Immersive cocktail experiences within refurbished vintage shophouse in bustling Chinatown precinct
April 30th, 2022
As the bar industry in Bangkok comes back to life after two difficult years of mandated closure and restricted trading hours a number of new bar openings have added to the exuberant vibe of the local cocktail scene. One of the standout openings has been that of Opium Bar – set within an impressively refurbished vintage shophouse in Bangkok’s Chinatown district. Operating in conjunction with Restaurant POTONG – launched in September 2021 by Chef Pam (5th generation of the family that has continuously owned the property) – the Opium Bar occupies the upper floors above the three levels of dining and kitchen space.
Originally a trading house for Chinese traditional medicines, the family business evolved into pharmaceutical trading – and during the period in the early 20th Century when opium smoking was legal – the 4th floor hosted a discreet opium smoking space. And now – since January 2022 – the space has been reinvented as the Opium Bar. Occupying both the 4th and 5th (rooftop) floors of the POTONG building, Opium Bar has elegantly melded the concept of an opulent New York hangout space with the vibrant spirit of late-night Chinatown Bangkok. In the months since its soft opening, Opium Bar has garnered considerable acclaim for its accomplished bar program – and has become a must-visit destination among discerning cocktail aficionados for pre-dinner aperitifs, immersive bar experiences – or late-night drinks.
The meticulously refurbished interior design harmoniously utilises original architectural elements and design motifs with luxurious furnishings to recreate the spirit of the hidden “opium den” origins of the intimate space. Across the two floors, guests can choose between the popular bartender seats, plush leather banquette seating – or casual open-air settings on the 5th-floor rooftop. Additionally, a private bar room will be opening in mid-2022.
Conceived and curated by Bar Director Arnon Hoontrakul and Head Bartender Matteo Cadeddu – the cocktail program was informed by the concept of “Liquid Surreality”. Opium Bar’s cocktail menu has been formulated under 6 main liquid categories – apéritif, sparkle, acid, acid+, solo, and duo. Essential cocktail ingredients are crafted in-house, including modifiers, flavorings, colorings, syrups, and garnishes – also expressed in bottled cocktails and spirit infusions.
Bar food served from the Restaurant POTONG features dishes of the progressive Thai-Chinese cuisine created by Chef Pam and her restaurant culinary team – offering tasteful small dishes conceived to pair with the cocktails.
Regular DJ events are held at both the 4th-floor lounge and rooftop on Sunday and Thursday evenings – check the events calendar on the Opium website.
Opium Bar opens Thursday to Monday from 5:00 pm to midnight (under current trading limitations). With limited seating, reservations are recommended for both the bartender and lounge seats.
Opium Bar Interior
(images credit Opium Bar / restaurant POTONG)