By Dave Stamboulis
Le Derrière refers to the rump or backside in French, to put it politely, and the Q Bar’s latest addition to the Bangkok nightlife is certainly full of all the right curves. Buddha Bar designer Bruno Tanquerel came in here and turned owner David Jacobson’s love of vintage French into one of the most romantic and nostalgic period pieces to grace Bangkok in recent memory. With an imported century old zinc bar complete with antique lights, bourgeois red sofa and chair sets and checkered tile floor, this former frame shop in the back of the Q Bar will transport you to Paris a la 1900.
In harmony with the décor, Le Derrière is a French champagne and absinthe bar. Absinthe, that naughty child of the drinking world (supposed to cause hallucinations and do all sorts of wicked things to you) is the drink of choice here, and the drink menu not only lists the inebriants of choice, but also the famous artistes who shared a passion for them, with the likes of Picasso, Van Gogh, Manet, Edgar Allen Poe, Mark Twain, and Jack London to name but a few. There are 10 different bottles of the stuff from France, Switzerland, and several other spots, ranging from 50- to a mind-numbing 90 percent, and they all get poured out via a traditional four spigot absinthe fountain; the absinthe slowly dripping down through a sugar cube and through an absinthe spoon into your glass. Manager Benoit Raynal is on hand to show you how to drink it properly or perhaps talk you into one of the absinthe cocktails that have become one of the house mainstays. The bar’s signature Le Derrière is literally all alcohol, made up of absinthe, rum, vanilla vodka, kahlua, and chili, and to say it packs a mean punch is an understatement.
A larger food menu is in the works (with this décor, a fine French restaurant will bring Bangkok foodies out in droves), but for now there are plenty of delectable delights to go along with your drinks. Imported French oysters are a highlight, and you can indulge in a plate of 12 along with a bottle of Colombelle for Bt1,990. There are also charcuterie and fromages, assorted imported meat and cheese plates, as well as foie gras terrine, and an arugula salad topped with warm goat cheese, smoked bacon, and champagne vinaigrette to take care of any munchies you might have.
Speaking of champagne, the list at Le Derrière is just as impressive as the absinthe, with over a dozen choices ranging from Nicolas Feuillate to Perrier Jouet Belle Epoque for that special occasion. You can drink by the bottle or with the Nicolas Feuillate, by the glass. On Tuesday evenings, Le Derrière celebrates Absinthe Tuesdays, offering all absinthe cocktails for Bt250-Bt350 all-night-long. As the bar has a retractable roof, smoking is also allowed, and not surprisingly, there is a stock of Cohiba premium Cuban cigars behind the bar, perfect for lounging in one’s red velvet armchair with.
Anyone with panache for antique or good old joie de vivre French flair needs to check out Le Derrière. While the adjoining Q Bar is all about loud partying, Le Derrière is all about sophisticated relaxation. As Raynal puts it, “It’s a talkative bar.” Walking through the revolving doors here into this niche of nostalgia feels a bit like Alice going down the rabbit hole. Or perhaps it is just the effect of the absinthe. Just remember, entry is through the rear.
Le Derrière 34 Sukhumvit Soi 11 Tel:02- 252-5366 Open daily: 9pm-2am