Selecting the best bars in Bangkok is no easy task as this is, after all, a city that's world-renowned for its bustling nightlife scene. There are literally thousands of drinking spots drawing in millions of thirsty punters every year in the Thai capital.
Our list of the best Bangkok bars is judged on 4 different factors: the quality of drinks, the ambience, the location and their unique selling points. Our tops picks are spread across all the popular areas of the city, including the backpackers’ favourite, the Old City, as well as the hotel and shopping haven of Sukhumvit, the hip and trendy Thong Lor and Ekkamai, plus a few wild card entries such as a bar serving paella in the centre of Bangkok’s largest market and a rooftop garden overlooking the BTS Skytrain. Mind that these selections are sans rooftops bars
- Damnoen Saduak Floating Market Tour
- Banyan Tree's Apsara Dinner Cruise
- Vertigo & Moon Bar Rooftop Dining
- Ayutthaya Ancient Capital Tour with River Cruise
- Shangri-La Hotel's Buffet Dinner Cruise
- Bridge on the River Kwai & Historic Railway Tour
- Siam Niramit Dinner Show
- Calypso Bangkok Cabaret Show
- Chao Phraya River Dinner Cruise
- Grand Palace & Emerald Buddha Half-Day Tour
Maggie Choo’s is a dark and broody basement venue, the work of popular designer Ashley Sutton, that has a distinct 1930’s Shanghai vibe. It has numerous playful props such as hanging paper umbrellas, terracotta-style warrior statues. Often, sexy models in traditional Chinese get-up nonchalantly rocking back and forth on swings suspended from the ceiling. The entrance is very cool: walk down the steep steps into a small noodle shop, with the much larger bar hidden by thick drapes – it feels like a dirty little secret every time you enter.
Private booths are set inside what used to be the East India Company’s old bank vaults (complete with exposed brickwork and giant metal doors) and there’s also a grand piano that’s used for live music events. The cocktails are great though a bit pricey, often served almost ceremonially with plenty of dry ice, garnish and even candyfloss! Read More...
- Opening Hours: Daily from 7.30pm to 2am
- Location: Novotel Bangkok Fenix Silom Hotel, 320 Silom Road, Silom, Bang Rak, Bangkok 10500, Thailand
- Tel: +66 (0)91 772 2144
Iron Fairies is a popular drinking den that constantly draws Thong Lor’s young and trendy crowd. The low lighting provides a mysterious and alluring setting across the 2-level bar, and exposed pipes, a wrought iron staircase and worn-down timber/brickwork surfaces help to create a definite industrial, ironsmith’s theme.
Drinks-wise, Iron Fairies has local beers, but any of their signature cocktails are must-tries. Food is limited but they do serve some pretty mean burgers, and there’s also a live jazz and blues band playing from 9pm onwards and often with an open mic night on Mondays. Read More...
- Opening Hours: Monday–Saturday from 11am to 8pm, Sundays from 5pm to 8pm
- Location: 402-404, 55 Sukhumvit Road, Khlong Tan, Watthana, Bangkok 10110, Thailand
- Tel: +66 (0)99 918 1600
Smalls fell into Bangkok’s niche category of expat neighbourhood bars when it opened back in 2014. But as things change quickly in Bangkok, through word of mouth, media attention, and the fact that the same street has welcomed a handful of other new drinking dens, Smalls became one of the most talked-about bars in town.
Set over 3 floors of a refurbished 1960s townhouse, Smalls is defined by its dark and broody atmosphere, created by some well-chosen Parisian-inspired décor, low lighting and a sophisticated soundtrack of soft jazz. Read More...
- Opening Hours: Wednesday–Monday from 7pm to 2am (closed on Tuesdays)
- Location: 186, 3-4 Suan Phlu 1 Alley, Thung Maha Mek, Sathorn, Bangkok 10120, Thailand
- Tel: +66 (0)95 585 1398
Havana Social Bangkok is a cool bar on Sukhumvit Soi 11, which takes a prohibition theme to new heights of authenticity. Think dim lights, classic rum cocktails, exposed beams and crumbling plaster – the 1940s pre-revolution Cuba theme is painstakingly well executed. Bar staff are smartly dressed and coiffured, as are the socialite crowd who were cool enough to find their way to this ‘secret’ bar.
The reason why it’s such a secret is there is no signage or front door. Instead, there is just a mock-retro phone booth. Step inside, dial the secret code and a false door in the back of the phone booth swings open. It’s the most unusual entrance to a bar you might’ve ever seen in Bangkok! Located down a small soi opposite Fraser Suites Hotel, there is no sign or bar front at all. Just look for a ‘Telefono’ sign. There is a large Banana Club sign at the entrance to the soi. Read More...
