In a world city renowned for its unapologetic indulgence in nightlife, Bangkok is spoiled for choice when it comes to places to quench your thirst for alcoholic libations and nocturnal distractions. One of the more popular trends to hit the city recently is the “hidden bar” scene. These are some of the hottest hidden spaces to let your hair down and let go of your inhibitions. While the concepts are different, what they all have in common is a location in a place with minimal signage, a cult following of loyal customers and a penchant for hiding in plain sight.
This post: 3 hidden bars you should know in Bangkok
Rabbit Hole in Thonglor prides itself on avoiding basic signage and prefers to attract customers by word of mouth. The three-storey venue is cosy and contemporary with a masculine feel expressed in monotones of brushed concrete, ironworks, glass, dark wood, leather sofas and chairs. The bar dominates the first floor, and the drink menu is divided between craft, vintage, whiskey cocktails and martinis. Don’t miss their perfectly executed Dry Grey Goose Martini which is served in a -15-degree glass, as well as an unforgettable craft cocktail called the Cosa Nostra, which combines the pleasure of whisky and cigars in a stimulating and brilliant way.
Rabbit Hole serves a menu of modern global cuisine to compliment the craft cocktails. Highlights include yellowtail tuna with cucumber, citrus, orange chilli, and butterfly pea, which is an edible work of art. Stunningly beautiful, it’s a kaleidoscope of bright colors and well-balanced flavours that leaves you wanting more. Next, try the crispy pig’s head along with a yummy Smoked Peach Old Fashioned made with Monkey Shoulder Whisky, peach liqueur, orange peel & bitters served in an herb-smoked glass. There’s a lot to love about Rabbit Hole: it’s a chilled-out space with serious cocktails, five-star service, innovative cuisine and a sophisticated urban vibe that never feels contrived or pretentious.
Rabbit Hole, 125 Sukhumvit Soi 55, Thonglor, Bangkok; +66 081 822 3392, facebook.com/rabbitholebkk
Havana Social takes secret bars to a whole new level: With minimal signage and a hidden entrance inside an old-fashioned telephone booth, it’s easy to miss it all together amidst the sea of massage parlors that populate the soi. Once inside, it’s easy to feel truly transported as the décor is a stunningly authentic reproduction of 1950s Cuba. It’s a large space with three levels of activity, distressed stucco walls with chipped paint and exposed brick, and mismatched dark wood and velvet, turn-of-the-century furniture that looks as if was salvaged from an estate sale. The live band plays each night on the lower level, and the entire first floor becomes a dance floor as the crowds pour in. They offer both pre-Revolution and post-Revolution cocktail menus as well as “social shots”, a Daiquiri menu, and some nice imported beers. Start off with a formidable Rum Old Fashioned made with 12-year-old Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva Rum, Angostura Bitters, and orange zest oil. The second level is the Cigar Lounge, where smoking is not only permitted but encouraged with a tempting array of more than 30 Cuban cigars.
Although food is not the main focus here, try both the beef empanada and the Cuban sandwich. The flaky pastry on the empanada is well matched with the savoury meat and beans, and the sandwich has well-seasoned, tender pulled pork, ham, cheese, mustard, pickle, and a nice toasted bun. Don’t miss the Havana Sipping Rum Flight with three distinctly different 12-year-old rums on offer. Havana Social is a high-concept bar that never feels cliché or inauthentic. From the décor to the food, cigars and live music, it expertly recreates a unique place and time in history.
Havana Social, Sukhumvit Soi 11, Khlong Toei Nuea, Bangkok; +66 (0)87 066 7711
Sing Sing Theater
Sing Sing Theater in Phrom Phong is a stylistic hidden bar that delivers on the “wow” factor in every conceivable way. The alluring retro-1920s Shanghai burlesque theme is evident everywhere, and is cleverly executed in the exquisite details of the architecture and the drama of the space. Decked out in floor-to-ceiling wood complemented by Chinese lanterns, wooden bird cages, iron details, brass, ceramic tile, silk, and intricate wood carvings, it’s straight out of a Maggie Choo mystery novel. Beautifully costumed women serving as ornamental “muses” guide you to one of the four separate seating areas including an outside terrace, raised stage and twin lounges on the second floor. There are no less than six separate bars on the property and the “digital heart” lighting fixture on the dance floor will literally take your breath away. Hidden spaces are another novel detail: there’s a secret cigar bar that’s best discovered on its own, and there are two floating private pavilions that seat 4–6 people, yet are hidden in plain sight above the dance floor.
Sing Sing has a very limited menu of snack items called “munchies”, consisting of nuts, olives and dips. It’s all about the cocktails here: the Bank in Lemon made with Tanqueray Gin, Maraschino liqueur, crème d’ violette, lemon, tonic & lemon tea foam is floral and smooth in a disarmingly pleasurable way. Also look for their Opium Mixed Drinks menu with evocative names such as Poppy Tears and The Daoist, as well as an impressive list of aged single-malt Scotch and top-shelf liquors. Don’t miss a chance to order a shot of the house-made gin called Iron Balls, which is the perfect accompaniment to their delectable edamame with wasabi hummus and homemade rice crackers. Every night there’s a different experience with a unique concept — Sing Sing delivers when it comes to style, substance and service.
Sing Sing Theater, Sukhumvit Soi 45, Phnom Phong, Bangkok; +66 063 225 1331, facebook.com/SingSingTheater