Thong Lor's Top 10 Bars, Clubs and Nightspots



When people hear Thonglor nightlife, they think party, party, and big bills. While one doesn't have to break the bank here, Thonglor is some of Bangkok's more exclusive real estate, and the vibe here in most bars and clubs is upscale, urban, and hip. Famed designer/creator Ashley Sutton has a unique nightlife venue here, the bizarre Iron Fairies, which set the trend for the Thonglor bar scene years ago. If outstanding cocktail bars are appealing, you may want to check out the guru of the Bangkok drink, as well as one of the world's great cocktail connoisseur's, Joseph Boroski, at his hidden hole in the wall J Boroski Mixology, or else head out to Thonglor's best gin bar, Just A Drink Maybe. Backstage Cocktail Bar is also one of the best here, winning the lucky 13 slots in Asia's 50 Best Bars, for its superb mixology. 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 the neighborhood's best clubs, such as Desi Beats, BEAM, and Myst, where one can dance to the electronic beat along with live Thai bands until the wee hours. For something truly different, the down to earth Studio Lam features "ya dong" rice whiskey shots to go with "mor lam" country funk tunes, and finally, don't forget to take it all in from way above with a drink at the sky-high Octave before heading home.



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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.


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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.


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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.


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Badmotel


 

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.


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Myst


 

Myst started out as a gourmet cocktail bar over at Grass on Thonglor but has since relocated around the corner to Soi 10, where all the happening Thonglor clubs are. The new venue is more spacious, featuring lots of dance space inside of a mood-lit purple glass house, plus there is an outdoor wood deck with long comfortable couches to hang out on if the weather is nice. A live band plays here each night, and there are special concerts and other events as well. Not only is the atmosphere pretty happening, but Myst serves up some of Thonglor's top drinks, the most famed of which is their signature Flaming Lamborghini, which is comprised of Blue Curacao, Sambuca, Baileys Irish Cream, and Kahlua, and served as a fireball. Be prepared for a wannabe seen and pretty young thing crowd here, this spot attracts the youthful Thai hi society crowd.


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This much talked about bar does live up to its hype. The brainchild of Australian designer/author/creator Ashley Sutton, Iron Fairies is a bizarre blend of Gothic Victorian fantasy where blacksmith's forge meets bar meets gallery. Sutton's metal fairies, little metallic figures made on the premises, bring to life his children's books fairy tales, and the bar itself is dark and dungeon-like, with a narrow spiral staircase leading one into the mysteries ahead. Not only is the decor extremely bizarre and interesting, but the drinks here are potent, made by mixologist extraordinaire Joseph Boroski, and include all sorts of fused concoctions featuring the likes of blow torched marshmallows or absinthe fairy potion cocktails. The food is also on the gourmet end, and many consider Iron Fairies to make the best hamburger in Bangkok, complete with brie cheese and a knife embedded in the patty and bun when it arrives at one's table. Despite the joint being narrow and intimate, they still make room for the occasional live band here as well, and if the drinks and burgers don't enchant you, the fairies almost certainly will.


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Just A Drink Maybe


 

Just A Drink Maybe leads the charge of the sudden influx of gin bars popping up around town. While not as atmospheric as Teens of Thailand, set in the fringes of Chinatown, Just A Drink Maybe is far easier to get to, and a very welcome addition to the Thonglor nightlife scene. The Taiwanese owner aims to welcome gin lovers from around the world, stocking an amazing collection of upmarket, boutique, and creative gins from just about everywhere, and the menu features both classic drinks as well as those with a few Asian twists. Go for a gin fizz, a Negroni, or something more daring, like the signature Beauty & Hendrick, which mixes Hendrick's gin with Aperol and a bit of lemon juice, or else Bees Knees, in which gin, lemon, and honey get dished out in a ceramic mug along with some yogurt. It's a suave spot for those who like good drinks made from prime ingredients, and if you get hungry, there are some great Taiwanese-inspired snacks to go with the booze.


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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.


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Desi Beats


 

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.


1
Backstage Cocktail Bar


 

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.


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Meet Dave Stamboulis

Dave Stamboulis is a travel writer/photographer based in Bangkok. Born in Athens, Greece and growing up in the U.S., Dave first discovered Bangkok while on a 45,000-kilometer bicycle trip and...  More About Dave

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