Bars in Bangkok
E are not going to talk in great detail of the ”girlie bars” as we are aiming these reviews more at people who are looking for good quality bars in Bangkok where the women are not half naked and swinging around a pole!
Please note that due to stricter laws in Thailand on smoking in public air-conditioned restaurants many of the bars which serve food, are now non smoking up to a certain time. This however does keep changing, and to be frank we have no idea how it works as one week you can smoke the next you can’t! If smoking is that important to you we suggest you call the bar in advance and check. Another unusual and rather annoying trend for many of the top bars and clubs is they have started asking for ID upon entry, as with the smoking this also keeps changing so it can be worthwhile calling the bar in advance and asking whether a photocopy will suffice.
Spasso – This restaurant come bar/disco is located at the Grand Hyatt Hotel (Erawan). Definitely one of the ”in” places to be, with a lot of so called ”high society” Thais coming. The restaurant is mainly from 19:00 onwards and the live band begins rocking at around 22:00 when they clear tables off the dance floor to allow for the serious fun to begin. Excellent band and the atmosphere is lively. Food and drinks are on the steep side, with a Heineken costing around 269 Baht after tax and service charge etc. A Premier Travel Award of Excellence winner.
Hard Rock Cafe – As with all HRC’s they are open for dinner and have a live band that starts at 22:00/30. The restaurant is on three floors with the second looking down on the bar area and stage below. Although slightly cramped around the bar area especially when the band begins, over the weekends it is a great place to meet people and have a great time. One of the greatest things about this bar is the bartenders who actually seem to enjoy their work unlike in some other establishments we could mention and also that the band is so close to the bar you feel a part of it. A Heineken will cost around 120 Baht, a jug is probably your best bet depending on how quickly you can down the amber nectar. You should also check out their bottle promotions, recently a bottle of Jack Daniels was on offer for 1,900 Baht. The first mixers and ice are free of charge and if you don’t finish the bottle they will keep it for six months, so you can return at any time within that period present your card and all you pay for is the mixers. This can save you a lot of money. This bar was a winner as one of the best three bars in Asia in the 2000 Premier Travel Awards for Excellence.
Diplomat Bar – At the Conrad hotel is a great place to go for some early drinks, the drinks are average price for a five star hotel and the ambience and feel of the bar is very elegant. A great place to meet for some pre dinner or club drinks.
Distil – opened in June 2004 and is located in the Meritus Suites State Tower on Silom Road close to the Chaopraya River. The bar claims to offer the best of everything – best whiskies, best wines, food etc. They do live up to this claim to some extent although it is by no means a haven for the finest whiskies in the world, as the selection is quite limited. What does make this bar special are the views, as it is located on the 64th floor of the hotel and offers some of the best views of Bangkok available in the city. The bar itself is very nicely decorated with comfortable seating, a small but cosy wine cellar and an outdoor seating area. Unlike some of the other bars that we review here, this bar has a feel of a stopping off place, somewhere to go before dining in one of the hotels restaurants or perhaps for a nightcap after dinner before heading off home. As this bar is still very new we will be re-reviewing it very soon.
The Bed – Located on Sukhumvit 11 this is a very fashionable place to go for dinner, and or drinks. This is regarded as one of the hottest clubs in Bangkok and is worth going to if only to take pictures of the space ship like building in which it is housed. The club is split into two sections, one aimed more at drinking and dancing and the other are for dining and chilling out with friends. As the name suggests the whole concept the club is based on is a bed, they actually have waitresses in rather skimpy but elegant nightwear, and there are actual beds for customers to relax and enjoy. A very unusual but highly enjoyable club, definitely worth a visit.
The Met Bar – Located at the Metropolitan Hotel on Sathorn Road, this new bar we have been told by the hotel is strictly members and hotel guests only. For that reason there is little point in us reviewing it.
