Forget Khao San. Forget Pat Pong. You know what, just forget everything you’ve seen in films set in Bangkok. Just like Manila, the best way to get to know this megacity is by looking at where the locals go.
So if you ever find yourself in Thailand’s capital city, do yourself a favor and check these places out:
Don’t be fooled by the minimal décor and lack of visual panache, this dimly lit bar, located on Sukhumvit Soi 51, knows how to throw a party. Owned by Bangkok nightlife mainstay DJ Maft Sai, proprietor of obscure vinyl store Zudrangma Records, which is just a few steps away, Studio Lam gives you all the makings of a solid night out in the city: good music ('60s and '70s Thai pop), good drinks, and good company.
A stone’s throw away from Studio Lam, WTF Gallery is wonderfully unpretentious; it’s the kind of bar you wish you owned with your friends: a beautiful, fully stocked bar with enough rarities to keep it interesting, ample seating, and the sort of vibe that could only be described as ultra hip without being snobby.
Adhere the 13th
Tear away from the chaos of Khao San and head over to Adhere the 13th for good drinks and even better music. This blues bar gets packed on weekends so make sure you get there early to guarantee yourself, and your companion, a table. The house band does not mess around and dishes out blues hits one after another.
Ever wondered what it would be like to get drunk in a pirate ship? Well, you’re in luck because the popular Thonglor haunt does not disappoint. Whether you came for the décor, the drinks, or the grub, from the moment you step foot in Iron Fairies, you’re perpetually amazed at this design feat. And the drinks aren’t bad, either. And before you leave, make sure to grab a bottle of fairy dust on your way out. You never know when it might come in handy.
Located in Silom, this alternative music space possesses a charming, artsy vibe that’s hard to deny. With art adorning the walls, vintage Thai board games on hand, and a slew of interesting activities lined up for the week—from film screenings to DJ nights—Jam is the kind of place you’ll want be a regular at.
Enter a graffiti covered telephone booth and be transported to pre-revolution 1950s Cuba, where the drinks are hard and the music is good. Located in Nana, this meticulously designed bar has got all the details down pat, from their Cuba Libres to their Cubanos.
If you ever find yourself in Ekkamai and you’re in need of a stiff drink to make your third pad thai of the day go down a little easier, head on over to Tuba. One part gastro-pub, one part vintage memorabilia museum, Tuba’s a feast for the senses that’ll have you ‘gramming everything you see. With a wide selection of European beers on tap, and good pub grub of the Euro-Thai variety, Tuba’s one bar in Bangkok you won’t want to skip.
Located next to the W District’s hipster night market in Phra Khanong, Ma-Rum-Ba is the perfect place to end your night. Set up like your best mate’s living room but with a selection of liquor that’s decidedly more impressive, order one of the cocktails made with the Chiang Mai-made Three Monkeys rum, also run by Ma-Rum-Ba’s owners.
What good’s a city without its rooftop bars? The next time you’re feeling a little claustrophobic, check out Wanderlust, located on the roof of a building that houses Japanese restaurant Nakiya in Thonglor. Maybe it’s the fake grass and penchant for wooden furniture, but something about Wanderlust makes it hard to leave.