Bangkok is known to be overwhelming and when night falls it becomes even more crammed with clubbers and neon lights. It would seem that nightclubs and the X-rated clubs are the fare of the day but you may be looking for a quiet drink. If you want something a little quieter and off the normal tourist track, visit Bar 23, WTF and Cheap Charlie’s on Sukhumvit Road are charming enough to fit the bill.
Make sure to look carefully for the sign – it is easy to miss.
The best description is grunge mixed in with cool high school décor. The bar is pretty cosy and not well lit – it is easy to miss because it looks perpetually closed. It is a very relaxed atmosphere and the staff are extremely friendly. The art on the walls showcases local artists and an eclectic mix of collections. The bar is at times packed and at other times it is empty but you can always be assured of having a relaxing evening amongst friendly people. Beers are about 100 baht and cocktails will set you back a bit more. Thursday nights, at about eight, feature free swing dance classes.
Located on Sukhumvit Soi 16 about 500 metres from the mouth of the soi on the right-hand side. Look for the sign that says 23. A 15-minute walk from Asok BTS station or the MRT station at Sukhumvit. Open Tues-Sat from about 19:00 to about 02:00.
If you want something that is slightly classier but still has a bit of an edge, WTF is a well-established favourite. The drinks are substantial and there are gallery spaces and tappas. The walls are adorned with retro movie posters and the retro soundtrack gives it a more classic feel. The cocktails are top-class – one special being The Orchard made up of gin, lychee and lemongrass. WTF has an itinerary of weekly events so check out their calendar. Poetry nights are on every sixth Thursday night. You are looking at about 200 baht for a cocktail and about 150 baht for a plate of tapas.
Located on Sukhumvit Soi 51, a roughly five-minute walk from Thong Lor BTS station. Turn onto Soi 51 and WTF will be your second left on Soi 51. Open Tues-Sun 18:00-01:00. T: (02) 662 6246.
Cheap Charlie’s is a typical Bangkok dive that is loved by backpackers. There are a few well-placed stools and a bar and very little else. The bar is located on the street and has been there for over thirty years. It has become a tradition for patrons to bring souvenirs to be attached to the bar as a piece of the décor – the end result looks as though someone has taken a pile of rubbish and tacked it onto a shack. Cheap Charlie’s is always good for a fun evening and drinks that are pretty cheap – beers cost only 70 baht.
Located on Sukhumvit Soi 11 a short work from Nana BTS. The bar is on a small alley on the left-hand side about 100 metres from Sukhumvit Road. If you reach Suk 11 Hostel you have gone too far. Open daily from mid-afternoon until midnight.