It is hard to miss Sherbet as one drives up Ekamai, with it's White House-like dome and glowing lights. Billing itself as an exclusive gentleman's club, it's actually a lot more tasteful than seedy, and is a place where mostly Thai guys with lots of money come to relax, drink, and gawk at the hot dancers in skimpy costumes that get up on stage and strut their stuff. Make no mistake, this isn't a strip bar or a go go, and those expecting one will be sorely disappointed. The dance shows are actually very well choreographed, and the club sometimes does launch shows, hosts pop stars, and has DJ's spinning tunes. You do have to blow some cash to get in here though by buying a membership, which does include a good number of bottles of whiskey. Prices start at about 20,000 baht for a basic membership, so you better have some cash to burn.
This chic bar and restaurant is a popular night spot, offering decent food, an easy-going fun and young crowd, and plenty of beer specials. The bar sports an industrial vibe, with brick walls and a large slate board listing all the food and drink offerings. There are daily "beer buffet" specials, and you'll be hard pressed to choose between Singha and Chang with all the beer promotion girls trying to induce you to opt for their brand. There are also imported selections like Hoegaarden and other Belgian specialties. Live music also happens at Platform, with local Thai rock and pop bands stopping in to pick up the energy level.
With 12 taps offering up Golden Coins own varieties of craft beer, local Thai craft beer looks to be here to stay. The brick interior pub hidden in a corner of the Ekkamai Mall is run by "Pleak" Pumpo, who was behind the now defunct Let the Boy Die micro pub in Chinatown. Pumpo gets around the draconian Thai laws against brewing beer by having his brew fermented in Vietnam and then sent over to Bangkok. One of these days, it will be made here, but for now, this is as close as you'll get to "legal" home brewing here. There are a range of flavors to opt for, from stouts to IPA's to pale ales, and you can feast on burgers, steak, fish and chips, and Thai bites to go with your suds.
Located up under the roof of the Ekamai Mall, Baan Puen means "friends house" in Thai, and lives up to its moniker as a low-brow and relaxed alternative to the Ekamai norm, which usually means expensive hi-so clubs with a lot of attitude and high prices. The owner of the bar here is a guitar player in a local band, and both he and plenty of friends get up to perform regularly here, adding some good local indie music to the inexpensive drinks and food menu. It's not a craft beer or signature cocktail kind of establishment, you are coming here for towers of Singha beer and bottles of whiskey to share with friends, and the place attracts a young somewhat bohemian Thai crowd that wants a no-pretense soft on the pocket place to chill out, socialise, and enjoy some tunes.
This happening dance club specialises in EDM electronic dance music, with both DJ's spinning non-stop tunes as well as live Thai bands performing. The large club is set in a venue that is decked out to resemble a European boutique hotel, with suitcases and TV's on the walls, plus a selection of "room" doors to choose from. Tables here are packed with local young hipsters, and it's common to share a bottle of whiskey, which is more expensive here than elsewhere in the neighbourhood. Don't even bother getting here before 10-11pm, as it will be totally empty, although they do take reservations for the tables in advance, which do fill up completely by midnight. There is even a Japanese yakiniku restaurant upstairs in case you get hungry.
Wishbeer got its start when French owner Jerome Le Louer and several friends started dreaming of all the beers from home they loved to drink but couldn't find in Bangkok....which led Le Louer to do something about it, namely by opening his own online beer delivery service, www.wishbeer.com. This expanded to the idea of having a relaxing sit down bar where one can not only enjoy some great beers on tap, but also take home any of the 500 plus bottles of beers and ciders from around the world that is part of Wishbeer's extensive collection, one of the largest in Thailand. Located in a former elevator factory warehouse, Wishbeer is a fine spot for chilling out and sampling the 18 different beers on tap (which rotate every month), including Belgian or popular craft beer selections. As Le Louer comments, "Only 20% of the 500 bottles we stock can be found in supermarkets" making it Bangkok's most extensive beer shopping and drinking spot around. The happy hour prices here also make it Bangkok's best craft beer bargain, so make sure to come in early.
If you are looking for something in-between loud clubbing and an intimate bar night, Ekannek@Ekamai might be your kind of place. Displaying the rather cute cartoon sketch character claiming, "It's not love, I'm just drunk" on both their Facebook page and cozy bar, this is a young Thai hangout that is about as close to a "tavern" feel as you'll get in town. With a youth hostel upstairs, you get foreign visitors popping in to check out the mellow vibe, with some fine Irish whiskeys available courtesy of Jameson, who seem to be one of the club's main providers. There are plenty of live band nights, with live jazz often heading the bill, and the edge is well off here in comparison with some of the nearby pulsing Thai nightclubs.
Young, hot, loud, and happening, and not necessarily in that order. Nang Len has been around for ages, one of the top Thai clubs and actually a good spot if you want to see what a Thai style nightclub is all about. It is full of pretty and well-heeled people, it certainly isn't cheap to drink here either, so of course most folks are sharing bottles of whiskey, either red or black label Johnny Walker. There are live Thai bands as well as a DJ spinning electronic and dance music at times, and it is always packed to the rafters here. You basically share a long table with others (unless you've reserved it for a large group), and everyone dances around the tables, as there really isn't a dance floor. It's a novel experience if you've never checked it out before, but there aren't too many foreigners here, and it definitely is for the young and energetic. The name, which in Thai means sit and chill, is definitely not what is happening here.
Tuba is a nice place to come hang out for awhile if only for their comfortable sofas, different themed rooms, and very artsy vibe, as the place is full of antiques, paintings, retro furniture, and all sorts of other odds and ends, which are all for sale by the way. And the place also turns out some decent Thai-Italian food. But the main reason to come here is for their mammoth sized well poured cocktails. Seriously, you'll be hard pressed to hold your goblet at Tuba, it is more made for Goliath hands than mere mortals, and best of all, if you come during the 5-8 happy hour, you get two of these monsters for the price of one!
With 30 taps and specialised bottle selections from around the world, Mikkeller has burst onto the Bangkok craft beer scene with a vengeance, and has to 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.