Thirsty wanderers in the arid expanse of Phrom Phong need no longer remove themselves to Thonglor, Charoen Krung or – gasp! – a nearby mall to find cocktail escapism.
The Mutual, which just opened quietly in a former arts school in Soi Sukhumvit 24, manages to straddle beatnik and bouge while tempering stagecraft and style with an aversion to the shallow.
That might owe to the principal partners – source of the titular mutuality – being a handful of friends drawn from entertainment, architecture, music and the visual arts.
Most prominent among them is Nattawut “Baz” Poonpiriya. Baz directed 2017’s top film, Bad Genius, which last year swept the annual industry awards show, winning Golden Swans for Best Picture, both its leads and Baz himself as Best Director.
On recent evenings, Baz was found there beneath a tangle of animated bangs, bounding between tables crowded for now with industry types.
The opening is likely just a respite from the director’s chair – just a week ago Baz was tapped to direct a Netflix series about last year’s dramatic cave rescue alongside Crazy Rich Asians director Jon Chu.
In a corner, hunched over the plastic ivories, is multi-instrumentalist Benjamin Nitze, a New Yorker filling the small-ish space with music.
It’s dim and a little swanky with custom-built booths evoking mid-century modernism. Grace notes of neon and colored lighting lend some cinematic drama from the school of David Lynch. It’s also clean and tidy and checks enough “refined” boxes that the Thonglor types won’t feel anxious sidling up to the bar.
That’s where they’ll find Komkrit Lamlua singing sticks of cinnamon and pouring the usual suspects along with a selection of signature drinks (THB340) themed to each of the partners.
Nitze says his Hendrix’s Garden (a confection of blended malt whisky spiked with tequila and amaro) has trended well in the bar’s early days but just edged out by Baz’s Allen’s Apple, a complex pour of Jim Beam, fruit juices and reduced red wine topped with cinnamon and seared apple slices.
Those are recommended. Glasses of wine start at THB220 or so, but prepare your poker face for the thimble’s worth deposited in the bottom of the glass. Cocktail classics run THB260. For those put off by anything more pretentious than Singha, bottles are available for THB120. A few craft selections run up to THB280.
On a recent visit the service was still getting ironed out, as at any newly opened establishment.
Once the burn-in phase is behind them, the owners are talking about expanding its entertainment offerings with special events – maybe even some stand-up.
The Mutual is open 5pm to 1am daily. Find it in Soi Sukhumvit 24 just across from the side entrance to the Emporium shopping mall, a short walk from BTS Phrom Phong exit No. 4.
All photos: Coconuts Media
3/7, 9 Soi Sukhumvit 24
Subscribe to The Coconuts Podcast for top trending news and pop culture from Southeast Asia and Hong Kong every Friday!