Best Nightlife in Bangkok – USA TODAY 10Best

Bangkok used to be famous, or should we say infamous, for its raucous and bawdry nightlife, which featured plenty of go go bars with raunchy shows and X rated entertainment complexes that partied all night. While the girlie bars are still around, Bangkok has emerged as one of the most elegant and enjoyable spots on the planet when the sun goes down. These days, you can choose from some of the most unique themed bars in the world, such as Sing Sing Theater,  which features happening stage shows, awesome interior design, live music, and great parties, Tep Bar, where you can enjoy craft spirit and a traditional Thai experience, or the Cuban-themed Havana Social Club. For something far more intimate, check out the former famed Q Bar owner’s tiny happening little nightspot Smalls. If it is clubbing you want, head either to Level’s, in party crazy Sukhumvit Soi 11, or else to the ultra elegant Club at KOI. Elevated bars should be a must on every Bangkok visitor’s list, combining stunning nighttime cityscapes along with craft cocktails. CRU Champagne Bar and the legendary Moon Bar are two of the best. For live music, you can’t beat the long-running Saxophone jazz, blues, and more bar, packed with fans enjoying live tunes every night. And if you are looking for some family-friendly nightlife, head over to Asiatique the Riverfront, where not only are there bars and eateries along the river, but you can catch the snazzy theatrical production of Muay Thai Live.  There’s something for everyone at night in Bangkok. 


Photo courtesy of Saxophone Pub and Restaurant

Over 25 years in the running, offering up the best jazz and blues in Bangkok, Saxophone is a happening pub frequented as much by Thais as by expatriates. The music is sizzling, with 3-4 different live bands each evening plus occasional visits by international artists. The pub has a spacious and comfortable layout, and has been voted as the Best Music Venue in Bangkok by several publications again and again. There are pool tables upstairs, excellent Thai food, and a wide array of cocktails and beers on tap.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: For thumping blues and for being one of Bangkok’s best longstanding live joints, Saxophone is a winner.

Dave’s expert tip: Arrive early if you want a table downstairs near the band. Conversely, if you’ve come to talk, grab a table upstairs away from the rocking down below!

Read more about Saxophone →

Havana Social Club

Havana Social Club

Photo courtesy of Havana Social Club

Havana Social is Sukhumvit’s ode to Cuba. While the other bars on happening Soi 11 are open air or street-facing clubs, Havana Social is a hidden secret. It is down a side alley, has no sign, and there is no indication that there is even an establishment here. There is just an old retro telephone booth outside. Call the bar in advance to get the entry code, which you punch into the payphone, a door swings open, and voila, you enter a crumbling shophouse that resembles pre-revolution Havana, complete with cracked ceilings, hanging clotheslines, and retro furniture straight out of Fidel’s younger days. In true it’s origins, there are great mojitos and rum drinks on the menu, and even Cuban dancing and a live band on weekends. It’s a great escape from the often seedy Soi 11 experience, and well themed, fairly authentic, and a great Bangkok party haunt.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: For a taste of Cuban nightlife in Bangkok, Havana Social is the best bet.

Dave’s expert tip: The club is in the little alleyway in front of the Fraser Suites. Look for the old payphone booth out front, and make sure to contact them before for the code to get in.

Read more about Havana Social Club →

The Club at KOI is Bangkok’s latest dance club, and opened with much fanfare in one of the city’s most dazzling locations. Set up on the upper floor of the Sathorn Square building overlooking the city, it replaces the former resident, the popular Ce La Vi club, which might be a hard act to follow, except that KOI has a stellar record, combining an elegant Japanese restaurant with a cutting edge dance club. KOI has opened branches in New York, Las Vegas, and Abu Dhabi, as well as its original location, Los Angeles, where the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio, Madonna, and Jennifer Lopez were some of the regular clientele. The huge space here offers world class clubbing and features international entertainers and touring DJs, and while the glitterati might not be the same as in LA, you’ll find plenty of fashionistas and Bangkok’s most well-heeled here strutting their stuff. Plenty of hip hop features in the play lists, and Saturday nights offer electronic and house music, with live DJs and special entertainers guaranteed on the thumping weekends. Make sure to come with deep pockets, as the fun does not come cheap here.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: For highbrow clubbing, you can’t beat The Club at KOI!

Dave’s expert tip: Wednesday night is Ladies Night, a great chance for the lassies to experience this luxurious club and save a few baht, although if you are coming here for that, better go else where. This is a premium fashionable spot.

