When people hear Thonglor nightlife, they think party, party, and cool cocktails. Thonglor features some of Bangkok’s more exclusive real estate, and the vibe here in most bars and clubs is upscale, urban, and hip, and while it is pricey, you’ll usually get great quality drinks, a happening scene, plenty of well dressed “pretty” foks, and it’s well worth a visit. If outstanding cocktail bars are appealing, you may want to check out the guru of the Bangkok drink scene, as well as one of the world’s great cocktail connoisseur’s, Joseph Boroski, at his hidden hole in the wall J Boroski Mixology. Also setting up shop here is bartender of the year winner Pailin “Milk” Sajjanit and her Prohibition Era 008 Bar, home to some exquisite drinks. Rabbit Hole is also a top draw for its creative cocktails, as is the totally unique Find the Locker Room. For something a bit more collegiate, try the happening music, dance, and drink venue, Badmotel, or head out with the party and dance crowd to one of the neighborhood’s best clubs BEAM, where one can dance to the electronic beat along with live Thai bands until the wee hours. If you need craft and world beers, head to the renowned Mikkeller, featuring outstanding brews, or Beer Belly, and for something truly different, the down to earth Studio Lam features “ya dong” rice whiskey shots to go with “mor lam” country funk tunes. Finally, don’t forget to take it all in from way above with a drink at the sky-high Octave before heading home.
Badmotel certainly has turned heads on trendy Thong Lor with its unique abandoned house/wrecking crew demolition chic look. The owners here took an abandoned building and other than painting it all white, kind of left it, abandoned, with cracks in the walls, empty spaces, rubble, and graffiti. It isn’t quite as bad as it sounds; actually, the club takes up three floors, with some stylish seating in spots, plus there is a patio garden as well as a rooftop lookout. The club does DJ events, launch parties and plays hip hop music and is a real young Thong Lor hipsters favorite these days. There is food here, mostly Thai, but the main reason to come other than the vibe and crowd is for the drinks. The cocktail menu is extensive, there is craft beer, Japanese whiskey, and Badmotel even serves up homemade ya dong, herb-infused medicinal Thai moonshine.
Recommended for Thonglor’s Best Nightlife because: For unique decor and happening vibe, Badmotel is all the rage.
Dave’s expert tip: Traffic and parking here on Friday and Saturday nights are next to impossible. Take a taxi, preferably a motorcycle one, up from the BTS Skytrain station at Thong Lor.
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Photo courtesy of Dave Stamboulis
Octave Rooftop Lounge and Bar is the latest arrival to grace the sky-high bar scene in Bangkok. While most of the airborne bars with views tend to be concentrated around Silom Road and the Chao Phraya River, Octave sits across town towering above Thong Lor and Sukhumvit Road, and the views from the 45th floor are absolutely spectacular, giving the feeling of being in a helicopter, as there is nothing around to impede the 360 degree panorama.
In addition to the marvelous views, the three-level bar and lounge also makes some outstanding cocktails, as the in-house mixologist has some signature drinks such as the Bangkok 57 (saffron infused vodka with champagne!) and the Bloom Over the Roof (red berries tea infused vodka mixed with mint leaf and elderflower syrup) to keep customers sated. There are also top notch bottles of wine available, along with some tapas style nibbles to go with the sublime surroundings.
Recommended for Thonglor’s Best Nightlife because: For the hands-down best view on the Thong Lor side of town, Octave wins out.
Dave’s expert tip: Sunset is a great time to come in. The easiest way to to get here is by taking the BTS Skytrain to Thong Lor and walking over one block.
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Photo courtesy of Dave Stamboulis
Joseph Boroski is at the top of the charts when it comes to world mixologists. Calling himself a “mixsultant,” Boroski has created drinks for just about every major hotel and bar in Bangkok, not to mention New York, Paris, London, the Maldives, and more. He spends much of his time running a bar school and training bartenders, but this hidden speakeasy-like hole in the wall shows off his phenomenal talent. There is no address here, and we are not allowed to print it, although you can check his Facebook page and do enough internet searches that will put you close (down an alleyway just short of Soi 7 in Thonglor). There is no menu here, you just tell the bartenders what you like and don’t like, and they create. Do be forewarned though, the drinks here cost close to $20, the most expensive in Bangkok. However, if you are a cocktail connoisseur and looking to have your alcohol tastebuds enriched, this is one amazing spot.
