SN Bar & Kitchen – Southern Thai Food & Cocktails!

SN Bar & Kitchen

Thai cuisine is incredibly diverse.  Even though I strive to expand my knowledge of Thai dishes I have really only experienced the tip of the iceberg of what’s out there.  I’m certainly no expert but I am getting better at identifying what is a Northern or Isaan dish from dishes that are from the central plains. But after recently visiting Penang, Malaysia it dawned on me that I was completely clueless to Southern Thai food. Fortunately for me I discovered a place in Bangkok to clue me in. SN Bar & Kitchen (official Facebook page) is an excellent restaurant to get an education on authentic Southern Thai dishes.

SN Bar & Kitchen specializes in two things: Southern Thai Cuisine and some great cocktails. I know that sounds like a strange combination but if you take a look at their menu you’ll see a wide variety of both at very reasonable prices.

But let me show you what I’m talking about from my own experience. Let’s start with the food…

 Five dishes seems like a fair sampling…

SN Bar & Kitchen Food
The feast!

Southern Thai food is famous for being spicy, but that doesn’t mean all of their dishes are. My gal and I tried to get a sampling of dishes that were spicy along with dishes that weren’t spicy. SN Bar & Kitchen is happy to turn down the heat for folks not wanting to have their mouths set aflame–just let them know your taste preferences.

I requested that these dishes be prepared as they would make them in their own home so that I’d have an understanding of how spicy it should be. If you like Isaan spicy, you’ll enjoy this!

Bring on the pork!

SN Bar & Kitchen Moo Hong
Moo Hong (170 baht)

Wherever you are in Thailand, no dinner would seem complete without something pork. This Moo Hong (170 baht) is a Southern Thai dish made with stewed pork belly. You can choose to have it with fatty pork, lean pork, or a mix of both. We chose to get a mix of both. The pork meat is very tender and flavorful from the herbaceous paste that it’s marinated and slow cooked in. It’s a little sweet, and the gravy of oyster and dark soy sauce adds a salty kick to it. I highly recommend this dish!

Stinky beans? Sign me up!

SN Bar & Kitchen Krung Phad Phrik Kaeng Staw
Krung Phad Phrik Kaeng Staw (220 baht)

Though I’m no stranger to beans, and their effects, I’d never heard of “stink beans“, known in Thailand as “sato“. So of course I had to try it. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever had before. The texture of the bean is similar to a softened almond, and the flavor is really tough to describe. It’s kind of like sulphur or natural gas–it kind of lingers in your mouth, too. I don’t think anyone would want to sit down and eat a bowl of stink beans.

They’re pretty tasty when mixed with other things, though. This Krung Phad Phrik Kaeng Staw (220 baht) dish is made with stink beans, chillies, anchovy paste, minced pork, and topped with large prawns. It’s a very spicy and salty dish, and the beans really run a number on your taste and smell senses. This is something to try at least for the experience–but try it with something to drink and a side of plain rice as the spice and saltiness of it are no joke!

Pomelo salad with prawns…

SN Bar & Kitchen Yum Sum-Oh
Yum Sum-Oh (180 baht)

Pomelo Salad isn’t strictly a Southern Thai dish (as it’s found all over Thailand), but it’s one of my favorite dishes that I can’t refuse if I see it on a menu. This Yum Sum-Oh (180 baht) is made with large chunks of juicy pomelo marinated with a dressing of tamarind and coconut milk, peanuts, shredded toasted coconut, and topped with prawns. This is a delicious combination of sweet and spicy. I highly recommend this dish!

Delicious Hokkien Noodles!

SN Bar & Kitchen Hokkien Noodles
Bami Phad Hokkien Seafood (180 baht)

I’ve had Hokkien style noodles when traveling in Phuket so I had an idea of what to expect. For me these Bami Phad Hokkein Seafood (180 baht) noodles were much tastier than what I experienced before. The noodles are already creamy, but when mixed with the soft egg they become even creamier. The egg and the seafood sauces make a nice gravy for these noodles and SN Bar & Kitchen doesn’t skimp on the seafood.

