it's free! Photo Walk With Me Where to go to capture Saphan Kwai’s fading glory We’re Going Shopping Spare some budget for these independent stores Bougie Beans Six cafes that serve something more than your basic latte In The House The owner of Ari’s Townhouse Space talks creative capital
NO. 808 JUNE 25, 2021. www.bkmagazine.com
The Ari-Saphan Kwai Issue
food & drink
BK MAGAZINE FRIDAY, JUNE 25, 2021
FEAST OF A DEAL
Treat Yourself Get that paycheck ready, and dive in. Little Market
One of the few places in town to find real-deal American-style smash burgers done right — a crispy-but-juicy patty, tangy mustard, slice of American cheese and a pillowy bun. Other American favorites, like Philly cheesesteaks, Buffalo chicken sandwiches and steak burgers live up to the same standard. 5/4, Yan Akat Rd., 091-414-6890. Open daily 11:30am-9:30pm
Kay’s Boutique Breakfast Be prepared to indulge in a chill and relaxing white themed all-day breakfast café. Its signature Ultimate French Toast brûlée captured the attention of locals, travelers, and even New Yorkers when they launched a pop-up café in SoHo. Pair this with the Queen of Benny. 116/55-57 Rangnam Rd., 02-245-6138. Open daily 7am-3pm
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Blue by Alain Ducasse
Legendary French Chef Alain Ducasse’s first venture in Thailand has been going strong for a couple of years now. Expect flavourful seasonal dishes that marry local flavor preferences and ingredients with French technique. The a la carte menu here has to be one of the exuberant in town. Room Unit L101, 1/F, IconLuxe, IconSiam, 299 Charoen Nakhon Rd., Bangkok, Thailand, 02-005-9412. Open Thu - Mon 12 - 9pm
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Sushi Niwa is from the same owners as Japanese fusion restaurant Kouen Sushi. Inside a minimalist house, they slice and dice fresh kuruma ebi (tiger prawn) and grilled braised anago (saltwater eel), while an attached glasshouse serves as a bar.
Kay’s Boutique Breakfast
Ruamrudee Soi 2, 063-456-5656. Open daily 11am-12:30pm, 1-2:30pm, 5:30-7pm, 7:30-9pm
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Blue By Alain Ducasse
page 3 Who's in charge?
one day in...
Managing Editor Craig Sauers
Exploring the edges of Ari and Saphan Kwai
Senior Writers Veerabhatr Sriyananda, Alisha Pawa, Porpor Leelasestaporn Contributors Megan Leon, foto_momo GROVE: COCONUTS MEDIA BRAND STUDIO
The Residential Advantage If you’ve been following our coverage of Bangkok neighborhoods, you may have noticed a theme. Across a city in transition, the present doesn’t just intersect with the past—it often threatens to pave over it. That’s not necessarily the case in Ari.
Head of Grove Juhi Bimbhet Business Director Dietrich Neu Account Manager Summer Lee Digital Account Manager Nuttajuk Kittichailuk Senior Project Manager Sirinart Panyasricharoen Project Manager Sawanya Chantarakana
Art Director Vatanya Bongkotkarn Production Supervisor Komkrit Klinkaeo Senior Graphic Designer Umporn Jiaranai
Shop ’til you drop at Ari’s coolest indie stores
Senior Business Development Manager Orajira Sukkasem Business Development Manager Tassanee Mahamad, Chalida Anuwattanawong, Joseph Toh, Ain Zulkifni, Waranuch Thaneerat Business Development Executives Palita Nueangnit SOIMILK Editor Noranartta Chaikum
Change has come slowly to Ari, and it certainly hasn’t been fundamental change. For every Pearl building or Ari Hills, there’s a soi lined with mansions and mid-century tropical townhomes that probably won’t be razed in your lifetime.
Senior Writers Rujiyatorn Choksiriwan, Kristiya Chaisri Publisher, Printer, and Editor Tara Rattanaphas On the cover Ari by Mayha Suaysom
Saphan Kwai might be a different story. The district, named for a bridge built over the Bang Sue canal that catered to slaughterhouse workers and buffalo farmers laboring in the nearby fields in the 19th century, is changing fast. Near its junction with Phaholyothin Road, Pradipat Road has become a quintessentially Bangkok mix of street vendors laboring in the shadows of new condos and office towers, like the under-construction Rice building.
08 photo essay
Documenting Saphan Kwai’s old buildings
The vendors haven’t been cleared out yet, but it’s not hard to picture that happening sooner than later. Even now, old shophouses are being turned into cafes selling bubble tea, dim sum, and single-origin coffee.
