It’s amazing how fast the bar scene has grown in Bangkok, and what better platform to showcase that than The Bar Awards, one of the biggest awarding body for professional bars in Asia? Celebrating the best bartenders, bars, and individuals in the industry, the much-anticipated awards ceremony rocked the house last night at Beer Belly in Thonglor. And yes – a lot of drinking was involved. Here are the results!

The Bar Awards Luminaries

Presented by House of Angostura

A relatively new category in The Bar Awards history, this award honours those that have greatly contributed to the development of Thailand’s bar community. This year, the inductees include the stylish Chanond Purananda, a legend in the scene and one of the founding partners at cocktail consulting company Flow Cocktail. Ask any Bangkok bartender about someone they look up to and chances you’ll hear Chanond’s name. There’s also Chennarong “Janz” Bhumichitr, who owns Backstage Bar as well as #FindTheLockerRoom and #FindThePhotoBooth; and Joseph Boroski, the ‘mix-sultant’ behind J. Boroski Mixology, BAR:School, and Sip Slowly Consulting.

The Rising Star: Arron Grendon, Tropic City

Presented by Perrier

He might be young, but Arron Grendon is quickly shaking up Bangkok’s bar scene. Starting off as a F&B trainee at a hotel in Phuket, the Hong Kong-born bartender has already bagged local and international competitions like the Thai edition of the Diplomatico World Tournament in 2017 and the Chivas Masters 2018 Global Competition two years into his career. Always ready to serve with energy and good vibes, it’s no wonder he’s the newest Rising Star.

Other nominees who made the Top 10 list:

2. Saimai Nantarat – ABar Rooftop (Bangkok Marriott Marquis Queen’s Park)
3. Krit “Joey” Parkobdee – Liberation
4. Dedsakda “Kenny” Thianthong – Vesper
5. Warakorn “Nont” Mathurunyanon – Teens of Thailand
6. Patchara “Fon” Hitchman – Teens of Thailand
7. Wattunyu “Micky” Mukmongkol – #FindTheLockerRoom
8. Saharat “Mac” Kaewkong – #FindThePhotoBooth
9. Thanachot “Ong” Lohanimit – #FindTheLockerRoom
10. Brian Welch – J.Boroski

Restaurant Bar of the Year : Tep Bar

Presented by Tito’s Vodka

It’s easy to miss the dimly-lit shophouse that houses Tep Bar, but once you enter, you’ll see why it’s the new Restaurant Bar of the Year. This cool speakeasy bar in Bangkok’s Chinatown has Thai booze, Thai steaks, and on most days, live traditional music that instantly takes the fun up a notch. Aside from classic Thai drinks, you’ll want to try their home-infused ya dong, a potent, herbal local moonshine.

Other nominees who made the Top 10 list:

2. Eat Me
3. Jua
4. Sorrento
5. Penthouse Bar & Grill (Park Hyatt)
6. Bunker
7. 80/20
8. Rarb by Escapade
9. The Smokin’ Pug
10. Quince Eatery & Bar

Beer Bar of the Year : Hair of the Dog

Presented by Peroni

We’re hardly surprised that Hair of the Dog is now Beer Bar of the Year. After all, it’s consistently been rated one of Bangkok’s best craft beer experiences, complete with raw edgy vibes and 90s American rock blasting out from the speakers. As for the beer, we’ll let their 13 rotating taps and hundreds of bottles (think bourbon barrel-aged imperial stouts and double IPAs galore) speak for themselves.

Other nominees who made the Top 10 list:

2. Mikkeller
3. Beer Republic
4. Taproom (all locations)
5. Chitbeer
6. Let the Boy Die
7. Beer Belly
8. Changwon Express
9. Brewski (Radisson Blu Plaza)
10. Pijiu

Rooftop Bar of the Year : ABar Rooftop, Bangkok Marriott Marquis Queen’s Park

Presented by Chalong Bay Rum

Illuminated by the twinkling of the surrounding skyline, ABar Rooftop sits high above the city — 38 stories up in the air, to be exact. The intimate Rooftop Bar of the Year isn’t only one of the best sundowner locations across town. It also supposedly boasts the largest selection of gins in the area, with more than 55 labels ready to be turned into a signature G&T or bespoke cocktail.