Read more about The Club at KOI →

The Moon Bar

The Moon Bar

Photo courtesy of Dave Stamboulis

The Moon Bar, perched on the rooftop of the Banyan Tree Hotel, offers one of the most stupendous panoramic views of Bangkok, and a sunset here is a memorable occasion, well worth the price of a cocktail. The bar sits in a stylish roof garden, seemingly sprawled out across the sky. Long divans, chic bar stools, and comfortable tables surround the bar, each with their own unique panoramic view.
The cocktails are as astronomical as the views, running 350 baht per drink, but they are actually a pretty fair deal, as they are well mixed, strong on the alcohol, and are served along with complimentary dishes of cashews, wasabi peas, and chips. The drink menu is extensive, featuring mango margaritas, golden paradise concoctions with passion fruit juice and triple sec, and all sort of other exotic creations

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: For Bangkok’s most stunning cityscape, a drink at the Moon Bar stands alone.

Dave’s expert tip: Arrive early if you want a prime sunset table, and remember, no sandals, shorts, or grubby jeans are allowed. Closed shoes are required for men.

Read more about The Moon Bar →

Easily Bangkok’s most highbrow dance club, Sing Sing Theater is a fantasy replica of Shanghai in the 1930s, with hanging red lanterns, dancers in red robes with patterned fans, and metal cages spread across the room, making it appear as if a shady brothel of yesteryear. Seedy it isn’t though, as the fine drinks, high prices, and top DJs from around the world ensure that the clientele are Bangkok’s most well heeled and most ready to party. Never mind that the dance floor consists of almost nothing, just head out and join the wild throng. It’s a combo of theater and nightclub, and truly is unique. If the whole fantasy getup strikes a familiar chord, it’s because nightlife designer mogul Ashley Sutton (Iron Fairies and Fat Gutz, etc) was behind this one as well.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: For Bangkok’s best creative nightlife club, Sing Sing Theater stands alone!

Dave’s expert tip: Take the BTS to the Phrom Phong station and walk over to Soi 45, the club is next to Quince Restaurant.

Read more about Sing Sing Theater →

Muay Thai Live

Muay Thai Live

Photo courtesy of Muay Thai Live

For a unique post-dinner experience, head out to Asiatique the Riverfront, where not only are there plenty of places to drink and watch the river go by, but you can also check out this excellent, professionally done theatrical Muay Thai performance, suitable for the whole family.

This theatrical production combines an entertaining performance with an imaginative display that traces the history of the art of Thai boxing and its place in Thai culture. The performance, directed by award-winning Thai film director Ekachai Uekrongtham and featuring actor and professional boxer Uttaporn Suwan, unfolds over five short acts and follows the rise of Thai warriors during the Ayutthaya kingdom period up to the modern action hero today, and the place Thai boxing has as an art and cultural form in the society.

The choreography and stunts are very well done, and the intimate venue ensures a great seat for everyone, with superb sound and lighting displays with all the latest technology. Topping things off, the stage show is followed by a couple of live boxing matches with both local and international talent, allowing spectators the chance to have more comprehension of Muay Thai after the informational stage show they’ve just watched. As opposed to the usual fight nights seen in Bangkok, this one is not a leave the wife, girlfriend, and family at home affair, but one that all genders and ages will find informative and entertaining.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: For a family-friendly Thai kickboxing theatrical, Muay Thai Live delivers a knockout punch!

Dave’s expert tip: The best way to get here is to take the free shuttle boat from the Saphan Taksin Pier to Asiatique. Make sure to come early, as the boat lines can get very crowded around sunset and dinner time.

Read more about Muay Thai Live →



Photo courtesy of Levels Club

While Bed Supperclub may have closed down, Sukhumvit’s party central Soi 11 keeps on going strong in the nightlife department, with the slack taken up by new kid on the block Levels. This swank electronic nightclub with a view is located up on the 6th floor of the chic Aloft Hotel, and is now the place to be seen and party in lower Sukhumvit.

There is plenty of house music being played here, but Levels excels in its DJ’s, bringing in some of the top international acts from around the world to rock the house. There is a large dance room here with a giant LED chandelier overhead, and then there is a club zone that features a great sound system. There is also a terrace bar that looks out over all the Sukhumvit neon and gives you a chance to catch your breath.

There are plenty of promotions and theme nights here, but you are guaranteed one heck of a party just about any night of the week.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: For full on partying, Level’s is the club of choice.

