Bangkok's Best Dance Clubs: Dance the Night Away Up Above, Down Below
By Dave Stamboulis
Bangkok Local Expert
Bangkok used to be noted for its wild all night massive party clubs, but this has changed a bit over the years. With a maximum 2am closing time in effect for most legit spots, it's no longer party until the sun comes up, and additionally, young Thais have taken to frequenting smaller and more intimate venues as of late, so the big clubs aren't being built anymore. That said, there are still a lot of good places around the capital to go dancing, and there is a fairly varied selection.
Undoubtedly, the hottest club right now is the happening Ku De Ta, the well known stylish nightclub from Singapore, which has opened a magnificent spot high above the city on Sathorn, featuring 7 themed bars and 2 nightclubs. Running a close second is Levels Club over on Suhkumvit Soi 11, which has become Bangkok's hottest party spot. The infamous Q Bar is still here, although the former owner has moved on and the club is now known as Q Up.
Other newer and happening openings include Grease and Demo over in fashionable Thong Lor, both of which have DJ's spinning house, techno, and hip hop to go with the great mixologists at the cocktail bars. Not to be left out, old Thong Lor standby Escudo has remodelled and can still party with the best of them.
Of course there are still some of the top longstanding clubs in other areas to go to as well, like upscale Spassos or CM2 in the Novotel. You can also make the trek over to RCA (Royal City Avenue), where there are scads of nightclubs for dancing and partying, but nobody offers a party here like Slim/Flix, which has been at the forefront of the Bangkok entertainment scene for years.
Wherever you choose, you are guaranteed a good night out with all the Bangkok dance clubs have to offer.
Located in the basement of the Novotel, this large dance hall has won several accolades as Bangkok's best live music and dance venue. Live parties are the norm here, with local and visiting celebrity DJ's spinning some wild grooves to the throngs that pack the house daily. Live bands are noted for their dance tunes here, and the dance floor is one of the city's biggest international meet and mingle scenes. The bartending staff here have also been noted for their pours, and there is plenty of place to chill out in the spacious club if you get tired of gyrating. (02 209 8888)
This two level upscale bar and dance club in fashionable Thong Lor stands out for its large and well heeled crowds, mainly well to do young Thais with a mix of foreigners thrown in, who come to move to mostly hip hop tunes spun out by resident DJ's. The club has been a longtime favorite on the busy Thong Lor club scene, but has recently been remodeled to feature interactive motion sensor lighting and other high tech gimmicks to go with the sexy dancing stage girls that help get the party going each night. Hip Hop and other theme parties feature regularly here. (02 185-2865)
These mammoth twin clubs under the same management stand at the head of Royal City Avenue, an entertainment zone packed with nightclubs catering primarily to Thai youngsters. Three grand exteriors are filled with party hounds screaming and dancing along to live bands each evening, with mostly Thai pop songs being covered. The crowds make it hard to move in here, although the huge plate glass windows make sure you can see everything going on, both inside and outside. Even if you aren't here for the music, worth it for the cultural window into Thailand alone. (02 203 0504)
Set in the basement of the Bayon Building in the middle of Khao San Road, The Lava Gold Club is decked out in scarlet light and resembles an underworld dungeon, which attracts plenty of Thai and foreign revelers into its loud and raucous dance sessions. Hosting club parties and regular DJ events, the Lava Club features spectacular lighting and laser shows along with a daily dose of all kinds of electronica piped through its crystal clear sound system. The tunes and the outfits make this one of Bangkok's most authentic hip hop clubs. (02 281 6565)
The Q Bar has long been known throughout Bangkok and outside of Thailand for its outstanding list of touring DJ's who grace the house week in and out with their thumping dance floor choices, ranging from hip hop to electronic to all the latest grooves. However, the longstanding owner and founder recently sold and moved on to a smaller jazz style bar. Fortunately, the club remained, and now is known as Q Up, and hopes to remain a fixture on Soi 11. The club features a spacious terrace along with its large dance floor, and some well trained mixologists behind the bar. (02 252-3274)
