The best bars in Bangkok

From sundowners on a rooftop to basement bars and candlelit corners serving cocktails and natural wine, Bangkok is packed with defiantly different drinking dens – you just need to know where to look.

Words by Laurel Tuohy
Last updated: January 9, 2024
Bangkok's best bars | the upstairs drinking area at Tai Soon
Tai Soon Bar, Rattanakosin

Bangkok’s best bars offer a remarkable breadth of drinking: day sipping by the river, expertly crafted cocktails at a rooftop bar, or an ice-cold beer with your street food from one of Bangkok’s best restaurants are just a few of the opportunities for imbibing here. Head to nightlife-centric areas like Nana, Thong Lor or Silom to join the endless throngs of revellers, or sample award-winning serves in globally recognised drinking dens as a precursor to a night experiencing Bangkok’s lively music scene.

Bangkok’s bar scene

In order to experience the drinks scene at its best, you need to know what you’re doing, and getting a local’s view of Bangkok is vital. Nondescript doors are a secret portal to elegant spaces where an affluent crowd quaff floral-scented champagne concoctions; dive bars ladle up homemade umeshu (Japanese plum wine); and reggae DJs set the mood for nights that last well into the morning. If you’re after the very best boozing that Bangkok has to offer, you’ve come to the right place. These are the best bars in Bangkok, ordered by neighbourhood.

Old Town

Stretching from the west bank of the Chao Phraya River, Bangkok’s Old Town neighbourhood is as mysterious as it is intriguing. Every alley has something surprising to offer: some of them bustle with activity, while others contain centuries-old temples where the only movement comes from smoke drifting lazily from the joss incense sticks. In the last few years, this charming older side of the city has become the go-to destination for hip bars that favour vintage decor and cutting-edge cocktails. Though these drinking dens may be a bit harder to find, they’re well worth the effort. Old Town is also home to some of Bangkok’s most charming boutique hotels.

Warm, dimly lit interiors at Mala Bangkok, a natural wine bar in CharoenKrung
Mala is a flower shop that transforms into a natural wine bar in the evening

Mala

Best for: natural wine and candlelit interiors
Location: 328/6, 43 Charoen Krung Road, Si Phraya, Bang Rak, Bangkok 10500
Price: natural wine by the glass

Mala is tucked away in Bangkok’s Charoenkrung district, known for its restaurants and independent boutiques. The rustic space is a flower shop by day, which transforms into an atmospheric natural wine bar in the evening. Warm, candlelit interiors are matched by an impressive and regularly rotating wine list, served with casual small plates including cheese and charcuterie boards and crispy gochujang potato chips. Step inside via our video here.
@malabkk

The best bars in Bangkok | the exterior of Tax Bar with eye-catching typography
Eye-catching typography at Tax Bar

Tax Bar

Best for: creative cocktails
Location: 695-697 Maitri Chit Road, Khwaeng Pom Prap, Khet Pom Prap Sattru Phai, Bangkok
Price: Cocktails from 420 THB / 12.50 USD

Hidden away behind a concrete wall and up a set of stairs is where you’ll find Tax Bar. There’s no sign, but you’ll know you’re in the right place when you see the graffiti on the wall that reads, “Nothing is certain but death & tax.” Tax Bar opened post-Covid with a menu of vinegar-based alcoholic drinks in response to the harsh government taxes on traditional alcohol and the lack of support for bar and restaurant owners during the pandemic. The dark and moody space continues to serve this politically slanted menu, alongside more refined offerings such as the Chrysanthemum Fizz with a full bloom floating in the glass. Tax Bar is run by the team behind Teens of Thailand (more on that below).
instagram.com/tax_bar_bkk

The best bars in Bangkok | Mahaniyom

Mahaniyom Cocktail Bar

Best for: daring drinks, inventive cocktails
Location: 104 Maha Set Road, Si Phraya, Bang Rak, Bangkok, 10500
Price: Cocktails from 420 THB / 12.50 USD

