Sky Bar at Lebua State Tower
1055 Silom Road, Khwaeng Silom
If you are familiar with such films as The Hangover Part 2 you will no doubt recognise the Sky Bar at Lebua State Tower as a key location from the film. As a result the relatively modest prices at this classy establishment have rocketed in the years since it’s fame became recognised. Now Lebua is known the world over and tourists flock to take in the view and engage in an ‘I was there’ moment.
We probably chose the worst time to cross the city as 5pm generally is the rush hour in Bangkok to get to Lebua. We had to navigate our way from Lumphini metro station to Saphan Taksin BTS via a change at the busy Siam station in order to reach the bar. The queues at Siam station for BTS tickets were insane, around 30 minutes of queuing in the sweltering evening heat felt like a lifetime. One packed train ride later we had finally made our destination.
The tower is a short walk up the Charoen Krung road from the BTS where we passed a tonne of delicious looking street food. It was agony walking by the amazing smells and sights of fresh duck, thai sausage and sweet treats but the thought that Lebua gets very busy very quickly was enough to keep us going.
Entering the grand lobby of the hotel our first thoughts were positive. The bar is well signposted from the lobby and staff are even designated to stand in certain places to direct you to the lifts. We got in with a large group of various nationalities giving us a real sense of how popular this place is worldwide.
A quick ascent to the top level is followed by friendly staff welcoming you at the summit. One thing straightaway that irritated us was the staff’s insistence on showing you to the champagne bar instead of asking you which bar you would like to attend. We got as far as the menu with it’s ludicrous prices before turning back in search of the central cocktail bar.
Something really didn’t sit well with us at Lebua. On the top level balcony you could take pictures freely of the incredible view and beautiful bar below. You set one foot onto the stairway and the staff are on you straight away to stand all of two inches back onto the balcony to take your pictures. There’s almost no sense of freedom and relaxation here.
Finally people made their way down to the central bar on the tip of the building which provides the most amazing view across Bangkok – if you can fight your way through to get to it that is. The trouble is it’s a small area with a lot of people crammed into it with waitresses trying to take drink orders and getting you to pay up straightaway. We went for a Mojito and a Sunset cocktail at 600THB (£13.70) each.
The cocktails themselves were very nice and made with good quality ingredients. The Mojito with a nice kick of lime and a sweet sugary tang with the Sunset having a more rum and orange flavour, both of which were well made. There was a gentleman circling the bar offering to take pictures with your own personal camera for you which was a nice touch as it wasn’t subject to any fee.
The bar for us felt so claustrophobic as you are essentially in a tight space without freedom to roam or sit down to relax. We came to the conclusion that Sky Bar is now a money making exercise with the owners keen to cash in on it’s fame. Some wouldn’t blame them but others who come for an experience and a chilled out evening may beg to differ.
I felt sorry for those dining in the small restaurant situated in between the stairs to the balcony and the bar itself. Not the greatest spot with the constant stream of loud tourists and staff running from one end of the steps to the other to discourage picture takers. We snapped a few more pictures and then called it a night while the lifts were free. In many ways it felt nice to escape.
The total bill came in the region of 1500THB (£34.20) inclusive of a 10% service charge on all drinks and 7% VAT, not bad for London but a piss take for Bangkok in my view. The plus’s of the evening were undoubtedly the view and the grand setting of the bar, even the cocktail’s were decent. The negatives however do compete with the positives in this case. Getting herded around in tight spaces, ripped off and treated like a school child isn’t my idea of a good evening out nor should it be for anyone else. Lebua need to relax their policies and review their prices but sadly I can’t see either of those happening anytime soon.
Opening times: Daily 1800-0100
Nearest BTS: Saphan Taksin