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food & drink
Forget cafes and seek out the froth at these local favorite craft beer bars
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BK Magazine is edited by Tara Rattanaphas and published 24 times a year, twice a month by Coconuts BK Limited. Copyright © 2020 Coconuts BK Limited. The titles “BK Magazine” and their associated logos or devices, and the content of “BK Magazine” are the property of Coconuts BK Limited. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is strictly prohibited. Article reprints are available for THB50 each. The magazine may not be distributed without the express written consent of Coconuts BK Limited. Contact the Advertising Department for ad rates and specifications. All advertising must comply with the Publisher’s terms of business,copies of which are available upon request. Printed by Sunthorn Film Company Limited, 13/11-15 Soi Wat Phraya Yang, Urupongtadmai Road, Thanon Phetchaburi, Sub-district, Ratchathewi District, Bangkok.
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Home to military brass and old money, UN and NGO workers, journalists and artists, Ari is a suburban-like enclave mostly made up of lush townhouses and gated compounds. Most of its food and beverage establishments reflect that reality— upscale cafes with ample parking, fancy Japanese restaurants you might not take your Japanese expat friends to, bougie regional Thai restaurants surrounded by family compounds with walls so tall you’ll never be able to see inside.
the last word
Talking about Townhouse
Two locals discuss the district’s history
Further down this road, you’ll find a handful of eye-catching Art Deco hotels and sun-bleached apartment complexes that once housed American GIs and foreign delegations. Follow it further west, and you’ll run into army barracks and the towering new parliament building, its shimmering gold stupa visible from a great distance. The barracks and parliament won’t be going anywhere, but those other old buildings might not survive the city’s ceaseless gentrification. But not all the land has been sold to the highest bidder. There are loads of hidden gems here. The same goes for Ari, which has been unfairly branded a slow-life hipster haven. Yes, it has lots of cafes. But it’s more than coffee shops. And, frankly, it isn’t that cool—it’s just delightfully residential, the kind of neighborhood you might find in parts of Tokyo or Seoul. If you haven’t discovered the appeal of either place, we recommend grabbing your camera—or your phone if you haven’t gone analog—and spending a day wandering around the streets, strolling through the small park beside the public relations department, getting a bite to eat at the old-school Mido Hotel, or dropping by Landhaus when one of its garden markets is happening. Take note of the relative lack of skyscrapers. Ogle the old houses. For now, Ari and Saphan Kwai represent what big city neighborhoods can be when community interests outrank development.
ONE DAY IN…
Ari and Saphan Kwai The predominantly residential neighborhoods of Ari and Saphan Kwai have become a hub for the hip, a Petri dish of youthful creativity and good vibes. Here’s a primer for days out in these no-longerunderrated areas. By Veerabhatr Sriyananda
MORNING From a smoked salmon avocado sandwich (B195) at Pradipat Road’s F.I.X. to breakfast omelets (B250) at perennial favorite Bar Storia del Caffe, breakfast revolves around the area’s plethora of cafes. Order the iced caramel macchiato (B118) and spinach cheese bake (B138) at rustic Porcupine Cafe, or seek out top-quality beans from Ceresia and Brave Roasters at Common Room x Ari. Newcomer Josh Kaffa at the Josh Hotel also serves a range of boutique coffee drinks, while photogenic Bonci is all about the on-trend dirty (a hot espresso shot poured over cold milk; B130). (Flip to p13-14 to read about more great cafes.) Ari and Saphan Kwai have more than just coffee shops, though. Austrian Landhaus Bakery keeps locals happy with freshly baked pastries like cinnamon danishes (B54), sandwiches, and house-made bread. Newcomer Volks, founded by an entrepreneurial brother-sister duo, has brought bagels to the neighborhood with two locations: one on Pradipat Soi 13, and another at the Josh Hotel, where you’ll also find a branch of beloved donut shop Drop by Dough.
LUNCH Burger lovers have loads of options in Cast Iron Burgerhaus on Soi Ari; Jamie’s Burgers, set beside a futsal court off Phaholyothin Soi 8; Jim’s Burger and Beers on Ari Samphan; and buzzing Paper Butter at the Yard Hostel, where you can grab a Chalawan and Chiang Mai burger loaded with northern Thai herbs and spicy mayo (pork B160/beef B190) after work. Uber-popular Phed Phed Cafe offers a menu of zesty, Nakhon Phanom-style Isaan dishes that regularly draw hours-long queues (come early to put your name on the list). Southern Thai fans flock to long-standing Khua Kling Pak Sod and newer Paknang, a colorful venture near Ari Soi 5 that deals in fiery home-cooking. Those looking for a taste of modern-style northern cooking head to Ong Tong Khaosoi, now in slightly bigger digs on Soi Ari. On Pradipat, you’ll find excellent South Asian food. Mom’s on Pradipat Soi 18 serves pocket-friendly mutton masala (B220) with butter roti (B25) while Abu Ibrahim on Pradipat Soi 14 specializes in Pakistani dishes like chicken korma (B90) and mutton biryani (B200).