Call the fire department!

SN Bar & Kitchen Gang Phet Kai Sapharot
Gang Phet Kai Sapharot (150 baht)

This yellow curry will start a 4 alarm fire in your mouth. The Gang Phet Kai Sapharot (150 baht) seems innocent enough with its chunks of chicken and pineapple. In fact, the first bite for me was rather sweet as juicy pineapple leads the charge on the tastebuds. But then the first ember from the curry broth ignites and intensifies rather quickly…and then it retreats.  It’s delicious but it’s spicy as Hell.

Fortunately, since the heat dissipates quickly you can keep returning to the bowl to torture yourself with this delicious but fiery dish! This dish is another reason to have a side of plain rice and a drink on hand.

A word about drinks…

SN Bar & Kitchen
Drinks!

SN Bar & Kitchen makes some seriously solid cocktails at pretty reasonable prices.  The cocktail bar is open from 4pm – midnight, Tuesday-Sunday. You can see from the pictures that the bartender makes just as much effort in presentation of the drinks as the chef makes in presenting the food. My gal and I enjoyed 2 regular cocktails and 1 signature cocktail. What I love about these drinks is that you can taste the booze in them (they’re not overly sweet) and yet they’re very flavorful.

Many of the cocktails are “beach” drinks. They compliment the spicy food as well as the beach shell decor of the restaurant (meant to capture the feel of the famous beaches in southern Thailand). The Piña Colada  (240 baht) is pictured above in the giant Tikki mug. It’s a refreshing mix of pineapple juice, light rum, and frothy coconut milk. It’s a very tasty drink that’s tough to pace yourself with as it’s so easy to drink quickly.

My personal favorite…

SN Bar & Kitchen Lychee Vodka
Lychee Vodka (280 baht)

This Lychee Vodka (280 baht) is one of SN Bar & Kitchen’s signature drinks and my personal favorite. It’s made with vodka, Curaçao, and loads of Lychee pulp. I really like lychee fruit and enjoyed the big chunks found in this drink.

This is a pretty Planter’s Punch!

SN Bar & Kitchen Planter's Punch
Planter’s Punch (240)

This is one of the prettiest Planter’s Punch (240 baht) drinks I’ve ever seen. It’s made with dark rum. light rum, pineapple and orange juice. It’s refreshing and delicious, too!

If cocktails are not your thing SN Bar & Kitchen also offers craft and local beer options (Singha Draft glasses at 90 baht/350 ml).

A chat with the owners…

SN Bar & Kitchen Owners
Sam and Nok

I was fortunate to be able to meet with the owners of SN Bar & Kitchen, Sam and Nok.  Sam is originally from Kolkata, India though he has lived in Bangkok for 25 years. Nok is from the Phangna Province in Southern Thailand. Though neither come from a F&B background, both are very passionate about food and drinks. They decided to start a restaurant when they both felt that they had too much time on their hands and television wasn’t the answer. Rather than sit about they chose to pursue their passions of cooking and making great drinks.

The SN Bar & Kitchen hit the Bangkok food scene in July, 2017. The “SN” in the restaurant name actually stands for Sam and Nok.  The “Bar” is Sam’s forte and he’s the one inspiring the signature cocktails and keeping the drink menu “fresh” with new offerings. The “Kitchen” is Nok’s arena where she ensures that all dishes are prepared using the recipes of her family.

Authenticity is important to them. They want to showcase just how wonderful and diverse Southern Thai cuisine is. As a result, much of the ingredients that they use in their dishes are delivered fresh from southern Thailand such as “chone stems” and various curry pastes. If you want authentic southern Thai flavor in Bangkok you’ll find it here.

I’m hungry. Where is it?

