We have just come back from 3 fun-packed days to celebrate my birthday in Bangkok. We ate in some fantastic restaurants [see reviews on Gaggan & Err] but this article focuses on a couple of excellent bars, conveniently located just a few minutes from one another in the trendy Pom Prap Sattru Phai district.
Let’s start with Tep Bar, a lovingly restored shop-house hidden well away from the main streets of the Charoenkrung area. We arrived at around 9.30 on a Thursday evening & the first thing to mention is that we were greeted by the cutest doorman you could imagine. This one was ginger, snoozing & curled up in a custom made little bed. Yes, Tep Bar has it’s very own moggy that seems to be quite at home outside the noisy bar entrance. The noise on this particular evening was local Thai music which I understand is quite common here which is probably why the clientele is a great mix of tourists & Thais alike. If the local music is one thing Tep is known for, the other is their potent cocktails made from home-infused ‘ya dong’ which is essentially a Thai herbal whiskey. They have vats of it sitting on the bar & we tried 3 different concoctions of rice spirit infused with their own unique mix of Thai herbs & spices. It was great fun & we were taken through the authentic ritual of shooting the spirit, cleansing with a sweet water & then a nibble of salty pickle to finish. I’ll be honest in that I will be taking neither the authentic music nor the herbal spirit back home, but it was bloody good fun & all added to the evening. The bar itself is achingly cool, with extraordinary attention to detail across the 2 levels with touches like the little basket that is hand-pulled up to the top floor for orders & cash, as well as the chef & his open fire baking fresh rice bread snacks for the drinkers to view. We loved it.
The second bar we enjoyed is just round the corner & offers a very different vibe. Teens of Thailand is easier to find on a busier street, but hiding behind an ominous Indian-style door. Inside, it is small but similarly to Tep there has been serious effort in making the industrial warehouse effect really work. There is vintage furniture filled with young, cool Thais & a mix of great art scattered across the walls. The real action, however, happens behind the bar & what Teens of Thailand is famous for is it’s gin. It is essentially a gin bar with a specials board of the latest finds available to try in any number of ways. Charlie had a G’vine gin & tonic which was served with grapes – delicious. I went for my go-to drink of a classic martini which was served with Martin Millers & was as good as any martini you’d get anywhere. They know their gins, & more importantly they serve them brilliantly. The place had a great atmosphere. Less local Thai string instruments & more US hip hop, but friendly staff & a great night.
If you find yourself in Bangkok & want to enjoy a couple of bars without taking on the traffic or the precarious tuk-tuks then settle into these 2 awesome bars in spitting distance of one another.
Tep Bar, 69-71 Yi Sip Song Karakadakhom 4 Alley Pom Prap
Teens of Thailand, 76 Pom Prap, Pom Prap Sattru Phai