When Smalls opened up on the relatively discreet Soi Suan Phlu at the start of 2014, it firmly fell into Bangkok’s niche category of expat neighborhood bars. But things change quickly in Bangkok, and through word of mouth, media attention, and the fact that the same street has welcomed a handful of other new drinking dens, Smalls has become one of the most talked-about bars in town.
Set over three floors of a refurbished 1960s townhouse, Smalls is defined by its dark and broody atmosphere, created by some well-chosen Parisian-inspired décor, low lighting and a sophisticated soundtrack of soft jazz.
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Enter through the retro revolving doors to find a well-stocked bar at the lobby level; it’s a fairly cosy and intimate spot, although we should warn you that this space normally gets overlooked in favour of the floors above, so don’t let the initial emptiness deceive you. That said, Smalls do run a popular jazz night on Wednesdays and have DJs on the decks spinning non-commercial blues, jazz, funk and electronica on weekends – both of which help to fill the whole place out.
Heading upstairs, there’s a small balcony on level two which leans out over the road below, but the go-to area is always going to be the rooftop terrace. No views of such here, but this is a great little alfresco area with more of that lavish French-inspired furniture that’s quickly filled by a chatty, international crowd.
Carrying on the French theme, the bar has an impressive selection of absinthe, available either in the shot form or poured over a dissolving sugar cube with water (350-700 baht). The cocktail menu is long, but in terms of quality, we don’t think the 350-400 baht-a-glass price tag is particularly justified. Considering this is not a five-star hotel, your cash is probably better invested in on one of their generous 45ml house pours, or a rare whisky from the stacked shelves.
If you don’t mind the out of sync prices and slightly off-the-beaten path location, Smalls definitely leaves a positive impression, especially if you time your visit with the live music. Find it by heading off the busy Sathorn Road into Soi Suan Plu, then look out for the yellow neon sign 50 metres or so on the right.
- Opening Hours: 19:00-02:00 (closed Tuesday)
- Address: 186/3 Soi Suan Phlu, Soi 1
- Tel: +66(0)95 585 1398