Bar Sathorn is a cocktail immersion into the rich storied history and heritage of one of Bangkok’s cultural institutions, The House on Sathorn.

You can’t fully appreciate Bar Sathorn without first exploring The House on Sathorn.

The House on Sathorn, located in Bangkok’s glistening financial and commercial heart that is its Silom district, is a heritage mansion dripping with history. First commissioned in 1888 during the reign of Kong Chulalongkorn by wealthy Chinese business Luang Sathonchayut – who lends his name to the magnificent edifice as well as Sathon Road he helped build – the complex became Hotel Royal in the 1920s, and then served as the embassy for the Soviet Union (and later the Russian Federation) until it was taken over by W Hotels as a dining and entertainment extension to W Bangkok.

Beautifully restored and refurbished, The House on Sathorn today houses modern Thai seafood restaurant Paii, as well as Bar Sathorn, a cocktail bar oozing timelessness like no other.

The House on Sathorn

I don’t say this often about a watering hole, but you’ll want to immerse yourself in the surroundings first instead of heading directly for the bar. Take the time to wander around The House on Sathorn. Soak in the various historical artefacts on display that have been recovered from the grounds, some of them a century old. And when you finally get a sense of The House of Sathorn’s place in Bangkok’s history, head for the bar.

You’ll be glad you did. Because now you’re ready to understand Bar Sathorn’s cocktail programme by its resident bar manager Marco Dognini (pictured below). The well-travelled veteran Italian bartender, who joined Bar Sathorn last year, has weaved together an intoxicating cocktail menu that somehow manages to tell the story of The House of Sathorn in vivid liquid, cocktail form.

An Italian helming the bar may not be mere coincidence. The House on Sathorn was actually run by an Italian grand dame back when it was the luxurious Hotel Royal during the 1920s. Madame Adele Staro is said to be quite the socialite, hosting Bangkok’s elite for extravagant parties on its grounds.

It’s why you have the likes of Staro Americano (pictured below) and The Lobby on the cocktail menu. The first is a fruity strawberry twist on the classic Americano, while the other is a lovely umami take on the Martini with the use of seaweed, fino sherry, capers, and kaffir lime.

Yes, Kaffir lime. Dognini cleverly and skilfully leans into the abundant and diverse produce of Thailand without being too patronising, using local ingredients as flavour accents rather than the main focus. You’ll find, for example, a pleasing jasmine malai fragrance lightly sprayed on the L&L Martini to accentuate its sakura and logan notes, or the ethereal touch of pineapple and coconut used in The Pina.

The House on Sathorn was home to the Soviet and Russian embassy for almost fifty years in the twentieth century. Even today Sathon Road plays host to a multitude of embassies from countries such as Malaysia, Singapore, Belgium, Denmark, among many others. Dognini pays tribute to this fact with a few creations.

Staro Americano

Among them is the Envoy 420, a mashup of cultures combining tequila, watermelon, agave, and fig leaves for a fun, savoury Paloma that comes in a drinking vessel resembling a Russian nesting doll. Or Meet & Greet (bottommost picture), a jazzed up gin soda variation with flavours of peach, mangosteen and celery.

For those who love their spirit-forward cocktails? The Ambassador’s Favorite is an Old Fashioned or Sazerac variation, offering hints of banana and mango to balance and meld its whiskey and cognac base.

And if you really want to recreate Madame Staro’s exuberant opulence, there a section offering possibly Bangkok’s most expensive cocktails each of which are composed using LOUIS XIII Cognac.

Meet & Greet

Also watch out for Bar Sathorn’s seasonal, collaborative cocktails. Dognini works closely with local producers to source ingredients for some time-limited creations; when I visited it was a partnership with a honey producer. An upcoming one is a tie-up with urban rooftop farmer Bangkok Rooftop Farming, among which is an intriguing Martini concoction that will employ kale grown on the rooftop of a nearby Bangkok shopping mall.

Regardless of whether you’re a cocktail enthusiast, Bar Sathorn is the kind of timeless destination bar worth a visit because it’s the perfect confluence of hospitality, history and culture. That it happens to serve great cocktails as well is simply a lovely bonus.

[Image credits: Bar Sathorn | W Bangkok]

Bar Sathorn

Address 106 North Sathorn Road, The House on Sathorn, Silom, Bang Rak, Bangkok 10500, Thailand (Google Maps link)
Opening Hours 2.30pm to 1am daily
Tel (66) 2344 4025
Facebook barsathorn
Instagram @barsathorn
Reservations book here

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