- Opening Hours: Daily from 6pm to 2am (live bands on Friday and Saturday from 10pm to midnight)
- Location: 41, 3 Sukhumvit Road, Khlong Toei Nuea, Watthana, Bangkok 10110
- BTS: Nana
- Tel: +66 (0)2 821 6111
Vesper Cocktail Bar, named after James Bonds’ famous martini, is a fancy cocktail bar and Italian restaurant serving some of the finest drinks in Bangkok. The level of detail and preparation that goes into making each drink is truly a cut above anywhere else – which does come across in the cost. The vibe is one of quiet sophistication, suitable for groups of ladies to enjoy a few drinks, but also lots of fun.
Located just a few steps from Sala Daeng BTS Station in Silom, Vesper is easy to find, and find it you should because they are serious about making the best cocktails in Bangkok. Read More...
- Opening Hours: Monday - Saturday 18:00 to 01:00; Sunday 18:00-24:00
- Location: 10/15 Convent Rd, Silom, Bang Rak, Bangkok 10500, Thailand
- Tel: +66 (0)2 235 2777
About Eatery is a bar and restaurant that’s serious about natural wines, craft beers, and small-batch liquors. The grand idea has been to make a casual hangout that is affordable to just about everyone while promoting ecologically sound food and drinks.
The menu, too, has been compiled with a mind on sustainability and organic ingredients so you know that a night in About Eatery is just about the healthiest place to have a good session. It is claimed that organic wines never give you a hangover the next day... but that's for you to find out. Read More...
- Opening Hours: Daily from 11.30am to 2.30pm and from 5.30pm to 11pm
- Location: Ocean Tower II, Sukhumvit 21 Soi 3, Khlong Toei, Watthana, Bangkok 10110, Thailand
- BTS: Asoke
- Tel: +66 (0)92 907 2191
The Bamboo Bar Bangkok is a live jazz music institution. Located on the ground floor of the beautifully maintained Mandarin Oriental Bangkok Hotel, the whole bar is decked out in dark wood and marble, leather and rattan, with low lights and a mirrored ceiling making this a very popular place to sample award-winning cocktails.
This sophisticated venue has always evoked a somewhat colonial, late-19th-century charm, but one that's at the same time moody and stylish. Read More...
- Opening Hours: Sunday–Thursday from 5pm to 1am, Friday–Saturday from 5pm to 2am
- Location: Mandarin Oriental Bangkok, 48 Oriental Ave, Bang Rak, Bangkok 10500, Thailand
- BTS: Sala Daeng
- Tel: +66 (0)2 659 9000
Paii at the elegant The House on Sathorn has a bar area that’s replete with lavish touches like heavy leather sofas, hanging artwork and a beautifully elaborate ceiling. Behind the bar, the skilled team have a short and concise cocktail menu with signature drinks, a section for the classics, and several pages of wines and whiskies.
Although the signatures are short in number, each one jumps off the page. A top tipple is The Garden: a gin-based drink with floral overtones worthy of the name, made with chrysanthemum-and thyme-infused gin, chamomile tea, lemon zest and fresh rosemary shaken with a frothy head. There’s even rum-based creation using yuzu, seaweed and measured use of salt for a taste of the sea. But this is the type of bar where you can ask for something special and have your very own drink created in front of you. Read More...
- Opening Hours: Daily from midday to midnight
- Location: W Bangkok and The House on Sathorn, 106 North Sathorn Road, Silom, Bangkok 10500, Thailand
- BTS: Chong Nongsi
- Tel: +66 (0)2 344 4025
Brown Sugar is a long-running, sleek and stylish venue that has become famous for being one of the best bars in Bangkok for live music. It’s just a stone’s throw away from the craziness of Khao San Road.
With over 27 years in the game, Brown Sugar sits up to 200 people 7 nights per week. With the emphasis more on the live jazz music more than anything else, the food and drinks list isn’t as extensive as some of our other picks, but you can still get a mean Martini or local bottle of beer that’s decently priced. Read More...
- Opening Hours: Sunday–Thursday from 5pm to 1am, Friday–Saturday from 5pm to 2am (closed on Mondays)
- Location: 469 Phra Sumen Rd, Bowonniwet, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok 10200, Thailand
- Tel: +66 (0)89 499 1378
Tuba Bar is a part thrift store, part unashamed hipster hangout in the affluent Ekkamai neighbourhood. It easily makes it to any list of best bars in Bangkok with its wacky decor, mammoth cocktail list and feel-good bohemian vibes. The whole place features a kaleidoscope of colours, furniture and artwork, with an ample supply of erotic paintings hanging on the walls, mismatching vintage chairs, retro lighting and quirky props dotted around – including a life-size Spiderman statue and 19th-century diving helmet.
Drinks are reasonably priced for this neck of the woods. Fans of European beers and ales will be particularly pleased thanks to some rare beers (at least for Bangkok) on tap such as Boddingtons, Guinness and Paulaner, as well as an excellent selection of Belgian bottled beers. They also have a pool table, TV screens and do some pretty decent Thai grub as well. Read More...
- Opening Hours: Daily from 11am to 2am
- Location: 34 Ekkamai 21 Alley, Khlong Tan, Watthana, Bangkok 10110, Thailand
- Tel: +66 (0)2 711 5500