Selecting the best bars in Bangkok is no easy task as this is, after all, a city that's world-renowned for its bustling nightlife scene. There are thousands of drinking spots drawing in millions of thirsty punters to the Thai capital year-round.

    Our list of the best Bangkok bars is based on 4 factors: the quality of drinks, the ambience, the location, and their unique selling points. Our tops picks are spread across all the popular areas of the city, including Khao San (popular with backpackers), the Old City, the hotel and shopping haven of Sukhumvit, Thong Lor and Ekkamai, plus a few wild card entries.

    Maggie Choo’s is a dark and broody basement venue with a distinct 1930’s Shanghai vibe. The work of popular designer Ashley Sutton, the bar has numerous playful props, including hanging paper umbrellas and terracotta-style warrior statues. Often, sexy models in traditional Chinese costume nonchalantly rock back and forth on swings suspended from the ceiling. The entrance is very cool: walk down the steep steps into a small noodle shop, with the much larger bar hidden by thick drapes.

    Private booths are set inside what used to be the East India Company’s old bank vaults (complete with exposed brickwork and giant metal doors). There’s also a grand piano that’s used for live performances. The cocktails are great though a bit pricey, often served almost ceremonially with plenty of dry ice, garnish, and even cotton candy!

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    Location: Novotel Bangkok Fenix Silom Hotel, 320 Silom Road, Silom, Bang Rak, Bangkok 10500, Thailand

    Open: Daily from 7.30pm to 2am

    Phone: +66 (0)91 772 2144


    Havana Social Bangkok is a cool bar on Sukhumvit Soi 11, which takes a prohibition theme to new heights of authenticity. Think dim lights, classic rum cocktails, exposed beams and crumbling plaster – the 1940s pre-revolution Cuba theme is painstakingly well executed. Bar staff are smartly dressed and coiffured, as are the socialite crowd who are cool enough to find their way to this ‘secret’ bar.

    The reason why it’s such a secret is there is no signage or front door. Instead, you'll find a mock-retro phone booth. Step inside, dial the secret code and a false door in the back of the phone booth swings open. It’s one of the most unusual entrances to a bar you might’ve ever seen in Bangkok!

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    Location: 41, 3 Sukhumvit Road, Khlong Toei Nuea, Watthana, Bangkok 10110, Thailand

    Open: Daily from 6pm to 2am (live bands on Friday and Saturday from 10pm to midnight)

    Phone: +66 (0)2 821 6111


    The Bamboo Bar Bangkok is a live jazz music institution on the ground floor of the beautifully maintained Mandarin Oriental Bangkok Hotel. The whole bar is decked out in dark wood and marble, leather and rattan, with low lights and a mirrored ceiling making this a very popular place to sample award-winning cocktails.

    This sophisticated venue has always evoked a somewhat colonial, late-19th-century charm, but one that's at the same time moody and stylish.

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    Location: Mandarin Oriental Bangkok, 48 Oriental Ave, Bang Rak, Bangkok 10500, Thailand

    Open: Sunday–Thursday from 5pm to 1am, Friday–Saturday from 5pm to 2am

    Phone: +66 (0)2 659 9000


    Tuba Bar is a part thrift store, part unashamed hipster hangout in the affluent Ekkamai neighborhood. It easily makes it to any list of best bars in Bangkok with its wacky decor, mammoth cocktail list and feel-good bohemian vibes. The whole place features a kaleidoscope of colors, furniture and artwork, with an ample supply of erotic paintings hanging on the walls, mismatching vintage chairs, retro lighting and quirky props dotted around – including a life-size Spiderman statue and 19th-century diving helmet.

    Fans of European beers and ales will be particularly pleased thanks to some rare beers (at least for Bangkok) on tap such as Boddingtons, Guinness and Paulaner, as well as an excellent selection of Belgian bottled beers. They also have a pool table, TV screens, and serve decent Thai grub.

