The top 9 hotel happy hours in Bangkok

Photos: Sarah Cuiksa

It’s five thirsty and you’ve had a rough day, but the regular crowd at your usual watering hole just doesn’t sound appealing for that 6pm cocktail.

Tonight, liken yourself to James Bond and go incognito to one of Bangkok’s many stylish hotels for happy hour.

But which one is best for you? Some offer budget-friendly deals, others excellent bar snacks and top-notch service.

Fortunatly, Coconuts did the drinking for you.

Here is the breakdown of Bangkok’s best hotel happy hours in no particular order:

1. Diplomat Bar at Conrad Bangkok

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You’re not attending the International Summit on Airspace Appliances? Fake it. This sophisticated lounge is planted among the embassies on Wireless Road, putting you in the company of some important business folk, wealthy Asian tourists and live jazz musicians. The lighting here is disarming: dimly-lit art-deco chandeliers, backlit sculptures, and a Thai-style circular fixture hanging over the round island bar all warmly illuminate the lofty lounge.

You’ve got four hours of happy goodness here. From 4-8, the Diplomat offers a “Sundowners Special,” where select drinks are half off. The list includes mostly regional beers (THB120), a small selection of red and white wines (THB165), classic cocktails (THB160) and a range of house pours (THB140). The staff is courteous and doting. Expect the bar snacks to be replenished before you finish that last cashew or corn chip.

FIND IT

Diplomat Bar

Lobby Floor at Conrad Bangkok

All Seasons Place

87 Wireless Road

BTS Ploenchit

2. Le Bar de L’Hotel @ Sofitel Sukhumvit

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You won’t meet any chic Parisians here; rather, you’ll find high-end travelers and expats in this relaxed lounge in the lobby of the Sofitel Sukhumvit. A trippy light fixture hangs overhead in the center of the bar; these neon-lit cylindrical icicles turn a different color each night. Translation: “Electric Blue Wednesdays” presents buy one get one free bottles of Black Label or Ciroc Vodka with free flow mixers; the DJ will be spinning hip-hop and R&B beats. On “White Sundays,” the deal is island-themed: buy one get one free glasses of rose sparkling wine; DJ Monseiur Markus plays sounds from Ibiza Beach and Balaeric House. And so it goes: with each day, a different DJ, a different BOGO deal, and of course, an alternating light display.

But the real deal is their daily, 5-9pm special: wines start at THB95 a glass, tapas start at THB100. You could just skip the tapas and opt for the elegantly displayed bar snacks – a mix of olives, nuts and taro chips — as you relax in the silk-upholstered, silk-canopied sofas adorned with silk pillows that line the walls. Try the local wines on the list: a red (Shiraz) and white (Chenin Blanc 2009) both come from the Sawasdee Khao Yai vineyard, both at THB95.

FIND IT

Le Bar De L’ Hotel

Lobby Floor at Sofitel

189 Sukhumvit (between Soi 13 and Soi 15)

BTS Nana

3. The Glaz Bar at Plaza Athenee

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Following the swanky hotel bar hop down Sukhumvit, stop in The Glaz Bar at Plaza Athenee. The bar showcases a range of live music nightly, from harpists to soulful crooners. On the night I went, a pianist and his friend with the viola are playing classic jazz for an audience of one – me. It’s hard to understand why the bar was nearly empty for a Thursday night, as their happy hour menu is extensive. From 5-9pm daily, a wide selection of beers (Federbrau, anyone?) run THB180, as does their selection of sparkling, white, and red wines. Go for their wide-ranging list of cocktails though, which includes a variety of mojitos (passion fruit, lychee, elderflower, berry, melon, or classic) and margaritas (mango, passion fruit, cherry, berry, kiwi or classic), all THB200.

Lost your job? Going through a breakup? Or just feel like getting drunk? You’re best suited for their “all you can drink” special at 888THB. If you head that route, they fortunately also offer a selection of tapas (THB180) and snacks (THB220) to keep you from being wheel-barreled out. Try their Deep-Fried Calamari Rings with Wasabi Sauce, or the Tiger Prawn Skewer with Lemon Tomato Riviera.

