Unbeatable views and a bartender who really knows his booze
Although the word is spreading, Cielo might still be Bangkok’s best-kept secret. Set atop what is easily the tallest building in Phra Khanong, and boasting a bar manager who has notched 24 wins in cocktail competitions across the world since 2004, this rooftop retreat has quite the pedigree. Not to mention fair prices and an ambiance more business-casual than black-tie.
Separated into a half-dozen zones with Spanish names—from indoor dining in “Capricho” to tables spread across “Paso,” or the terrace in other words—Cielo is about as big as a rooftop bar-restaurant can be. When the weather is nice, as it is now, the terrace is a beautiful place to spend an evening with friends, or stoke the fires of romance. Looking out over the Rama IV-Sukhumvit intersection, the 360-degree view is unimpeded. At night this is truly as good as it gets.
But one of the better seats in the house is actually found at the bar—at least for those who want more of a tailored taste of bar manager Suwan ‘Tommy’ Seeree’s style.
Now in his late thirties, Tommy looks barely out of secondary school, and his enthusiasm for his work likewise belies his age. This 17-year veteran of the industry actually began work as a motorcycle taxi driver. After landing a job at a restaurant, he found a calling in bartending, becoming so successful he would travel to Turin and Bordeaux to compete in competitions.
In charge of Cielo for roughly a year, the always-smiling Tommy claims one of the most impressive collections of bitters in town—at least a dozen varieties—and he’ll gladly go off menu too if you ask to try some of them in a drink. He might even pull out one of his homemade concoctions, such as beetroot-, roselle-, and lavender-infused gin; with celery bitters and Fever Tree Indian tonic water, it makes an earthy, almost Bloody Mary-like G&T.
At the last competition he won, Tommy even turned humble Mekhong whiskey into a work of art with muddled pineapple, pandan syrup, and Perrier. For Valentine’s Day this year he plans to unveil a cocktail made with red wine-infused strawberries and chocolate bitters. Clearly creative, he admits that a love for his native land informs Cielo’s signature drinks. For instance, the Life of Native (B420), a blend of Cognac VS, ginger, lime, cardamom, and vanilla, garnished with dried pineapple and served in a glass wrapped with a bamboo basket, is infused with the flavours—and fun spirit—of Thailand.
To appeal to the local palate, many drinks have sweet, fruity profiles. Mexi’s Malone (B420), light and bright with Midori and apple espuma; Julep Forty-Six (B420), with pandan-infused vodka, pineapple, and jasmine syrup. Ask Tommy to tap into his arsenal, however, and the options become as limitless as the view.
Cielo Sky Bar
46F, Sky Walk Condominium, Sukhumvit Soi 69
Tel: 02 348 9100 | Open daily: 5pm-1am | www.cieloskybar.com