Bangkok

The city that was once notorious for its raunchy sex trade is now entertaining a burgeoning class of professionals hungry for thumping discos, trendy cocktail lounges, and swanky rooftop bars. There are also stricter rules that limit the sale of alcohol (11 pm from stores). Most bars and clubs close around 2 am, though nighthawks can probably find a place or two open until 5 or 6.

There are a few notable nightlife sections: the area off Sukhumvit Soi 55 (also called Soi Thonglor) is full of bars and nightclubs; Sukhumvit Soi 11 has evolved into a hot-and-heavy bar and club hangout, and trendy and happening new places are springing up around Sathorn Road and the adjoining Suan Phlu.

If you want to take a walk on the wild side, Bangkok still has three thriving red-light districts: Patpong, Nana Plaza, and Soi Cowboy. Patpong, the largest and most touristy, includes three streets that run between Surawong and Silom roads. Nana Plaza, at Sukhumvit Soi 4, is packed with three floors of hostess bars, go-go clubs, and ladyboy clubs. Soi Cowboy, off Sukhumvit Road at Soi 21 (the Asok intersection), is where many expats go, finding it slightly more relaxed and less of a tourist trap than Patpong or Nana.

Even though it may not seem like it, live sex shows are officially banned and prostitution is illegal. The government doesn't always turn a blind eye, so exercise caution and common sense.

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  • 1. Beam

    Thong Lor

    Beam is home to Asia's first "body kinetic" dance floor, shaking vibrations into dancer's feet during live techno and deep house gigs. The futuristic decor...

    Beam is home to Asia's first "body kinetic" dance floor, shaking vibrations into dancer's feet during live techno and deep house gigs. The futuristic decor and throbbing lights fit perfectly with the progressive underground beats of DJs from Bangkok and abroad.

    72 Sukhumvit, Soi Thonglor (Soi 55), Bangkok, Bangkok, 10110, Thailand
    02/392--7750
  • 2. Havana Social

    Sukhumvit

    The entrance to this secret salsa lair is a fake telephone booth in a dark unsuspecting alley across from the Frasier Suites Sukhumvit. Inside you'll...

    The entrance to this secret salsa lair is a fake telephone booth in a dark unsuspecting alley across from the Frasier Suites Sukhumvit. Inside you'll find a diverse crowd shimmying to Afro-Cuban beats, sipping Cubra Libres on leather couches, and smoking in the cigar lounge, harking back to Havana before the revolution. 

    1/1 Sukhumvit Rd., Soi 11, Bangkok, Bangkok, 10110, Thailand
    08/046–77409

    Nightlife Details

    Rate Includes: Closed Mon.
  • 3. Moon Bar

    Sathorn

    The views are staggering at the Banyan Tree Bangkok's 61st-floor alfresco bar, and the cost of cocktails is up there, too, but for the vistas...

    The views are staggering at the Banyan Tree Bangkok's 61st-floor alfresco bar, and the cost of cocktails is up there, too, but for the vistas alone it's worth the splurge. Come a bit before sunset—the bar opens at 5—to get the best view from the low-slung seating. If the weather is clear, you can stargaze using the bar's telescope. If the weather's bad at all, Moon Bar will be closed.

    21/100 S. Sathorn Rd., Bangkok, Bangkok, 10120, Thailand
    02/679–1200
  • 4. Octave

    Thong Lor

    This downtown rooftop bar atop the Bangkok Marriott Hotel Sukhumvit is known for its 360-degree panoramas and for reasonable drink prices compared to other rooftop...

    This downtown rooftop bar atop the Bangkok Marriott Hotel Sukhumvit is known for its 360-degree panoramas and for reasonable drink prices compared to other rooftop bars. 

    2 Sukhumvit, Soi 57, Bangkok, Bangkok, 10110, Thailand
    02/797–0000
  • 5. Sky Bar

    Bang Rak

    There's nothing else quite like this bar on the 63rd floor of one of Bangkok's tallest buildings. Head toward the pyramidlike structure emitting eerie blue...

    There's nothing else quite like this bar on the 63rd floor of one of Bangkok's tallest buildings. Head toward the pyramidlike structure emitting eerie blue light at the far end of the restaurant and check out the head-spinning views. The place's most famous concoction, the Hangovertini, was made famous by the Hollywood film (The Hangover II) shot here.