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    Location: 34 Ekkamai 21 Alley, Khlong Tan, Watthana, Bangkok 10110, Thailand

    Open: Daily from 11am to 2am

    Phone: +66 (0)2 711 5500


    Smalls Bar

    Smalls Bar fell into Bangkok’s niche category of expat neighborhood bars when it opened back in 2014. But as things change quickly in Bangkok, through word of mouth, media attention, and the fact that the same street has welcomed a handful of other new drinking dens, Smalls became one of the most talked-about bars in town.

    Set over 3 floors of a refurbished 1960s townhouse, Smalls is defined by its dark and broody atmosphere, created by some well-chosen Parisian-inspired décor, low lighting and a sophisticated soundtrack of soft jazz.

    Location: 186, 3-4 Suan Phlu 1 Alley, Thung Maha Mek, Sathorn, Bangkok 10120, Thailand

    Open: Wednesday–Monday from 7pm to 2am (closed on Tuesdays)

    Phone: +66 (0)95 585 1398


    Vesper Cocktail Bar

    Vesper Cocktail Bar, named after James Bonds’ famous martini, is a fancy cocktail bar and Italian restaurant serving some of the finest drinks in Bangkok. The level of detail and preparation that goes into making each drink is truly a cut above anywhere else – which does come across in the cost. The vibe is one of quiet sophistication, suitable for groups of ladies to enjoy a few drinks, but also lots of fun.

    Located just a few steps from the Sala Daeng BTS Station in Silom, Vesper is easy to find, and find it you should because they are serious about making the best cocktails in Bangkok.

    Location: 10/15 Convent Rd, Silom, Bang Rak, Bangkok 10500, Thailand

    Open: Daily from 5.30pm to 1am

    Phone: +66 (0)2 235 2777


    About Eatery

    About Eatery Bar is serious about natural wines, craft beers, and small-batch liquors. The grand idea has been to make a casual hangout that is affordable for just about everyone while promoting ecologically sound food and drinks.

    The menu, too, has been compiled with a mind on sustainability and organic ingredients so you know that a night in About Eatery is just about the healthiest place to have a good session. It is claimed that organic wines never give you a hangover the next day... but that's for you to find out.

    Location: Ocean Tower II, Sukhumvit 21 Soi 3, Khlong Toei, Watthana, Bangkok 10110, Thailand

    Open: Daily from 11.30am to 2.30pm and from 5.30pm to 11pm

    Phone: +66 (0)92 907 2191


    Paii at The House on Sathorn

    Paii at The House on Sathorn has a bar area that’s replete with lavish touches like heavy leather sofas, hanging artwork and a beautifully elaborate ceiling. Behind the bar, the skilled team have a short and concise cocktail menu with signature drinks, a section for the classics, and several pages of wines and whiskeys.

    Though signature cocktails are short in number, each one jumps off the page. A top tipple is The Garden: a gin-based drink with floral overtones worthy of the name, made with chrysanthemum-and thyme-infused gin, chamomile tea, lemon zest and fresh rosemary shaken with a frothy head. There’s a rum-based creation using yuzu, seaweed and measured use of salt for a taste of the sea. But this is the type of bar where you can ask for something special and have your very own drink created in front of you.

    Location: W Bangkok and The House on Sathorn, 106 North Sathorn Road, Silom, Bangkok 10500, Thailand

    Open: Daily from midday to midnight

    Phone: +66 (0)2 344 4025


    Brown Sugar

    Brown Sugar is a long-running, sleek and stylish venue that has become famous for being one of the best places in Bangkok for live music. It’s just a stone’s throw away from the craziness of Khao San Road.

    With over 27 years in the game, Brown Sugar sits up to 200 people every night. With the emphasis more on the live jazz music more than anything else, the food and drinks list isn’t as extensive as some of our other picks, but you can still get a mean Martini or local beer that’s decently priced.

    Location: 469 Phra Sumen Rd, Bowonniwet, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok 10200, Thailand

    Open: Sunday–Thursday from 5pm to 1am, Friday–Saturday from 5pm to 2am (closed on Mondays)

    Phone: +66 (0)89 499 1378


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