Bulls Head – Very popular among expats and locals alike. A great pub with a very ”Olde Worlde” feel to it. They have two floors with the upper floor serving mainly food, and the lower drinks. The closest skytrain station is Prom Phong and the pub can be found on Sukhumvit 33/1 which is almost opposite the Emporium. Not such a good place to watch sporting events, as they only have the one television upstairs, but otherwise a great place.
The Londoner – on the corner of Sukhumvit Soi 33, this enormous pub serves food as well as imported and some of its own locally brewed beer. A pint of their own ”bitter” costs 129 Baht (but be forewarned you get what you pay for when it comes to taste). They have lots of televisions which makes the Londoner a first choice for many sports fans. If there is a very big match get there early as they sometimes operate on a ticket on the door system.
Cm2 – After the HRC above gets too busy most people head over to CM2 which is at the Novotel Siam Square. It is a disco, which also offers karaoke, food, and good music. It is very popular and reasonably priced with a Heineken costing around 180 Thai Baht.
Rivas – Great bar and disco located at the Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit, ground floor, prices are slightly more reasonable than at Spasso. The disco/bar will get busy from around 10/11 pm but the crowd is quite irregular and depends on the band that the hotel has in at the time. Has great potential but is up and down with the in crowd.
Paulaner Brauhaus – This microbrewery is located on Sukhumvit Soi 24. They serve their own beer and serve up some wonderful if not rather heavy food to go with it. For some reason though it does not get that busy. Good Beer.
Planet Hollywood – has closed down.
El Nido – Located at the Royal Meridien Hotel and just opposite the Grand Hyatt where Spasso’s is this very large bar is popular for those that enjoy a little more space and Latin music. Very enjoyable and nice bar/disco.
Nana Entertainment Plaza (NEP) – On Sukhumvit Soi 4 this is, in our opinion, a more user-friendly version of Patpong. It is quite a sight to behold and definitely not somewhere to take your wife, although people do! The girls are a lot friendlier here than in Patpong and they (as in the bars) are all safe, without the famous “come in for show” rip off that you get in Patpong. We have been informed that Carnival on the third floor is a very interesting place to be at 10:30 onwards, but as this is a family site I will not say anymore. A good night out can be had here. One word of warning when entering and leaving NEP, watch out for pick pockets on the street just outside, some claim its “katoeys” or lady boys, personally I reckon it could be anyone so just take a little extra precaution. (perhaps that is double advice !!)
Soi Cowboy – Many years ago this was indeed the spot for locals or expats living in Bangkok to go to if in need of ”alternative” entertainment, such as go go bars etc. Since then it seems to be slowly retreating off the scene. It still though is very much worth a trip down to this small street of bars between Sukhumvit Soi 21 and 23. Unlike Patpong all the bars here are pretty safe in that you do not get overly ripped off with “show” fees etc.
Thermae – On Sukhumvit road between Soi 13 and 15. If all else has failed and even if it hasn’t, most people will not believe Thermae. The beers are reasonably priced with a Heineken costing 85 Baht. Thermae is a large bar that only gets busy when everything else, namely the other bars, are closed….. Or at least that is how it was. With the new laws on closing in place Thermae now closes at 2am just like everywhere else. It can be jam packed full of women. Well not to go on but…… the food here is good, especially after a long hard night, although most people do not come for the food.
Lucifer – Is on Patpong 1 and is one of the most popular discos in the area. It gets very busy and is open till late. The drinks are well priced and it is definitely worth a visit. The music played is mainly dance and trance (if that is what you call it) with some excellent DJ’s mixing it up for you.
Delaneys now called Shannigans and then Irish Xchange – Forget trying to remember the name of this popular Irish style bar as it seems to change an awful lot. It is located on Soi Convent just off Silom road and only two minutes from Patpong. This is one of the first Irish bars to have opened in Bangkok. It serves all the typical Irish fare including some very good food. This bar has an excellent Happy Hour. It is a good place to go to watch sporting events or to have an after work drink. The clientele is a mixture of locals and expats living in Bangkok. Watch out for the price of the Guinness and the other imported draught beers, they are not cheap. The pub also plays most live sporting events.
