Bangkok is renowned for its rooftop bars but the truth is that while many of them have spectacular views, they can be slightly ‘cookie-cutter’ when it comes to their aesthetics. The Speakeasy, Hotel Muse’s in-house watering hole, at least does a good job of distinguishing itself through its old-school touches and Prohibition Era style. That’s not to say it comes up short when it comes to sweeping views – on the contrary, the lower-level bar and dining area overlook Langsuan and, one floor up,
the open-air roof garden offers 360-degree views of the city skyline. There’s also a gorgeously plush interior, decked out in dark wood and leather.
As befits a place that takes its name from an under-the radar drinking den, The Speakeasy has a richly stocked bar. There’s a serious selection of wines, particularly the sparkling variety, as well as boutique spirits.
The cocktails are a slightly mixed bag; some of the concoctions billed as ‘signature’ are oddly generic. Cocktail culture in Bangkok has come a long way very quickly but this is one slightly annoying trend that has come into vogue – barring some snazzy new interpretation, there’s nothing ‘signature’ about a Mojito or a Margarita. These drinks are staples of every hotel bar in the world. A place as stylishly ambitious as The Speakeasy could surely afford to try a little harder here, especially when they’re charging B330.
Equally, the martinis veer a little too far toward sugary and brightly coloured – it’s fine if that’s what you like but it feels a little misjudged when the rest of the place cultivates such a romantic sense of nostalgia for the 1920s. In a place like The Speakeasy, the emphasis should be on vintage drinks made with real panache.
As it turns out, the brief listing of Forgotten Classics is far more successful. There’s a cracking Negroni and a properly made White Lady – when you can deliver that, do you really need to serve up a ubiquitous B52? If that sounds like an old-fashioned gripe with certain elements of the cocktail list, the food is far more conceptually impressive – Bangkok’s other bar-focused outlets offering light bites should take note. There are some updated classics presented with real confidence, as well as the odd splicing of east and west that never feels ill-conceived or showy.
For example, the pork fillet served with a drizzle of orange emulsion and dried egg (B300) is original enough to raise an eyebrow but also immediately delicious. Then there’s the goong pun bacon (B520), a Tiger prawn wrapped in bacon served with tamarind sauce. It has all the potential to be a fusion nightmare but instead works spectacularly.
That modern Asian twist is executed with equal success in the salmon yum mamuang (B300), which pairs seared salmon with fresh green mango. The combinations are at once striking and wonderfully natural.
At its best, The Speakeasy is superbly stylish – fingers crossed they remain bold enough to blaze their own trail without too many concessions to the mass market.
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24-25/F, Hotel Muse Bangkok Langsuan, 55/555 Lang Suan
0 2630 4000 | hotelmusebangkok.com | 6pm-1am