While cocktail bars have been sprouting up around Bangkok – from speakeasies and serious establishments to those elevating flair before function – none is like a recently opened bar tucked inside a Thonglor garden: Wasteland.
Joining the charming, peaceful compound where Bo.lan is, Wasteland opened its doors last month on a mission to not only wow guests with its cocktails but meaningful gestures of sustainability in the form of very efficient food waste management.
“Working as a bartender for years, I have seen a great amount of things thrown away behind the bar,” said Krit “Joey” Prakobdee, who formerly worked at tiki rum bar Tropic City and now-defunct insect cocktail-famed Liberation. At Wasteland, Joey is joined by two other veterans: Kitibordee “Gov” Chortubtim (former head bartender at Liberation) and Suchada “Fahbeer” Sopajaree (former Find the Locker Room barkeep).
While the “zero waste” movement has made strides in industries around the world – either as sustainable lifestyle, ethical trend or marketing opportunity – Wasteland founder Dharath “Tot” Hoonchamlong admits that achieving absolute zero on trash is still a long ways off. Some things inevitably must be ditched and go to the landfill.
“We are not a zero-waste bar, but our efforts are directed into minimizing waste as much as we can,” Tot said.
Working closely with Bo.lan and Err kitchens, Wasteland’s recipes experiment with leftover ingredients such as shallots, lime peels and winter melon skins – even leftover red wine from unfinished bottles – combined with butterfly peas, dogfennel, water pennywort and more freshly picked from Bo.lan’s “edible garden.” The goal is to maximize their benefits and characteristics: flavors, aromas and textures.
“Something like jasmine flowers, after they’re used in a water bowl at the restaurants, we infuse them to make syrup. Then we dry the flowers to blend with tea,” Joey said.
With creative minds and crafting skills; Joey, Gov and Fahbeer together came up with cocktail recipes that cut down on the carbon footprint without compromising quality and taste.
Joey’s side-hustle is brewing coffee, leading to Express Solutions No. 1. Inspired by the espresso martini, the cocktail matches cold brew coffee with leftover cola spiced with lemongrass, turmeric and kaffir lime.
Still off-menu but on the way to formal introduction: The provocative Fahbeer’s F Me. After a winter melon is used for making curry at Err, its peels are brought to Wasteland , instead of being thrown away to be soaked with sugar into a syrup, while some amounts are dried and baked for cocktail garnishes (and chewy snacks). The deliciously sweet and aromatic cocktails are courtesy of winter melon, gin, green Chartreuse and egg white.
Wasteland is located inside Bo.lan on Soi Sukhumvit 53 and can be reached from BTS Thong Lo exit No. 1.
Soi Sukhumvit 53, Khlong Tan Nuea, Watthana, Bangkok
Opens 11:30am – 3pm, 5pm – midnight, daily (except Monday)
BTS: Thong Lo