BK MAGAZINE FRIDAY,JUNE 25, 2021
AFTERNOON Ari and Saphan Kwai’s streets reward those who wander through them slowly. At the end of Soi Ari, you’ll find Numthong Art Space, an excellent gallery that exhibits a range of contemporary work. On Pradipat Soi 17, Somewhere, a cafe and creative space from the Junnarchitect firm, is ragingly popular among the camera-wielding, street fashion-forward crowds. Gump’s, a pastel-shaded community space, is about as classically Ari as it gets—come for the photo ops, stay for an on-trend CBD tea at 420 Degree Bar. (420 Cannabis Bar, around the corner near Flat Marble, also offers CBD drinks. Don’t expect to get blazed at either venue.) Madgrey Tattoo Studio, specializing in graphics, shading, fine line, and realism, gives Ari a different edge. So does Records Shop on Pradipat Soi 19, which serves the area’s audio geeks.
DINNER When night falls, the top of Soi Ari transforms into a street food hub, where you can grab everything from khao mun gai and duck noodles to pork satay and guay jub at Guay Jub Rachawong Ming. Street eats can also be found along Pradipat Road and at The Camping Ground, an open-air, gravel-floored food court selling a wide range of affordable Thai eats and bottles of craft beer. Late-night establishment Krua Pradiphat is the local go-to for classic Thai dishes, especially its “Super Soup” (spicy goji berry soup with chicken feet; B100) and pla gra-pong tod nam pla (deep-fried snapper with sweet and sour sauce; B370). Ari institutions like Salt and Pladib serve East-meets-West fusion food in modernist settings. Fans of meat and/or chef’s tables, meanwhile, should check out upscale steakhouse Flat Marble and Yu Baan Eatery (both on Phaholyothin Soi 9), which serves home-style beef dishes. For some diversity, order Busan-style Korean dishes at Joha like the haemul pajeon (seafood pancake pizza; B230). Don’t forget the soju bombs (B135). Or try the excellent Chinese fare (including vegan options) at Yoong Chang or Cantonese spot Dai Lou. There are also loads of Japanese restaurants catering to crowds who don’t want to venture to Thonglor: Pradipat’s karaage specialist 8Sqm, Phaholyothin 11’s low-key curry rice spot Kareya-san, Ari Soi 4’s upscale izakaya Hanazen, sushi spot Sousaku (relocated to Ari Soi 4), and tiny Warawara, a fusion-y izakaya on Soi Ari.
NIGHTLIFE Grab a cold one (large Leo B95) and a burger at Amp Burger and Bar before dropping by Eight Days a Week Home Bar for the latest, and freshest, Thai craft beers. In Ari, post-uni crowds flock to neon-drenched Feeling Bar on Ari Soi 4, but if you’re looking for a more understated experience, check out O’Glee or Taproom Ari (located at the Josh Hotel) for craft beer. Around the Saphan Kwai junction, you’ll find local favorites like Helter Skelter, Dumbo Jazz & Vinyl Bar, and Cat on the Roof—all of which are decidedly no-frills. The Craftsman Hotel’s Baby Bar and hidden bar The Key Room No. 72 join Frank Mansion among the neighborhood’s few cocktail bars. But keep tabs on Cinema Music Bar, Josh Hotel’s new film-inspired bar.
feature | less glitzy, more indie
Tokyobike This independent bike shop is an authorized dealer of the Yanaka-born Tokyobike brand. It’s all about minimal, retro-inspired bicycles for all ages here—fixies, balance bikes, sport bikes, and cruisers—along with stylish cycling accessories. Splash out with a classic sport model (B23,800-B26,300) or gift your kids a Little Tokyobike (B12,900). You can also find spare parts or get your bike repaired here. 33 Space, Prapidat Soi 17, 094-851-8582. Open daily 11am-7pm.
Uber-cool, ultra-laid-back: Ari not surprisingly boasts a bunch of indie shopping gems. From record stores and independent fashion houses to bike and outdoor brands, you’ll always find something unexpected. Here are some of the best spots to shop. By Alisha Pawa
Voidshop While this local brand is adored for its unique collection of sunglasses, Voidshop also sells an eclectic collection of clothing, shoes, bags, and other accessories. Think shades from SUN (B590), surf skate knee pads (B690), combat boots (B2,590), and high-quality leather wallets (B690) in every color imaginable. It’s an ideal place to give your wardrobe a makeover as they offer wholesale prices. 4/5 Phaholyothin Soi 11, 089-789-3977. Open Mon-Fri 10:30am-6:30pm.