Recommended for Thonglor’s Best Nightlife because: For unique cocktails created by one of the world’s top mixologists, there is only one J Boroski Mixology.
Dave’s expert tip: Be forewarned, there is no menu nor prices here, and be prepared to pay around 600 baht per drink. The bar is not for those with small wallets. Additionally, it’s a real hole in the wall and not a great place to bring a group.
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Photo courtesy of Beam Club
Their moniker says “an honest club with an honest vibe,” and this happening dance club is a bit of a departure from the usual Thai club filled with whiskey drinking tables and little space to dance. Here, you’ll find a huge dance floor and minimalist industrial warehouse look, with the focus being on the music. Thumping techno and house rule the roost here, with live DJ shows, a state of the art sound system, laser lighting and a fog machine to enhance the atmosphere. The club attracts a mix of foreign and Thai hipsters and is set in the happening 72 Courtyard complex, which is full of snazzy eateries and craft beer and mixology cocktail joints, so you can have a bite prior to coming in to dance. Do note that BEAM has closed on and off during changing Covid protocols, so check before heading out here for the night.
Recommended for Thonglor’s Best Nightlife because: For a happening club with a great vibe, BEAM has all the right moves.
Dave’s expert tip: Take the BTS Skytrain to Thonglor, then take a taxi up to between Sois 16 and 18, where you’ll find 72 Courtyard on your right side.
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Photo courtesy of Dave Stamboulis
This bar is a great introduction to the Thai alternative or underground music scene. Owned by a DJ who ran the creative ZudRangMa Records, the dimly lit bar is home to a mix of live sets and DJ tunes, along with some superb homemade herbal Thai white spirits, known as ya dong. You get groups here like the Paradise Bangkok Molam Band, who play traditional Thai music from the countryside that they fuse with modern beats, and an ongoing lineup of reggae, funk, and ska bands; pretty much anything creative and removed from the normal Bangkok electronica/house sound. Bohemian Bangkokians with a penchant for Caribbean and African sounds gravitate here, and the upscale ya dong puts it in a league of its own.
Recommended for Thonglor’s Best Nightlife because: for its great unpretentious vibe and Bangkok’s most esoteric music, Shades of Retro is top notch.
Dave’s expert tip: Take the BTS to Thonglor and walk over a few blocks to Sukhumvit Soi 51.
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Photo courtesy of Beer Belly Bangkok
72 Courtyard is a hip and happening large food and drink complex occupying a a space opposite Thonglor Soi 17. There are a host of places to eat and drink here, and Beer Belly is one of the better options, offering a large selection of craft beer and great selection of beers from around the world to go with Thai and a few Western nibbles. In good weather, there are long tables set outside, as well as plenty of interior space, and it’s a popular locale with large groups of Thais, who come here both for the excellent beer options as well as to engage in the beer pong, pool, ping pong, and other games all available to patrons. There are plenty of creative tap offerings, plus bottles from Japan, Spain, and other far flung destinations. Happy hour devotees will love Beer O’Clock, which happens everyday from 5-8 pm. Buy any draft beer and get your second pint for free.
Recommended for Thonglor’s Best Nightlife because: For Thonglor’s biggest selection of beer, you won’t find better than Beer Belly.
Dave’s expert tip: To get here take the BTS to Thonglor and taxi or motorbike taxi up to just between Soi 16 and Soi 18. You’ll find the 72 Courtyard complex on your right side.
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Photo courtesy of Find The Locker Room
You’ll have to navigate a maze of steel gym lockers to enter here, but once inside you’ll find one of Thonglor’s most unique and best cocktail bars. Find the Locker Room is a “dream” project by some of SE Asia’s top mixologists and bar aficionados, and it is both intimate (room for just 35 drinkers) and enticing, with a menu that interprets classic cocktails with plenty of pizazz. The menu is divided into Past, Present, and Future, with classic drinks like the Bloody Mary going from classical to wildly unique in the future version of it which uses mezcal and tomato sous-vide with vermouth. The bar has won local awards and is listed on the 50 Best website. Smooth jazz soundtracks accompany your drinks here and sophisticated mixology lovers will be ecstatic here. There are also visits here by top bartenders from around the world, so if you are lucky, you’ll get some really creative nights.
Recommended for Thonglor’s Best Nightlife because: For outstanding cocktails and the most unique bar entrance in town, make a beeline for Find the Locker Room.