SN Bar & Kitchen Front

SN Bar & Kitchen is located in the Ekamai Shopping Centre (Verng Boran) next to a Craft Beer Bar and a Japanese Izakaya. The “bar” is open for cocktails from 4pm-midnight, Tuesday-Sunday, and the restaurant itself is open everyday from 11am-midnight. Speaking with Sam, he told me that they had great relationships with their neighboring restaurants/bars and that it wasn’t unusual for customers to order a craft beer next door to go with their Southern Thai food or a SN Bar & Kitchen cocktail to pair with their yakitori from the Japanese Izakaya.

SN Bar & Kitchen offers plenty of seating inside and outside. For large groups (more than 6) it’s recommended to call in advance for reservations so that they can move some tables around to accommodate. Since they are also located at an outside shopping centre there’s ample parking available along with valet services.

I would highly recommend SN Bar & Kitchen for anyone interested in experiencing Southern Thai cuisine, and for folks who enjoy solid cocktails at very reasonable prices.

El Mariachi Taqueria – Tasty Mexican Food in Bangkok!

El Mariachi Taqueria

When I first lived in Bangkok it was tough to find really good Mexican cuisine. As a California native, it’s something I do crave every now and again. Then the food scene seemingly exploded overnight with some great Mexican restaurants. Now there’s no shortage of great places to enjoy some delicious tacos, quesadillas, burritos, etc. Off the top of your head you can probably name 5 pretty solid Mexican restaurants in the Big Mango. But I want to highlight one restaurant I’ve recently discovered because they take “homemade” to a whole new level when it comes to Mexican fare, El Mariachi Taqueria (official Facebook page).

Everything that El Mariachi Taqueria makes is made in house and from natural ingredients. Their chips, tortillas, sauces, salsas, and even their sour cream! If you’re lucky you may even try their homemade Oaxaca cheese which is made on special occasions. This freshness and simplicity in their food makes a huge difference in taste. But let me show you! I’ll start with some starters…

El Mariachi Taqueria takes “homemade” to a new level!

El Mariachi Taqueria Chips and Salsa
Homemade tortilla chips and dips!

At one time the owners of El Mariachi Taqueria had a business of producing tortillas and tortilla chips for restaurants in Bangkok. They’ve since sold off that business but have retained their recipes. Their recipes are simple and natural. For their tortilla chips there are 3 ingredients: corn, water, and salt. Simple and flavorful, like the dips and salsas that can accompany them.

Holy guacamole!

El Mariachi Taqueria Guacamole
Chips with Guacamole (175 baht)

This dish pictured is a sampling of the Guacamole and Chips dish (175 baht). The size on the menu comes in a larger bowl with more guacamole. If you like a chunky guacamole then this dish is going to make you happy!

Salsa…proceed with caution!

El Mariachi Taqueria Salsa
Salsa, Habanero, Jalapeño Sauces

El Mariachi Taqueria doesn’t hold back on the heat. If you enjoy chili rich spicy dipping sauces then these salsas won’t disappoint you. Pictured is their molcajete salsa, habanero sauce, and jalapeño sauce. If you were expecting that jalapeño sauce to be a creamy avocado sauce you’re in for a flaming surprise! But in celebration of Taco Tuesday they do provide a creamy avocado sauce (don’t get the two mixed up!).

Great queso dips!

El Mariachi Taqueria Mucho Queso
Mucho Queso Chicken (200 baht)

This dish pictured is a sampling of the Mucho Queso Chicken  dish (200 baht). The size on the menu comes in a larger bowl with more queso dipping sauce. It’s rich, flavorful, and full of chicken meat chunks. Eat it while it’s hot and melty!

Tacos!

El Mariachi Taqueria Barbacoa Tacos
Tacos de Barbacoa (280 baht:4 tacos)

Pictured is two tacos, but the Tacos de Barbacoa (280 baht) on their menu  comes with 4 tacos. Also pictured is their Jamaica drink (50 baht), which is a refreshing slightly sweet beverage made with roselle that perfectly accompanies the intense savory flavors of the tender beef in this taco. The beef in these tacos is marinated for a few hours then coated in a chili paste (made with dried chilies from Mexico) and slowly cooked for 7 hours so that the chili flavors transfer to the meat.

