Whether it’s a swift pre-dinner drink, sundowners in the shade or one (more) night-cap for the road, this up-and-coming Old Town neighbourhood is brimming with boozy haunts from lazy, local beer gardens to late-night cocktail lounges.
Olá Thai Tapas Bar
Mere moments from Sam Yot MRT station, Olá Thai Tapas Bar is the rustic Med-style bar the neighbourhood never knew it needed. But now it’s here, it’s hard to imagine where else we’d go for our fix of Thai-fusion tapas, quirky cocktails and laid-back live music. It also makes for the perfect pitstop en route to, or on the way back from, other parts of town. Try the Bangkok Twilight, a tropical fruit-forward vodka concoction, or their creative shooters, such as the Pancake, if you’re feeling feisty.
When: Wed-Mon, 11am-1am
Villa de Pranakorn lobby bar
Start the night in style at Villa de Pranakorn’s paired-back lobby bar. While the soaring white-washed walls covered in sepia images of bygone Bangkok are a reminder of Maha Chai Road’s rich heritage, the atmosphere in anything but old fashioned (which you can of course order). Expect both inventive and classic cocktails, local craft beers and creative soft drinks at this slick haunt that hits the sweet spot between easygoing and elegant.
Uncle & Friends
Located in a 100-year-old wooden house, Uncle and Friends is one those rare breeds in Bangkok — a rustic bar that’s actually as old as it looks. It’s the type of establishment that encourages you to kick back with a cold beer and watch the world go by. And not just any beer. The owners take great pride in their selection of local craft ales, as well as the down-to-earth cocktails and freshly-brewed coffees at prices that can make this homey hangout a little tricky to leave.
When: Daily, 8am-11.30pm
Penguin Village Chill Bar
An institution for those in the know, this rickety canal-side bar transports you to a Bangkok that has all but vanished. Languid vibes, local beers and temple views are the order du jour at this off-the-track community bolthole. And what it lacks in frills it more than makes up for in character. We suggest settling in for a couple of sundowners amongst the collection of faded curios and soaking up the slow life that still occasionally permeates in this part of town.
When: Daily, 8pm-11.30pm
Forty & Four
Another Old Town establishment that does a roaring trade in international and local craft beers, Forty & Four is the kind of place you’ll find groups of young Thais gearing up for a night on the town alongside tourists escaping nearby Khao San for a more ‘authentic’ experience. The atmosphere is easygoing and evenings are usually accompanied by acoustic guitar music and classic Thai tunes. Do like the locals and order a bottle of whiskey, a few sodas and bucket of ice. It’ll seem like a great idea at the time…
When: Daily, 5pm-12am
A combination of Chinese-inspired light bites and boozy left-field concoctions ensured this moody cocktail bar became an immediate neighbourhood hit when it opened last year. Overtly inspired by the buildings former life as an apothecary, Uncle Tim ticks all the Instagram style boxes, while not skimping on substance. Potent cocktails — many of which feature traditional medicinal Chinese ingredients — are served in vintage tea sets and fancy glassware against a backdrop of edgy low-lit red lanterns.
When: Wed-Sun, 7pm-12am
Tai Soon Bar
Could this be the start of a renovated pharmacy revolution on Maha Chai Road? Hot on the heels of the similarly-themed Uncle Tim’s launch last year, Tai Soon injects hipster hangout vibes into a crumbling interior decked out with iron grates and kitsch Chinese lanterns. Thirteen rotating taps and fridges bursting with craft beers from countless countries are the star attraction and are ordered from a quirky bar shaped like a drug cabinet.
When: Daily, 5pm-12am