Townhouse Space This multi-purpose, four-story creative space was designed by Bangkok- and London-based branding agency Rom Design. It offers not only a platform for retailers to engage in creative collaborations and workshops, but also a space for exhibitions and even chef’s tables. They also house newly-debuted and emerging design and lifestyle brands like The Booksmith, Grey Ray, Qlean, and more. 50/8 Ari Soi 4, 02-279-9080. Open daily 10am-4pm.
BKBK MAGAZINE FRIDAY, MARCH 12, 2021 MAGAZINE FRIDAY, JUNE 25,
Cake & Vinyl This small space offers more than your usual record store. The cafe side of things offers freshly brewed coffee and delectable cakes while spinning vinyl from its sizable collection. Expect to find limited-edition records from local and international artists that come in a range of prices. The shop also sells cassettes and cassette players, if you want to relive the 80s and 90s. 3 Pradipat Soi 19. Open Tue-Sun 10am-6pm.
Flower in Hand by P. Another independent florist in the neighborhood, Flower in Hand by P. offers bouquets and baskets for a wide range of budgets, as well as handicrafts and accessories and a workshop space for those who want to get their hands dirty. Don’t skip the unique desserts, either, like edible flower cookies. As it’s located across the street from the Phayathai district office, where you can get your marriage certificate rubber stamped, you can also easily jazz up your legal wedding with a floral arrangement from this shop. 18/2 Ari Soi 2, 062-758-2233. Open Mon-Sat 9am-7pm.
Fumiikii Tokyo Love Tokyo’s secondhand shopping? This small shop brings a slice of Japanese shopping culture to Ari. Items here, from well-maintained Converse shoes to secondhand denim from the likes of Japan’s todayful, are definitely worth the slightly higher price tag. The shop houses European, American, and Thai designer wear and vintage home decor, and it even offers nail services, too. Ari Soi 2, 1/10 Phaholyothin 7. Open Tue-Sun 3-8pm.
Flower in Hand by P.
Ari Outdoor Adventurous souls will love the wide selection of camping gear and equipment at this outdoor store. Want to camp? You can find specialty bags for hiking and tents as well as backpacking-friendly food. Think very Nordic bags like the Fjallraven Singi Stubben (B9,550) or Nordisk Karlstad 27 (B3,200), camping gear like the Slacker Hammock Warmer (B2,350), and an all-denim tent dome (B19,500), plus tons of accessories. Phaholyothin Soi 6, 02-116-8719. Open Mon-Sat 10am-8pm, Sun 10am-5pm.
Garden Atlas Garden Atlas has opened a second branch in Ari, welcoming all green connoisseurs looking to bring a dose of nature to their home. A plant lover’s oasis, this petite store offers a range of plants and pottery for your abode. Opt for a tiny cactus, succulent, or an adorable alocasia reginula ‘Black Velvet’ (B680) along with the required gardening tools. Treat yourself to a new baby or simply find a great addition to your existing plant. Centric Ari Station, 27/521, Soi Ari 1. 097-246-7547. Open Tues-Fri 11am5pm, Sat-Sun 10am-5pm.
Happ & Fleur The Decorum
This wonderful floral studio sells bouquets for any occasion, using top-quality flowers and with an eye for aesthetics. Bouquets are available in a range of sizes and cost from B1,000 for a “mini” up to B6,000 for a blowout, special-occasion “grande” size. Order via Line or Facebook, but make sure you do it several days in advance before big, flower-focused holidays like Valentine’s Day. 6/1 Phaholyothin Soi 8, fb.com/happandfleur, Line @happandfleur. Open daily 9am-6pm.
If you’re a devotee of bespoke suits and classic menswear, this store is your go-to. Apart from distributing high-end Italian and Japanese labels—including shirt label Kamakura, Igarashi Trousers, luxury shoemaker Fugashin, and Kenji Kaga and Shibumi Firenze, known for their handmade ties and accessories—The Decorum is also a hub for sartorial events and pop-ups. Think trunk shows from world-class Japanese brands born in Italy, like Sartoria Salabianca and Sarto Domenica. Ari Samphan Soi 5, 086-533-5255. Open daily noon-8pm.
Peace Oriental Teahouse The seventh branch of the expanding tea empire opened on Ari Soi 1 in 2020. It’s a small shop, but it has everything you’ve come to expect from Peace: a range of single-estate, single-origin tea (genmaicha, jasmine, matcha, white tea, oolong, red, and more), iced teas to go (from B125) or drink at the Japanese-style bar, and all the teaware you need to attempt to replicate the experience at home. 5, 3 Ari Soi 1, 062-389-3578. Open daily 8:30am-10pm.