A sumptuous bar with souk-inspired decor, this otherworldly space offers creative cocktails with the utmost attention to detail. These perfectly complement the menu of edgy bar snacks provided by 100 Mahaseth, the nose-to-tail restaurant downstairs. The cocktails feature unusual ingredients like blue cheese air and beef fat and feel like a whole experience rather than a drink. For thrill-seekers, the Squid combines vodka, mezcal, mirin, and dried squid before being topped with a black layer of squid ink. For those feeling less adventurous, the coffee cocktail is a sweet salvation that still packs a boozy punch.
facebook.com

Bangkok's best bars | Red neon signage outside Tai Soon
Red neon signage outside Tai Soon

Tai Soon Bar

Best for: homemade craft beer with a retro Chinese vibe
Location: 190 Maha Chai Rd, Samran Rat, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok 10200
Price: cocktails from 200 THB/6 USD

This duplex bar is dotted with picturesque red lanterns, and sits directly across the street from the obscurely located Jay Fai, Bangkok’s only Michelin-starred street food joint, one widely considered one of the city’s essential restaurants. Pro tip: arrive at Jay Fai, put your name on the waiting list, then nip over to Tai Soon to while away the hours with Thai lagers, IPAs and stouts. The time is guaranteed to fly by.
@TAISOONBARThai

Bangkok's best bars | a throng of people at favourite Teens of Thailand
Teens of Thailand's buzzing bar

Teens of Thailand

Best for: Gin cocktails in Chinatown
Location: 76 Soi Nana, Chinatown,  Bangkok 10100
Price: Cocktails from 250 THB/7.50 USD

Ready to kick things up a gear? Kratom is a natural leaf with stimulant properties native to South East Asia that’s making its way into cool cocktails. Try it for yourself at Teens of Thailand, alongside unique juniper-scented concoctions and an excellent array of G&Ts. The bar is tucked away on Soi Nana, an alleyway in Chinatown.
@teensofthailand

The best bars in Bangkok | the exterior of Pijiu Bar, Bangkok, with bicycles in view
Outside Pijiu Bar

Pijiu Bar

Best for: craft beer
Location: 16 Soi Nana, Pom Prap Sattru Phai, Thailand, Bangkok, 10110
Price: Beers from 150 THB / 4.50 USD

A cosy, retro shophouse with unpretentious vibes, this address on the always-trendy Soi Nana concentrates on craft beer, with a well-stocked fridge of bottled artisanal ales, and a curation of current favourites on tap. Feel free to ask questions, as the bilingual team are well-versed on brews. Pijiu also features an interesting menu of Chinese bar snacks like spicy chicken knuckles and an Asian take on a charcuterie platter that includes smoked duck, sweet grilled pork, and liver hotdogs.
instagram.com/pijiu_bar

The best bars in Bangkok | Two people talking in front of a large mural at Tropic City
Tropic City

Tropic City

Best for: Rum cocktails
Location: 672/65 Charoen Krung Soi 28, Old Town, Bangkok 10500
Price: Cocktails from 350 THB/11 USD

It’s impossible to feel anything but outrageously happy in Tropic City, where a colourful design (think Miami Vice meets Southeast Asia) brightens even the dullest of moods, and drinking a rum cocktail out of a pineapple is cool rather than cringe. DJs spinning lo-fi hip hop reaffirms the bar as a hipster hangout, but the crowd won’t judge you (much) if you take a selfie for your Instagram.
tropiccitybkk.com

City guide advert
City guide advert

ThongLor

A long-established hangout for both artsy and affluent city dwellers, ThongLor boasts a vibrant mix of cafes, experimental eateries, boutique hotels, and an around-the-clock buzz, while its narrow side streets unearth gritty after-hours nightspots and late-night noodle stalls. ThongLor is where you can expect to find gallerists drinking alongside art collectors at a wide array of bars serving up variations on champagne cocktails, lemongrass-infused creations, and boozy concoctions you won’t remember the next morning — until you check your Instagram.

