Sugar Ray You’ve Just Been Poisoned is the name of a cool little hidden gem in the Thong Lo district of Bangkok. Open only three days a week, crafting well mixed cocktails to a young hip crowd including some of the most sought-after celebrities in the country, and making all the stops in order to satisfy its demanding clientele, including making their own bitters and even a homemade Old Tom gin, Sugar Ray’s impressive. And expensive. Quality and exclusivity have a cost.
And people are starting to notice. The bar’s been featured on VICE’s Munchies, among others.
How can a place like this one, filled with sharply dressed twenty-somethings with carefully maintained facial hair and featuring an all-black decor with lounge DJ on hand make it while opening only three days a week?
Maybe we could call it the Apple method: restrict the access to your product in order to build hype.
As trendy as it gets
Three things are super-trendy right now: cocktail bars, the US prohibition era and the city of Bangkok.
Cocktail bars are starting to pop up everywhere. Some good, some bad. There are plenty of so-called experts who don’t know how to rinse a coupe or insist on serving a tasteless martini.
The prohibition era in something Americans themselves have a tendency to bastardize, turn into a goût-du-jour theme sensation, just like they do beach partys and tiki bars.
And Bangkok, well, is a trendy place for many, many reasons. Just in two years, 2013 to 2015, the city has seen an impressive amount of new high-rise buildings pop up, expensive clubs try their luck; the two best restaurants in Asia – Gaggan and Nahm – hold the title-belt of the culinary world’s best; and the amount of money pouring in this city has never been higher.
A certain amount of trendiness combined with talented minds and hands can spring the right business at the right time to great heights.
Hidden in a corner
To get to Sugar Ray Bangkok, you need to know where you’re heading. In the Thong Lo district of Bangkok, through a parking lot, up a dirty staircase, one’s welcomed to Sugar Ray Bangkok by a windowed sliding door, a tagged wall and a child-sized plastic mannequin.
Inside, the decor is simple, though well thought-out: black tables, black-and white painted brick walls, black floors with rococo patterns, dried flowers and herbs as decoration, shelves stocked with different concoctions and unmarked bottles, old wooden chairs, a DJ booth and a bar. Everybody there is pretty, tables are candle-lit and the sound of the shaker is relentless.
The main room of Sugar Ray Bangkok is apart from another room – the tasting room – where a barman explains how the bar works, what are their specialities, and shakes and stirs alcohols on demand.
Pretty cocktails, nice bottles, great atmosphere.
What’s served at Sugar Ray Bangkok
I was given the opportunity to taste some of the best cocktails offered at Sugar Ray Bangkok, and they were prepared in the beautiful tasting room, a barman lounge of sorts, away from the busy main room. There, the barman explained in great detail what went in each cocktail.
The two cocktails I sampled are the “Perfect Manhattan” and “Old Tom Gin Martinez”, the latter made with a homemade concoction. In both cases, the classic cocktails were crafted with the utmost care with a bit of flair and a lot of attention. There was nothing wrong with either!
However my favourites were the few variations of cocktails using egg whites.
When in Bangkok, don’t forget to head to Sugar Ray Bangkok for at least one cocktail!
Sugar Ray You’ve Just Been Poisoned
+66 94 417 9898