“LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, THIS IS YOUR CAPTAIN SPEAKING. WE ARE ABOUT TO LAND IN HAVANA, CUBA. PLEASE TURN YOUR CLOCKS BACK 12 HOURS….AND 75 YEARS!”
Lets start the post with how we ended up in Havana Social, a speakeasy featuring the buzz of pre-revolution 1940’s Cuba located in the dark alleys of Bangkok. There is nothing sinister about it, Havana Social is a kind of a well known secret. We found it by just had a chat with a few bartenders on what would be their choice of bar if they were going out that evening (if they could not recommend the place they worked at). That is the line we use when we want to find quality drinks. Havana Social, owned by Soho House btw., came up as one of the newer more fun places to visit. We only got a name and an approximate direction where it was to be found, and the rest was up to us. Luckily the bar has a supportive Facebook page directing visitors (might I add in English) to the right back alley in question. But how to get in…
When we turned the corner from the main street, we did not notice anything special. The dead-end alley housed the mandatory motorcycle park and dubious massage parlor. On the right hand side was an old public telephone booth, which would have been discreet if it weren’t for the happy crowd of expats loitering around the booth (for no apparent reason). We asked them how to get in and were instructed to punch a four digit code on the old pay-phone. In case no other quests are hanging out outside, you can also call the restaurant and get the evening’s code. A door clicked open on our left and we sneaked in. The room was murky with shuttered windows, spare lighting and crumbling walls giving off a convincingly clandestine feel. The ambiance was loyal to the theme. Where it not for the Thai waitresses, it would have felt like a completely different country.
The drinks list was long, rum-heavy and sounded exciting. There were several options that we were caving for and decided on some (off course rum-based) cocktails with raspberry and honeycomb. The piece of honeycomb was nicely tangling over the drink providing a refill of honey every few minutes. It looked very nice but after a while the drink got a little bit too sweet. And sweet was the trend with the other cocktails, whereas I prefer mine fresh and dry. The price was also quite hefty for the local price level (around 350TBH per drink) so we did not feel like having a second round. The style was perhaps just not for us.
Concept-wise Havana social is definitely a fun place to visit. The cocktails are also not too bad if you have a bit of a sweet-tooth. Value for money with the drinks, not so sure about that. What bothered me slightly was also the loud live music that started around ten pm. Although I think it fit the picture. It is just my personal preference to sit somewhere more quiet. If you are in Bangkok give it a try! The entrance is fun as well as the decor deserves a lot of credit.
Where: 41/3 Sukhumvit 11, Khlong Toei Nuea, Bangkok