For a luxury hotel like the Mandarin Oriental Bangkok Hotel, it is crucial to have an outstanding bar. The Bamboo Bar is much more than just outstanding. The Bamboo Bar has a great history and it is easy to imagine Audrey Hepburn and Luis Armstrong sitting in the colonial style rattan seating. You don’t need to be drunk to imagine that, because they and many others were the former patrons of this very bar.
One of the Best Bars in Bangkok
The Bamboo Bar is legendary here in Bangkok. Not only that, it’s famous in all of South East Asia actually. After all, it is ranked the number 9 bar in Asia by the Asia’s Best Bars 2018 list. It not only has great drinks, impeccable service and a great ambiance, but this place has one more great detail: it is a daily base for great jazz performers. The Bamboo Bar is special and that is no coincidence. To understand why, here is our review of The Bamboo Bar, based on our experience.
The well-executed renovation of The Bamboo Bar in 2015 brought to life some features of the original Oriental Hotel dating back from the 50s. The whole place is made of shiny dark wood paired with marble, rattan, and leather. The mirrors on the ceiling provide additional depth and the dimmed lights create intimacy. When you add to this a cold artisan cocktail and jazz beats in the background, it makes for an amazing experience.
The Bamboo Bar Menu
Patrons can find on the menu an extended list of drinks, from all over the world, including a list of single malt whiskeys, wines and classic cocktails. The offer gets much more exciting on the next page where gin lovers can get creative by choosing their gin, favorite tonic and garnish of choice. Our attention was caught on a list of special cocktails and when the bartender saw our interest, he offered us the house specialties. We truly like the idea of the special cocktails menu.
This so-called The Bamboo Bar Compass instantly handed over the image of Thailand, representing the five regions of the country with their own uniqueness. The signature drinks are divided by region and through them, mixologists celebrate all aspects of each region. Every region has special ingredients and its own character.
The Cocktails @ The Bamboo Bar
After an unforgettable dinner at Le Normandie is the best option to head to the ground floor for an exclusive cocktail. The choice of drinks here is extended though. However, for me, the choice was easy: without a second glimpse, I went for the Street Artist. The street art from Penang is still fresh, so why not have a proper toast on this topic! The inspiration for my cocktail came from Chon Bury, eastern Thailand and it’s is made of Mekhong, Thai tea, coconut, and cardamom.
Mekhong is Thailand’s first domestically produced branded golden spirit also known as “The Spirit of Thailand”. It can be categorized as a rum made of 95% sugar cane molasses and 5% rice. This distilled spirit is later blended with indigenous herbs and spices to produce its aroma and taste.
The description of the Street Artist cocktail sounds simple, but there is more to it. The Thai tea liquor is special on its own, yet along with the fermented coconut, which is an in-house creation, it still stands out. For an artistic touch, the barista used balsamic vinegar paint, which left a nice mark and dissolved in time. By mixing all the flavors, this summer cocktail surpassed my expectations. The kick of the alcohol was subtle, the acidity went great with the coconut and the Thai tea gave sweetness and dash of freshness to this drink.
Mocktail for Vivi
Vivi like always had trouble with deciding. The bartender noticed her desperate running from one side of the menu to another and offered to help. He gave her a taste of a special ingredient from the Plantation mocktail – banana juice. They make this juice themselves by cooking and centrifuging bananas. After this tasting, there was no doubt, the sweet banana showed her the way to the Plantation.
This mocktail is inspired by outstanding Thai fruits and agriculture. Besides banana juice, it’s made of mango soda, lime juice, cinnamon, and coconut flower nectar. The intense sweet but fruity taste with the warmth of cinnamon kept evolving while the ice melted. She loved the difference between the first the last sip. The banana leaf that was wrapped around the glass kept the mocktail in the style of the plantation.
Staying at the Mandarin Oriental Bangkok Hotel so close to The Bamboo Bar makes it impossible not to visit it – not to mention the live jazz performance, which goes on every day after 9 pm. The Bamboo Bar Bangkok live music is so uplifting that you won’t want to leave the bar. To take care of our health and to try not to promote too much alcohol here on our page, we decided to try out two more mocktails. After all, mocktails are trendy and when it comes to creations like these here at The Bamboo Bar, you’re not missing out on anything.
To see the change in the character I stayed on the East with Talad Nam, from Bangkhla. Made from dragon fruit, papaya and passion fruit, it wasn’t as fruity as I would have expected. This was mainly because of the basil used in the drink’s confection, which created refreshing flavors that I couldn’t get enough of. A tropical sensation with a well-balanced spiciness.
The home run for both of us was the Five-Spice mocktail from the Central region, inspired by Bangkok’s Chinatown. Served in a small teapot, it is a master blend of Earl Grey tea, apple juice, tamarind paste and five-spice syrup, which we remembered from our cocktail back in Singapore. The familiar taste of the tea was present at the back, but the intensity of flavors surprised at every sip. Absolutely delicious!
We have a hunch that The Bamboo Bar is the best jazz bar in Bangkok. Jazz music with dimmed ambiance and extremely nice service are only the tip of the iceberg. Here we got to travel around the country without leaving our seats. It was a liquid journey for sure, and there was no need for getting tipsy to embrace the sensations of each region. Mocktails are treated seriously and so are the cocktails. Besides the drinks, we also loved the tribute to nature in the form of beautiful paper straws and all-natural ingredients.
We must also compliment The Bamboo Bar for their dress code. It truly is nice to see well-dressed guests in a great bar like this. It’s responsible drinking at the highest level: to put it differently, alcohol is only optional, but pleasure is guaranteed. As shown above Mandarin Oriental Bangkok high tea can be completed with one cocktail in this outstanding bar. If you are a jazz bar lover, we reviewed another great bar here in Bangkok – The Woodshed Bar.
The Bamboo Bar Review Card
- ATMOSPHERE – 9.1/109.1/10
- SERVICE – 9.8/109.8/10
- DRINK SELECTION – 9.5/109.5/10
- PRESENTATION – 9/109/10
- OUR DRINKS – 9.6/109.6/10
- VALUE – 9.6/109.6/10
Price and Location
Drink prices at The Bamboo Bar are pretty much low. For a mocktail, you will pay about 7,5 USD and for a cocktail 13 USD. For a 5-star luxury hotel, this is a great value. However, if you don’t know where is the legendary Mandarin Oriental Hotel Bangkok, here is a link to the location.