Excellent drinks made without “mixologist” flair and flourish can be found at a new garnet-red bar that’s just emerged on Pattanakarn Road in Bangkok’s Hua Mak area.
Inside what looks something like a chic post office from the outside is Veerach “Aum” Sawaengsupt and Sudarat “Taln” Rojanavanich. They preside over Messenger Service Bar, a role no bartending training school prepared them for. The couple, who work as designers by day, said their cocktail-making confidence comes solely from making drinks casually for two years at a hostel they own.
“I cannot count how many drinks I’ve thrown away to develop each cocktail’s formula. I believe I’ve put over 100,000 baht worth of alcohol down the drain,” Aum said with a shy giggle. Taln mentioned that her boyfriend developed recurring heartburn preparing to open the bar.
The bar’s interior looks more underground vault than post office. Cement walls are betel nut-expectorant red, and metal shelves are filled with the brownish glass bottles that give the place its name. Look closely and find labels with the names of inspirational figures and pieces of paper – the titular messages – inside.
“We did it in a message bottle storage vault theme because the ingredient mix in each cocktail bottle is from crystallized thoughts after experimenting over and over,” Taln said. “It’s like a carefully-thought-out message to our drinkers.”
Talk and Aum have no intention to install pro bartenders. They said they wanted to preserve the bar’s casual, experimental vibe, even if it becomes successful.
While the bar gears up for a full opening, its menu lists 15 cocktails identified by number. I tried nearly half of them on a visit this week, and none disappointed. The #006 (THB360) is an easygoing drink very suitable for cocktail newbies with a dominant banana flavor and fairy-dust sprinkle of pineapple spice. The #002 (THB330) plays in the same league but is more for those who love a sour berry flavor. Drinkers wanting something fruity-fresh yet complex should consider the fragrant #004, as its (THB370) apple, grapefruit and jasmine mix stunningly.
For those who want to escape the fruity for a more savory realm of pleasure, #005’s (THB370) sweet, white truffle gin base and salty shiso truffle paste frosting the glass leaves a fragrant aftertaste.
However, most recommended are #007 and #015, which lean herbal. The #007 (THB330) represents Southeast Asian ingredients at their best with a smoky fragrance from the fermented rice rum and a fresh touch of coconut water, pandan and betel leaves. Then there is #015 (THB370), which can be described as a refreshing Italian breeze in a glass as the Italian parsley-infused mezcal drink tastes even sharper topped with mint jelly.
Although the name of the bar strongly implies delivery, the couple said they that service is not on offer, at least until the law is clearer.
Messenger Service Bar’s grand opening will take place Aug. 28. It’s located near Soi Phatthanakan 47 in Bangkok’s Suan Luang district, nearly 1 kilometer from Airport Rail Link Hua Mak.
2299 Phatthanakan Road, Suan Luang Bangkok
Open 7pm-late, Tuesday-Sunday
Airport Rail Link Hua Mak
This article, Bangkok’s ‘Messenger Service Bar’ puts substance over showiness, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company. Want more Coconuts? Sign up for our newsletters!