El Mariachi offers 9 different styles of tacos (with your choice of corn or flour tortillas. There is something here to satisfy everyone’s palate from Tacos Vegetariano (200 baht) made with seasoned veggies, beans, and cheese to the adventurous Tacos de Lengua (280 baht) made with slow cooked beef tongue, tomatillo sauce, onion, and cilantro.

Tastes like heaven!

El Mariachi Taqueria Shrimp Quesadilla
Shrimp Quesadilla (300 baht:12 inch)

Pictured is a 10 inch tortilla quesadilla (a lunch special). The Shrimp Quesadilla (300 baht) on the menu is a larger 12 inches. This is a must try dish! It’s filled with large seasoned shrimp that are perfectly cooked so that they are sweet and slightly crunchy. But what really turns this eating experience into a transcendental culinary awakening is the sour cream.

El Mariachi Taqueria makes their sour cream in house with fresh milk from a local supplier. It’s so rich and creamy, and combined with the melty cheese in this quesadilla it’s heavenly. Again, unless you’re seriously lactose intolerant or allergic to shellfish, I highly recommend this dish!

A word on drinks…

El Mariachi Taqueria Horchata
Horchata (50 baht)

Of course El Mariachi offers the typical margaritas (220-240 baht) and beers (draft and local beers at 75 baht) to accompany their delicious food but what really made me happy was that they have homemade Horchata (50 baht)! This sweet drink of rice milk, cinnamon, and vanilla is nostalgic for this California boy. Try it!

A chat with the owner…

El Mariachi Taqueria Owner
Donaya

I had the opportunity to chat with one of the owners about El Mariachi Taqueria’s story. Donaya and her husband, Abel, began El Mariachi Taqueria at a restaurant location in Srinakarin Road in 2013. They gained a large fan base of regular customers (and return to that area quarterly to put together BBQ cookouts). After a couple of successful years they decided to get a food truck as well. They operated the food truck in tandem with their restaurant for a year and a half. Then the opportunity to move to Habito Mall came in June, 2016. They decided to shutter their Srinakarin Road location and their food truck and start anew.

“To be in this business you have to love it.”

El Mariachi TaqueriaDonaya is Thai and Abel is from Chiapas, Mexico. They’ve lived and traveled throughout Mexico and their menu has been inspired by all of the street food they’ve enjoyed in Mexico as well as recipes passed down through Abel’s family. Donaya’s philosophy to cooking is that great food is made with no chemicals, just simple fresh ingredients, and with passion.

Both have worked in the F&B industry all of their adult  lives, but it’s amazing how far they’ve come along over the past 5 years after deciding to venture out on their own and pursue their passion of putting great homemade Mexican cuisine on the table for their patrons. As I watched Donaya greeting and chatting with the customers it was clear that she genuinely loves what she does.

I’m hungry! Where is it?

El Mariachi Taquiria Bangkok Front

El Mariachi Taqueria is located on the first floor of the Habito Mall which is located off of On Nut Road. It’s about a 15 minute walk from the On Nut BTS station. Alternatively you can take a shuttle bus from the BTS station (exit 2) which will take you directly to the Habito Mall (it runs every 30 minutes).

El Mariachi Taqueria Inside
Vibrant!

It is a small restaurant but there is seating available inside and outside. The inside is alive with vibrant colors and decorated with pictures of Mexican folk heroes and art.

Their Facebook page is worth following as they have some great events and specials which they advertise there. Their Taco Tuesday special is an incredible value at 399 baht for all you can eat tacos (Grilled Chicken, Tinga de Pollo, Carne Asada, Barbacoa,  Carnitas, Shrimp, Vegetarian) from 6pm-9:30pm.  If you are a fan of Mexican food you should certainly check out El Mariachi Taqueria!

Eats Payao: The Best Khao Soi in Bangkok!