    1055 Silom Rd., Bangkok, Bangkok, 10500, Thailand
    02/624–9555
  • 6. Smalls

    Sathorn

    The New York--born impresario behind the late Q Bar opened this unique establishment in a funky three-story corner building with spiral staircases that feels more...

    The New York--born impresario behind the late Q Bar opened this unique establishment in a funky three-story corner building with spiral staircases that feels more Berlin or Paris than Bangkok. There's an open-air rooftop hangout and the second floor is sceney, but downstairs is the place to be to appreciate the French and Vietnamese antiques, the owner's impressive contemporary art collection, and the traditional absinthe spigots. Bartender Danny Yeung knows the classics but can improvise to taste. Jazz performances take place on the ground floor on Wednesdays and eclectic DJs spin on weekends. 

    186/3 Suan Phlu, at Soi 1, Bangkok, Bangkok, 10120, Thailand
    08/966–65429

    Nightlife Details

    Rate Includes: Closed Tues.
  • 7. St. Regis Bar

    Pathumwan

    From this 12th-floor bar that overlooks the Royal Bangkok Sports Club, you can watch the horse races while sipping a Siam Mary, the Bangkok version...

    From this 12th-floor bar that overlooks the Royal Bangkok Sports Club, you can watch the horse races while sipping a Siam Mary, the Bangkok version of the Bloody Mary. The bar continues the age-old St. Regis tradition of Champagne sabering (opening a bottle using a saber), displayed nightly at 6. The afternoon tea here, with tiers of colorful treats, is also impeccable.

    159 Ratchadamri Rd., Bangkok, Bangkok, 10330, Thailand
    02/207–7777
  • 8. Teens of Thailand

    Bang Rak

    Hidden behind an old-fashioned Indian-style door in Chinatown, the gin bar Teens of Thailand has helped kick off a renaissance of trendy cocktail bars and...

    Hidden behind an old-fashioned Indian-style door in Chinatown, the gin bar Teens of Thailand has helped kick off a renaissance of trendy cocktail bars and art galleries in the area. Choose from a list of different gins and tonics for your perfect libation; otherwise the chalkboard cocktail specials change daily.

    76 Soi Nana, off Charoen Krung Rd., Bangkok, Bangkok, 10100, Thailand
    09/700–31173
  • 9. Above Eleven

    Sukhumvit

    This rooftop bar on the 33nd floor of the Frasier Suites Sukhumvit offers sweeping views of the city in sophisticated surrounds. Order a pisco sour...

    This rooftop bar on the 33nd floor of the Frasier Suites Sukhumvit offers sweeping views of the city in sophisticated surrounds. Order a pisco sour and some Japanese-Peruvian snacks, like ceviche and sushi, and enjoy the DJ's beats.

    38/8 Sukhumvit, Soi 11, Bangkok, Bangkok, 10110, Thailand
    02/038--5111
  • 10. Adhere The 13th Blues Bar

    Banglamphu

    This small, narrow shophouse bar has been hosting top-shelf blues and R&B bands for two decades. ...

    This small, narrow shophouse bar has been hosting top-shelf blues and R&B bands for two decades. 

    13 Samsen Rd., Bangkok, Bangkok, 10200, Thailand
    08/976--94613

    Nightlife Details

    Rate Includes: Closed Mon. and Tues.
  • 11. Balcony

    Bang Rak

    Sometimes the party spills out onto the street at this bar that overlooks the crowds along Soi 4. Balcony has a friendly staff and one...

    Sometimes the party spills out onto the street at this bar that overlooks the crowds along Soi 4. Balcony has a friendly staff and one of the best happy hours on the soi.

    86–88 Silom, Soi 4, Bangkok, Bangkok, 10500, Thailand
    02/235–5891
  • 12. Bamboo Bar

    Bang Rak

    This legendary watering hole hosts international musicians playing easy-on-the-ears jazz. Expensive-looking animal print–upholstered furniture and dark wood create an upscale yet cozy space for listening...

    This legendary watering hole hosts international musicians playing easy-on-the-ears jazz. Expensive-looking animal print–upholstered furniture and dark wood create an upscale yet cozy space for listening to music and enjoying Thai-inspired cocktails.

