Make your way to Havana Social — if you can find it! — to experience one of Bangkok’s hippest scenes. (Photo: Courtesy of Havana Social)
Away from the glaring neon that characterizes much of Bangkok’s nightlife lie a host of under-the-radar watering holes catering to a more discerning crowd. At the forefront of the latest drinking trends, these places offer rare spirits and an air of exclusivity. The following speakeasies may take some effort (and possibly a password) to find, but your persistence will be rewarded with exceptional craft cocktails.
J. Boroski Mixology
When Joseph Boroski, the mastermind behind legendary local bars such as Iron Fairies and Maggie Choo’s, decided to open his own drinking den, it was bound to be something special.
Sequestered behind a door marked with a tiny brass plaque in a darkened alley, it quickly became Bangkok’s worst-kept nocturnal secret and a gathering place for the city’s most fashionable crowd.
Taxidermic insects and a whole peacock decorate this deeply surreal space designed by Ash Sutton, Boroski’s long-time coconspirator. All tipples at J. Boroski Mixology are bespoke, so don’t bother asking for a menu. Instead, savor a custom-crafted libation that might include anything from black volcanic salt to butterfly pea flowers.
Cruise down Sukhumvit Soi 11’s notorious strip of thumping nightclubs and duck into a tiny side alley near the 7-Eleven.
Enter the secret code into the abandoned phone booth and sashay straight into a piece of old Cuba, where salsa dancers twirl, dip and dazzle to live bands three nights a week.
Vintage furnishings, dark wood and glinting brass make Havana Social one of the sexiest spots in town.
As you might imagine, fine rums feature prominently on the succinct, expertly executed cocktail menu. Whiskey aficionados should head to the upstairs lounge, which also sports an impressive array of cigars.
In perpetually hip Thonglor, step through an unmarked wooden entrance to find this slick speakeasy housed in a refurbished three-story shophouse.
Glam touches like the long marble bar and gleaming, gold-tinted shelves of painstakingly sourced liquors give the room an undeniable ambience.
As drop-dead gorgeous as the design may be, Rabbit Hole‘s appeal runs deeper than mere aesthetics. Suwincha “Chacha” Singsuwan and Naphat “Yod” Natchachon have a well-deserved reputation as two of the city’s most talented mixologists.
Order a martini made with white truffle oil–washed gin and watch well-heeled locals sidle up to the bar.
Sugar Ray, You’ve Just Been Poisoned
What from the outside looks like a gritty dive in the depths of Bangkok’s Ekkamai neighborhood turns out to be one of Bangkok’s hippest bars.
House-made syrups and infusions lend these potent potions a particularly intense aroma.
As delicious as the drinks at Sugar Ray, You’ve Just Been Poisoned may be, half the fun here is watching the action.
Mixologists work their magic on a large communal table right before your eyes, chatting away as they conjure up everything from a perfectly balanced Negroni to fanciful, one-of-a-kind concoctions such as a White Lady, a frothy mix of gin, lemon juice, egg white, Cointreau and apple-cinnamon syrup. T
he staff are almost as passionate about music as they are about mixology, meaning you can expect a thoughtfully curated soundtrack each of the three nights a week it’s open.
With just 10 leather upholstered seats, this intimate, narrow bar hidden away near Asoke has the hushed air of a secret society.
Everything on the menu is excellent, but should you fail to find anything that suits your fancy, the bartenders are more than happy to whip up something special.
The esoteric assembly of spirits here reflects the wealth of knowledge and passion behind Q&A.
Because space is so limited, it’s best to book a reservation in advance to ensure you score one of the coveted spots.