Demo might be located in an old warehouse and covered in graffiti, but make no mistake, this pulsing nightclub is a playground for the well heeled. One look at the cars in the parking lot will give you an idea of the crowd, mostly young and very well to do Thais, seemingly out to party all night on the family credit card. Demo actually adjoins another late hours party club, Funky Villa, in what is rapidly becoming the epicentre of Thong Lor nightlife on Soi 10, and you can dance until the wee hours here, with a range of hip hop, techno, and house music being spun by visiting and resident DJ's in the two large club rooms. There is a five page drink menu here, with all sorts of signature cocktails and high end bottles of whiskey available. Make sure to bring your credit card, as prices are on the high end here. (085 250 2000)
Sukhumvit Soi 11 is now the undisputed party capital of Bangkok, and Sugar Club is the latest on the scene to get into the act. This new dance club has a state of the art sound system and is committed to bringing great live bands and hip hop clubbing to the masses. There are international DJ's guesting here and spinning tunes, and the party club has some great weeknight specials, such as 5 drinks for 500 baht or Ladies Nights with drink specials for the lassies. The lighting is creative and the crowds turn up here on the weekends, so be prepared. (082 308 3246)
Whether it be full on clubbing, or just lounging the night away on the rooftop, this four storey entertainment venue has become the hottest spot in town since opening this past year. Run by fashionable newspaper heir Dan Hetrakul, Grease is packed nightly with celebrities and stylish folks, and attracts both foreigners and Thais looking for a good upscale party. In addition to a Mediterranean Thai fusion restaurant and a rooftop shisha bar, Grease is home to the state of the art nightclub LSD (Light and Sound Demolition), where everything from house, techno, drum&bass, dubstep, future garage, breakbeat, funk, hip hop or electro get played nightly by top local and international DJ's, along with live bands. The chic space is full of mirrors and amazing lasers lights, and the vibe is pretty hip. The cocktails here are stellar, with one of Bangkok's best mixologists behind the bar churning out signature cocktails, and you can get some fine vino here as well too, as Hetrakul's family owns Chateau Meyre, a fine French vineyard. (02 662 6120)
While Bed Supperclub may have closed down, Sukhumvit's party central Soi 11 keeps on going strong in the nightlife department, with the slack taken up by new kid on the block Levels. This swank electronic nightclub with a view is located up on the 6th floor of the chic Aloft Hotel, and is now the place to be seen and party in lower Sukhumvit. There is plenty of house music being played here, but Levels excels in its DJ's, bringing in some of the top international acts from around the world to rock the house. There is a large dance room here with a giant LED chandelier overhead, and then there is a club zone that features a great sound system. There is also a terrace bar that looks out over all the Sukhumvit neon and gives you a chance to catch your breath. There are plenty of promotions and theme nights here, but you are guaranteed one heck of a party just about any night of the week. (082 308 3246)
Ku De Ta
Ku De Ta is an extremely posh complex of clubs, restaurants, and bars that has been a staple in Singapore for years, and the owners there have now brought their upscale product to Bangkok, creating quite a buzz. Ku De Ta occupies Sathorn's best real estate, on the penthouse level of the Sathorn Square Building's 39th and 40th floors. In addition to the absolute knockout views, up here you will also find 7 themed bars and 2 nightclubs, not to mention 3 restaurants. Dancers will want to immediately head to the Ku De Ta Cloud Lounge, where different nights feature everything from R & B to pop to house music depending on the occasion. Ladies dancing on a podium above you with candles and mood lighting set the tone, and there are also DJ's invited here to play the finest mixes for everyone to strut their stuff. This is a place to do some serious clubbing, eat and drink like a king, and don't forget to check out those fabulous views. (02 108 2000)
About Dave Stamboulis
Dave Stamboulis is a travel writer/photographer based in Bangkok. Born in Athens, Greece and growing up in Berkeley, California, Dave first discovered Bangkok while on a 40,000-kilometer bicycle trip; he moved there for good in 2005. Dave's photos have appeared in publications around the world. He is the author of Odysseus’ Last Stand, which received the Silver Medal for Travel Book of the Year in 2006 from the Society of American Travel Writers. In addition to working for Fodor’s Guidebook to Thailand, his travel stories appear in publications throughout SE Asia. Dave is also Trip Advisor's Oyster.com's photographer for Thailand.
Read more about Dave Stamboulis here.