Peace Oriental Teahouse
feature | pradipat photo walk
Old-school is the New Cool
Sandwiched between Ari and Chatuchak, Pradipat Road is on the rise. This old residential area is now home to a fast-growing number of cafes and bars, a young creative community, and under-the-radar restaurants and street food. Despite all that newness, the faded glory of days gone by remains. We spent a day in Pradipat to capture its old-school essence. Words and images by Veerabhatr Sriyananda
A little further west of Pradipat Hotel is the 230-room Mido Hotel. With its tropical plants and monochromatic color scheme, Mido Hotel wouldn’t look out of place in 1980s Miami.
Pradipat Hotel epitomizes what a small hotel was supposed to be 30 years ago. Need a haircut? There’s a barbershop downstairs. Got a backache? Try the traditional Thai massage. Bored? Play some billiards with the local uncles loafing around. The unassuming yet hard-to-miss Pradipat Hotel is a neighborhood landmark. The 120-room hotel has been around since 1986 and is rumored to be preferred by folks looking to engage in acts of short-time debauchery.
Though its aesthetic has fallen out of favor, architecture buffs are drawn to its unique, Brutalist facade. Many drop in for the khao kha moo from its flagship restaurant, Cham Ma Liang.
BK MAGAZINE FRIDAY, JUNE 25, 2021
“There used to be a lot of currency exchange booths here. There’s still one outside the hotel, in fact,” continues Pao. “Most of our customers are 35 and older, but we also draw crowds that loves and romanticizes old and vintage things.”
The Elizabeth Hotel, which opened 30 years ago in 1991, is another not-so-hidden gem. Its eye-catching architecture has turned it into a shooting location for many Thai dramas. “Directors love the vintage feel of the hotel,” says second generation owner Surakij “Pao” Metanukij.
Elizabeth Hotel, up close. For more on the hotel, turn to p15.
The Capital Mansion hides in plain sight around the corner on Phaholyothin Road, next to the Rhythm PhaholAri condo. Built in 1962, the complex served as a base for U.S. military personnel during the war in Vietnam. In the 1970s, it became the Chinese ambassador’s residence. Renovations from 2007-2009 gave it a facelift, and now rooms can be rented short- or long-term. (@Foto_momo)
“We know that the area is changing to keep up with the times. There are cafes and creative spaces popping up everywhere around our hotel, which I can only view as a good thing,” says Pao. “It gives our guests more things to do after checking in. The only downside is that the guests might not eat at our restaurant anymore. But our crispy sen yai rad na is still a favorite.”
food & drink | craft beer is here
BELLY UP TO THE BAR
Forget cafes: Ari is becoming a hub for craft beer drinkers. From hidden gems selling the latest Thai-made beers and boundary-pushing imports to cozy shops offering comfort food and conversation over cold ones, the neighborhood has everything a beer geek could want. By BK Magazine
Bottle Rocket Sanam Pao’s Bottle Rocket has become a community favorite with 20 taps of beer—distinguished on a digital signboard by nationality, ABV, and style—a fridge packed with cans and bottles, live music every night, and clever, outer space-themed decor. The beer selection tends to be one of the best in the area, too. 2/F, 226/7-8 Phaholyothin Rd., 091-808-4338
Blu Dove The owners of this darkly lit bar make a line of craft sodas featuring Thai ingredients: melon, ginger, roselle, orange and cream, and the trademark mango hop, a soda made with Chaiyaphum mangoes and Mosaic hops. They also offer craft beer from a six-strong tap list, plus Blu Dove’s own mango IPA. Gump’s Ari (Ari Soi 4), fb.com/bludovethaicraftsoda Dok Kaew House Bar
BK MAGAZINE FRIDAY, JUNE 25, 2021
Dok Kaew House Bar
Set in a purportedly haunted wooden townhouse (which notably lacks air con), this hidden gem has an enviable fridge, 10 taps pouring the freshest craft beer, and a solid menu of spicy Thai favorites. It isn’t easy to get to, but it’s worth the journey.
Relocated from the Noble Reform condo, this standby spot doesn’t boast the latest obscure brews from Europe or the U.S. on tap, but it does have a reliable selection of easy-drinking, approachable beers. Think beers from Ballast Point and Coronado or Brother’s ciders.
