The Spirited Traveler: One night in Bangkok?

By Kara Newman

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Bangkok's nightlife has a particularly naughty reputation, thanks in part to movies like "The Hangover II" which focus on bachelor party-style debauchery.

While locals say this small facet of Bangkok does of course exist, more upscale and business-friendly nightlife is available too - and lots of it.

"Thailand is a country where people don't wait for weekends to have a drink," says Joel Clement, regional creative director at Saatchi & Saatchi, who has been based in Bangkok for 10 years. "The venues come in so many varied forms, and they are plentiful."

The drinks too come in varied forms. Whiskey and soda is a Thai favorite, Clement says, and it's common in Thai-style bars called "kitchen table discos" for patrons to bring a bottle of whiskey to a club to share around a small, high table (the bars profit by selling mixers and ice and charging a corkage fee).

Meanwhile, Western-style establishments which cater to expatriates and travelers offer mixed drink menus, some featuring unique flavors such as lychee and lemongrass.

In the latter category, Clement recommends Fat Gut'z (http://www.fatgutz.com),

a "small and intimate" bar with live jazz and sophisticated cocktails created by "mixsultant" Joseph Boroski.

Meanwhile, Club Perdomo Bangkok (http://www.clubperdomo.com/Bangkok/Welcome.asp)

is "for the real high-end business traveler," Clement says.

Behind the hacienda-style gates, it is a small private club where you can enjoy excellent cigars, great spirits and wine, with some very interesting people.

"Many business travelers who visit Bangkok regularly have memberships for when they are in town," Clement says. Expect leather club chairs and Scotch whiskey.

In addition, homesick Westerners seeking extensive beer options may want to seek out one of the many Irish-themed bars, such as The Dubliner (http://www.thedublinerbangkok.com) on Sukhumwit Road or Molly Malone's (http://www.mollymalonesbangkok.com) off Silom Road.

The famous rooftop bars also are not to be overlooked, such as Vertigo at the Banyan Tree hotel (http://www.banyantree.com/en/bangkok/dining/vertigo_and_moon_bar)

or Sirocco atop The Dome at lebua (http://www.lebua.com/en/the-dome-dining/sirocco-restaurant/).

These sky-high spots, says Clement, make expensive cocktails seem an admission ticket to the great view.

RECIPE: Lancastria

(Adapted from Joseph Boroski)

The pale-green drink is garnished with "a delicate doll hair made from sugar-cane," aka cotton candy or spun sugar. "This delicate candy is to be eat'n on its own or dip'd in to dissolve and sweet'n the drink," the cocktail menu suggests. 3 lychees 1 ounces vodka

ounce Sauvignon Blanc Juice of 1 lemon wedge (about ounce) In a pint glass, muddle the lychee fruit. Add vodka, wine, lemon juice and ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with spun sugar. (Editing by Peter Myers and Paul Casciato)

(Kara Newman is the author of “Spice & Ice: 60 tongue-tingling cocktails,” available http://karanewman.wordpress.com/buy-the-book)

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