Dave’s expert tip: Make sure to check their Facebook page for current events, such as visiting mixologists who mix special creations.
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Photo courtesy of Dave Stamboulis
With 30 taps and specialised bottle selections from around the world, Mikkeller was at the forefront of the Bangkok craft beer scene, and has continued to be at the top of the artisanal beer scene and should be on any craft beer lover’s list. The array of great boutique beers here is staggering, and the laid back brew pub, started by a couple of Danish beer lovers who worked for Carlsberg in Thailand, run their own import beer company, and now are doing their own craft thing, is one reason why the hip Ekkamai neighbourhood continues to lead the high end alcohol craze taking over the city.
Mikkeller puts on plenty of special event nights, both in terms of beer specials and inviting expert brewmasters from around the world in to show their stuff, and for those who want to just kick back and relax, the garden setting here is perfect.
Recommended for Thonglor’s Best Nightlife because: For the top craft beer in Bangkok, or in Thailand, you can’t do better than Mikkeller.
Dave’s expert tip: Check out their Facebook page for regular updates on specials and events, as they are pretty regular and ongoing.
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Photo courtesy of 008 Bar Bangkok
Pailin “Milk” Sajjanit is a familiar face on the Bangkok bar scene. Most folks know her and her unbeatable bartending talents from her stints at Vesper and Zuma, during which time she won Diageo’s Southeast Asia World Class cocktail competition and featured as Southeast Asia’s bartender of the year in 2016. Now she runs 008, a sleek Prohibition Era-themed speakeasy hidden away on the 11th floor of the Akyra Hotel, which has made the list on the World’s 50 Best Bars site. Settle into a comfy leather armchair, nod your head to the jazz beats, courtesy of both DJs and live nights, but best of all, sip your way through a menu of Prohibition classics. The menu of ‘Temperance Songs’ features some amusingly named classics such as “The Lips That Touch Liquor Shall Never Touch Mine,” stirred up with Pisco and star anise and rhubarb cordial, or how about a “No Beer No Work” made with Famous Grouse Whiskey, prune infused plum liqueur, and beer reduction. The drinks here are creative, strong, and supremely well mixed. Think gentleman’s jazz club without all the excess smoke and you’ve got a true mixology-lover’s paradise.
Recommended for Thonglor’s Best Nightlife because: For Thonglor’s best speakeasy featuring superb cocktails, 008 is a suave hidden secret!
Dave’s expert tip: Take the BTS skytrain to Thonglor and either walk or taxi up to Soi 8. The bar is on the 11th floor of the Akyra Hotel, locaed in the 8 Thonglor complex.
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Photo courtesy of Rabbit Hole Bangkok
Step behind the sliding door and you enter the aptly named Rabbit Hole, where you can go to another dimension with the wildly imaginative and superbly mixed drinks on offer. While many a great novel speakeasy or mixology-mastered bars open in Bangkok, they often don’t last, subdued by high rents, high consumption taxes, and just plain old competition. Yet Rabbit Hole has persevered. Led by a quartet of master bartenders, all of whom have won awards and mixed drinks for some of the city’s best bars, Rabbit Hole was named Bar of the Year in 2018, as well as being slotted at #34 on Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2019 list. The setting here is industrial speakeasy, and you can either sit downstairs and watch the bartenders in action or else head up to the more cozy second floor, where you can overlook all of the proceedings or else settle in to a quiet corner. The extensive drink menu has creations like the Mad Hatter, made with gin, passionfruit, absinth, smoked soda, and torch-dried orange. Also popular is the wild Cry Me To the Moon, concocted with white truffle oil fat-washed gin, apple juice, and pandan syrup. Novelty reigns supreme here with the 9:45pm (the time the drink was created), which features bourbon, coconut shrub, vinegar, and even kombu dashi thrown into the mix! While there are live DJs and house music getting the pretty crowd of Thonglor moving on most nights, do yourself a favor and come here to indulge in the drinking, as it’s creative, talented, and unique.
Recommended for Thonglor’s Best Nightlife because: For Thonglor’s most creative and unique mixology experience, take a trip down the Rabbit Hole, it’s unforgettable!
Dave’s expert tip: Walk or taxi up from Sukhumvit past Thonglor Soi 5 to in-between the two next unnamed alleys on your left. Just up towards the second one, you’ll find the Ainu Japanese izakaya restaurant on your left. Rabbit Hole hides without a sign behind the sliding door here next to the restaurant.
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