From the cocktail institutions of sois 10-12 to Suan Phlu and Yen Akat's hip drinking dens, here's why Sathorn is now one of Bangkok top nightlife neighborhoods.
BK's annual B.A.D. Awards celebrate all that's good in Bangkok nightlife. For the guide, we had the nearly impossible task of limiting our "Best Bars in Sathorn" list to just three venues. With this extended list, though, you can really see the incredible range of drinking options in this neighborhood, from glitzy hotel rooftop bars to poky, arty dive bars, innovative cocktail specialists to intimate izakayas.
Occupying a century-old refurbished mansion next door to W Bangkok hotel, The Bar offers up plenty of dark wood and leather for something of a gentleman's club vibe. Signature drinks go in for herbal flavors, while the daily 2-for-1 happy hours (6-8pm) represent great value.
The House on Sathorn, 106 Sathorn Rd., 02-344-4000. Open daily daily noon-midnight
Defying convenient culinary categorization, this stylish eatery hidden behind a Brutalist concrete facade produces season-driven dishes that play with both Western and Southeast Asian flavors. Arnie Marcella, a native New Yorker, drives a kitchen that excels in foodie-wowing ingredients such as spicy wagyu tartare or the squid fusilli while the inventive drinks are yet more reason why the city’s fashionable still pack the stone-and-copper-touched dining room.
118/2 Sathorn Soi 12, 092-563-9991, 02-234-7749. Open daily 5:30pm-midnight.
There’s more to Bangkok nightlife than just Sukhumvit. Thanks to leafy surrounds, you can pretend you’re in in Palm Springs, California, while sipping your cocktail by the rooftop bonfire, or head inside where the natural scenery can still be enjoyed thanks to glass walls.
4/F, 15 Yen Akat Rd., 083-437-3515; 02-249-1451. Open Tue-Sun 5pm-2am.
42/21 Sathorn Soi 12, 097-130-7534. Open Mon-Sat 4pm-1pm.
The thinking man’s izakaya. Forget smoking indoors and raucous irasshaimase! choruses, but do think well-crafted cocktails (get the apple martini) and fresh sashimi served up before a formidable wall of booze: mezzanine-height shelves stacked with countless spirits and rice wines. For the most part, the food is designed to soak up all that booze: small portions, plenty of spicy and deep-fried options, and Hanakurata’s famous “pizza.”
Sathorn Soi 10, 097-140-7403. Open daily 5:30pm-1am. Other branch: Sukhumvit Soi 39
Six years since opening as a humble daytime cafe, the Surasak shophouse continues to shine a light on underground art and music from its precarious perch by an expressway. Here, cold beers and no-fuss comfort food go hand-in-hand with cult movie screenings, retro gaming nights, and gigs that often serve up the unexpected.
41 Charoen Rat Soi 1, 089-889-8059. Open Tue-Sun 6pm-midnight.
By our reckoning, still the absolute cheapest place in Bangkok to find superlative gin, poured as it should be (stiffly) and with a decent tonic to boot. Owner Bard Passapon serves 20 of his own infusions on the menu, which accounts for much of the bar’s unbelievable Friday night popularity. That, and the burgers.
454 Suanphlu Soi 1, 085-100-3608. Open Tue-Sun 3pm-midnight.
This swanky Japanese party lounge combines restaurant and club. The long, narrow space boasts a sultry ambience with leather upholstered seats and a polished bar. Stop here fora a Lychee
Rose Martini and fusion-y, Japanese comfort food.
39/F, Sathorn Square, Narathiwas Rd., 02-036-8899. Open Tue-Sat 6pm-1am; Fri-Sat 6pm-2am.
This slender Gallic bistro is often buzzing with a mix of locals and foreigners, many of whom are Francophones looking to sip on its solid collection of wines and rotating cocktail list. At night, the electro house soundtrack turns up and the central bar becomes a lively hearth for the rest of the house.
28/12 Sathorn Soi 10, 02-635-353. Open Mon-Fri 6pm-midnight, Sat-Sun noon-midnight
Taking over what was a chilled little cafe on Sri Bumphen, the space retains the same no-attitude atmosphere, serving out a concise menu that focuses on five different umeshu (Japanese plum wine). At the top of the scale you’ve got Nanbu Bijin, an unsweetened sake umeshu from Iwate Prefecture. PrumPlum also does its own blend, available as a shot, as well as a three-shot tasting flight. Come on an empty stomach—the bar snack menu’s also huge.
35/2 Sribumphen Rd. 02-249-3146. Open Tue-Sun 6pm-midnight
This late-night, fire-show spot on Sathorn Soi 10 served up refined and crafted cocktails like the tasty Banana Fashion, which combines banana-infused Diplomatico rum, sugar, and bitters, garnished with rum sous-vide-banana.
50 Sathorn Soi 10, 02-235-4823 ,02-235-4822, Open daily 6pm-2am.
If you work in Bangkok F&B then the theme tune to Cheers—”where everybody knows your name”—rings true at this, art-filled shop-house. But it’s not just “Hospitality Night” that has this spot pumping. Progressive jazz acts, a roof terrace and Danny Yeung’s ever-impressive cocktails make visiting Smalls a no-brainer.
186/3 Suanphlu Soi 1, 095-585-1398. Open Mon, Wed-Sun 7pm-2am.
Dating back to the ‘80s, Sorrento is one of Bangkok’s oldest names for Italian food, long before everyone became an expert on authenticity. Saving it from closure, Diageo World Class 2015 winner Pongpak “Ton” Sudthipongse and his partners keep the emphasis on well-turned-out Italian staples, from burrata salad to osso bucco, but add a cocktail list of reinvented classics that are also well worth your while.
73 Sathorn Soi 10, 02-234-9933. Open Sun-Thu 11am-11pm; Fri-Sat 11am-midnight
W Hotel Bangkok’s signature lobby bar buzzes with glitzy purple decor, chic electronica and creative cocktails. Crowds flock here for monthly "Woogirls" and "Wooboys" mid-week events that offer up free-flow sparkling wine and live DJs.
Lobby/F, W Bangkok, 106 Sathorn Rd., 02-344-4000. Open daily 9am-midnight