A higher class of cocktail culture comes to Thong Lor
“It was like this,” explains Hideyuki Saito, or ‘Hide’ as he’s usually called. He eyes up the dark wood panelling hung with a vintage vermouth poster, the brick accents that frame the bar shelf, and some of the rare bottles of booze he’s either carried in from abroad or been given by friends. “Before [I took over the space], it was a Thai restaurant. I really didn’t change much,” he adds with a light laugh.
Structural renovations aside, it’s clear that Hide, formerly of Vogue Lounge, has lent no small amount of his personal touch to Bronx Liquid Parlour. The bar is the first he’s ever owned, and it’s telling that the award-winning, 29-year-old bartender has brought it to life pretty much all by himself—designing the interiors, hand-picking the Bebop and swing on the stereo, even cooking up the recipes for the curry rice, wafu (Japanese-style) pasta, and izakaya bites on the recently revealed food menu.
“Lately I’ve been discovering—and it’s unusual—but I’ve been discovering oils,” he admits, describing a Negroni he aged in olive oil bottles when he worked in London, and then listing the avocado, walnut, coconut, and almond oils he’s experimented with in recent weeks. While currently the cocktails on the menu don’t feature any exotic oils, they are nevertheless lifted to another echelon by Hide’s ingenuity.
The Sei (B380), a word meaning “quiet” in Japanese, is a sweet and aromatic mix of seemingly incompatible ingredients: Bacardi Ocho, umeshu, cacao, port wine, molasses, and matcha, served in a ceramic tea mug and offered up with a rum-infused yokan (a jelly made from sweet adzuki beans). It tastes similar to the triangular nama yatsuhashi sweets Kyoto is famous for, and it’s every bit as warming and deep.
The Scotsman’s Egg (B360), meanwhile, plays like a riff on the whisky sour. Of course, the ingredients make it sound nothing like a whisky sour—Calvados Père Magloire VS, quail egg, port, ginger syrup, and spiced chocolate bitters, the latter playing perfectly with the sweet pear brandy—but it’s all about precision and alchemy, and Hide clearly comprehends the science of cocktails better than most. For further proof, take his Oldies’ Botanics (B360). It turns the classic Old Fashioned on its head, elementally speaking, with smashed pink peppercorns, lemon and orange peel, and lavender, paired with Evan Williams Bourbon. Like the Old Fashioned, the drink hits hard and then mellows out, but Hide’s mix reveals more complex spices on the finish.
To give Bronx its distinctive style, Hide has combined elements from the Tokyo, New York, and London bar worlds—the high-pressure milieus in which he cut his teeth. But make no mistake: this is his cocktail bar, fitting neatly into Bangkok’s budding scene.
Bronx Liquid Parlour
8, Thonglor Soi 25
Tel: 02 036 6071 | Open: Tue-Sun, 7pm-2am | www.bronxbkk.com