On a trip to Thailand a few months ago, Inspector X had the opportunity to check out the cigar scene in Phuket and visit the three lounges there, but Inspector X also checked out a few places to buy and smoke cigars in the capitol of Thailand, Bangkok.
If you have read the article about the Phuket cigar lounges, then you have seen this name before. But Moat Bangkok is the original, the first Moat lounge. The lounges are owned by Cigar Emperor, the company of Matthew Nekvapil, a serial entrepreneur and potential Olympic contender in the skeet shooting discipline. Nekvapil has plans to enhance his empire and to really become the cigar emperor of Thailand (pun intended) with lounges all over the country with the next one to open in the tourist hotspot Pattaya.
But back to the lounge, Moat Bangkok offers place to place for 12 people, plus four more in a private room. The comfortable green leather chairs ported me back to Phuket, where the Moat lounge has the exact same chairs. When I was in Moat Bangkok, owner Matthew was showing the room where a brand new walk-in humidor will appear soon. The selection of new world cigars is big, with some surprising offerings.
The unique concept of this lounge is that members have access 24/7, while non-members can come and buy cigars from 11 am till 7 pm, except for Sundays. The members can access the lounge through their fingerprint. The bar is closed after hours, but members have access to their lockers with their cigars and drink, there is a freezer full of ice and there are some soft-drinks available through a ‘honest system’ where every member just notes what soft drink he consumed and pays for it at a later time. Annual membership is 30.000 Bath, but members get 20.000 Bath back in credit and discount on purchases, not just as Moat Bangkok but also at Moat Phuket and the other Moat lounges that Cigar Emperor is planning.
Balcony Lounge & Humidor Cigar Bar at Intercontinental
The name of this beautiful lounge threw me off a little. I was expecting a nice, covered outdoor area somewhere on a higher floor. But it is an indoor lounge on ground level. That did not stop me from being impressed with the size and the interior design of the place. It is spacious with about 30 luxurious seats scattered over the place. You can order drinks from the hotel bar and the prices are not unreasonable for the drinks. When it comes to cigars, I was a bit underwhelmed. There isn’t much of a selection and all they have is come regular production Cuban cigars for high prices. If this place gets a few good New World cigars in, it would improve immediately. But the good thing about The Balcony Lounge & humidor cigar bar is that you can bring your own cigars and they don’t charge a cutting fee. You can even bring your own alcohol, but there is a corking fee for that. Yet, with the full bar of the hotel at your service, there is no need to bring your own bottle. Unlike cigars, if you are not a fan of Cuban cigars, bring your own otherwise you’ll have nothing to smoke.
Whisgars might be the most famous whisky bar and cigar lounge in Thailand. There used to be a Whisgars in Phuket as well, but that’s been closed and former manager Richard now owns and runs Churchill’s, which Inspector X visited and you can read that in the article linked in the intro of this piece.
Whisgars is located very close to the famous (or infamous) Soi Cowboy street, less than a five minute walk. The place is quite big with more than 40 seats including bar seats. The sofas and chairs are very comfortable and the decoration is fantastic. It’s a 1920’s speakeasy style or jazz club style vibe with black and white photos of celebrities smoking cigars on the wall. I saw Al Pacino as Toni Montana, I saw Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman, James “Tony Soprano” Gandolfini and many more. An old black and white movie was projected on the wall. The service is great with a large cocktail menu, and as you can tell from my alcohol and cigars pairings, I love my cocktails, so I was happy. The humidor has a small selection of Cuban cigars and a large selection of non-Cuban cigars. The service is great and there is live music at Whisgars on many nights. The only downside is that the prices of cigars are a bit on the higher side but don’t let that stop you from visiting.
This was a tip of a friend who has been living in Bangkok for over two decades. He’s an expat and he imports and distributes cigars, including Rocky Patel. When I asked him what cigar places to visit, Abandoned Mansion was the first name to come out if his mouth.
Ghosts play an important role in Asian cultures, including the Thai culture. And it is claimed that when buildings are abandoned for a longer time, ghosts move in. So to call your cigar bar ‘abandoned mansion’ is a bold move, as it might scare away locals due to the name.
It’s not easy to find Abandoned Mansion, it’s in a backstreet and there is no big sign on the outside of the building. But if you are lucky enough to find in, and if you are smart enough to make a reservation, you are in for a treat. Reservations are recommended as the place is a huge success since opening in July of 2022 and it’s packed almost every night. The bar and restaurant, with live music, is smoke free but there is a cigar room on the balcony that has seats for about 12 cigar smokers. The balcony is closed off by a glass wall, so the smoke won’t bother the non-smokers on the ground floor. There is a small but decent selection of New World cigars available, but it’s allowed to bring your own. The cocktail menu is great, with inventive drinks and classics, all in 1920’s gangster style just like the whole interior of the place. The signature cocktails all have the names of famous gangsters and lawmen. I love this place and I will definitely visit again on my next trip.
The Continent Hotel
Now this is the odd one out. The hotel doesn’t have a cigar lounge but I was staying at this hotel and it deserves praise. The pool on the 37th floor allows smoking, including cigars, and I even smoked while sitting in the pool. On the 39th floor you’ll find Heightz Bangkok, a fancy cocktail bar with great cocktails and even a small cigar menu (cigars that you can order at the pool too). There is a balcony at the bar where you can enjoy your smokes. The hotel is part of the same hospitality group that also owns Abandoned Mansion, and you can see some of the design features overlap. The location is perfect, walking distance from Soi Cowboy (if you are a tourist in Bangkok, you at least got to walk through this famous street) and walking distance from Moat, Whisgars and Abandoned Mansion. The Balcony Lounge and Humidor is only 3 stops away by sky train, and the sky train station is a 2 minute walk from the hotel. Look no further if you want a conveniently located, cigar friendly hotel with beautiful and clean rooms. I know this will be my choice whenever I go to Bangkok in the future.