Much of Bangkok’s nightlife is concentrated around the city’s two red light districts, Patpong (between Silom and Surawong Roads) and Soi Cowboy (Sukhumvit Road). Aside from the numerous sex clubs and massage parlours, both have many excellent cocktail bars and restaurants and are always thronging with people. It’s worth grabbing a drink at the many campervan bars lining Soi 11 off Sukhumvit Road too.
News of the latest hotspots can be found in the city's listings magazine, The Big Chilli (www.thebigchilli.com) and at the Bangkok 101 (www.bangkok101.com) and BK Magazine Online (www.bk.asia-city.com) websites. Tickets for cultural performances can be obtained in advance from the venues or from Thai Ticketmajor (tel: +66 2 262 3456; www.thaiticketmajor.com). Eventful (www.eventful.com/bangkok) is a good listings website for the city.
Bars in Bangkok
On the 33rd floor of the Fraser Suites Sukhumvit, Above Eleven is a rooftop bar that’s open until 2am daily and home to South East Asia’s first Peruvian-Japanese restaurant. The rooftop venue has been designed to imitate an urban park, with trees and a maze; even the bathrooms have views of Bangkok’s glittering skyline. An extensive drinks menu includes excellent wines, Pisco Sours and countless cocktails.Address: , Sukhumvit Road, Soi 11, Bangkok,
Telephone: +66 83 542 1111.
Sky Bar at Lebua Hotel
Constructed on the 63rd floor of the Lebua Hotel, Sky Bar should have found fame as the world’s highest open-air bar, sitting as it does, some 250m (820ft) above bustling Bangkok. Instead it is best-known for its appearance in The Hangover Part II and numerous Hangovertinis, the cocktail created for the cast during filming, are served each night. The colours on the circular island bar change every 90 seconds, but far more impressive are the views from the terrace over the city.Address: , Lebua Hotel, 1055 Silom Road, Bangkok,
Telephone: +66 2 624 9999.
Located in a traditional Bangkok shop-house, this alternative bar serves up classic and creative cocktails. Local and global artistic talent are given space in its two-floor WTF Gallery, while the bar hosts its own poetry nights, gigs and exhibitions. Hidden down an alleyway just off Sukhumvit Road, WTF is a sanctuary from the chaotic streets outside.Address: , 7 Sukhumvit Road, Soi 51, Bangkok,
Telephone: +66 2 662 6246.
Clubs in Bangkok
More Berlin than Bangkok, this underground club is popular with hip young Thais who come for the progressive techno, house and minimal music (there's no vocal-heavy EDM here). Critically-acclaimed international DJs feature and there's a brilliant sound system too.Address: Thonglor, 72 Courtyard Mall, 72 Sukhumvit 55, Bangkok,
Telephone: +66 2 392 7750.
Levels Club & Lounge
In the heart of the Sukhumvit night scene, on the sixth floor of Aloft Hotel, Levels consists of three dance zones in one space. With a terraced al fresco bar, clubbing area and relaxed lounge, it plays a range of music from trance and dance to R&B, chart and hip-hop music. Its sound system is highly prized and there are often special events as well as appearances by international DJs.Address: , 6th floor, 35 Sukhumvit Road, Soi 11, Bangkok,
Telephone: +66 82 308 3246.
Named after the Shanghai cabaret owner who left her hometown in 1931 following the Japanese invasion, Maggie Choo’s is a hybrid bar-meets-restaurant-meets-cabaret-meets-club beneath the Novotel Bangkok Fenix Silom. This decadently decorated space, with its leather couches, Chinese paper umbrellas, oil paintings, private rooms and two-way mirrors, serves up Cantonese food and delicious cocktails and hosts live music, cabaret, jazz funk, blues and house music nights.Address: 320 Silom Road, Underground at Hotel Novotel Bangkok Fenix Silom, Bangkok,
Telephone: +66 91 772 2144.
Live music in Bangkok
Saxophone Pub & Restaurant
Since 1987, this atmospheric jazz pub has been entertaining music lovers with its great acoustics and funk, jazz, blues and ska bands, plus tasty cocktails such as Saxophone Dropper and Mai Tai. The bar also hosts art exhibitions with profits from sales going to charity. Peckish visitors can enjoy Thai dishes such as steamed shrimp in coconut and grilled pork with lime in the bar or second-floor restaurant.Address: , 3/8 Victory Monument, Phayathai Road , Bangkok,
Telephone: +66 2 246 5472.
The Bamboo Bar
This swanky little venue in the upmarket Mandarin Oriental is an intimate, refined club with an excellent reputation for its nightly live jazz bands. Animal-print seating and dark wood floors evoke an Africa safari lodge and an extensive cocktail menu includes the Oriental’s Mai Tai, a delicious Ginger Cosmopolitan and Thaijito with Maekhong whiskey, lemongrass, lime and ginger. The bar operates a smart dress code policy.Address: , 48 Oriental Avenue, Bangkok,
Telephone: +66 2 659 9000.
The Iron Fairies
From the creators of Maggie Choo’s, Iron Fairies is another offbeat addition to Bangkok’s nightlife scene with its Victorian apothecary-meets-blacksmith workshop surroundings. This fantastical approach to decor includes spiral staircases which appear to lead nowhere and cookie-filled fairy dust jars. Combining a bar with a gallery and restaurant, it also puts on live jazz and open mic nights with bands performing at the top of one of the spiral staircases.Address: , 394 Soi Thonglor, Sukhumvit 55, Bangkok,
Telephone: +66 99 918 1600.