The high-tempo party spot Spin and the more tranquil Axis make The Continent approachable for different types of night people — or the same people at different times of the evening.
By Emmi Lane.
I lean on the transparent terrace railing of Axis & Spin Rooftop Bar, and my view of buzzing Asok stretches about 200 degrees to my sides. From here, on the 39th floor of the Continent hotel, it is easy to let go of the constant traffic jam below, now reduced into a miniature version.
People around me, like the jubilant Thai birthday group near me, seem to share the same carefree spirit. They toast their colorful cocktails, giggle along with the polished version of Michel Teló´s “Ai Se Eu Te Pego,” and take smartphone photos. These pictures will probably soon add to the hundreds of pictures, which have already been posted in Facebook, from this new party spot that opened in February.
A lizard-imitation menu shimmers in the dark and as I open it, revealing a large selection of brandies, rums, liquors, and cocktails. These last ones are divided into two: Prohibition cocktails include the familiar drinks with little twists, such as Cucumber Mojito, Black Caipirinha, and Cookie Martini. Pre-prohibition cocktails introduce “old-school” beverages, such as Flip Punch, Tom Collins, and Martinez.
With its retro approach, Axis & Spin proves to be in the know of the latest fashions in the international bar scene. Some of the trendsetting bars in New York have even changed their whole appearance into that of illegal bars of the 1920s United States, rebranded themselves into “speakeasies,” and now serve drinks for the watchers of nostalgic hit-series, such as “Madmen” and “Boardwalk Empire.” As the modern “MadMen of Bangkok” know, the competition among the rooftop bars in Bangkok is so fierce that no newcomer, such as Axis & Spin, can sleep over these current trends.
Or the “Madwomen.” It happens to be “Ladies Night” at Axis & Spin, which means two free cocktails and one canapé for participating women. So I decide to follow the girly theme tonight, and look for drinks that entertain but don’t knock me out. To my delight, the prohibition menu delivers many options fit for my light and sweet preference. I start with Kiwi Caipiroska (Bt250++), a mix of fresh kiwi fruit, vodka, lime and club soda. Fresh and easy, with a hint of healthy bitterness – this is what girly drinks are about. Next, I order a Hello Kitty (Bt250++). The concoction of vanilla vodka, fresh raspberries and champagne is sweet like a dessert and reminds me of a festive rosé wine.
But what does Axis & Spin offer for food? In keeping with the prohibition-theme, plenty of finger food. Western with a Thai influence to go with the drinks. I order marinated salmon with lemongrass (Bt220++) and the fleshy bites of fish, tomatoes and peppers are soon relished with a sweet chili sauce. The taste appears mild and smoky, but predominantly Western, as the most Thai aspect of this dish is the lemongrass spike, used to sphere the chunks of fish. These light skewers work well as an appetizer, but invite a desperate hunger for more.
A surprise for many is that Axis and Spin are two separate venues. I take the spirally stairs down from Spin, the rooftop bar. As I enter Axis, the lounge, the music turns down and changes into ambient electric beats. Décor seems deliberate, in line with the dark and sleek interiors of the 5-star hotel and suggests a leisurely, mysterious atmosphere.
“Our customers like the intimate setting,” says Malin Bylund, PR manager “and the two unique levels: the high-tempo party spot Spin and the more tranquil Axis make The Continent approachable for different types of night people, or the same people at different times of the evening. “So I stay a little longer, relieved that there is no reason just yet to face the traffic jam downstairs.
Axis & Spin
The Continent Hotel
413 Sukhumvit Rd, Bangkok (BTS: Asoke)