Bangkok Nightlife: A Local's Guide

Bangkok Nightlife: A Local's Guide

After the sun goes down, head to these rooftop bars, modern restaurants and hip nightclubs By: Kamala Kirk
<p>Levels Club is popular with both Bangkok residents and tourists, often featuring world-famous DJs and producers. // © 2014 Levels...

Levels Club is popular with both Bangkok residents and tourists, often featuring world-famous DJs and producers. // © 2014 Levels Club

Feature image (above): At the top of the Banyan Tree Bangkok hotel is Vertigo Grill and Moon Bar. // © 2014 Banyan Tree Bangkok

Bangkok is a city that never sleeps. After all, just because the sun has gone down, that doesn’t mean the fun has to stop — in fact, it’s only just begun.

If a full night of sleep isn’t high on your priority list, there are plenty of great options for entertainment, fine dining and live music that last into the wee hours of the night. Here are some of the best locally recommended hotspots in the city that many have affectionately dubbed as the “Big Mango." 

Clarissa Brender, an airline stewardess for Swiss Air who frequently finds herself in her old hometown of Bangkok during a stopover, recommends starting the evening at the award-winning hotel, Banyan Tree Bangkok. 

There, you’ll find Vertigo Grill and Moon Bar atop the hotel’s roof terrace. Indulge your sight and taste buds in a variety of dishes and drinks as well as a gorgeous view of the sprawling metropolis. Located 61 floors above the city, the restaurant presents menu highlights such as seafood and premium steaks, along with its signature Vertigo Sunset cocktail — a pleasant concoction of pineapple, cranberry and lime juices spiked with Malibu Rum.

Cristina Contreras, a longtime Bangkok resident, suggests dinner at Divino, a food and wine spot with an “Italian feel”; El Gauci, an Argentinian steak house with some of the best steak in Bangkok; or Firehouse on Sukhumvit Soi 11, an amazing burgers-and-ribs spot with affordable prices.

In general, Sukhumvit Soi 11 is one of the main spots in Bangkok as a busy street lined with restaurants, bars and clubs. No doubt you’ll stumble upon something that catches your interest, whether it’s an upscale restaurant or a pop-up camper van selling cocktails by the bucket — literally.

Also on Contreras’ list of favorites is Roadhouse BBQ, a three-story American bar that is popular with foreigners and locals alike. Get a table on the first floor if you’re looking for a live music performance during dinner; head to the second floor for a more intimate and quiet dining experience; and then finish off the evening at the sports bar on the top floor with a game of pool or darts.

Kraiwut Kw-npm, a former employee of Shangri-La Hotel, Bangkok, suggests heading to Sirocco, the world’s highest open-air restaurant. Located 63 floors in the sky, visitors enjoy premium views from the artistically lit staircase where they can grab a drink and listen to the resident jazz band.

Another option is Eat Me Restaurant, a progressive dining/drink spot that doubles as an art gallery and, according to Kw-npm, “attracts a young international crowd with its laid-back vibe.” Take in an exhibit while taking in a cocktail — perhaps a Fig and Ginger Martini or a Siam Daiquiri. 

If sky bars are your thing, Bangkok has an abundance of rooftop locations where you can grab a drink and take in the city views. One noteworthy spot is the Octave Rooftop Lounge & Bar, a three-level venue located on the 45th floor of the Bangkok Marriott Hotel Sukhumvit, with a balcony bar and a circular bar featuring views of south Bangkok. There’s also Cloud 47 on the 47th floor of the United Center Building with views of the Chao Phraya River and a large list of imported beers; Above Eleven on the 33rd floor of the Fraser Suites Sukhumvit apartment complex for casually chic drinks at affordable prices; and Hi So on the 29th floor of the Sofitel So Bangkok hotel with views of Lumphini Park.

Famous for its after-hours scene, Bangkok is home to countless clubs that feature world-famous DJs and musical entertainment. Brender enjoys going to Levels, a “hip club that offers good music and drinks.” Some of the big names that have performed here include British singer-songwriter Boy George, Dutch DJ Fedde Le Grand, German DJ Markus Schulz and American DJ and producer Todd Terry. The club also features Sunday night dance competitions, Black & Gold Saturdays sponsored by Ciroc vodka and more.

Other hip spots locals love include Azura Loungebar,a cool and classy lounge with great service and DJs; and Route 66 Club, one of the biggest venues featuring live concerts and some of the hottest DJ duo acts in Thailand.  Sugar Club is Bangkok’s premier party destination open seven days a week. It features live bands and is part of the heavy hip-hop scene with a state of the art sound and lighting system. Q Bar Bangkok is an excellent option for those into the deep house and techno scene. Entertainment choices here, including breakdance parties and live body painting, are sure to keep you up until the wee hours.