Eats Payao Khao Soi

Eats Payao (official Facebook page) has always had a special place in my heart for 3 reasons:

  1. I am a huge fan of khao soi and they make the best khao soi I’ve had in Bangkok.
  2. The Chow Traveller blog idea was formulated at Eats Payao over bowls of khao soi nua.
  3. The proprietors, Gav and Khae, are incredibly hardworking, personable, and genuine good people to know.

I’m fortunate that it’s been located close to my home–it make’s it much easier to get my “fix” for khao soi noodles. When they talked about closing up shop I was so happy to hear that it was so that they could move to a larger place even closer to my home! With a larger kitchen they were also able to expand their Northern Thailand food menu to include Singaporean cuisine. Once they were up and running I figured it was time to revisit, and rewrite my original article to cover their new location, menu, and share their very special story.

Let the drooling begin….

The feast…

Eats Payao
A feast!

I enlisted the aid of two friends to accompany me–this was going to be a feast and I wasn’t going to waste any food. My friends are a restauranteur couple and appreciate good food. They are Thai and I trust their candor and insights into the food dishes. I also wanted to make sure my palate wasn’t biased from my long term relationship that I have with Eats Payao. They confirmed what I’ve always felt–this is some amazing food and they have the best khao soi we’ve tried in Bangkok!

The famous khao soi!

Eats Payao Khao Soi
Khao Soi Nua (180 baht)

Eats Payao is famous for their khao soi–it’s what put them on the map of Bangkok’s food scene. If you like a khao soi that has a thick, creamy gravy instead of a watery broth then this is a place you will enjoy! They offer 6 different khao soi noodle dishes:

  1. Khao Soi Chicken (145 baht) – Don’t expect a little chicken leg in this dish. It’s got a huge, meaty chicken thigh.
  2. Khao Soi Beef (180 baht) – Their #1 seller and my personal favorite made with tender slices of beef shank.
  3. Khao Soi Seafood (200 baht) – A good mix for fans of seafood.
  4. Khao Soi Crab (280 baht) – Their most expensive offering but absolutely worth it if you love crab. They really pile on big lumps of crab claw meat in this dish.
  5. Khao Soi Hed Thob (200 baht) – Unbelievably they have a vegetarian option for khao soi! Hed Thob are a Northern Thai wild mushroom with a very creamy texture and earthy flavor.
  6. Khao Soi Dry Prawns (180 baht) – Do you want the taste of khao soi but don’t want to risk getting yellow gravy on your white dress? THIS is for you. They make this in such a way as to coat the egg noodles with the creamy khao soi gravy sauce and top it with some sweet jumbo prawns. You can still doctor up the dish with chillies, onions, pickled greens, and lime juice. It’s all the flavor without the mess!

Eats Payao now offers Singaporean fare!

Eats Payao Prawn Noodle Soup
Prawn Noodle Soup (280 baht)

 

Historically, Eats Payao has been all about Northern Thai cuisine and the special flare that Khae instills in its preparation through experimentation with family recipes. Gav’s from Singapore and now that they’ve got a larger kitchen, he’s expanded the menu to include some seriously delicious Singaporean dishes.

This Prawn Noodle Soup (280 baht) was my first introduction to their new menu and it’s incredible. The broth is incredibly rich (made with prawn heads) and peppery. The dish itself is loaded with prawns and pork ribs where the meat just falls away from bone. I highly recommend this dish!

What smells like a shoe but tastes AMAZING?

Eats Payao Gaeng Som
Gaeng Som (180-200 baht)

I’ve never had Gaeng Som (180-200 baht) before. My first impression was that it smelled “funky”–like an old gym shoe. This dish is made with lotus lily stalks and mackerel (probably what gives it the “funk” smell). And like some cheeses I’ve had, if you look past the smell and you will be rewarded.

One of my friends that joined me really enjoyed this dish, though normally they are not fans of Gaeng Som. He explained to me that THIS version is different. It’s not sweet, and it’s not orange. This version is spicier and with a clearer broth. Khae informed me it’s different because she makes it with tamarind and white ginger.

