Location: Just a Drink (Maybe) at Thonglor Soi 1.
Exact Address: 44/3 Soi Thong Lo, Khwaeng Khlong Tan Nuea, Khet Watthana, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10110, Thailand
We were introduced to Just A Drink (Maybe), a nice little cocktail bar by a very good friend of ours. This is my interview with the boss of the place, Herman. He is from Taiwan and he was really helpful and friendly in introducing the various gin cocktails to us. I personally am not a gin person and am usually more of a beer person but I have to say that his gin cocktails are really good! This is the type of place that I can really see myself hanging out at in Bangkok if I were on a holiday. Bangkok has turned into a place I come to for work and I hardly get to spend a nice night out with friends but I was so glad that I got to know about this hole in the wall cocktail bar.
From the outside, you would never guess that this particular street would house a place like this. This part of Thong Lor mainly houses residential landed properties and many of the wealthy Thais reside in this area. Many of the bungalows in this area are exceptionally huge and grand. To many, the heart of Thong Lor is located around Thong Lor Soi 10 where the area is littered with high-end bars, restaurants and cafes. Thong Lor Soi 1 is somewhat in the middle of Thong Lor BTS and Thong Lor Soi 10. Our taxi driver who brought us to Just A Drink (Maybe) relied on my phone’s Google Maps to get to this place. It is not difficult to navigate to the bar but when you are along the street, drive slowly. Our driver overshot by a couple of metres as the place is not conspicuous. However, once you enter, the deco and feel of the place are really welcoming. The staff are friendly and the boss, Herman, extremely patient with introducing us to the menu and educating us about the different types of gin.
Here is my interview with Herman:
What made you come to Bangkok?
Well, it’s really simple. I love Bangkok and before I moved here, I come here every holiday season and about 4 years ago I decided to move here for good. I wanted to live and explore life in Bangkok.
Where do you live in Bangkok and why do you choose to live there?
I have been living in Bangkok for over 4 years and for the first two years I lived in Sathorn but since last year I moved to Thong Lor where my bar is. I think these two areas, Sathorn and Thong Lor are very unique. In Thong Lor, you will get more locals who are from the high-society of Bangkok as well as wealthier expatriates. Sathorn is a more relaxed place and the lifestyle is different from Thong Lor. Both places are pretty nice places to live.
What are the biggest challenges that you face as a foreigner working and living in Bangkok?
The culture shock! Language-wise and culture wise. This is why I am learning Thai. You do not need to speak Thai in Bangkok but it will help if you do. In fact, it will help a lot if you could speak just basic Thai so that you can communicate with the locals. As for culture shock, it is the same everywhere when you first move into a new city. You will love the city but when you are living in the city, you will experience it in a different light and that is the culture shock that I am facing. Not in a bad way though. It is different in a fun way.
How do you spend your free time in Bangkok?
I go to the gym, hang out with friends, go out for brunch, go to bars, check out some new restaurants. I try to live as local as possible.
Which location in Bangkok do you think are the growth areas in terms of population growth, business and inflow of foreign talent?
There are mainly two central business districts (CBDs) in Bangkok, one around Asok and another in Sathorn. However, I think that there are more people moving into Ari. That is a really good area which investors could explore. There are many hip cafes and night stalls. It is very different from the traditional areas like Thong Lor and Sathorn or the usual places along the Sukhumvit Line. Ari is a really cool place to live in my opinion.
In the time that you have spent in Bangkok, what are the changes or improvements you have seen in the city?
In the four years that I have been living here, I keep seeing condominiums and shopping malls being built almost every day. I do not know how many shopping malls do we need in Bangkok and as we speak, a new mall just opened across the river called Icon Siam. I really do not know when will they stop building but that is Bangkok currently. It is just different every day.
Where do you think is a good area to purchase property in Bangkok?
I would suggest from Phrom Phong to Ekkamai, close to the BTS line and the Sathorn area.
Will you retire in Bangkok and why?
I am still considering. Maybe I will retire in Taiwan which is a nice country. I am here because I don’t favour the economy there but when I get enough money I’ll move back to Taiwan probably. I will maybe keep Bangkok as a base. I will have two homes. Here and Taiwan.
And that wraps up my interview with Herman, the owner of Just A Drink (Maybe). I think that the bar scene in Bangkok is really vibrant. There are many entrepreneurs out there taking risks and this is a direct benefit of having a lower business running cost as compared to places like Singapore and Hong Kong. This coupled with the fact that Bangkok is a very cosmopolitan city and the most visited city in the world, it just turns into this melting pot of culture and this resonates in the food and beverage scene in Bangkok.
If you are in Bangkok and would like a nice, pleasant place to hang out with some friends, do visit Just A Drink (Maybe).
Here is Herman’s bar’s, Just A Drink (Maybe), Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/justadrinkmaybe/
Here is the interview in video format: