It's brew season! 3 Bangkok beer gardens worth leaving the pubs for
The cool breezes of winter may only have lasted a couple of days, but the hotly anticipated seasonal Bangkok beer gardens are here to stay. Well, at least for a couple months. Here are the top three Bangkok beer gardens we’ll be hitting this season.
The glorious beer gardens at Central World -- yes, glorious-- are the annual beer mecca for Bangkok’s hip brew hounds. The big five brands, Singha, Chang, Federbrau, Tiger and Heineken, all shed blood, sweat and beers for prime spaces at Bangkok’s famed shopping venue.
This year’s big winner turned out to be Heineken, snagging the 18th floor roof of department store Zen. Don't worry, the other brands are there too, with gardens in designated areas on the ground floor outside and their own entertainment stages.
Green Space by Greyhound, Heineken’s "new masterpiece," offers both ice cold Heineken beer and delicious food from popular restaurant chain Greyhound Cafe. There’s also live entertainment that includes soft-jazz bands and the occasional big name.
Two warnings. First, the beer is a bit more expensive than in other Heineken gardens around the city. But the extra baht gets you atmosphere, views and trippy beer towers adorned with kinky blinking lights.
Second, although the rooftop space is huge, the fights for the sofas on the top floor of the three-floor space are truly wild. Seats fill as early as 6pm, so try to be there early or have one of your friends (preferably a person who loves Bangkok sunsets) go reserve a sofa in person. Follow @igreenspace on Twitter for updates on events and bands.
18-20/F, ZEN World @ Central World, take the lift from 7/F of Zen. BTS: Skywalk Siam-Chidlom.
Heineken’s beer garden at the Esplanade mall on Ratchadaphisek is, well, more like a little lawn. But although the space is a tad small, it’s very cozy and the service gets two thumbs up.
The best thing about the beer garden at Esplanade is that if the weather doesn’t cool off you can do some ice-skating at Sub Zero first before slipping into the warming bean bags of the garden.
Esplanade Mall, Ratchadaphisek Road, MRT: Thailand Cultural Center
3. La Villa
Okay, we admit that we were slightly shocked to see that the cozy roof top beer garden at La Villa was this year taken over by Chang Draught, one of Thailand’s best selling beers though often dissed by the city’s wealthier beer drinkers. Plus, the place is rather dim and the beer is served in shameful plastic cups.
But yet, we are drawn back there again and again. Perhaps it's the Chang experience: Sitting down on a metal chair in a dimly lit place with the glare of the car park lights on one side and the BTS station on the other, sipping reasonably priced cold beer, listening to strange live versions of popular club songs.
It sounds like a brew for disaster, but we feel wonderfully relaxed in this pretension-free zone. And, to be honest, the Chang actually tastes pleasantly nice.
4th floor La Villa Ari. Phaholyothin Road, BTS: Ari
Editor's Note: The original version of this list actually included the beer garden at Thonglor's HOBS, which we were really looking forward to. Sadly, it turns out they've decided not to set it up this year. Their famous brews are still available inside, of course. Full details can be found on our list of Bangkok’s best year-round pubs, found here.