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.
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.
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.
Fittingly set in a theater-themed boutique hotel, velvet curtains part the way into a collection of velvet sofas and mirrors and a design that looks like a backstage dressing room, and indeed, there is further decor based on famous stage plays like Romeo and Juliet. It's cool and enticing, but forget about the vibe, you want to come here to drink, as Backstage Bar is home to some of Bangkok's top mixologists (they win awards every year), and you'll find the majority of the city's best bartenders coming here to drink on their day off. Everything is uber-creative here. The standout Earthbeet combines beetroot-infused tequila with mezcal, vermouth, Campari and artichoke liqueur, and there is a 'Godfather'-themed drink that mixes lapsang souchong tea with infused Scotch whiskey, limoncello, almond liqueur, chocolate tobacco bitters, and olive brine shrub! You'll have some of the most creative cocktails imaginable here, and there is a reason why Backstage was named as one of Asia's Best 50 bars, actually coming in 13th for the coveted award.
Recommended for Thonglor's Best Nightlife because: For the city's most creative outstanding drinks, Backstage Bar is ahead of the game.
Dave's expert tip: Get here by taking the BTS to Thonglor and then get a cab. Look for the Playhaus Hotel on your left side, the bar is inside the lobby.
A bit of Bollywood in Bangkok has arrived in Thong Lor. Desi Beats is cocktails and dancing venue that occupies both an indoor and outdoor space in the chic trendy nightlife Opus Building on Soi 10, home already to Glam and Bombay Blues, which are stylish shisha and drink bars. Desi Beats features a Moroccan theme, with red carpets, pillows and cushions on the floor, and some hip themed architecture and design. There is a colorful indoor area to chill at or else you can opt for the relaxing sofas out on the rooftop deck. The bar focuses on flavored shisha pipes, colorful exotic cocktails like Jagger Bomb, Sex In the City, and Tokyo Iced Tea, and Asian fusion food that are accompanied by a Bollywood soundtrack and international tunes. Desi Beats also features party and dance nights with DJ's and groovy playlists on weekends and holidays, and it's a hip urban hotspot.
Recommended for Thonglor's Best Nightlife because: For a bit of Bollywood and shisha in Thong Lor, try Desi Beats.
Dave's expert tip: They have some good happy hour and other promotions here, like 20% off food and drinks at times, so make sure to check their Facebook page and schedule.
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.
Their moniker says "an honest club with an honest vibe," and the latest dance club to grace trendy Thonglor 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.
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.
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.
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.
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. Her latest endeavor is 008, a sleek Prohibition Era-themed speakeasy hidden away on the 11th floor of the Akyra Hotel. 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.