Stepping into the Bookshop Bar on Sukhumvit 38 is like entering Tim Burton's version of Alice in Wonderland. It's not just about (great) cocktails and food, this is easily one of the most incredible bars in town, with an exuberant decor courtesy of designer Ashley Sutton, who also created the popular Iron Fairies and Mr Jones’ Orphanage Cake Shop.
It feels like a maze at first with staircases leading to the ceiling or to nowhere, floating shelves and piles of books sliding up and down from the ceiling (yes you read it correctly, dozens books are literally moving up and down out of suspended bookshelves). The entire space is filled with cast iron curves, mirrors and metal and the plush velvet seats fit perfectly in this surreal fantasty world. If you had to sum it up in one word it would be extraordinary.
Once you have recovered from the visual shock, closed your mouth and finished taking photos like most customers do, it's time to look at the menu… There is no lack of imagination and originality here either. Drinks are divided in three groups: Introduction, Chapter 1 and The End and all the cocktails carry fun names with even more entertaining descriptions. The Librarian: "She's a sexy librarian at that", 'The Plot Thickens' is described as "Full of suspense with a satisfying climax" and it goes on and on with names such as 'Avid Reader', 'Memoir', and 'The Ernest Hemingway', Self Help', 'The Edgar Allan Poe' and 'The Jack Sparrow'. I suspect the waiters and waitresses are getting used to guests reading the menu a lot longer than in any other bar.
Not only do the cocktails have fancy names but they are also creatively flavoured and we settled, among others, for a Librarian: fresh crushed pineapple with pink peppercorn, French raspberry liqueur, jasmine syrup, fresh lime and a touch of basil. And it works! Light, refreshing without being sweet, the touch of peppercorn tingles on your tongue and the alcohol doesn't overwhelm the fruity notes. It's important to remember that as you order a second one, you might not taste it, but it's definitely boozy, and you'll certainly feel it when you finally stand up.
Of course the Bookshop also serves great tapas such as mini french burgers with caramelised onions and parmesan and mustard (290 baht) and our must try: salmon tartar served in miniature waffle cones (220 baht).
The venue is so enjoyable and comfy, it's easy to lose track of time, just like in a library. Such extravagant decor could easily have become kitsch in the wrong hands, but the artwork has been executed with such skill. This is so much more than a bar, it is an interactive piece of art serving remarkable cocktails.
The Bookshop Bar
- Opening Hours: Daily from 11 am to Midnight
- Location: Ashton Condominium, Sukhumvit Soi 38
- BTS: BTS Thong Lo
- Tel: +66 2 187 4949