Bartenders have been replaced by sophisticated mixologists, umbrella-adorned cocktails and regular tipples rubbed off the menu to make room for complex and ambitious concoctions.
We are not a bar, so says Drinksmith’s blurb, we are a cocktail laboratory! Charismatic mixologist, Boss, shakes, stirs and mixes away as he chats to punters sitting in comfy leather directors’ stools at the bar counter, patiently explaining the ingredients of each cocktail and origins of every exotic bottle lining the walls. It is all leather, chrome, mood-lighting and eccentric objects d’art at this latest city watering hole. Downstairs is a social bar while upstairs is home to some sexy lounge areas perfect for small groups or crooning couples. Gin lovers should try the dry London Sipsmith, paired perfectly with Fever-Tree tonic or the exotic artisanal flavours of a Hebrides’s Botanics gin cocktail. There is also a respectable collection of bourbons and single malts among other spirits and the cocktail menu screams to be faithfully sampled, one temptress at a time. To keep you (vaguely) sober, snack on the spicy duck crackling or bourbon chicken before taking an Uber home!
Open 9am – 12am
Choc Chiang Mai, Mahidol Road
064 648 6020
Red Room by David’s Kitchen
We don’t have to tell you about David’s Kitchen, since it is arguably the most famous international restaurant in Chiang Mai right now. But DK has recently opened up Red Room, a wine and tapas bar extension to the restaurant which is a destination unto itself. It is all burgundy red walls, cosy dark cushy corners, mood lighting, sink-into-and-never-leave arm chairs as well as a lovely outdoor patio for cooler nights. Lovers of wine will be spoilt with the selection of bottles in the walk-in cellar and this is the only place in Chiang Mai where you can enjoy wines by the glass from a world-class dispensing system which doesn’t destroy the wine’s integrity when poured; this means that you can order even the most expensive wines by the glass. There is a light tapas menu, should you wish for a more casual evening out in the Red Room rather than the more complete dining experience DK offers ,and there is the usual assortment of beers, spirits and cocktails as well.
(The Red Room will have dinning tables from David’s Kitchen until July due to refurbishment of the restaurant.)
Open 5pm – 11pm
113/1 Bamrungrad Road, Wat Kate
091 072 2431
Jack Bain’s Bar
Much thought has gone into 137 Pillars House’s new bar, Jack Bain’s Bar. Built in the late 19th century by the Borneo Company, Jack Bain of Scottish descent was one of the house’s last inhabitants before it was turned into the five star hotel it is today. Tartan fabrics and accents, original golden teak wood and motifs, black and white photos of glorious colonial days gone by, copper sheets and rich leather accents offer an homage to those traded during Bain’s days. Premium spirits, from gins to single malts, line the wall behind the bar and even the cocktails are crafty colonial chic (apparently, this is a thing!) in name, concoction and presentation. Try the signature cocktail, Aged Teak, an exotic blend of Monkey Shoulder blended single malts, vermouth, and fresh grapefruit juice, served in a glass dome filled with aromatic charred cinnamon. One can almost see the ghost of Jack Bain, strong gin in hand — medicinal quinine, dear boy — talking teak and elephants as he tell stories of the past.
Open daily 5 – 7pm
2 Soi 1, Nawatgate Road, Wat Gate
053 247 788