The Battle of the (Wine) Bars

Hi there,

Yes, I am posting again! I’ve been trying to bombard you all with a blog update to make up for my absence in the recent weeks. Apart from being pretty busy with my Intermediate Pastry course at Le Cordon Bleu, I’ve been busy jumping from one wine bar to the next. I don’t know if it’s just me or has the Thais’ interest in wine just sky-rocketed since 2010?

I felt like, before, wines were the drink of choice for older people; where as the younger crowd opted for Black labels and Beer. Perhaps, they felt a little intimidated by wines – deeming it a drink that requires knowledge and money to enjoy – and, perhaps, found it a little snobbish. Thanks to a whole host of wine retailers bringing us cheap and accessible wines and media outlets that are doing a great job at promoting wines at the new drink of choice, now wine bars are sprouting up at every street corner like mushrooms on moist logs. Coffee shops are now so 2009, and wine bars are very 2011.

Though I couldn’t help but wonder if this trend would be sustainable. On one hand I feel like people are now wine actually fits the Thais’ way of eating well. We love food and we love socializing and what other drinks could compliment those two things better than wine? Considering that most wines are meant to be enjoy with food, I believe people are now relizing that it is much more enjoyable to sip on something that not only compliments your dishes without filling you up (think beer,) but also comes with a little health benefits of some antioxidants sans the unsightly beer belly.  Therefore, perhaps, wines are here to stay. However, I also feel like a lot of people are just drinking it for the sake up being “hip,” and soon they’ll find something else trendy to follow. Which, I guess, would make the reservation for certain wine bars a little more customer-friendly as well.

In the recent weeks, I visited three bars –

  1. Niu’s
  2. Salute Bistro & Wine Bar
  3. Wine Loft

They are all very different; but the common theme is a good wine list. If you are looking for a more upscale place with awesome food and amazing live Jazz, head over to Niu’s. I highly recommend their vegetables and goat cheese terrine, so scrumptious! Now that the weather is still not too warm at night, I recommend sitting in their outdoor area and hanging around until 9.15 pm when the  daily live music starts.

I have mixed feelings about Salute Bistro and Wine Bar, the thing that I found the strangest was how empty it was; when I went, my table was one of only two tables there despite the restaurant’s apparent effort to attract people – modern decor, a string trio entertaining at table side, and a 750 baht wine buffet. Maybe Park Lane, the mall where the restaurant is in, is to blame, considering how the roman-pillar encased lifestyle mall seems a little out of place in the Ekamai area. Although I did not try the wine buffet, but they had a pretty good selection of wines and food that are priced lower than at Niu’s. However, food-wise, Niu’s was much better.

The last is Wine Loft, which is pretty much a wine retailer with a small bar area. They have a great selection of reasonably priced wines around the world with tasting notes and ratings on almost all of the wines on offered, which is a plus for a newbie like me, (although I barely go by ratings and more on trusted recommendations from people with similar preferences to me.) The store rotates their wines by the glass often, showcasing new wines on the wine dispenser machine, which got me very excited. I had seen them in pictures before, but this was the first time seeing it in Thailand for me. They would insert a card into the machine, and then you can select the wine you want and the amount of the tasting you want. Each wines are priced differently – smaller tastings are around 50-7o baht where as the bigger potions are pretty much like ordering wines by the glass, and they range from, roughly, 150-300 baht. They also have light dishes to nibble on, which I did not get to try; but their giant bread sticks were so good and devilishly addictive! They also have a private room for smoking as well.

I have a long list of other wine bars that I still need to try, so I sincerely hope that, as I work my way down the list, wines are here to stay. I don’t want any places closing down before i get to try them. (Think Roti Boy..)

Bon Appétit!

661 Floor 1-2, Baan Silom Arcade
Silom Road (between Soi 17 and Soi 19),
Bangkok 10500 – Tel 02-2665333

Salute Bistro & Wine Bar

Floor 2, Park Lane (opposite soi 2)
Ekamai, Bangkok Tel 02-3821127

Wine Loft

Open daily 11:00 – 24:00
Sukhumvit 31 Tel. 0-2260-0027
Market Place, Thonglor Tel. 0-2392-2080

Langsuan Tel. 0-2652-1965

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Welcome to the oenophile-dome! lol Seriously, I am a great lover of wines, but the tariff placed on them in Thailand is certainly prohibitive. It usually means that mediocre wines that are cheap in Europe are massively over-priced in Thailand. Generally speaking, I find better value for money in New World wines. And I save my serious wine-quaffing for trips home to bella italia!

    But here are a few I can recommend:

    Wine is super Fly!


    The world according to Ms Q – my take on what’s interesting, stylish and cool: restaurants, food, wine, music, cocktails.

    Asia-based, internationally-focused, American-flavored

    1. hey, Thank you so much for this! For some reason this comment was flagged as spam and removed! I just came across it now. Thank you again, Ms Q, you’re always fab! =D

  2. Pat says:

    will look out for your entries on wine bar. So many have opened these days and I haven’t had the chance to try much. Maybe I should think about wine bar hopping soon 🙂

  3. Sexypianist says:

    I love reading your blog as always. Now that non-alcohol time is over for me and my bf, I’m really enthusiastic to try Niu’s! (with you ofcourse!) oh.. And no, I haven’t forgotten the sake bar! ❤

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