Whisgars 23 – Whisky and Cigars for Afficionados on Sukhumvit Soi 23
Going down Sukhumvit Soi 23, the taxi driver may assume that you‘ll be getting off at Soi Cowboy, which goes between Soi 23 and Asok Montri. However, you should ask the driver to take you just a bit further down the street.
A couple of hundred meters after the (in)famous Soi Cowboy, you’ll find the Whisgars complex on the right nestled under some trees where the Italian restaurant Giusto used to be in the ‘old days‘.
Today, the complex houses Craft with over 40 craft beers on tap, the Little Wine Bar, Slanted Taco, and finally Whisgars, which is a veritable gem worth visiting for any discerning traveller with a palate attuned to good single malts and cigars.
In the late afternoon, it can be inviting to sit down at one of the benches outside in the Craft area and sip a cold IPA and feel the evening calm settle over Bangkok while the nearby towering condos light up and the myriad of lights over the Craft area are lighted. By all means, do so, and remember to ask for the Pastrami Sandwich to accompany your beer – people in the know compare this sandwich to the best of the best pastrami sandwiches of New York; ample slices of pastrami, some pickles and all of it neatly nestled between two pieces of roasted rye bread. Personally, I‘d say this is one of the best pastrami sandwiches I‘ve ever had – in Bangkok, or otherwise.
Once your palate has processed this sumptuous meal, do yourself a favour and go down the corridor leading to Whisgars itself – the premier place in Bangkok for whisky and cigars (hence, Whisgars, aha!) and let your body settle into one of the many deep leather chairs or couches.
If you are a whisky and cigar afficionado, you’ll definitely find something that will caress your palate just as much as the pastrami sandwich and craft bee did earlier on. Personally, I like to start out with a creamy Perdomo Champagne 10 Year Anniversary cigar (with notes of saw dust and maple syrup) to go with, say, a smooth MacAllan single cask.
If you instead want to try out a little bit of everything, Whisgars have some impressive whisky flights at reasonable 700 – 1,400 baht ++ where you can either try out some of the characteristic single malts from the different Scottish regions (Speyside, Lowland, Highland and Islay), from the Islands, or just go on a smoky and peaty tour through some of the iconic Islay distilleries. The latter flight would drown out the delicate tastes of the aforementioned cigar, but fortunately they have the Perdomo Champagne Noir 10 Year Anniversary too, which will be a much better choice to go with this flight.
Whisgars has a ‘Pairing of the Month’, where their Cigar Curator has paired a cigar and a whisky or rum that goes exceptionally well together. These pairings are usually quite good value for money.
As your taste profile may differ from that of the pairing of the month, Whisgars fortunately has a very well-stocked bar, where the entire length behind the bar showcases a multitude of whiskies from all around the world. Also, the knowledgeable staff can easily find you a cigar in the sizeable humidor from well-known brands as well as small boutique blends, and in whichever vitola that suits you. If you feel adventurous cigar wise, this is the place to go for anything Nicaraguan, Dominican or Honduran.
As the evening draws on, you may notice a jazz band setting up at the small stage just next to the bar, and you’ll be tempted to stay a while longer. While you wait for the music to start, you may take a pick-me-up Espresso-Martini or sample one of their other tasty cocktails. And, if you are feeling a tad peckish, it may be time to try out some of the freshly-made tacos (3 for 270++) from Slanted Taco to go with that drink of yours, or perhaps it is time for dessert?
As the music kicks off, it is time for a second whisky and cigar. Being later in the evening, I would go for something ‘darker’ and more powerful – from the humidor, I would select a Gurkha Ghost, and I would take and Ardbeg Ten to go with it. With those two in hand, I can confidently take whatever jazz-solos the band may throw at me …
Oh, and if you come to Whisgars on a Tuesday, Sagar Choksi, the Bangkok Magician, will show you some close-up magic that is totally out of this world. Some of his tricks will make you wonder if he actually is a magician in the old-fashioned pointy-hat kind of way! And, as he is a fellow whisky and cigar afficionado, he can actually recommend other delightful pairings too, as well as show you some very impressive card tricks at your table.
As the evening draws to a close, all of your senses will have been well-entertained, and you will have tried some top-shelf whiskies and cigars. Now, just remember to go straight home and not be lured by the sparkling lights (and other sights) further down the street …
16, Soi Sukhumvit 23, Khlong Toei Nuea, Bangkok
+66 (0) 2 664 4252