Dave’s expert tip: Check the website for theme and promotion nights, along with the listing of which top DJ’s will be in town.

Read more about LEVELS CLUB →

CRU Champagne Bar

CRU Champagne Bar

Photo courtesy of Dave Stamboulis

It doesn’t get much better than this when trying to combine dazzling cityscapes, fine drinking, and suave nightlife venues. CRU Champagne Bar is a new elegant and elevated bar which is now the highest drinking spot in town. The Red Sky Bar several floors below it is nice enough, but you’ll need to pop into the private elevator and head up another three flights to access this skyline gem.

The bar has teamed up with GH Mumm and is the only place in Bangkok you can get their #1 edition pink champagne, or if you dare, a bottle of Bollinger James Bond 007 Spectre Limited Edition. You can toast to the heavens with this fine bubbly, or else opt for the cool signature drinks such as the Perfumed Lady, mixed with Beefeater gin, passion fruit, lime, mint, and vanilla foam, or a Bangkok Bellini, concocted with mandarin Absolut vodka, mango, ginger, and champagne.

The views up here are beyond sublime, with all of Bangkok spread out in front of you on all sides. You can see the Golden Mount, the Grand Palace, the Chao Phraya River, all of downtown’s major skyscrapers, and the nearby Baiyoke Tower II even looks on equal footing.

Come here for sunset, sprawl out on the comfy seating, and if you get hungry, there are foie gras yakitori chicken skewers, caviar, cheese platters, and plenty of other snacks to get you through the transformation from day to night in Bangkok’s most lofty drinking zone.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: For sky views and elevated drinking, CRU is way up there!

Dave’s expert tip: You’ll need to get to the Centara Grand (behind CentralWorld), take the elevator up to the 23rd floor, change to another elevator for Red Sky (55th floor), and then the final lift up to CRU.

Read more about CRU Champagne Bar →



Photo courtesy of Smalls Bangkok

Set in a three story shophouse over on Suan Plu off of Sathorn Road, which seems to be Bangkok’s most up and coming new drinking spot, Smalls is the brainchild of David Jacobson, the nightclub whiz who started the famed Q Bar in Bangkok several decades ago. His latest venue is a far cry from the large and noisy Soi 11 club. Smalls is as the name says, very cozy and intimate, although it does fan out over three levels, with an open rooftop plus several indoor spaces to choose from. The decor is decidedly Parisienne, and the mesmerizing signature cocktail list is enhanced by a large selection of absinthe drinks, with a traditional absinthe spigot sitting on top of the bar counter.
It’s a great little spot for escaping Bangkok, with its eclectic crowd and funky vibe, one feels more like Paris, Berlin, or New York here, and the bar has become the latest nightclub afficionados top hangout. There is some great live jazz here, featuring the picking prowess of Dan Phillips and his quartet, who play every week, and the bar also has plenty of special nights, like Vietnamese pho served on Sundays and buy one get one drinks for members of the hospitality industry on Mondays.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: for novel, intimate, and unique, Smalls is one of a kind

Dave’s expert tip: Suan Phlu lies just off of Sathorn Road. Nearest public transport is the MRT Lumpini metro station, but probably easier to just jump in a taxi.

Read more about Smalls →

Tep Bar

Tep Bar

Photo courtesy of Dave Stamboulis

If you are looking for a hip version of a traditional Thai bar, this happening joint in bohemian Soi Nana in Chinatown will ensure you hae a great evening. Featured on the World’s 50 Best website, Tep Bar is set inside of a traditional two-story Chinese shophouse, with mood lighting and tatami cushioned floor tables to relax on upstairs, Tep features all the accoutrements of a northeastern lively Thai bar experience; there is homemade yaa dong (Thai white spirits), although here it’s a smooth palatable tasting set, plus there are Thai sharing plates if you are hungry. Weekends brings a lively crowd in, and there is live traditional music with Thai cymbals, drums, and xylophones, and the place really gets thumping. The crowd is mostly Thai, but there are enough foreign faces that you won’t feel like an outcast, and everyone is very welcoming. It’s a great spot for experiencing an authentic Thai night out in a very comfortable environment.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: For a cool and traditional Thai night out, you can’t top Tep Bar.

Dave’s expert tip: The easiest way to get here is to take a cab from the Hualamphong MRT station, otherwise it is a 10-15 minute walk along Charoenkrung Road over to Soi Nana. The bar is tucked away in a side alley just down the soi.

Read more about Tep Bar →

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