Other nominees who made the Top 10 list:

2. The Loft (Waldorf Astoria)
3. Cactus
4. Above Eleven
5. Penthouse Bar & Grill (Park Hyatt)
6. Escape
7. Vertigo & Moon Bar (Banyan Tree)
8. Cielo Rooftop & Skybar
9. Attitude (Avani Riverside)
10. Brewski (Radisson Blu Plaza)

Hotel Bar of the Year : The Bamboo Bar (Mandarin Oriental)

Presented by Restaurant, Pub and Bar Asia

It’s difficult to beat The Bamboo Bar, which has retained this title for the third year running. This cocktail bar is one of the main draws of the beautiful Mandarin Oriental on Bangkok’s riverside, and in a sense, it has all the hallmarks of a classic hotel bar: live jazz, low lights, dark wood and marble furnishings, and a sophisticated ambience. Throw in exotic bamboo elements and an award-winning mixologist team and you got all the makings of Hotel Bar of the Year.

Other nominees who made the Top 10 list:

2. The Loft (Waldorf Astoria)
3. ABar (Bangkok Marriott Marquis Queen’s Park)
4. Penthouse Bar & Grill (Park Hyatt)
5. Aqua Bar (Anantara Siam)
6. Vertigo & Moon Bar (Banyan Tree)
7. The House on Sathorn (W Hotel)
8. Woo Bar (W Hotel)
9. The Speakeasy (Hotel Muse)
10. Brewski (Radisson Blu Plaza)

Thai Product of the Year : Iron Balls Gin

Presented by Drink Magazine

Yes, it’s that gin with the cheeky name and strange bottle shape. As you might have guessed Iron Balls is not any ordinary gin. Its base alcohol is distilled from coconuts and pineapples — all of which is peeled, chopped, and blended by hand. There are some 15 botanicals used, but only things like Chiang Mai ginger, Cambodian pepper, roasted nutmeg, and ginseng have been revealed. Replete with notes of tropical fruit and lemongrass, there’s no question that this Thai Product of the Year is in the lead to represent Thailand.

Other nominees who made the Top 10 list:

2. Lanna
3. Chalong Bay
4. Full Moon Brewworks
5. Issan Rum
6. Phraya Rum
7. Chiang Mai Beer
8. Bangkok Soda
9. Regency
10. Kristall

Hospitality Ambassador of the Year : Suwincha “Chacha” Singsuwan – Rabbit Hole, Liberation

Presented by Fentimans

The first woman to win ‘Bartender of the Year’ back in 2017, Suwincha “Chacha” Singsuwan is now Hospitality Ambassador of the Year. Shuffling her time between Thonglor speakeasy Rabbit Hole and new kid on the block Liberation, this kickass bartender knows plenty about treating customers well, and isn’t afraid to share them with anyone aspiring to join the hospitality industry.

Other nominees who made the Top 10 list:

2. Supawit “Palm” Muttarattana – Vesper
3. Niks Anuman-Rajadhon – Teens of Thailand, Asia Today
4. David Jacobson – Smalls
5. Jamie Rhind – The Bamboo Bar (Mandarin Oriental)
6. Buntanes “Pop” Direkritikul – Eat Me
7. Kiattikoon “Toon” Auengkum – Asia Today
8. Sebastian De La Cruz – Tropic City
9. Michele Montauti – The Loft (Waldorf Astoria)
10. Vipop “Tor” Jinaphan – Sugar Ray

Hospitality Team of the Year : Tropic City

Presented by Hendrick’s Gin

Outstanding service might not be the first thing you’d expect from a tropical tiki-style bar in Charoenkrung, but the guys at Tropic City make it work with a suave cool. Could it be all the premium rum they drink? Perhaps so.

