Check out what’s hot in one of Bangkok’s hippest areasby Christopher Scott Dixon
In this sprawling, congested metropolis aka Bangkok, continuity and permanence would not be the first words to pluck from a dictionary and attach to the city. However, mention Soi Thonglor and most would rapidly refer to it as the place to be for entertainment in the capital.
This embedded reputation, however, has been achieved in just over a decade. The lengthy street, which is also the name of the district, stretches from New Petchburi Road in the north to Sukhumvit Road in the south. It was previously more renowned for wedding showrooms — quaint or corny, depending on your opinion — and car dealerships. Both of those particular business sectors still flourish, but over the years the construction of numerous condominiums and serviced apartments has seen the character and appearance of the area markedly transformed.
There are mini-shopping malls and art and design galleries, giving the location an almost unique boutique town within a city feel. Along the main soi and the myriad of smaller tree-lined alleys, new clubs, bistros, and restaurants seem to emerge almost every month.Entertainment embraces many activities, but an interesting venue to start with on your fun trail is situated at Liberty Plaza. Game Over is a clever combo of lounge, bar and eatery. It is a funky, subterranean setting with high-end PC consoles, board games, including Super Mario Brothers, chess and pool tables. The mix of textures, colors, and materials adds to the atmosphere. And then there is the food, including jaw-challenging burgers and tempting desserts. Step back onto the street and head for the corner of Soi 10 and Moodz one of the newest gastronomic kids on the block. It aims to be a mix between a casual eatery and a fine dining restaurant. A relaxing outdoor lounge area leads to an intriguing but equally calming interior with splashed hues of turquoise, green, and canary yellow. On the food front, the aim is European cuisine with global inspirations, a highlight is the spicy seafood, tomato, and saffron soup finished off with bottarga croutons.
Move farther down to Soi 8 and your nose might start twitching as you approach the Perfume Bar and Restaurant. The heart of the establishment is the bar, where master mixers create their unique cocktails to stimulate the senses, including Bubble 52 and Burn in my light.You don’t need to travel to Mumbai as Bollywood meets Bangkok with Desi Beats, a chic dancing and cocktails venue which boasts both indoor and outdoor areas in the nightlife Opus building back on Soi 10. It’s Moroccan themed, which means languid indulgence-carpets, pillows and cushions. Shisha pipes are in evidence, plus flamboyant cocktails and Asian fusion food.
For once the hype proves correct as the much-discussed Iron Fairies is well worth a visit. It is the kind of place you could imagine director Tim Burton frequenting together with one of his characters Edward Scissorhands. A fantasy blacksmith’s dwelling with a narrow, twisting staircase and gothic interiors. Potent cocktails and food veering to the gourmet end and some good live music complete a fascinating venue.Are you keeping up? Weave your way back to Soi 10 enter Funky Villa and get up close and personal on the floor with the young, loaded and pretty set.
Essentially, a large roof topped villa as the name suggests with an outdoor patio. Inside, it’s minimalist style, light and airy, with live music from popular bands like Thaitanium and DJs producing some great beats.
If you still have the energy then finish off by exploring Badmotel, but you might have to look twice as it’s tucked away between Soi 15 and 17 just past J-Avenue Mall. What did the owners do when deciding on a property? They saw an abandoned three-storey former shop house and left it well … almost abandoned, with fractured walls and barren concrete floors.
Half of the building is rubble, so bemused passers-by get a view of young artists daubing graffiti on the upstairs walls. Don’t be put off, as there is more than meets the eye. Downstairs an impressive bar serves highly praised cocktails and some choice and mainly Thai cuisine. A patio garden and a rooftop lookout offer alternative seating and there are regular DJ events and live music.
So, eight of the great to discover on Soi Thonglor (or “law,” or “lo”); It might be simpler just to call it soi entertainment.