Destination: Thailand: Bangkok
You all but expect to come across Joseph Conrad or Graham Greene nursing a whiskey at the venerable, but fun, Bamboo Bar in the Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok, which features leopard- and tiger-print fabrics and an array of potted greenery. It’s not memorable enough to warrant a special trip, but if you’re having dinner at one of the restaurants, it’s a nice spot for a drink before or after.
Dome at State Tower
The three bars on top of the State Tower—Distil, Sky and Ocean 52—may be overpriced and their ambience a bit too-cool-for-school, but their views are so spectacular that a cocktail here is a must for anyone, especially the first-time visitor. Sky and Distil are on the sixty-fourth floor. Don’t be surprised when, once out of the elevator, you find yourself accosted by staff asking to escort you to either venue (the staff-to-guest ratio seems to be 5:1). Distil, to the right of the elevator bank, is relaxed and chill: it is lined with wide, cushy seating areas where you can lounge as Bangkok twinkles in the background. Sky is the more aggressively hip and arguably more breathtaking place: a stand-only bar-in-the-round, lined with lit glass, that looks as if it hung suspended over the city (you can actually see it from the river). The newest addition, Breeze, on the fifty-second floor, offers a more traditional bar; the ambience is more tranquil and intimate. The Dome has four restaurants as well (read an Indagare member’s review of Sirocco, on the sixty-fourth floor), but most come here for cocktails and the view.
TIP: To get to the Dome, you can use the main entrance to the State Tower (walk through the strange, mall-like space and use the back left exit to get to the elevators leading to the Dome), but it’s easier to look for the signs leading to Lebua, a hotel located in the multi-use tower.
This special bar-restaurant complex, sister of Face in Shanghai and Beijing, is housed in the heart of a complex of beautifully restored traditional Thai buildings. Even though its only a few minutes’ walk from the buzzy nightlife of the Sukhumvit (along Soi 38, recommended for its food stalls), Face is a calm enclave. It has several levels and small sitting areas outfitted with raised Chinese beds and cushy chairs, and a beautiful old-wood bar where you can lounge over a martini or a fresh Thai smoothie. There’s a pool table, but the place has a distinctly chill, quiet vibe, perfect for a cocktail before dinner at Hazara, also located on the premises, or at any of the other restaurants in this area, like Spring-Summer-Winter.
Skip the restaurant of the recently opened the Long Table and reserve a leather sofa on the terrace for cocktails instead. Located on the twenty-fifth floor of a residential building, the Long Table bar boasts incredible views of the city, and drinks are a fraction of the price of those at the bars in the State Tower. Afterward, go for dinner at any of the restaurants in the Sukhumvit area, like Hazara or Spring-Summer-Winter. Bed Supperclub, managed and launched by the same group behind Long Table, is also a quick Sky Train ride away.
Technically, the bar at the Metropolitan hotel is a “members only” hot spot, but you can call ahead and get yourself on the list. There are comfy leather-chaise seating groups, trendy cocktails (think Tom Yumtini), loungy music and Bangkok’s beau monde to watch. But be sure to come on a weekend after dinner, as the bar tends to be dead during the week.
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