The best bars in Bangkok | a cocktail at Untitled
A cocktail at Untitled

Untitled

Best for: Kowloon cocktails
Location: 171 Soi Thonglor 10, Bangkok 10110
Price: Cocktails start at 420 THB / 12.50 USD

Unlike many other bars on this list, you won’t be able to pass by Untitled without noticing it. Covered in fluorescent lights and a brightly lit pawn shop sign, this ballsy bar was built to stand out. The bar presents solidly inventive drinks in a more celebratory environment than most of the area’s quiet, upscale offerings. With DJs from 9pm on most nights, this is a place to let your hair down while quaffing signatures like the highball-inspired AFS, which mixes scotch, apple and soda with barrel-aged fish sauce.
facebook.com/untitled.thonglor

Best Bangkok bars | A drink garnished with an orange wheel in a tall glass on a coaster that reads 'Wasted Trust Fund' at WTF
WTF Gallery & Bar

WTF Gallery & Cafe

Best for: An artsy crowd and unique cocktails
Location: 7 Sukhumvit Soi 51, Thong Lor, Bangkok 10110
Price: Cocktails from 275 THB/8 USD

Billing itself as a ‘creative social club’, this small shophouse and bar sits on one of Thong Lor’s quieter streets. The apothecary-inspired space (booze is medicine, right?) makes deliciously irreverent drinks and hosts art exhibits upstairs. This is the kind of place where you can expect to find off-duty artists, designers of all kinds, and Bangkok’s literati perched at the bar, come to soak up the surrounds in this bar-slash-gallery (one of Bangkok’s coolest museums and galleries, if you’re asking).
wtfbangkok.com

The best bars in Bangkok | People gathered in a dark bar with green lamps hanging from the ceiling at 12 x 12 bar.
12 x 12

12 x 12

Best for: Beer bar with a twist
Location: 22 Thara Rom Soi 2, Khlong Tan Nuea, Watthana, Bangkok 10110
Price: Cocktails from 200 THB/6 USD 

Tucked down a side street and behind a gate on a Thong Lor side street, this hidden bar is worth finding. Expect to hear live DJs spinning a variety of genres, from soul to funk, reggae and beyond. Attracting a subversive mix of punks, expats and musicians, they make their own umeshu and serve it out of a barrel (we wouldn’t recommend drinking too much of it though).
@12x12bkk

Bangkok's best bars | Leather high chairs and mirrors at Rabbit Hole bar
Bangkok's Rabbit Hole bar

Rabbit Hole

Best for: Fine cocktails (think fine-dining for drinks)
Location: 125 Thong Lor Road, Bangkok 10110
Price: Cocktails from 375 THB/11 USD

When it comes to Bangkok’s best bars, Rabbit Hole is one of our favourites. Aptly named, it hides behind an unmarked door in ThongLor – but what it lacks in exterior, it more than makes up for with its drinks, which mix ingredients like absinthe with smoked tea soda. King of the cocktails is Supawit ‘Palm’ Muttaratana, an award-winning Thai bartender that serves up his indulgent recipes to the city’s late-night glitterati. With such acclaim it’s no surprise the bar gets very crowded, but unlike many other upmarket establishments, they’ll let you order and stand with your drink rather than being turned away because there are no tables.
rabbitholebkk.com

Silom & Sathorn

The riverside neighbourhoods of Silom and Sathorn made up the former mercantile centre of Bangkok, surrounding the ports of the Chao Phraya River. Once home to rich merchants and traders, the area still retains its cache and array of glitzy, high-end residences and restaurants. The Silom area hosts the city’s main LGBTQ+ nightlife area and a lively red light district with tiny bars tucked away in every corner, while Sathorn features envelope-pushing and award-winning drinking dens.