71 Rama 6 Soi 28, 086-398-8563
Eight Days a Week Homebar Hidden in the parking lot of a business complex off up-and-coming Pradipat Road, this bar sells Thai craft beer on draft and in cans or bottles. Looking for the latest IPAs, sour beers, and stouts from the likes of Baan Bangkok, Decsnob, or Devanom? This is the place to go. 2 Pradipat 13, 082-463-9561
Jim’s Burger and Beer
Josh Hotel, 19/2 Ari Soi 4, 087-460-2626
Wraptor From the owners of Jim’s comes this Ari favorite. On top of gut-filling wraps and burritos, Wraptor sells a wide range of exciting new craft beers on draft and in cans or bottles at both Ari locations. There’s usually a discount for takeaway if you purchase a handful of beers, too. 56 Phaholyothin Soi 5, 085-660-8880
Tiny, two-room Jim’s is a neighborhood hideaway, a roll-your-sleeves-down hangout for beer geeks and burger fans alike. The fridge is always well-stocked, and there’s a small selection of beers on tap. It’s generally heavy on the IPAs, but there’s something for all tastes.
Eight Days a Week Homebar
Ari Samphan (between Sois 3-4), 02000-9585
Laf Caffe and Bar Connected to a hostel of the same name, Laf is another hole-in-the-wall local hangout offering a couple dozen different beers in cans and bottles plus six taps. It’s a good spot to prop up at the bar and watch the traffic breeze by on busy Phaholyothin Soi 5 or talk with friends.
3 Phaholyothin Soi 5, 098-585-2485
O’Glee Ari’s OG craft beer bar hasn’t changed much since it opened. It’s still a welcoming happy hour spot conveniently located on Ari Soi 1, and its tap list always features stalwarts like Deschutes Fresh Squeezed IPA. Rotating food specials reward repeat customers. Ari Soi 1, 064-146-4983 Taproom
food & drink | new & noted
Nana Coffee Roasters
NEW AND NOTED
Rembrandt, Sukhumvit Soi 18, 02-261-7100. Open Thu-Tue noon-2:30pm, 6-10:30pm The small space pops with cooking relics across the dining room. Using knives forged in Sakai, Osaka, the chefs here slice fresh fish on a hefty, 150-year cedar wood cutting board, adding theater to the simple vibe of dark wood and elegant borders. Dinner can include up to 17 courses (some featuring creatures swimming out front). These might range from steamed egg in a foie gras and truffle soup, to handoffered, blowtorched tiger prawn nigiri, to fresh clams with a pinch of Japanese lime and Himalayan salt.
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Nana Coffee Roasters
Sati Handcraft Coffee
No longer located on Soi Nana in Chinatown, this specialty roaster-slash-cafe expanded into Ari last year. The gorgeous new space has probably popped up on your Instagram feed once or twice since then. These roasters know their beans, selling single-origin specialties like Costa Rice “Mozart” and natural process Chiang Mai coffee. They also know their design. Set in a gorgeously renovated townhouse that gets just the right light at the golden hour, the cafe is primed for shots of your latte, slow-drip, or on-trend tiramisu (B180/slice) and croissants (from B115). Be aware that it’s also priced accordingly (B250 nitro coffee, B250 siphon coffee). 24/2 Ari Soi 4, 083-908-2222
Set in an all-white space splashed with red accents, this Saphan Kwai cafe has largely earned its accolades as a micro-roaster. While the house blends are more accessible, Sleep Enemy also sells a range of boutique beans from around the world, highlighting a variety of flavor profiles. Think Geisha coffee from Panama (B1,250/200g) and bright, acidic Ethiopian Arsosala beans (B650/200g). Not a total coffee nerd? Stick with an Americano (B110) or a bottle of beautifully packaged cold brew (B200). The shop also sells cold brew concentrate to satisfy your cravings at home (B800/makes 20 servings). The Hub, by the Government Savings Bank bldg. (Phaholyothin Rd.), 064-915-6696
Arguably best known for coffee mocktails like Drift Into Space (nitro cold brew, homemade cola syrup, bourbon vanilla ice cream, B220), Sati also makes a fine cup of the real thing. The menu features single-origin beans from around the world, like Ethipioan Konjo Buna and Guji beans, which you can have made according to your brewing preference: siphon, pour-over, and more. Some of these single-origin beans come from Danish coffee brand La Cabra. As is the norm these days, the cafe also offers a selection of fruittinged cold brew, like mango or yuzu and honey (B150/bottle). 110/4 Ari Samphan Soi 5-6, 065-165-4266
1 Apr ’21 – 31 Mar ’22
TBT-ICHIKA OMAKASE.indd 1
Sati Handcraft Coffee
22/6/2564 BE 18:20
BK MAGAZINE FRIDAY, JUNE 25, 2021
Some Time Blue
