Where to Drink in Bangkok

October 12, 2017

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Smalls. Image by Megan Rogers.

Despite its reputation as a freewheeling capital of carnality, most late-night haunts in Bangkok are technically required by law to close their doors at midnight. On the other hand, “clubs” can go until 2am, and though you can for sure find sordid debauchery without looking very hard, here are a few reliable after-hours joints for the rest of us.

Wong’s Place. Image via tripadvisor.com

Decorated by a French artist and managed by the New Yorker who ran the legendary Qbar for a decade, Smalls occupies a three-story 1960s building stuffed with retro furniture, custom built-ins and local art. An exceptionally well-stocked bar — there are at least 20 kinds of absinthe available, as well as Duvell (2-for-1 on Wednesday nights!) and other imported beers — and an eclectic music policy make an all-nighter here the most pleasant the city has to offer.

When it comes to late-night revelry, Wong’s Place is a staple. This narrow barroom decorated with proto-selfie Polaroids, posters and magazine covers is Bangkok’s answer to Hamburg’s famed Café Lehmitz. Open since 1987, this spot draws virtually every local barfly, from on-a-tight-budget English teachers to celebrities to drag queens. Bottled local beers are self-serve from the fridge, and you can order up your usual well drink of choice at the bar.

Iron Balls Gin Distillery. Image courtesy of the venue.

Tucked away in a nondescript community mall, Iron Balls Gin Distillery boasts a micro-sized, steampunk-themed bar attached to a room filled with the company’s gleaming gin stills. DJs spin atmospheric jams of R&B, funk and jazz varieties on vinyl as a well-dressed crowd mingles into the wee hours. A short list of creative cocktails are made with the house gin — a base of pineapple and coconut — including their signature G&T made with a stiff one and half shots of gin and artisan tonic, then garnished with lime, sweet Thai basil and pineapple.

Found on the second floor of Tapas Room Club, Third World Bar attracts a wonderfully diverse crowd. The bar is anchored in the middle of the room, serving local beers along with a full drink menu, but The HUNT Bangkok writer Joe Cummings usually opts for a glass of bourbon on the rocks while he enjoys the African and Latin beats.

About The HUNT Bangkok Writer: Though Joe Cummings was born in New Orleans and raised in California, France and Washington, D.C., an interest in Buddhism drew him to Thailand. He has contributed to several guidebooks on Southeast Asia, writing about subjects ranging from tattoos to dining to Muay Thai. He is currently editor-at-large for Bangkok 101, and also plays guitar and composes music for film and TV.

For more great insider recommendations, pick up The HUNT Bangkok on gatehousepublishing.com.

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