Best bars in Bangkok | A green marble-topped bar and dark brown leather stools at Vesper
The long bar at Vesper

Vesper

Best for: Award-winning cocktails
Location: 10/15 Sala Daeng Soi 2, Silom, Bang Rak, Bangkok 10500
Price: Cocktails from 400 THB/12 USD

Friendly yet refined, Vesper offers heady, low-lit romance just steps from the crowds of Silom, perfect for getting your evening off to a sophisticated start before further revelry kicks in. The staff serve up signature cocktails that mix ingredients like yuzu sake with saffron sorbet, and offer advice in a way that hits the glorious sweet spot between knowledgeable and welcoming.
vesperbar.co

Bangkok's best bars | the wooden bar at industry favourite Smalls
Smalls

Smalls

Best for: Classic cocktails
Location: 186/3 Suan Plu Soi 1, Sathorn, Bangkok 10120
Price: Cocktails from 300 THB/9 USD

Smalls is, er, anything but small: multi-level, packed with locals, and buzzing with energy, it’s a Bangkok bar that just gets better as the night rolls on. It has a rep for being the place to go after-hours, when BKK’s other bars and restaurants close up shop – so you know it’s where a great night out begins (or ends). Get prepared to quite literally rub elbows with your fellow drinkers, too, because it’s never not busy.
@smallsbkk

Lower Sukhumvit

In years past, the lower Sukhumvit neighbourhoods of Asoke, Ploenchit, Chitlom, and Siam were where Bangkokians went to work, run errands, and cross various tasks off their endless to-do lists. In those days, if you wanted a drink in these midtown neighbourhoods, you were relegated to hotel lobbies, girly bars, and faux Irish pubs. Today, drink entrepreneurs have caught on to the fact that everyone passes through here — and many of them could do with a drink.

The bets bars in Bangkok | Empty bar at Behind the Curtain

Behind the Curtain (Phrom Pong / Lower Sukhumvit)

Style: dessert and drinks
Location: 30 Attha Kawi 1 Alley, Khlong Tan, Khlong Toei, Bangkok 10110
Price: Cocktails from 420 THB / 12.50 USD

Taking its name from its position hidden behind a dramatic floor-to-ceiling curtain at the back of the popular Mia restaurant in Phrom Pong, this stylish and intimate offering is making a name for itself with its reservation-only, five-course omakase dessert and drink pairing experience. If you’re not in the mood for eating, you can also walk in on any night to try their signature cocktail menu, which presents new twists on classic combinations. The Old Passion, made from a base of passion fruit laced bourbon, orange flower tea, agave syrup, and bitters, is finished with clove smoke and acts as a fitting accompaniment to the small plates on offer.
instagram.com/barbehindthecurtain

bangkok-rooftop-bar-kimpton-maa-lai-bangkok
Bar.Yard rooftop bar at Kimpton Maa-Lai

Bar.Yard

Style: Tiki cocktails and craft beer
Location: Kimpton Maa-Lai Bangkok, 78 Soi Ton Son, Lumphini, Bangkok 10330
Occasion: with friends, date
Price: Cocktails from 300 THB/9 USD

No visit to Bangkok is complete without a trip to a rooftop bar, and Bar.Yard is one of the best. A 40th-floor tiki bar with a menu that’s heavy on American-style bbq food (think brisket tacos and melt-in-your-mouth ribs), this sky-high destination inside the Kimpton Maa-Lai Bangkok hotel (one of Bangkok’s most beautiful hotels) bills itself as a day club, rooftop oasis and bar. Expect upbeat DJs spinning a curated mix of funk, disco and R&B, as well as regional craft beers, and several coveted corners to watch the sunset and get that perfect sky bar photo (you know you want to).
kimptonmaalaibangkok.com

A drink lit under a spotlight with an orange on fire on top | The best bars in Bangkok
Q&A Bar

Q&A Bar

Style: Fine cocktails with Thai touches
Location: 235/13 Sukhumvit Soi 21, Asoke, Bangkok 10110
Occasion: Mates and special dates
Price: Cocktails from 350 THB/11 USD

Conveniently located next to one of the city’s main intersections in Asoke – a very central area that’s inexplicably lacking in fine dining and drinking options – this tiny refuge feels like the bar cabin of a luxurious train. The drinks list leans on local ingredients like lemongrass and pandan, with homemade boozy ice creams that are potent enough to provide a nice buzz. It’s the perfect place to meet friends for a pre-gaming cocktail in a central location.
qnabar.com

 

Still thirsty? Discover the best rooftop bars in Bangkok, for skyline views and more.