This rooftop lounge and bar offers a piece of New York in Bangkok’s nightlife hub of Thonglor.
By Emmi Lane
“Most of our cocktails are like music,” says the bartender, Ipete, explaining what inspires the signature cocktails at Octave Rooftop Lounge and Bar. Ipete wraps up his sleeves, revealing an armful of tattoos, and pours more alcohol into a wildly lilac concoction. I watch him swirl bottles and joke like a confident bartender from New York. But this is Thonglor, Bangkok.
Even the design concept of Octave is inspired by loft-apartments in New York. “The style is minimalist and industrial, leaving a sense of space and air. However, a few touches make the rooftop terrace more comfortable, such as the natural elements of cherry wood and plant-covered walls, soft beige sofas, and intimate scarce lights,” says Sarinya Mahadumrongkul, PR and marketing coordinator of Bangkok Marriott Hotel Sukhumvit, home to Octave.
One great piece, fit for a design magazine, is a large knitted chair group that shelters our conversation and shields us from the wind. They are not only creative but also practical. Other highlights include decorative pottery on the shelves and funky zebra-patterned pillows, which add a sophisticated touch. At first glance, the only one thing that could spoil a leisurely night here is the rain. Most of the 45th floor terrace is open, and thus bad weather can force the bar to close temporarily. Fortunately, plans of a terrace cover are on their way, Sirinya says.
Ipete steals my attention again: The lilac cocktail is ready. It´s the classic “Aviation,” except that in Ipete´s hands, it turns into a “Purple Ovation” (Bt350++): a cherry-flavored drink that calls for applause. For the gin, he uses Butterfly Peas & Lemon Infused Tanqueray, and for the cherry liquor, he adds Maraschino Luxardo and 45%-Kirschwasser. A traditional lemon peel completes the presentation. I sense the lemon that hides the strong alcohol percentage in this sweet drink, so I sip sparingly. But I can recommend this for the thirsty party animal.
Ipete talks of how important it is to use quality products. “We use only fresh ingredients,” he says — and holds a bottle of Kettle One, a 40% Dutch vodka known for its clean taste. Kettle One is the main ingredient in one of the easiest and freshest cocktails tonight: It is called “Bloom Over the Roof” (Bt320++); a red drink poured over ice and mint leaves. The presentation and taste remind me of a “Mojito” — only with a sour berry sidetrack, which makes the taste more mature. An explanation follows: “We use Dilmah tea and spicy berries.” I learn that Kettle One Vodka has been infused with these berries, and that only a little more is needed for this delightful refreshment: soda for a bubbly sensation and a swig of Elderflower syrup, which adds a smell of black crowberries.
At around 7 p.m. the lounge is busy with locals, expats, and hotel guests. However, Octave has three levels to sit them all up. One of the best views, I’m told, is at the stairs to the second level; and true, I see a long straight line of BTS tracks along Sukhumvit.
The only covered space is on the third level, which is yet to be opened, but rumors of a shisha lounge have been circulating. On the rooftop, a light-up blue bar centers a dance floor and residential DJs play at nights. A helipad was planned here but the outstanding view of 360 degrees was soon realized to be worth its own rooftop bar. Profitably I assume, as this is, Sirinya says, so far the only sky bar as well as the highest tower in Thonglor, which is arguably the current hub of Bangkok nightlife.
Octave Rooftop Lounge & Bar
Bangkok Marriott Hotel Sukhumvit
2 Sukhumvit Soi 57, Bangkok (BTS: Thonglor)