Apart from Thailand’s beaches and temples, thousands of tourists flock to Thailand every year for one thing: food. In Thailand, the food is incredible no matter where you go. If you spot a food stand or a street vendor and order anything off of the menu, chances are it’s going to be amazing—even if you aren’t really sure what you ordered.
Bangkok could be called the food capital of the world, with new restaurants of every genre opening weekly. Now, there are numerous gastropubs popping up, claiming that they are the best places to eat. How do you decipher a great gastropub among the hundreds of restaurants in Bangkok? The food, the craft beers, and the repeat customer base.
What is a Gastropub?
In 2012, the word Gastropub was added to the Merriam-Webster’s dictionary and is defined as “a pub, bar or tavern that offers meals of high quality.” Its origins definitely started in England, where pubs still remain a fixture in daily life today.
The first gastropub is usually credited to The Eagle, which opened in London in 1991 by Michael Belben and David Eyre. The restaurant features a rotating menu on a chalkboard and has published a cookbook , “The Eagle Cookbook: Recipes from the Original Gastropub.”
What defines a gastropub as a great restaurant? What sets a gastropub apart from a casual restaurant that also serves up food and beer? What do you want out of a gastropub? Should the focus be on the quality food or the selection of craft beer or vice-versa? How important is the English-style pub atmosphere? It’s all a matter of personal taste. Here we share our top selections featuring food, entertainment, and ambiance.
A gastropub focuses on local and seasonal ingredients
Key things need to be in place to be considered a gastropub: the ingredients are produced locally and the menu changes according to the seasons; the food is of high quality, affordable, and prepared in creative and unpredictable ways; and local craft beer is available. Cocktails and wine, although still on the menu, are examples of what not to order here if you want that true gastropub experience. The atmosphere and environment is warm, inviting, and casual, not uptight and stifling with formality.
When you are in Thailand, chances are you will want a taste of home, despite all of the delicious Thai foods available on every corner. Here are our top five places in Bangkok for when you are craving home.
Our Top 5 List
5. Although some restaurants are heavily influenced by Thai culture, the Londoner Five in Bangkok keeps its purely traditional look and maintains its roots. Created in 1997 by an English expat, the gastropub today remains Bangkok’s oldest microbrewery. The head chef is Chef Yao, Captain of the Thai National Cooking Association, so be assured that the food is going to be scrumptious. High-quality meat is served here when you want a juicy steak or comfort food such as a Sunday roast served with vegetables, creamed cauliflower, roasted potatoes, and a choice of dessert. The interior looks just like a pub from England, the only thing that reminds you that you are in Thailand is their selection of Thai food featuring classics such as Prawn Pad Thai and creamy curry soups. Prices range from ฿180 baht/ S$7.50 to the ฿600 baht/ S$25 range.
4. In contrast, for a dining experience that is a gastropub with an Asian twist, the Namsaah Bottling Trust is a restaurant in the Silom area of Bangkok. It is pretty easy to find, thanks to its bright pink exteriors. This restaurant has a unique past which includes being a house for royalty, a soda bottle company, and a bank. The set-up is unique, the bar is located downstairs and the dining rooms are featured all over the house. The menu features Thai food with popular dishes such as red curry with beef and tangerine chicken. And, of course, it features local craft beers as well. Prices are steeper here with starters in the ฿300 baht / S$12.50 range.
3. With a modern twist to a gastropub, Apoteka features international options along with popular Thai dishes. The decor sets it apart from other gastropubs. It’s styled like a 19th-century pharmacy, featuring cast iron details and lights upcycled from wine bottles. The food is robust and is perfectly paired with local craft Thai beer. The prices here are a bit more affordable, with mains starting in the ฿180 baht / S$7.50 range.
2. The next gastropub on our list is owned by two Kiwis. No Idea which is located on Soi 22 in Bangkok, features a menu that is modern and unique, like peppered kangaroo steak paired with beetroot, asparagus, potato, and other vegetables produced in a sustainable way. The food plays a central role here and the interiors are nondescript. Prices range from ฿300 /S$12.50 to ฿400 / S$17.
1. Hyde & Seek has become a popular gastropub for both tourists and locals alike. The interiors are bright with pops of colour and Teak wood floors, and it houses various plants and greenery making the atmosphere warm and inviting. This young and hip restaurant features a rotation of DJ’s, spinning most nights. The menu spotlights British and American favourites—gastropub staples such as baby back ribs, upmarket hamburgers, and other comfort foods from England. Local craft beers and ciders are on the menu, as well as wines and cocktails to complement your meal. Prices are in the ฿350 baht / S$15 range for main courses.
These five gastropubs are all distinct from each other and are scattered throughout Bangkok. No matter which gastropub is nearest to you, you will find the food exemplary and reminiscent of jolly old England.