Here at Coconuts, we’re still kind of suckers for those clandestine bars inspired by America’s Prohibition era, and are always on the lookout for some of Bangkok’s best-kept (or in some cases, worst-kept) secret watering holes.
While Bangkok is no stranger to award-winning bars, there are quite a lot of speakeasies all over the city — some of them are frou-frou fancy, while some of them are more low-key (there’s even a considerable amount of places to get sake). Here, we’re rounding up some of our Coco crew’s favorites, which we chose because they’ve got a little somethin’ special going on, whether it’s a bit of quirky character or all-around excellent cocktails. One of the places on our list doesn’t even run any official social media accounts, which if you think about it, is the ultimate move of secrecy.
Without further ado …
If you’re in Ari and looking for a low-key spot to booze, then this neon-lit, Shanghai-themed bar called Honest Mistake is a good one. The bar serves Chinese-inspired cocktails such as its Hor Nang Lohm (rum, Midori, pandan, coriander, coconut and lime, THB340) and Ang Mhor (gin, bael, Aperol, Carpano Bianco and bitters, THB340). All it takes to find it is a quick walk down a dark alley to a pawn shop facade, where you’ve got to hand over a token amount of cash in exchange for a key that gives you access to the room upstairs. Check out our write-up of the bar here.
FIND IT: 488, Aqua Lifestyle Mall, Phahonyothin Rd, Phaya Thai, Bangkok
This one’s hidden within a sports bar located in the Nana area, with an entrance behind a photobooth. To get there, visitors must take a photo of themselves before finding a way to unlock the door. Find the Photo Booth features creative cocktails with “Thai twists” that many – heavy drinkers or not – may want to revisit.
FIND IT: 2nd floor of Score Bar, Soi Sukhumvit 11, Watthana, Bangkok
Inside this Wes Anderson-themed hotel in the Ari neighborhood is The Key, a speakeasy that requires nightowls to enter a specific room’s keycard in order to gain entry. The drinks served at the bar are strong, spirit-forward cocktails, and most of them are inspired by worldwide travels of The Key’s fictional bar owner, Mr. Josh.
FIND IT: Room No. 72, Josh Hotel, Phaholyothin Road, Soi Aair 4 Nua, Bangkok
Named the “Best New Bar” in Bangkok just earlier this year, Liberation is hidden in plain sight, nestled within a complex on Soi Sukhumvit 49. Headed by award-winning mixologist Suwincha “Chacha” Singsuwan, the bar’s cocktail menu is inspired by vintage propaganda posters, and its bartenders are known for using a rotary evaporator to create inventive flavors.
FIND IT: 4th floor of Piman 49, Soi Sukhumvit 49, Watthana, Bangkok
Visitors to this bar need to place a call in a phone booth to get an entry code into the bar. Havana Social, themed after pre-revolutionary Cuba, is a watering hole featuring rum-heavy drinks. Patrons can also ascend the bar’s staircase to smoke inside its hip cigar lounge upstairs, or don one of the establishment’s fedora hats (they’re available at the bar) before showing off their Latin dance moves.
FIND IT: 41, Soi Sukhumvit 11, Watthana, Bangkok
Sitting on the third floor of a vacant building on Phra Sumen Road, the dimly-lit, minimalist Ku Bar can be spotted by a wooden door with a Chinese character emblazoned on the front. The bar’s craft cocktails use seasonal local ingredients — many which are sourced at local markets — such as ginkgo, chrysanthemum, and Chinese celery.
FIND IT: 469, Phra Sumen Rd, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok
This bar doesn’t even have a Facebook page, only a hashtag (hence the stock image you’re seeing above). Led by the same team behind Find the Photo Booth, #FindtheLockerRoom sits behind a set of metal lockers in the Thonglor area. The menu covers classic cocktails under three themes: past, present and future.
FIND IT: 406, Soi Sukhumvit 55, Watthana, Bangkok
MORE BANGKOK FOOD & DRINK:
Argo: Bangkok gets its first Georgian restaurant, just steps away from BTS Nana