KELLER Baan Turtle, 31 Soi Suan Phlu 2, 02-092-7196. Open Mon 6-10pm, Wed-Sun 6-10pm
Coffee No. 9
Some Time Blue
With three branches in Ari, this minimal coffee shop is the neighborhood’s favorite mini-chain. Grab a fusion concoction, like the thirst-quenching Orangano (orange juice and Americano, B85), peach cold brew (B90), affogato (B75), or hazelnut latte (B55 hot; B65 cold), or keep it simple (iced latte from B50). Those who want to go deeper into coffee culture should pick up a bag of house-roasted beans from places like Pang Khon and Costa Rica. Bottles of single origin cold brew (B180)—now available at After You at Siam Paragon—also offer bolder flavors than your usual iced Americano. Phaholyothin Soi 8, 06-2245-2449
Snuggled between two fairly tall buildings inside an alleyway behind a Hat Yai fried chicken stall, this coffee geek’s haven is easily missed. It brews up reasonably priced drinks using local and imported single-origin beans, sourced everywhere from Chiang Mai to Costa Rica—the shop owners say they work closely with Thai farmers to procure their local beans. If you’re in no rush, go for the slow bar menu, with five brewing methods for you to choose from. Otherwise, a bottle of cold brew has you covered. No 4/1, Sahakorn Pranakorn 2 Building, Ari Soi 1, 061-632-1335
A pioneer of the slow coffee movement amid Ari’s sea of Instagram cafes, this antique-decorated spot in the Sahamongkol Film offices rewards visitors who don’t have time constraints. In other words, come and linger over a piccolo latte (B65), dirty (cold milk or cream over hot espresso; B100), or drip coffee (from B150). You can also buy bags of hard-to-find beans from Kenya, Ethiopia, Laos, Myanmar, and more for home, or fill up on a range of homemade items, from preservativefree yogurt (B60) to paninis made with fresh baked sourdough (B180). In normal times, they also serve beer. 55/5 Phaholyothin Soi 2, 064-174-2622
Keller presents diners with a unique gastronomic experience built on a foundation of dishes from Chef Keller’s childhood, reimagined in an elevated modern style using classic French techniques. The restaurant offers contemporary European cuisine, showcasing both local and imported premium produce in distinctive flavor combinations with an emphasis on detail and innovation. Dishes and drinks are served in a luxurious yet playful setting, designed with conviviality in mind.
Exclusively for Citi Credit Card members Get 10% discount on food only when spending THB 5,000 or more /sales slip for Citi ULTIMA, Citi Prestige, Citi Premier and Citi Mercedes (Excluding VAT and service charge)
1 Mar – 31 Aug ’21
22/6/2564 BE 4:47 PM
feature | creative escape
Igniting Creative Minds Ari has a reputation for youthful creativity, but it doesn’t always live up to its billing. Rom Sangkavatana, managing director of Bangkok- and London-based branding agency Rom Design, hopes to change that with his new project, Townhouse Space. By Alisha Pawa
Nestled in an alley on Ari Soi 4, near Gump’s community mall and the Josh Hotel, Townhouse Space has transformed a 30year old building into a multi-functional creative space, immersing visitors in art and new ideas across four floors comprising retail, workshop, and exhibition zones. It opened last year with a series of intimate events and exhibitions, but Rom says his ambition goes beyond pop-ups and parties. “The space is a blank canvas for emerging creatives to share ideas and inspiration,” he declares. Considering the project and the lingo he employs, it’s little surprise that Rom comes from a creative agency and branding background. While the terms thrown around in that world can be vaguely defined—activation, conversation, even the word “creative”—they revolve around the premise that art and creative practices can be used to build better communities. Rom points to the culture that has emerged in cities like New York, London, and Berlin, suggesting they can be guideposts for Bangkok as the mechanisms of power in the city gradually shift to millennial control. He believes Ari might be the ideal launching pad for that to happen, too. “Ari is like Chelsea in New York or Roppongi in Tokyo,” he says. “Growing up here, I’ve only seen the potential of developing and creating something new in Bangkok in Ari.” Through offline and virtual experiences that spark dialogue about current affairs, creative practices, and urban needs, Rom hopes his space can help transform the community. “It’s hard to develop conversations here because Thai people are generally shy, so Townhouse Space can be that meeting point where they start,” he says.
