Maggie Choo's Bar in Bangkok
Ashley Sutton Designer Strikes Again!
Maggie Choo's is the latest creation of the increasingly popular designer Ashley Sutton, the man behind the incredible 'Bookshop' and 'Iron Fairies' bars. Located at the end on Silom road, under the Novotel Fenix Silom and near to the famous 'Sky Bar' at Lebua, Maggie Choo's is both a restaurant and a bar, a place like nothing we have seen before in Bangkok or beyond. If no one told you where it's located, Maggie Choo's is really hard to spot, just a small old wooden Chinese door outside the Novotel and if the staff at the hotel reception didn't point it out to me, I would have missed it entirely.
I pushed the carved door, walked down the stairs and stepped straight into a tiny Cantonese restaurant reminiscent of the prohibition era of 1930s Shanghai. It was a bit confusing and took time to understand where I really was. Wait a minute… so that's it? this tiny place is what the fuss is all about? Sure it's nice, with paper umbrellas hanging from the ceiling, but I was kind of expecting a bigger blast from Ashley Sutton (who is a guy by the way).
I had to ask the waiter, "is this the new 'Maggie Choo's' bar?", the one we have all been waiting for? Not so… he then pulls a black curtain on the side of the restaurant I didn't notice at first, adding to this feeling of a secret back door in a Chinese restaurant. Stepping through the curtain, the bar is about ten times larger than the tiny restaurant and reminds us exactly Gringott's Wizarding Bank in Harry Potter, with many massive private vault doors open all along old, dark brick walls.
Supposedly, since 1947 this was the East India Company Bank underground vault, at least that's what is written on the brick walls… it's just puzzling to figure out how they managed to built a Novotel above it. However, the result is impressive and it's hard to believe you are still in Bangkok. The bar counter is... behind the bars of what was an old fashioned clerk counter and the place is filled with velvet seats and leather sofas. All around the place are bust statues, old paintings and couple of swings hanging from the ceiling. Background music is good and the dimmed lights successfully recreate a speakeasy atmosphere. From 22:00 onwards, the mood changes with great live Jazz music, with renowned artists playing on weekends..
Of course the drinks don't come cheap but the wine list is good, including a decent selection served per glass. As far as I saw, the cocktail list is not as creative and fun as in 'The Bookshop Bar' but offers all the classics. Overall I would say the place is striking in design and great to hang out with friends or for a business party but not recommended as a romantic rendezvous.
Maggie Choo's is another great creation and you have to see it to believe it... a welcomed new arrival in a part of Silom where such an atmospheric bar was much needed.
- Opening Hours: 18:00 - 02:00
- Location: Novotel Bangkok Fenix Silom Hotel, 320 Silom Road
- Tel: 02 635 6055