This will fool you…

Eats Payao Tum Kanoon
Tam Kanoon (180 baht)

This is one of my favorite dishes. It tastes like pulled pork to me. Both of my friends were completely fooled and in disbelief that it’s not meat. Tam Kanoon (180 baht) is a stir fried young jackfruit salad. The only thing keeping it from being halal is the crispy pork rinds that accompany it. It gets it’s spiciness from the white ginger heat (coincidentally my choice for a dancer name should I ever pursue that vocation) that Khae blends into it.

Pretty…and pretty tasty!

Eats Payao Gaeng Kluay
Gaeng Kluay (220 baht)

This was a new dish for me and my friends. This Gaeng Kluay (220 baht) is made with young banana, pork belly, chilies, cha plu leaves, and kaffir lime slivers. I really enjoyed it as it is so completely different from any other Thai dish I’ve tried. Who would have thought to make a stew from young bananas and pork belly?

A chat with the owners…

Eats Payao Gav and Khae
Gav and Khae

Eats Payao was one of the first articles I wrote about when this blog started (it’s where the Chow Traveller blog was born). Unfortunately, my picture taking skills weren’t quite as polished, my writing a bit rambling, and I never delved into the story of Eats Payao’s origins. This rewrite of their new restaurant and menu affords me an opportunity to make it “right”. The owners of Eats Payao have a very interesting story that’s worth telling!

Humble beginnings…

In the fall of 2015 if you wanted to try their khao soi you’d have to go to the monthly Farmer’s Market event at K Village. Gav and Khae started selling their food from small event stands they’d set up at any food event they could. Their offerings were simple: khao soi gai, nam ngiao, homemade Northern Thai sausages, and nam prik noom.

Eats Payao’s First Location!

After a year and half of slinging their fare from hastily erected food stands, they’d saved up enough money and garnered enough support from fans of their food to open a small commercial kitchen on Chan Road. From this kitchen they were able to prepare food for delivery and catering events only. There wasn’t enough room for a dine-in option.

In just 6 short months they’d built up their business and was encouraged to open a small hole-in-the wall restaurant on Soi Nang Linchi around the beginning of 2017. On my first visit there they didn’t have air condition, they didn’t have paint on their walls, they didn’t even have a door. But what they did have was some AMAZING food (the best khao soi I’d had in Bangkok), and really personable service.

A star is born!

Great food and personable service are the two things that set them on a rocketing trajectory in the Bangkok food scene. They reinvested their money into fixing the place up (installing an air condition, glass door restaurant front, new kitchen, furniture, painting, and art). Through word of mouth and social media, they were soon covered in the Bangkok Post,  BK Magazine Online,  Bangkok 101, several other local food scene magazines, a myriad of local food bloggers, and even landing an article Bangkok Airways in-flight magazine Fah Thai (Sept/Oct ’17 edition, page 86)!

The sudden recognition was dizzying for them, but they stayed on top by keeping true to their roots with their personable service, and keeping their menu fresh with new items. But one thing they couldn’t overcome was the fact that they simply didn’t have enough room to serve all of the customers that would come by. Their deepest disappointment was having to turn away customers when they had a full house.

Time to expand!

In early 2018 an opportunity presented itself in that they could relocate their restaurant to a much larger establishment. They closed the Nang Linchi restaurant in February  and went straight to work refurbishing a 4 story town home on Soi Yen Akat. They opened their doors to the public March 10th, 2018.

The first floor provides ample seating, with available seating outside as well. The second floor is currently still being renovated with completion expected in April. This floor will be a “play area” for families that bring their small children. The third floor is their family living space, and the fourth floor is being renovated to be a single large B&B room with expansive private terrace/garden.

Both Gav and Khae have big dreams for their restaurant–they’re constantly improving and innovating their menu and the Eats Payao scene. I believe this is a story that is far from over. I believe their story has just begun!

I’m hungry! Where is it?

Eats Payao Outside

The Google Map location may be a little off but you honestly can’t miss this place unless the houses around it decide to go orange as well. It’s located right next to a 7-11 store–the only one on Soi Yen Akat!