Still in its infancy, the space has so far tended to attract the likes of artists, writers, painters, and filmmakers, according to Rom—like-minded people seeking quality living through art exhibitions, chef’s tables, workshops, immersive retail experiences, and more. “We’ve done flower arrangement and coffee workshops, stone-healing sessions led by a jewelry designer, and we also have reiki healers,” Rom notes. Local brands like Folk Coffee and Tonic, Sonos, Grey Ray, and ATT19 currently feature throughout the building, whether through products for sale or exhibitions. There are plans to start a social club and open a new space in the building centered on music. Called Soundhouse, that project will involve collaborating with producers to curate their vinyl collection and bringing in DJs and artists. While Townhouse Space aims to promote local creators, they also house international brands, setting the bar high, just like “you’d expect in New York or Berlin.” Later during the year, Townhouse will launch its own fashion brand and product line. “The fashion house is an outlet to communicate with our fans to hopefully… embrace the concept of neighborhood living. We will surprise you,” Rom says. Above all, it’s an extension of his belief that creativity can influence our lives in many forms. It speaks to the greater purpose he hopes Townhouse Space can serve. “We work with creative entrepreneurs who are looking to challenge themselves and our society every day,” says Rom. “Art is not just for exhibiting; it’s something you live with.”
the last word | there goes the neighborhood
Two long-time residents talk the past, present, and future of Ari-Saphan Kwai Ari and Saphan Kwai weren’t always like this. Seasoned residents can remember the days before Ari became a high-end residential utopia and Saphan Kwai’s Pradipat Road turned into a lifestyle hub. We asked two such residents—Surakij “Pao” Metanukij, 33, second generation owner of 30-year-old Elizabeth Hotel, and 32-year Ari resident Wison Kaewkoon, 70—to share their thoughts on the area’s early days and what they think its future holds. By Veerabhatr Sriyananda and Porpor Leelasestaporn
ow long have you and/or your business been here? Surakij: In 1991, my dad decided to open the hotel here. Since he’s Catholic, he took inspiration from Gothic Catholic churches and added pillars and poles to the design. He even took the name of Saint Elizabeth for our hotel’s name. Our first clients were mostly Thai public officers who needed a place for seminars or tourist groups. People might sometimes complain about our Wi-Fi, but they love the golden brown rad na we’ve been serving here for the past 30 years. Wison: I’ve been living here for 32 years. I decided to move here because there were more employment opportunities back then. I used to own an architecture firm before I became a developer for Robinson and helped them design several department stores in Bangkok. One of the people I knew suggested that I should buy land in Ari—that’s where it all started.
How different were Ari and Saphan Kwai back in the day compared to now? Surakij: The place didn’t have much back then. It was all paddy fields and old shophouses. Wison: They used to call this Thoong Phayathai since the place was literally filled with paddy fields. Even Victory Monument felt so far away back then. Many old phoodee (wealthy and elite families) settled down here, and land development was usually concentrated near the main roads. Then, some of the houses around here started to go up for rent. Some were turned into pubs, clubs, or other businesses. Inside [apartment complex] Baan Yoswadi, for example, you’ll find aerial yoga studio Fly Me to the Moon. With the arrival of the BTS station, Ari has undergone rapid development. Now, the old wooden houses are being renovated. Some have been sold to land developers to build new high-rise condominiums. What do you think of the development around the area now? Surakij: Development is a good thing. Ari has become much more modern compared to what it was before. We have more cool places to visit and business is booming. All these new places are real magnets for tourists. Wison: It’s a classic problem. When you’ve been living in one place for 30-50 years, of course you would prefer how things were before. Ari used to be such a quiet place with more open space and less pollution. Now, many old houses are being sold, renovated, and turned into something else. I’m not against all these changes. It’s normal to feel some kinds of conflict as things change around you. How are we going to make it work? Can we smooth out the transition of power and authority from one generation to the next? That’s the question. What do you miss about the old Ari and Saphan Kwai? Wison: I do miss the peaceful vibe. The space near my place used to be a gallery and it was rather quiet. Now, it’s an event space that people use to host parties. Noise pollution is everywhere these days—from construction sites to loud music at bars and hotels. The traffic is worse, too. While we can’t stop development, we can take care of ourselves. If the community doesn’t align with our needs, then one day it might be time to pack our things and leave. What do you think the area will be like in the future? Surakij: The area is booming. There’s a mixeduse building near Saphan Kwai intersection under construction [The Rice], and once it’s complete, it will draw office workers and other crowds to the area—that’s a boon to our hotels with more potential clients. As for Ari, I think some business owners won’t be able to afford rising land prices, so they may move to Saphan Kwai instead. Some of the mom-and-pop shops like pharmacies and leather shoe stores have already closed. [But] maybe some second or third generation owners will convert them into cafes. Wison: With today’s working culture being what it is, I think there will be fewer standalone houses in the next 10 to 20 years, with an exception to those that are unique on their own. We will definitely see more commercial projects in the next five years. Developers will respond to the wants and needs of tomorrow’s generation.
BK MAGAZINE FRIDAY, DECEMBER 18, 2020
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