On She Goes

Thai in the Sky: Cafés, Bars & Drinks in Bangkok

The best places to grab a drink in the land of smiles.

Annette Richmond
Annette Richmond
March 21, 2018
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Bangkok, the capital of the Kingdom of Thailand, is known for its rich history, kind people, delicious food, and gorgeous temples, and it should be at the top of every wander list. There are endless things to see and activities to try, but what’s better than getting drinks, either boozy or nonalcoholic, in a new city? I visited Bangkok for the first time in 2016 and immediately fell in love with the most populous city in the Land of Smiles. When I boarded my flight back to the United States, I vowed to return for an extended visit. I’ve been here for five months and have compiled a list of all of the best cafés, sky bars, and speakeasies in town.

Annette sips on something cold and colorful at Bangkok’s Unicorn Cafe. 
photo courtesy of Annette Richmond

Cafés
Bangkok is known for its unique and even zany cafés. Here are a few that are worth a visit.

Perhaps Rabbits’
5/1 Ekkamai 10 Alley
Khlong Tan Nuea
Watthana

Perhaps Rabbits’ is the perfect place if you’re looking for wonderment in Bangkok. The space is centered around a large red maple tree. As you walk in, you feel like Alice seeing everything with fresh eyes: the bold, tiled floors, pretty pops of pink, and the cute clocks everywhere. Crooked arrows, playing cards, keys, and mixed prints are the main source for decor in this cozy café. When in Wonderland, what could be better than tea for two or just for you? Sip tea from one of the adorable tea sets and spoil yourself with the Mad Hatter Mousse, a sweet treat. There’s also a small playroom, so you can bring the kids for a family day.

Unicorn Cafe
44/1 Sathon 8
Silom
Bang Rak

Stepping into the Unicorn Cafe is like entering a pastel-colored dream filled with rainbows, sprinkles, and, of course, unicorns! Unicorns can be found painted on the walls, dangling from the ceiling, sitting on chairs—and you can even wear a unicorn onesie! The menu is just as whimsical, with rainbow-colored spaghetti carbonara, unicorn burgers with french-fry horns, and frozen rainbow ombré drinks. I opted for one of the refreshing frozen drinks to help beat the Bangkok heat. It was sweet, cold, and topped with star sprinkles.

Mocking Tales
Sukhumvit 55
G Floor Maze Project
Thonglor

If fairy tales are more to your liking, check out Mocking Tales. This fantasy dessert café is decorated like a medieval castle and doubles as a bar. With food and drinks inspired by fairy-tale favorites and magical movies, there’s bound to be something for everyone. Try the best-selling Snow White–inspired Poisoned Apple or the Harry Potter–inspired Magical Light cocktail. I’m a Harry Potter fanatic so I had to sample the Magical Light, which was a subtly sweet combination of gin, Martini Rosso, and peach schnapps.

Sunset views from Bangkok’s L’Appart sky bar.
photo by Annette Richmond

Sky Bars
Get an incredible bird’s-eye view of the city from some of the most impressive sky bars in town.

Sky Bar
1055 Silom Rd
Khwaeng Silom
Khet Bang Rak

The infamous Sky Bar at the Lebua Hotel is probably most well known for its cameo in The Hangover Part II. Situated on the 64th floor of State Tower, the second-tallest building in Thailand, Sky Bar is the highest open-air bar in the world. It’s also one of the best places to see the sunset over the Chao Phraya river. After dark, watch the light show as the LED-illuminated cylindrical bar changes colors every 90 seconds.

Sky Bar features creative cocktails including poptails, a combination of a frozen treat and a cocktail, and the Hangovertini, a strong, green-hued blend of green tea liqueur, Martini Rosso, green apple juice, and rosemary-infused honey, named to honor the film. This sweet drink was worth the price, as the flavors were unlike anything I’ve ever tasted.

Above Eleven
Sukhumvit Rd, Soi 11
33rd Floor
Fraser Suites Sukhumvit

Above Eleven is a Central Park–inspired rooftop bar situated 32 floors above Bangkok’s premier party street, Sukhumvit Road. Like Central Park, the green lung to a sprawling city, this two-floor bar with structural trees and grass-covered walls brings the outdoors in. From hip-hop to jazz to salsa, Above Eleven offers a different sound each night. The unique eats and drinks are an unusual mix of Peruvian-Japanese fusion options. With cocktails, mocktails, and reasonably priced beer and wine, there’s something here for everyone and any budget. One of my favorites is their Rohito, which mixes Grey Goose vodka, watermelon liqueur, and passion fruit juice.

L’Appart
189 Sukhumvit Rd
Sofitel Bangkok Sukhumvit

On the 34th floor of the luxurious Sofitel, L’Appart, a Persian-style lounge, is serving up delicious French cuisine with Thai touches and cocktails that are almost too pretty to drink . . . almost. Every item in this chicly decorated space is imported from Europe. Step outside for stunning views of one of Bangkok’s most popular areas, Sukhumvit. Head here between 5 and 7 p.m. to catch the sunset and happy hour. My favorite cocktail combinations? The French Passion, followed by the Lychee Antoinette.

A glimpse of the iconic Temple of the Reclining Buddha, commonly known as Wat Pho.
photo by Annette Richmond

Speakeasies
Is there anything cooler than a secret bar? These modern versions of speakeasies have a sense of mystery and the allure of the past during the Prohibition era. Bangkok is known for its unique bars, clubs, and all-around party atmosphere. These speakeasies are a little more exclusive and a lot more elusive.

Havana Social
Soi 11
Sukhumvit Rd
Contact: Call 061-450-3750 for the secret entry code

Havana Social takes you back to the ’40s in pre-revolutionary Cuba. Situated on Bangkok’s party street, Sukhumvit Road, Havana Social is hidden behind an old telephone booth and requires a secret code to get in. Look for the “TELÉFONO” sign in an alley opposite Fraser Suites. Old-fashioned furniture, crumbling walls, and clothes hanging from the ceiling are just a few examples of how they pay attention to detail to transport you back in time, while live Afro-Cuban music and various DJs have you dancing the night away. Take your pick of Cuban-inspired cocktails, including the best mojito in the city. From Brazil and Panama to the Philippines and Venezuela, Havana Social houses spirits from all over the world. So pick your poison, then add a Cubano sandwich.

Boroski Bangkok
Soi 9
Thonglor Rd

Boroski Bangkok throws caution to the wind, abandoning an address and a menu. This dimly lit bar is hidden down a dark alley on the odd number side of Thonglor. Look for frosted-glass doors, or simply send them a message on Facebook to request directions. There’s no menu, so let the bartenders know some of your favorite flavors and be prepared to be impressed. I wanted something sweet but balanced, and I love the flavors of mango and coconut, so I tried their homemade coconut vodka infusion mixed with sweet, cold-pressed juice.

It’s all thanks to Joseph Boroski, a “mixsultant” who has mixed cocktails for a host of bars, restaurants, and hotels around the world. J. Boroski’s drinks should be at the top of the list for every cocktail connoisseur.