Other nominees who made the Top 10 list:

2. The Bamboo Bar (Mandarin Oriental)
3. Vesper
4. Asia Today
5. Backstage Cocktail Bar
6. Q&A Bar
7. Teens of Thailand
8. Smalls
9. Havana Social
10. The Iron Fairies

Creative Cocktail Bar of the Year : Asia Today

Presented by Cointreau

Swearing off the use of supermarket items in their drinks, it’s no wonder Asia Today‘s been forced to improvise. Still, it’s a decision that’s led them to become Creative Cocktail Bar of the Year. The favourite ingredient of founder Niks Anuman-Rajadhon? It’s Thai honey that he sources raw from rural farmers, along with random plants and ingredients foraged to create drinks like a Wild Honey Daiquiri and Pickled Elephant Garlic Martini.

Other nominees who made the Top 10 list:

2. Ku Bar
3. Vesper
4. J. Boroski
5. Liberation
6. Eat Me
7. The Bamboo Bar (Mandarin Oriental)
8. Tropic City
9. Thaipioka
10. Q&A Bar

New Bar of the Year : Liberation

Presented by Campari

Liberation is barely five months old, but darn if it isn’t already the most progressive bar in Bangkok. Run by the same folks behind Rabbit Hole and Canvas, this intimate venue deserves every bit of the title, New Bar of the Year. Their menu, developed by talents like Kitibordee “Gov” Chortubtim, Krit “Joey” Parkobdee and Chacha Singsuwan utilises refined culinary techniques to create particularly inventive drinks, like one made with clarified tomato and sous-vide red cabbage. Needless to say, we’re excited to see what they come up with next.

Other nominees who made the Top 10 list:

2. 008
3. The Loft (Waldorf Astoria)
4. #FindThePhotoBooth
5. Cactus
6. Escape
7. The Bar Upstairs
8. Kangkao
9. Funky Lam Kitchen (Luka Moto)
10. The Woodshed

Bartender of the Year : Supawit “Palm” Muttarattana – Vesper

Presented by Monkey Shoulder

As long as you’re in a bar in Bangkok, Supawit “Palm” Muttarattana is a name you’ll hear all the time. The group bar manager at Foodie Collection (the people behind Vesper, where he is now head bartender) and former Diageo brand ambassador most recently won the inaugural Campari Bartender Competition Asia this January, beating other finalists from Taiwan and Hong Kong. So yes, he deserves to be Bartender of the Year.

Other nominees who made the Top 10 list:

2. Ronnaporn “Neung” Kanivichaporn – Backstage Cocktail Bar, #FindTheLockerRoom, #FindThePhotoBooth
3. Jamie Rhind – The Bamboo Bar (Mandarin Oriental)
4. Buntanes “Pop” Direkritikul – Eat Me
5. Kiattikoon “Toon” Auengkum – Asia Today
6. Suwincha “Chacha” Singsuwan – Rabbit Hole, Liberation
7. Kittibordee “Gov” Chortubtim – Liberation
8. Niks Anuman-Rajadhon – Teens of Thailand, Asia Today
9. Vipop “Tor” Jinaphan – Sugar Ray
10. Davide Sambo – Soho Hospitality

Bar of the Year : The Bamboo Bar (Mandarin Oriental)

Presented by Monin

Here it is again! Ranking as the only bar in the city to make it to Top 10 on the 2018 Asia’s 50 Best Bars list, it’s only deserving that The Bamboo Bar is now Bar of the Year. From its humble beginnings in 1953 to what is now a beloved Bangkok institution for Thailand’s high society, this is where guests can enjoy world-class classic cocktails and signature creations. And as far as the judging panel is concerned, this is one of Bangkok’s finest.

Other nominees who made the Top 10 list:

2. Vesper
3. Asia Today
4. Q&A Bar
5. Tropic City
6. Ku Bar
7. Backstage Cocktail Bar
8. Rabbit Hole
9. #FindTheLockerRoom
10. Salon du Japonisant