O’Reillys – on the corner of Silom Road and Thaniya Plaza is following in Delayneys footsteps and hoping to continue the popularity of Irish bars around the world. It is a nice pub that offers live music in the evenings.
Taurus – Is a very in place and is found on Sukhumvit Soi 26 just next to the Four Wings Hotel. It is made up of different sections, and offers, a bar, disco area, karaoke and restaurant. It is frequented by Thai’s and expats a like with a lot of the Thai film stars and young high society strutting their stuff
Q Bar – opened its’ doors on Sukhumvit Soi 11, December 17, 1999 and is owned by the same person that opened the famous (and now closed) Q bar in Saigon, Vietnam. It is the quite probably the hottest spot in town at the moment and very fashionable. Drinks are reasonably priced, and they have one of the widest selections of spirits available in the ”city of angels”. You may have a little difficulty finding it, so from Sukhumvit main road go all the way down Soi 11 and turn left at the last available road on the left, the Q bar is just at the end there on the corner. The bars itself gets busy around 10/11 and closes late. Great place if you like ”fashionable” bars.
Barbican is a modern style pub/restaurant that is very popular with the expat community in Bangkok, especially early evening and for lunch. It can be found along Thaniya Plaza (the Japanese Patpong area reviewed below). They serve some very good food.
Thaniya Plaza – between Silom Road and Suriawongse Road is the Japanese Patpong strip, where the bars start from the ground level and contnue up to the third of fourth floor. The women are very beautiful and all the clubs are set up in the traditional Japanese way. While the prices may be cheaper than in Japan, they are high by Thai standards, however if you are Japanese and are looking for a club scene such as the one back home this will probably be a good place. Please note and do not take offense that many of the clubs here will not allow western looking people inside. This small street has some excellent Japanese restaurants where everyone is allowed in some are open almost all night so is handy for a late night snack.
Royal Haufbrauhaus – is a microbrewery that is very large and a popular haunt. They serve good German beer, and food, and they have a live band. It can be found on Silom Soi 1.
Silom Soi 4 – is the gay street in Bangkok. Most of the bars and clubs down this small strip are gay clubs. Interestingly, a lot of “Farang” straight women frequent this area, especially resident expat women. The beginning part of the soi also has some regular (read non gay) bars such as Tapas and a few others which are very popular among the hip and trendy. There is a new gay area which is almost opposite the Wall Street Tower on Suriawongse Road – we have not tried it yet, but newspaper reports say that it is popular among such clientele.
Calypso Cabaret – A transvestite Cabaret in Bangkok, the largest and most popular in Bangkok. Now housed at the Asia Hotel. Click here to see pictures and more.
Dubliner – A new Irish Pub between Sukhumvit Soi 22 and 24, and pretty much opposite Soi 33. The pub is in three levels with the third offering 1 pool table and 1 table football, the second level is in a kind of mezzanine that looks out onto some of the ground floor. It is quite an unusual pub, with a little more of a coffee shop feel to it, than most regular pubs. The beers are reasonably priced at 90 Baht for a bottle of Heineken, 90 Baht glass of house wine and 130 Baht for a pint of Heineken. Unless you are desperate for a Kilkenny which they do have on tap, AVOID it, unless you enjoy spending 285 Baht (roughly US$ 7.5) for a pint of beer !
Mambo Cabaret – Right next door to the above Dubliner pub, so between Sukhumvit Soi 22 and 24 is a transvestite Cabaret show. Two shows a day one at 8:30 pm and one at 10:00 pm. More to come on this later.
Narcissus – A very nice disco that gets very busy. It is next door (towards the back) to the hostess bar Pegasus which can be found just off Sukhumvit Soi 23. Worth going to around midnight onwards.
Sukhumvit Soi 33 – This is the chic, and slightly more expensive variety of Nana Plaza or Soi Cowboy. Numerous bars with beautiful ladies in cocktail dresses, to entertain you. Similar to Thaniya Plaza for the Japanese but for foreigners.
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