If you love khao soi then this place should be on your list to try. But I would recommend visiting with a few friends so that you can get a nice sampling of their other menu items. Enjoy with some glasses Leo Draft Beer (330 ml/90 baht)!

 

Aire Bar – Bangkok’s “Local” Rooftop Bar!

Aire Bar Bangkok

I was introduced to Aire Bar (official Facebook page) not long after their December ’17 opening via a media event invite.  During the event I was really impressed with their concept, their drink menu, and their prices. It impressed me as a rooftop bar for folks who live here in Bangkok, folks who want to experience a nice view, and a nice drink, but don’t want to have their wallets pillaged in the process. Folks like me, actually!

At the time they had their drink menu finalized but were still working on their food menu. Once their food menu came online I figured it was a good time for a visit!

Some menu highlights…

Aire Bar Bangkok Snacks
A few snacks…

The food menu at Aire Bar is best described as a “snack” menu and there’s plenty there to nosh on. The offerings range from light snacks like exotic flavored chips (Jamon Iberico, Caviar, and Trufa Negra flavors (150 baht)) to heavier snacks like Thai Style Crispy Chicken with Spicy Dipping Sauce (320 baht), and meat and cheese platters.

Here’s what we* got!

*NOTE: I conducted this visit with my gal, as it was a Friday and she would be getting off of work during the visit. She’d have murdered me if I didn’t invite her along, and she certainly helped by taking many of the pictures in this article.

Seriously spicy hummus…

Aire Bar Bangkok Chili Hummus
Chili Hummus and Pita Bread (220 baht)

This Chili Hummus and Pita Bread (220 baht) plate has some serious heat to it.  It’s well portioned and meant for sharing. I enjoyed it with the soft pita bread, and the spice kept me drinking!

Mezze time!

Aire Bar Bangkok Olives
Olives Semi-Sun Dried Tomatoes Feta (320 baht)

One of my favorite snacks when I’m drinking is olives (when I lived in Turkey a big bowl of mixed olives was one of my favorite mezzes). This appetizer of Olives, Semi Sun Dried Tomatoes, Feta and Rye Bread (320 baht) has a nice mix of green, black, and red olives.

Don’t forget the meat!

Aire Bar Bangkok VIVIN Platter
VIVIN Cold Cut Platter (550 baht)

If you live in Bangkok and are into the wine and dine scene you’ve probably heard of VIVIN and their locally produced meats and cheeses. The VIVIN Cold Cut Platter (550 baht) has 5 samples of meats, bread and good sampling of olives as well. If you’re hungry this is a nice dish to get–especially if you’re drinking wine.

Aire Bar SnacksAbout the food menu…

The menu at Aire Bar is meant to accompany drinks and the casual scene of their rooftop bar. It’s not dinner–but that doesn’t mean you can’t eat well here. Taking into consideration the fact that it’s a rooftop bar in Bangkok, and the quality of the ingredients that they use, I felt the prices were a fair value.

That’s not to say that you can’t find hummus and meat platters cheaper here in Bangkok. Of course you can. But I think you’d find it very challenging to find them at a rooftop bar. I took this into consideration by comparing their menu prices to other rooftop bars…not to restaurants.

If you’re like me and appreciate value, then read on as for me the REAL value here is their drinks…

Amazing cocktails that won’t break the bank!

Aire Bar Bangkok Drinks
Great drinks!

I’ve had mixed experiences with rooftop bars in Bangkok. Some make a decent drink that I can enjoy, and some offer up cocktails that seem tailored for child consumption–weak in the booze but strong in the sugar department. Though it can be a coin toss as to whether or not I’d get a good drink at a rooftop bar one thing would be certain: that drink would be expensive!

It’s different at Aire Bar. All of their signature cocktails are priced at 280 baht, they’re all made with premium spirits, and they’re all fantastic.

