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 nighthawk
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 stor
The city that was once notorious for its raunchy sex trade is now entertaining a burgeoning class of professionals hungr

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. Moon Bar

    Sathorn | Bars/Pubs

    The views are staggering at the Banyan Tree Bangkok's 61st-floor alfresco bar. The cocktails cost an equally staggering B550, but for the vistas...Read More

  • 2. Sky Bar

    Bang Rak | Bars/Pubs

    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...Read More

  • 3. Smalls

    Sathorn | Music Clubs

    The impresario behind the late Q Bar opened this Parisian-style space that feels more Berlin or New York—or Paris—than Bangkok. There's an open...Read More

  • 4. Bacchus Wine Bar

    Pathumwan | Bars/Pubs

    You'll find four laid-back floors and a long list of worthy wines here. ...Read More

  • 5. Balcony

    Bang Rak | Bars/Pubs

    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...Read More

  • 6. Bamboo Bar

    Bang Rak | Music Clubs

    This legendary watering hole hosts international musicians playing easy-on-the-ears jazz. ...Read More

  • 7. Brown Sugar

    Banglamphu | Music Clubs

    A good place to carouse over live jazz and occasionally blues, smoky Brown Sugar has been in business for three decades. ...Read More

  • 8. Concept CM2

    Pathumwan | Dance Clubs

    This flashy, energetic club hosts live pop bands every night. Be prepared to pay a steep B550 entrance fee on weekends (B250 on weekdays), which...Read More

  • 9. Craft Bangkok

    Sukhumvit | Brewpubs/Beer Gardens

    Boutique beer lovers flock to this hip outdoor spot where all the brews are 100% craft. Bottles include U.S. craft favorites like Rogue, Anderson...Read More

  • 10. Diplomat Bar

    Pathumwan | Bars/Pubs

    Come here for smooth music, a sophisticated crowd, and a splendid selection of Scotch and cigars. Cigar makers are sometimes brought in from...Read More

  • 11. Distil

    Bang Rak | Bars/Pubs

    Thai A-listers have made Distil, on the 64th floor of one of Bangkok's tallest buildings, their stomping ground. It's done up in chic black...Read More

  • 12. DJ Station

    Silom | Bars/Pubs

    A young crowd packs this snappy-looking bar to bask in the "fun, lust, and joy" (or so the website says). The B200 cover charge includes a drink. ...Read More

  • 13. Face Bar

    Phra Khanong | Bars/Pubs

    A strong South Asian theme—the bar shares the space with an Indian restaurant called Hazara—makes this a comfortable spot to enjoy a couple...Read More

  • 14. Flann O'Brien's Irish Pub

    Bang Rak | Bars/Pubs

    A convenient location near the gateway to Patpong means that this place is always jumping. If you're a Beatles fan, check out the Betters on...Read More

  • 15. Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand

    Pathumwan | Music Clubs

    The club hosts live jazz on Friday night—films, lectures, and art openings on other nights—and has a pretty nice bar. Nonmembers are welcome. ...Read More

  • 16. G.O.D.

    Silom | Bars/Pubs

    This place, whose name is short for Guys on Display, is famous for its drag show every night at midnight and its balcony where you can watch...Read More

  • 17. Glow

    Sukhumvit | Dance Clubs

    An underground dance club with cutting-edge electronic music, Glow lights up Sukhumvit with an eternally trendy, beautiful crowd. The sound...Read More

  • 18. Ku Dé Ta

    Sathorn | Music Clubs

    The views are fabulous at this dining, drinking, and dancing complex that's the talk of the town. Elevators whisk jet-setting patrons up the...Read More

  • 19. Levels Club

    Sukhumvit | Dance Clubs

    With its open dance floor, set under a giant colored chandelier, Bangkok's happening club of the moment packs in the young and restless....Read More

  • 20. Longtail Bar

    Thonburi | Bars/Pubs

    Though not particularly authentic, this bar distinguishes itself with a tropical feel that is elusive in Bangkok—it will make you crave a mai...Read More

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