Nightlife and heavy drinking are the stuff Khao San Road is made of, and the party scene is just as diverse as the travellers it draws in. Whether it’s vodka buckets on the street, cocktails with sand between your toes or hard beats inside pumping clubs, there’s a spot for you. Here are the 10 best nightclubs on Bangkok’s Khao San Road.
This underground bar and club is one Khao San Road nightlife venue where locals frequently outnumber tourists. Reggae is the main order of the day here, but in reality it’s part of an eclectic mix of music with a strong focus on live performances from local bands – a nice touch. Just be warned that, like other spots on Khao San, Brick Bar is absolutely heaving with party-loving souls by the time the weekend rolls around.
This wild west-themed spot is admittedly more of a pub than a nightclub – although seen from the street it does give off something of a club vibe. But it’s nonetheless a fun and lively place to kick off your evening on Khao San Road. There’s a chilled-out feel to 999 West, with pool tables, cheap beer and a barbecue-focused food menu. Later in the evening, the sound system cranks up as the venue becomes decidedly more clubby through to the midnight closing time.
What used to be a much-loved, Moroccan-style Gazebo rooftop bar is these days The Bank, occupying three floors of a building just off Khao San Road. Grab a drink or enjoy a meal in the chilled-out atmosphere of The Bank’s brick-walled restaurant or breezy top-floor bar, before heading into the club downstairs for a mix of hip-hop and house music – plus the odd live band.
Another nightclub that’s firmly on the lips of veteran Khao San partygoers, Lava is one of the street’s smaller venues. It also gets going later than other places on Khao San Road, but it’s remained busy over the years. You can expect a predominantly hip-hop-based soundtrack to your night here. We’ll leave it to you to decide for yourself whether the red and black colour scheme veers more towards style or sleaziness, but Lava is a reliable choice for a night out for Khao San first-timers and long-timers alike.
One of the newer openings, all-day Superflow recreates Thailand’s island vibe, right through to real sand for you to feel between your toes as you relax in a deckchair or dance to live music. Renovation means it’s no longer quite as set back from the street as before, but it’s still striking how removed the place feels from the rest of the street. That makes Superflow a solid choice for those who aren’t enamoured with Khao San (for some, it’s a tad too tacky and full-on). Step inside and it feels as though you’re elsewhere – somewhere slightly more sophisticated, shall we say? Fairly low-key until evening, Superflow gets livelier at night.
This tricky-to-track-down bar is tucked away down a side alley off Khao San Road proper, and attracts a mixed crowd of Thais and overseas visitors. But it’s quite unlike most of the other venues you’ll find in the Khao San area, and it’s worth the effort to hunt this bar down. Fans of cheesy music from the ‘80s and earlier will be thrilled by the #Throwback retro-style approach to both the soundtrack and decor here – this is a relaxed, no-attitude bar where the good times flow right along with the beers and spirits.
Occupying the spot on central Khao San Road that was formerly home to Silk Bar, one of the backpacker street’s most beloved drinking holes, is The One. This classy new opening is one of many marking Khao San’s gradual move upmarket, and it takes the open-air, tiered seating design to a greater degree than Silk Bar ever did. This street-facing bar offers great people-watching opportunities over beers while the mood is relaxed in the early evening, before the DJ sets ramp things up a notch later on.
Khao San Center is strategically located, as the name implies, almost exactly halfway down the street. So it’s no wonder that this is the first stop for many new arrivals. It’s an older spot that hasn’t exactly kept pace with the tens of other bars that have opened more recently, and that means it feels somewhat more rundown. But stroll past just about any day or time and there’s a crowd where the open building spills onto the street, so it’s not all bad. Best of all, it’s probably the only bar on Khao San Road to stay open 24/7, and things get a little more upbeat in the late evening.
Head around the corner from Khao San Road proper and you’ll find Soi Rambuttri alley, once a supposedly tamer version of the backpacker strip itself but now more like a full-on extension of it. It’s home to long-standing Molly Bar, a busy, buzzy nighttime drinking hole that’s especially popular with local students who pack it out most evenings. Live music is a given here, but there’s also outdoor seating at the roadside front of the white colonial-style building if you’re in the mood for a more chilled vibe.