    48 Oriental Ave., Bangkok, Bangkok, 10500, Thailand
    02/659--9000
  • 13. Brick Bar

    Banglamphu

    Behind Buddy Lodge on Khao San itself, Brick Bar is a longtime venue known for nightly live music, often ska or reggae. It can fit...

    Behind Buddy Lodge on Khao San itself, Brick Bar is a longtime venue known for nightly live music, often ska or reggae. It can fit a pretty big crowd.

    265 Khao San Rd., Bangkok, Bangkok, 10200, Thailand
  • 14. Brown Sugar

    Banglamphu

    A good place to check out live jazz and the occasional blues band, the smoky Brown Sugar has been in business for over three decades....

    A good place to check out live jazz and the occasional blues band, the smoky Brown Sugar has been in business for over three decades.

    469 ​Phra Sumen Rd., Bangkok, Bangkok, 10200, Thailand
    06/379–49895

    Nightlife Details

    Rate Includes: Closed Mon.
  • 15. Craft Bangkok

    Sukhumvit

    Boutique beer lovers flock to this hip outdoor spot where, as you can guess from the name, all the brews are 100% craft. There are...

    Boutique beer lovers flock to this hip outdoor spot where, as you can guess from the name, all the brews are 100% craft. There are some U.S. favorites as well as Czech, Scandinavian, and Japanese options. There's another branch on Silom Road.

    16 Sukhumvit, Soi 23, Bangkok, Bangkok, 10110, Thailand
    02/258–0541
  • 16. Diplomat Bar

    Pathumwan

    Inside the Conrad Bangkok, this relaxed yet sophisticated bar offers well-made cocktails, plus a good wine and Champagne selection. The 5 pm to 8 pm...

    Inside the Conrad Bangkok, this relaxed yet sophisticated bar offers well-made cocktails, plus a good wine and Champagne selection. The 5 pm to 8 pm happy hour is popular with staff from local embassies. Jazz ensembles perform live nightly except Sunday.

    Withayu Rd., Bangkok, Bangkok, 10330, Thailand
    66-02/690–9244

    Nightlife Details

    Rate Includes: Sun.
  • 17. Distil

    Bang Rak

    Thai A-listers have made Distil, on the 64th floor of one of Bangkok's tallest buildings, their stomping ground. A full-time sommelier is on hand to...

    Thai A-listers have made Distil, on the 64th floor of one of Bangkok's tallest buildings, their stomping ground. A full-time sommelier is on hand to take care of your wine desires, and you can order a Hangovertini, created one floor down at the Sky Bar for the Hollywood film Hangover II.

    1055 Silom Rd., Bangkok, Bangkok, 10500, Thailand
    02/624--9555
  • 18. DJ Station

    Silom

    A young crowd packs this snappy-looking bar to bask in the "fun, lust, and joy" (or so the website says). The B300 cover charge on...

    A young crowd packs this snappy-looking bar to bask in the "fun, lust, and joy" (or so the website says). The B300 cover charge on weekends includes two drinks, while B150 on weekdays includes one.

    8/6–8 Silom, Soi 2, Bangkok, Bangkok, 10500, Thailand
    02/266–4029
  • 19. FKA Black Amber

    Sukhumvit

    Hidden away in a small alley off Thonglor Soi 6, this bar established by Carson Quinn, one of Bangkok's top mixologists, and Scott Hess, a...

    Hidden away in a small alley off Thonglor Soi 6, this bar established by Carson Quinn, one of Bangkok's top mixologists, and Scott Hess, a DJ of similar fame, offers an intimate ambience with wood paneling and subtle lighting in which to enjoy bespoke cocktails and an eclectic mix of tunes. 

    17-160 Thonglor Rd., Soi 6, Bangkok, Bangkok, 10110, Thailand
    02/102–8617

    Nightlife Details

    Rate Includes: Closed Mon.
  • 20. Glow

    Sukhumvit

    An underground dance club playing only cutting-edge electronic music, Glow lights up Sukhumvit with a revolving lineup of local and international DJs. You’ll find a...

    An underground dance club playing only cutting-edge electronic music, Glow lights up Sukhumvit with a revolving lineup of local and international DJs. You’ll find a trendy mix of expats and locals here enjoying the top-notch sound system and an excellent vodka selection.

    96/4–5 Sukhumvit Rd., Soi 23, Bangkok, Bangkok, 10110, Thailand
    08/661–43355

    Nightlife Details

    Rate Includes: Closed Mon.

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