As it goes with swanky hotels, you could be satiated simply by filling yourself up on their bar snacks: pretzels and wasabi peas. Careful with the wasabi peas though – a sharp inhale of these potent peas will leave you looking like a rookie.

FIND IT

The Glaz Bar

Lobby Floor, Plaza Athenee

61 Wireless Road

BTS Ploenchit

4. Bar @494 at Grand Hyatt Erawan

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Swanky hotel bar? Or hi-so haunt? You wouldn’t guess it’s a hotel bar by the looks of this crowded hangout. The old expat dressed for a remake of a Weekend at Bernies, the young dapper couple swirling their wines and intently gazing at their phones, the stern older women drinking water. The crowd is as assorted as the bar nuts they offer.

The bar itself is small, classy, Asian-themed and has an outdoor garden-esque seating area. Backlit Chinese coins and hanging sculptures softly illuminate the area, so you’ll still look attractive after that eighth glass of wine. Which is likely what you’ll be drinking – Bar @494 boasts an extensive wine and champagne list, as well as a long-running happy hour: it’s from noon to 10:30pm daily. Wines from around the world start at THB99 a glass.

FIND IT

Bar @494

Lobby Floor at Grand Hyatt Erawan

494 Rajdamri Road

BTS Chitlom

5. Octave at Marriot

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“Mom, stop holding on to my shirt, I’ll be fine!”

A child’s complaint as he inches towards the railing might be the typical remark overheard at Bangkok’s newest rooftop bar. You’ll find yourself surrounded by not only families, but tourists and locals as well – all taking selfies with the Bangkok skyline in the background. And you can’t blame them – the BTS line stretches into the orange-hued horizon of a setting sun, silhouetting Sukhumvit’s skyscrapers. The bar – which currently only occupies the 49th, rooftop floor – actually has three levels where you can take in the view.

Panicky moms and kids in Crocs aside, Octave on the 49th floor of the Marriott Sukhumvit has an unmatched happy hour for a sky-high rooftop bar. From 6-8pm, select drinks are buy one get one free. Beer options are limited to Singha, Asahi and Heineken (THB170), so go with one of their signature cocktails (starting at THB350). Their “Bloom Over The Roof” (THB320) – vodka mixed with fresh mint leaves and elderflower syrup – will go down fast, as it has a solid balance of sweetness and spike. Try the “Bangkok 57” (THB390), a mix of Prosecco and Saffron Infused Kettle One Vodka, so named for the soi Marriot intersects with on Sukhumvit.

FIND IT

Octave Rooftop Lounge & Bar

49th Floor at Marriott Hotel Sukhumvit

2 Sukhumvit Soi 57

BTS Thong Lo

6. Axis & Spin at The Continent Bangkok Hotel

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Axis & Spin is another one to add to the list of Bangkok’s newest rooftop bars, but it comes with more reasonably priced cocktails. On the 38th floor of The Continent Bangkok Hotel, you can take in the endearing traffic jam of the Asoke-Sukhumvit intersection. The bar occupies two floors, but you’ll have to brave the steep spiral staircase to get to the 39th. There, mini-disco balls, neon lights and hightop tables give the bar a dance club feel.

Enjoy one of Bangkok’s lengthier happy hours here – from 1-8:30pm drinks are buy one get one free. Their cocktail list features classics as well as some rarities: the “Mary Pinkford” (THB280) includes white rum, pineapple juice and grenadine, and the “Presbyterian” (THB280) comes with whiskey, lime, ginger syrup and club soda. Ask for the drink mai wan maak, and you’ll get an equally delicious but boozier version. Munch on popcorn, take in the 39th floor’s open-air plan, and have sympathy for the office workers doing overtime at The Exchange Tower across the street.