Nick Braun

They’re also unique. What makes them so special? The man who designed Aire Bar’s cocktail menu, Nick Braun. Throughout his career Nick has been recognized in world leading cocktail competitions and  has even represented Australia at the International Bartenders Association World Cocktail Championships 2010 as a tasting panel judge.

He was hired as a consultant to develop the signature cocktails for Aire Bar’s drink menu and train their staff to make them correctly. I had an opportunity to chat with Nick during the media event last December (where he put together a fun drink mixing event). He told me his intention was to create drinks that were flavorful, easy to drink, and balanced. As an example a cocktail like Passion in the AIRE (Kai vodka, bianco vermouth, caramel, passionfruit) sounds like it would be super sweet but in reality it’s surprisingly not! All the of ingredients combine to make a smooth, refreshing, easy to drink cocktail that’s perfect for those hot Bangkok evenings.

Some tasty examples!

Aire Bar Bangkok Drinks
Rye on Thyme (280 baht)

My personal favorite is the Rye on Thyme cocktail (Rebel Yell Rye, Bianco Vermouth, grapefruit, honey, thyme, orange bitters). I’m a fan of a good Old Fashioned and this drink reminds me of that but it’s refreshing, too. I could drink these all night– and at these prices I could afford to.

Aire Bar Bangkok Sazzle Drink
Sazzle (280 baht)

My gal selected this drink and it’s a winner. The Sazzle cocktail (Broker’s Gin, JJ Whitley Vodka, raspberry, lime, sugar, soda, kaffir lime leaf) looks girly but it’s not. This has a wonderful fresh berry taste but with a kick. You definitely get the boozy heat yet it’s tempered by the freshness of the kaffir lime and raspberry.

Noteworthy from their drink menu…

Aire Bar has very reasonable prices for their bottled beers (incredibly inexpensive Singha and Heineken) and a rotating wine and beer list. Their wines are fairly priced, and you can even get a glass of sparkling Prosecco for 199 baht. If cocktails are not your thing you won’t be disappointed with the selection or pricing of their beer, wine, and spirit menu.

A chat with the manager…

Aire Bar Bangkok
Saraid and CC

I had a chance to chat with Saraid Carey, the Hyatt Place General Manager (pictured with their Marketing Manager, “CC”). Saraid wants the Aire Bar to be your “neighborhood bar–on a rooftop”. Originally from Australia, she enjoyed the neighborhood bar concept prevalent “Down Under” and wanted to bring that feel to the Aire Bar.

Aire Bar Bangkok
Airy!

Aire Bar is meant to be a place where folks who live in Bangkok will want to hang out–it’s why the seats are comfortable and the seating spread out, even the inside of the bar is open and “airy”. It’s also why the drinks are exceptional, yet affordable.

Great specials…

Aire Bar Bangkok

Aire Bar has a “Happy Hour” from 5 pm to 7 pm everyday in which customers can enjoy a  2 for 1 special on a large selection of spirits, cocktails, wines and beers. It seems odd to have a happy hour special at the peak time for rooftop bars, but I think it’s smart. They’re banking on customers coming and having an excellent experience with a beautiful sunset and great drinks–enjoying themselves so much they stick around. From my experience I can see it playing out just like that!

“Sunday Sessions”

Live Entertainment…

Aire Bar is open at 5 pm every day except for Sunday. On Sunday they open earlier at 3 pm for “Sunday Sessions”. During this time they have specials in which the signature cocktails are served in pitchers and with live musical entertainment. If you find yourself walking out of a Sunday buffet in which you’ve had a few Mimosas and would rather continue that feeling than go home, Aire Bar is a GREAT place to keep it going.

I’m interested! Where is it?

The Aire Bar is located on the 28th floor of the Hyatt Place hotel on Sukhumvit  Soi 24. It’s within walking distance of the Phrom Phong BTS station. It’s a little tricky as you take one elevator to the hotel lobby, then you exit and get in another elevator to the 28th floor.

If you’re looking for a rooftop bar experience that has solid drinks and fair prices you will be impressed with the offerings of Aire Bar!