Sukhumvit is often described as a melting pot of the weird and wonderful.
This certainly applies to its residents – HiSo Thais walk among mismatched expats in a midst of urban douchebags and too-cool-for-school bros.
The one thing that unites them? A love for the area’s bar scene.
Sure, some bars attract a certain clientele while others attract the opposite – different strokes for different folks, after all – but we’ve all got a favourite soi or particular bar that draws us in for a few too many on the regular.
Alongside the classic hotel bars, western-style pubs and overpriced molecular cocktail bars are a few distinctly unusual establishments which also hold a place in our heart.
Whether it’s some kooky interior design, an outlandish central feature or a lack of shit receptacles (we’re looking at you, Cheap Charlie’s), they’re just a little out of left field.
These weird bars reflect the idiosyncrasies of Sukhumvit as a whole and shine a new light on the area for us who are easily trapped into the regular routine of going to the same old places.
Here’s a few of our favourite weird Sukhumvit bars.
A Square, 120/1 Sukhumvit Soi 26
10:00 – 00:00
Flow House hits it out of the ballpark when it comes to providing a little entertainment during your tipple. With an artificial wave that you can actually surf on, this is like being at the beach while you’re actually living it up in central Bangkok. They’re open until midnight so you can make a day of it – have a go at surfing in the afternoon before cosying down into the bar for a few after-exercise pints. The bar overlooks the wave so you’ll be able to pick up some pointers (or point and laugh) at the other surfers giving it a go too!
34 Soi Ekkamai 21, Sukhumvit Soi 63
11:00 – 02:00
Is it a bar? Is it a furniture shop? Is it a gallery? No, it’s all three. And a restaurant. Tuba in Ekkamai has been described as looking a bit like the living room of your crazy Aunt but I think that does an injustice to the beauty of the eclectic pieces and the cosy environment. The bohemian vibe attracts an artsy clientele while serious drinkers will be impressed by one the longest cocktail lists in Bangkok and a proud collection of European bottled beers.
Sukhumvit Soi 11
17:00 – 23:30
No list of weird Sukhumvit bars would be complete without the institution that is Cheap Charlie’s. It lives up to its name with cheap drinks, rickety stools and no front door as Sukhumvit’s most notorious dive bar. A classic touch is the legendary sign proclaiming: “Now open lady toilet here only pee do not shit”. The clientele at Charlie’s is always colourful and you can bet on at least a few punters with a few tales to weave. Our favourite customer so far has to be an older gentlemen casually dressed up in a full Uncle Sam outfit – vive l’America!
JW Marriott Hotel, 4 Sukhumvit Soi 2
17:00 – 01:00
From a dive to an exclusive hotel enclave – the Manhattan at the Marriott on Soi 2 looks like something straight out of New York. It’s got a distinctly boudoir feel with abundant wood panelling and a dark grey and sensual mauve colour palette. The martini list is extensive while the array of whiskeys and rums will allow you to make like Don Draper and brood on ill-conceived love affairs and troubles at the office.
402 Sukhumvit Soi 55
18:00 – 02:00
The Iron Fairies is a beautifully dark and mystically decorated cocktail bar in the middle of Soi Thonglor serving up delicious mixes alongside atmospheric live jazz and utterly Instagrammable interior design. It’s quite small with an enforced dress code but the eclectically Dickensian design will mean it’s worth the effort to forgo the flip flops. The style of Iron Fairies has many copycats around town hoping to evoke the same kind of magic, but the original is always the best.
Four Points by Sheraton, Sukhumvit Soi 15
10:00 – 02:00
This one’s not so much weird as… depressingly unoriginal. The popular American chain, which employs ‘charismatic’ women with certain physical assets has finally opened its doors in Bangkok near the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel in Asok. It’ll be serving up classic American grub, showing sports on the TV and displaying its bountiful (Ed: bounciful?) hostesses for all to see. Not quite as gritty as Sukhumvit’s long-standing hostess bars or with the same authenticity as the numerous sports bars in the area but we can’t imagine too many complaints will be drawn from its patrons!