Living in a Movie at the Coolest Speak Easy Bar in Bangkok
Most hotel bars in town follow a familiar pattern of bland furniture and uninspiring yet expensive drinks lists, but there’s a Wes-Anderson inspired beauty stands out among speak easy bars in Bangkok. It breaks boundaries, making you feel like you’re living in a movie.
Mr Anderson himself is absent from the enterprise, but the bar at the newly renovated Josh Hotel in Ari district is reminiscent of his distinctive visual style, as seen in films like The Royal Tenenbaums and The Grand Budapest Hotel. Officially called the Key Room No. 72, this is a quirky bar with a difference.
What’s different about The Key Room No. 72 in Bangkok?
Firstly, you can’t just walk into the bar here at the Josh Hotel. Instead you have to know ‘the code’ so you already feel like you’re in a secret club! Walk into the hotel reception, go to the front desk and tell the staff that you’re checking into room number 72. They’ll hand you a key card which you use to open the sumptuous-looking red door at the back of the lobby, then you head inside to enter the mysterious world of ‘Mr Josh’.
Who is Mr Josh? Don’t worry; you didn’t miss greeting him in reception! He’s a fictional character around which the bar is based, who appears to have been on quite a trip around the world if the drinks list is to be believed.
What’s on the menu?
You can get great cocktails at The Key Room No. 72, and lots of them. The list of standard classics is as long as your arm but it’s the nine signature cocktails that really get people excited. Like a good whisky? Try Mr Josh’s Journey (380 baht or $12), which blends malt liquor with rosemary and sugar. Fancy something a bit lighter? Go for the ‘Marilyn 1950’s’ (380 baht or $12), a nod to film star Marilyn Monroe based around vodka, lime juice, honey and grapefruit bitters.
If you want to support local Thai mixologists then check out the ‘Roasted Coconut’ (also 380 baht), a kickass mix of rum, coconut water and tonic which is served with toasted coconut to nibble on between sips. Drinks creator Danuwat Into won the right to have his drink on the menu in a recent competition and we can see why he won; it’s delicious!
Entertainment at this Incredible Speak Easy
If you’re a fan of live music then visit on Fridays and Saturdays when jazz musicians add even more atmosphere to the place. You’d better get here early if you want a seat though as there’s only space for 24 and it fills up quickly. If you’d rather drink in peace and quiet than any other night is a good shout, with small screens dotted around the room showing suitably arty films like Amelie to keep you interested.
A Great Base to Explore the Air District of Bangkok
The Key Room at No. 72 is a destination in its own right, and you could easily spend the whole night here drinking through the menu (you’ll end up very drunk, just a friendly warning!). Why not use it as an end point after seeing some of the hip Ari district as well though? Check out some street art, do a bit of shopping and try some street food before ending up at this great bar to round off your night. With a drinks list as good as this one, it’s something to really look forward to.