Bangkok shows off a full palette of colours, when she lets her hair down. Like her wild and generous character, the night life knows no boundaries – and whether you’re scouting for chic rooftop bars or eclectic underground clubs, the choices are abundant.
Here are 10 hotspots you don’t want to miss …
In recent years, Parking Toys has earned itself a reputation as the go-to party spot in the Huai Khwang area.
A little adventure may be needed to get there, but that’s all part of the fun, especially when it comes to finding feel-good and completely relaxed local joints like this one.
A mixed crowd, from dolled-up Thai pretties sipping elegantly on their whisky and cokes, to groups of young Thai men swigging back the beers – as well as a sprinkling of expats and travellers – means no one will feel out of place.
The restaurant closes around midnight, but the live music keeps the cheerful vibe going until around 2am.
14 Prasert-Manukitch Road
Area: Bangkok north
Station: Huai Khwang MRT
A conversation often shared among die-hard party heads: ‘Hey, you know [insert name of famous House or Drum and Bass DJ] is in town!’ ‘Really? Where’s the show?’ The answer is almost always: Glow.
The small street-level entrance, hidden down an alley off the labyrinth that joins 23 and 31, is easy enough to miss – and perhaps that’s how those in-the-know like it.
Head downstairs into the basement and plunge into the mass of limbs belonging to Bangkok’s biggest (and sweatiest) ravers.
If all that up-close partying gets a bit much, head upstairs for the dimly lit lounge where revellers slump down into deep sofas and get better acquainted …
Sukhumvit Soi 23
Cloud 47 is one of the latest and best additions to Bangkok’s booming rooftop bar scene.
Enter through an inconspicuous office building on Silom Road, wait patiently for the elevator to reach the 47th floor, step outside, and then it hits you: a stunning 270-degree view of Bangkok’s skyline.
Along with the incredible panorama, Cloud 47 is set apart from all the other rooftop bars in Bangkok with is its huge terrace, providing ample space for visitors to move around at their own leisure.
Luckily, management have shied away from charging completely silly prices, so this is all win-win.
Cloud 47, 47/F, United Center, Silom Road
Station: Sala Daeng BTS
Barka bar and restaurant has a special vibe that’s totally its own, with numerous bicycles hanging from the walls, plush antique leather sofas and huge wooden desks that would look more at home in a graphic design studio.
The atmosphere is friendly and casual, and the setting goes very well with the young and lively crowd pulled in every night. While trendy, the relaxed setting also goes well with kids, so bring the family along.
The food plays a significant part in the popularity, too, for this new diner on Bangkok’s Phaholyothin road. Local chefs concoct an imaginative international menu with treats like lamb shank, chicken tikka masala and duck breast salad, all as delicious and impressing as the creative interior.
128/10 Phaholyothin Soi 2
Area: Bangkok north
Station: Sanam Pao BTS
Serious about your cocktails? You needn’t look further than Vesper.
Nestled in the heart of Silom on Convent Road, you won’t find any 99-baht, watered-down Mai Tais or all-day happy hours here. Vesper instead brings a touch of class, with their imported team of London-based mixologists concocting an intriguing list of drinks.
Drinks include the popular ‘Coleford Sour’ (Bourbon, blackcurrant preserve, egg white and lemon) and the odd-but-delicious ‘Secret Earl Grey’ (Earl Grey-infused gin, lemon, egg white and grapefruit).
You can also indulge Vesper’s food menu, which is packed full of specialist imported European ingredients, all while soaking up the sophisticated gentlemen’s club-style surroundings.
10/15 Convent Road. Bangkok
Station: Sala Daeng BTS
Sirocco at Lebua State Tower
Consistently named as one of the top-10 rooftop bars in the world, Sirocco Sky Bar is the go-to watering hole for many travellers who have just touched down in the Thai capital.
Sitting pretty 63 storeys up at the top of the Lebua State Tower, this world-famous spot boasts some hard-to-beat panoramic views, an iconic central dome structure, and five-star food prepared by some of the most renowned chefs in Asia.
Some might label Sirocco as being over-commercialized and pretentious, and with vast crowds being ushered in and out of its stand-up only bar area – together with some astronomical price tags – they may have a point. But it’s pretension with stunning views!
1055/42 Silom Road
Station: Saphan Taksin BTS
Hyde & Seek
The first gastro bar in Bangkok, Hyde & Seek is well-regarded as a trailblazer for many a new and trendy restaurant in the city.
This popular Thai celebrity hangout lures with well-prepared, hearty comfort food, from steak and sticky ribs to Vichyssoise and soft shell crab. And creative cocktails, mixed with precision.
The focal point is its enormous bar, which makes for playful, social dining and allows a good view of the superstar bartenders mixing things up.
65/1 Athenee Residence, Soi Ruamrudee
Station: Phloen Chit
Shades of Retro
A little-known and well-loved spot, Shades of Retro is a low-key but high-fashion drinking-den-turned-antique-furniture-treasure-trove-turned-vintage-clothing-thrift-store.
Recline on leather couches from the 80s and find yourself among an artsy swarm, possibly seeking a break from the run-of-the-mill pubs or bars pounding out the same party playlist.
As you sip a finely wrought cocktail with bluesy jazz and rock and roll standards crackling in your ears, coo with delight over Vespas, gramophones, lampshades and Barbie dolls stacked precariously on top of each other in every available space. All of which are, incidentally, for sale.
Thong Lo Soi 18
Station: Thong Lo
Crank things up to eleven with a sweeping view of the city lights from the 33rd floor of Fraser Suites.
Join the sexy and trendy expat set for a classy evening at Above Eleven. Sip on a classic cocktail or opt for a signature concoction, many of which nod towards the fusion Peruvian cuisine.
From the second floor mezzanine, make your way through the hidden gate overgrown with ivy to climb upstairs and find yourself in NYC’s Gramercy Park, complete with trees, graffiti and posters for Gay Pride.
No visit would be complete without a trip to the bathroom, which allows for relief with a stunning city view.
Sukhumvit soi 11
At the entrance of Thong Lo’s notorious Arena 10 stands one of the more laid-back options. Muse, if a little lower-key, certainly lacks nothing in the cool stakes.
Join upwardly mobile 20-somethings for a nature-filled night in this green party den with a living plant-wall and even a waterfall.
Head up to the breezy rooftop restaurant, decked out in wood and artificial grass, and start the evening with some fusion food while gazing down into the bar.
Here, on the stage super hip DJs spin fashionable tunes and later, live bands warm up the crowd with rowdy covers of classic pop and rock songs from Thailand and beyond.
159/8 Thonglor Soi 10
Station: Thong Lo