Bangkok is quite good with super “Designed” Wallpaper*-esque nightlife concepts and offerings and has been since the emergence of “IT” joints like Bed Supper Club, FACE Bar, and Fallabella in the last decade.
While those bars are a memory of what they once were, making waves as of late are two new hotspots located high above the city with, SCARLETT, perfect for those wanting a sunset with a scene, and a new “speakeasy” very low underground, at the new/old Maggie Choo’s, for those wanting a bit of naughty privacy.
If you plan on going to SCARLETT, make sure you get reservations first because patrons come here early to catch the sunset with pre drinks, and then follow-up with delicious Tapaz, cold cuts, and cheese, with wine pairing. In addition, the menu is formulated by 2-star Michelin Chef Manuel Martinez.
The original SCARLETT is located in Beijing. The Bangkok bar is the sister location.
Designed by friends of mine at P49 DEESIGN, one of Asia’s top hospitality design studios, SCARLETT’s has plenty of greens for that softer touch and nice comfy outdoor lounging areas, plus indoor share tables perfect for big groups or impromptu meet ups. Tables are lit with exposed pendant bulbs to have that floating candle-light effect, and are framed by by colorful black, white, and red graphic tiles on the floor to add a bit of that Spanish fun and color but in a modern and subdued way.
It’s located centrally on the 37th floor of the Pullman Bangkok Hotel G where I stayed earlier this Spring. Its very easy to get to.
The sunset views are really the best part of the Pre-Dining experience here.
That same week, my friends and I were trying to figure out where to go for nightlife. And thinking that I wanted to blog about something new, a friend mentioned to me that a new bar, called Maggie Choo’s, just opened up by the same team which includes “IT” designer and “Nightlife Baron”, Ashley Sutton.
You may know Perth-born Sutton’s work via his other destination bars, Iron Fairies and Fat Gut’z. And recently he’s just opened a family friendly eating establishment at Siam Center, Mr. Jone’s Orphanage, and a bookshop/bar called Bookshop Bar. Funny that.
Just when you thought 1920’s Shanghainese fetishism in design has gone been-there-done-that… well, you can change your mind again with Sutton’s version of the concept… a concubine’s haven run by head-mistress, a character named, Maggie Choo.
What’s great about Maggie Choo’s, is that it’s truly a “speakeasy”, even the theatre of the sense of arrival gives you a feeling of naughy (using the word again) anticipation.
The door (as all faux-speakeasies tend to be) is a side door on the Ground floor of an old Novotel on Silom Road. You walk in, see a tiled wall with a picture of men eating noodles, then you notice you’ll need to walk down a flight of stairs (hand carved) and enter a what seemingly looks like an old-school dai pai dong Cantonese noodle bar.
“Is this it?”, you ask yourself, “Where are the concubines on a swing I keep hearing about?”. Just when you thought you’d give it all up, a lady tells you to follow her through a door with curtains.
And then just like some magic trick, the space expands… into this…
…A lush cavernous bar lined with vaults clad in steel and brick, a plush central bar that looks like a bank teller… and swings… everywhere. That night I got there too early so there were no concubines on swings, (they were swinging on their own… ghastly), but I got the point.
You’ll be surprised to know that all the bricks, steel, and vaults were actually already there and were just incorporated by Sutton for the design… so no faux “Disneyfication” here.
The site was originally a 1947 East India Company Bank underground vault. The concept works great with the space. Each vault has a VIP sitting area, and i’m sure you can close it up for privacy. Also each vault area connects to the other vaults so you can have one big party.
We ordered yummy “cantonese” snacks of friend dumplings and chicken wings plus fries and fried peanuts with house cocktails which tasted like the 1920’s.
These two served us.
It’s very well done. Although next time i’ll really want to try the noodles and dumplings at the cafe out front… which you can do before or after drinking!
According to their Facebook Page:
Maggie Choo’s was named after Shanghai cabaret owner who fled her hometown in 1931 following the Japanese invasion that tore the city.
Shortly after arriving in Bangkok, she found a 19th century Thai Chinese shoe box restaurant crammed into a basement 10 meters below Silom road serving authentic Thai chinese shophouse food.
When one day, she discovered behind the walls in the corner of the restaurant an entrance that lead to a derelict 19th century East India company bank built in 1847 used for storing porcelain and spices that the British used to carry back to England for Queen Victoria, her past caught up with her and she converted the old bank into a cabaret, just like when she used to back in Shanghai.
Today the cabaret is yet to be revived again…
Have a great night in Bangkok! We always do!