7pm-2am.
Following on with the Chinese theme on a different tangent, Uncle Tim joins the city’s drinking scene as a modern Chinese bar below the Tim Mansion hotel. Between neon red signs (how we love a neon red sign in Bangkok) and classic Chinese movies on display for a nostalgic aura, Uncle Tim is said to be the place where its namesake ran his own traditional Chinese pharmacy. Similarly, the experimental cocktail list feels a lot like a trip to a vintage apothecary, where indeed, several of the drinks are said to include elements of Chinese medicine. Also, gyoza as bar snacks? We’re pretty sold.
Uncle Tim, 337 Maha Chai Rd., Samran Rat, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok, +66 94 236 1545; Open Wed-Sun 7pm-12am.
New Cocktail Menu at #FindTheLockerRoom
We didn’t truly need yet another excuse to find our favourite Thonglor lockers, but this month #FindTheLockerRoom is truly knocking it out of the park with two very exciting novelties. The bar helmed by regional industry heavyweights Colin Chia, Hidetsugu Ueno, Nick Wu, Ronnaporn Neung Kanivichaporn, and Chennarong Jan Bhumichitr, presents the launch of a new cocktail menu, and as always, its selection does not disappoint. Dubbed as Volume 3 of the bar’s successful ‘Past-Present-Future’ concept, the drinks follow on with the journey of a classic to its imaginative future possibility. Try the gin-based Million Dollar Cocktail (THB 400) as a prime example, and the Pineapple-Apple-Pine (THB 430) as its modern interpretation. We still love the classic Espresso Martini here (THB 400), whilst a fun one is also the futuristic tribute to a classic rum cocktail, the El Presidente. This is reimagined as the Happy Endings (THB 430), made with crème brulee syrup, Cointreau, Frangelico, pomegranate and blueberry wine jam, Greek yogurt, and Mount Gay Black Barrel. Unexpectedly indulgent.
The Botanist Lab at #FindTheLockerRoom
Here’s the second new reason to head to #FindTheLockerRoom this season, though if you’re a hardcore gin lover, it may excite you even more than the first. Nestled in on the ground floor sits the all-new Botanist Lab; a collaboration between #FindTheLockerRoom and The Botanist Islay Dry Gin. The concept is a real tribute to the foragers and the botanicals found in the gin, which is reflected in the menu featuring aptly-named cocktails, from ‘Fruit’, ‘Leaf’, and ‘Root’, over to ‘Wood’. Our fave is the Wood (THB 480), made with gin, Thai oak, sweet bamboo, jakarn, and dry vermouth, whilst the Fruit (THB 480) made with guava, salted plum, and toasted dry chili is definitely worthy of a try. Rojanat Charoensri ‘Ping’ was appointed new Group Beverage Director here recently, so if you feel like raising a glass and raving to someone, he’s a great contender.
Find The Locker Room, 406 Sukhumvit 55, Thonglor, Bangkok, +66 61 524 2689; Open daily 6pm-2am.
The Twins Cocktail Lab at the Shangri-La Hotel
Continuing on with very cool industry personalities, the Shangri-La Hotel Bangkok is inviting cocktail enthusiasts over to their riverside location this month for an exclusive five-day showcase. Certainly very rare: not one but two, and not brothers but twin brothers, Yigitcan and Onurcan Gencer will be behind the bar here, displaying the art of bartending under a ‘West to East’ concept. The Turkish twin mixologists will host a series of activities and will be serving up specialty cocktails from 24-29 October, featuring unique liquors from both their homeland and ours. We’re excited to try the ‘Antioxidant’ (in large part because we already love its innocent name), made with a blend of clarified Eastern herbs, ginger, turmeric, thyme, and our very own Iron Balls Gin.
The Twins Cocktail Lab takes place at the Lobby Lounge, Shangri-La Hotel Bangkok, 89 Soi Wat Suan Plu, New Road, Bang Rak, Bangkok from 24-29 October from 7.30pm – 11.30 pm; +66 2236 7777.