FIND IT

Axis & Spin

38th Floor at The Continent Bangkok Hotel

413 Sukhumvit Road

BTS/MRT Asoke

7. BeerVault at Four Points Sheraton

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If you originally set sail for the Four Points Sheraton on Sukhumvit to check out the rooftop pool bar amBar, don’t worry about finding the elevator, and instead, head to their lobby bar BeerVault. Forget swanky hotel bar. BeerVault has swag. The bar is often-written about, and for good reason. Rotational deals on beers from around the world, jaw-dropping low prices on brews even after happy hour, and the specialty beers you never thought you could get in Bangkok live here. You’ll want to make BeerVault your best friend.

Their happy hour, or rather, “Beer O’Clock,” runs from 5:30-9:30pm and features discounted brews (locals at THB150 and imports start at THB280), spirits (THB240), cocktails (THB320) and wine (THB330).

But their happy hour pales in comparison to the rotational “BOGO” specials they have each month, which consists of a list of ten or so beers with most averaging an ABVof above 8%. July offerings included Duvel (THB310), Kasteel Rouge (THB300), Maredsous 10 (THB320), Delerium Tremens (THB330), among others.

On top of that, they have a “Beer Lover’s List,” which features some of the cheapest glasses of Guinness, Hoegarden, and Leffe Blonde and Brune you can get (THB180 for 473 ml), along with a “Guest Beer.” On the night I went, their Hoegarden Rose was highlighted, priced at THB180.

When do I have I leave again?

Who cares about ambience (pub-style), music (often live), and décor (TVs and international flags)? Not you. You’re here for the beer.

FIND IT

BeerVault

Lobby Floor at Four Points by Sheraton Bangkok Sukhumvit

4 Sukhumvit 15

BTS Nana

8. D’Sens by J&L Pourcel at Dusit Thani

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Your biggest struggle at D’Sens in the Dusit Thani Hotel is where to sit. Every corner, every chair, every direction of this upscale French restaurant offers a completely different experience. For instance, seat yourself in one of the large faux-alligator skin chairs, staring out past the slanted windows at the skyscraper lights reflecting off Lumphini Park’s pond with the traffic along the Silom BTS line glimmering alongside it. Watch office lights gradually turn off as the night goes on. Or, seat yourself on the sofa amidst a sea of plush pillows, with your back to the window. This will allow you to ogle the bartenders as well as the fish swimming in a tank that wraps around the bar.

Their buy one get one free happy hour runs 6-8pm daily. For beer lovers, your options are limited: Singha and Singha Light (THB240). Sample one of their whiskies (starting at THB270) or a classic cocktail (THB320). There are also a range of spirits (THB270) and wines (starting at THB280) available.

Double whammy here: if you’re not feeling the ultra elegance of D’Sens, you can head down to Dusit Thani’s lobby bar, My Bar, and enjoy the same 6-8pm happy hour. We recommend staying upstairs – you can’t beat the views of Lumphini Park. The jazzy Thai renditions of American oldies, Vanessa Carlton, and Justin Beiber hits will confuse you, but relax, enjoy their unique bar snacks (diced ham on puff pastry sticks and blue taro chips?) and enjoy the deal.

FIND IT

D’Sens by J&L Pourcel

39th Floor at Dusit Thani Hotel

BTS Sala Daeng

9. Playground Bubbles & Mixology Bar at Pullman G Hotel Bangkok

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At Pullman G Hotel’s lobby level watering hole, it’s all about the bar: a DJ is spinning behind the bar, the seating is only along the bar, and those tending this bar are expert mixologists. Order a beer and you’ll get a frown: the cocktails steal the show here. Ask the bartender for a recommendation, she’ll probe you on your tastes, and you’ll get a finely crafted cocktail suited to your preferences.

From 7-9pm every day, select drinks are buy one get one free. Try one of the Thai-influenced cocktails: the “Perfect Passion” is adorned with the pulp from a passion fruit; you’ll find holy basil swimming in your “Green Thai.” Sip it as you people-watch and check out the guests entering the hotel – they won’t be your hum-drum, weary-eyed tourists. The guests are well-dressed yuppies, eager to see what Bangkok has in store for them.

Go early to sample as many of the concoctions your taste buds (and liver) can handle.

FIND IT

The Playground Bubbles & Mixology Bar

Lobby Level, Pullman G Hotel Bangkok

188 Silom Road

BTS Chong Nonsi

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