Doug and I visited Mikkeller's San Francisco location last summer, so when Doug realized that they also have a location in Bangkok in addition to their flagship locations in Denmark, it was a given that we would visit. (I'll also again recommend that you read this NYT Magazine piece about the founder of Mikkeller and his twin brother who owns another of our favorite breweries, Evil Twin Brewing.)
Khao San Road
A couple of years ago I had a gig writing hotel blurbs for Travel + Leisure. One of the cities I covered was Thailand (go figure) and I distinctly remember writing about a backpacker-friendly B&B in the Khao San district. I remember thinking that it sounded like a really cool area, if not a little sketchy. I don't know why then, when Doug and I were actually in Thailand, that it didn't come across my mind that we should check out Khao San Road until our last night in Bangkok.
I can't believe we almost missed this place! What started in the 80s as a street that housed a few cheap guesthouses for backpackers has turned into a bustling neighborhood with bars, cafes, massage parlors, and food and clothing stands every few feet- and lots of lots of tourists.
Khao San Road proper was just crazy- basically Thailand's version of the Las Vegas Strip with way less fancy hotels and and way more dive bars, some with signs like this:
Cheap Charlie's on Sukhumvit Soi 11
Soi 11 is like Khao San's much tamer, more refined little brother. The street is a favorite of expats with some tourists and locals thrown into the mix too and it's super easy to get to as it's just a block or so down from the Nana BTS stop.
There are lots of little bars and clubs nestled along the road but our hands-down favorite was Cheap Charlie's. Cheap Charlie's is a cozy little shack of a bar with a few bistro tables and stools scattered around its perimeter. It's been open for almost twenty years now and the drink prices certainly reflect its name. We're talking 60 baht ($1.80) for a Chang and 70 baht ($2.15) for a vodka soda.
Octave Rooftop Lounge and Bar at Bangkok Marriott Hotel Sukhumvit
Bangkok is known for its bevy of opulent rooftop bars whose prices tend to hover more around US prices than Thai prices. We knew we wanted a fancy night out, but also didn't want to blow our whole daily budget on a round a drinks.
After doing some research, I came across Octave Rooftop Lounge and Bar at Bangkok Marriott Hotel Sukhumvit. With its great happy hour specials and panoramic views of the city, it seemed like the perfect choice.
We started out with two Thai Mojitos (350 baht or $10.75) made with Thai rum, lime juice, mango, and Thai basil.