There’s lots of changes happening at BKKFatty since my most recent food tour to Japan. The biggest news has been the frightening and temporary death of the blog, which I’m blaming on Kobe beef and youtubers. Besides the fear, panic, and sore fingers from hopelessly clicking refresh over and over, these near death blog experiences usually also provide moments for alcohol infused reflection on the life of the blog.
Were there things I should have done differently? Plenty. I know— should I have drunk less and cooked and written more? I said the blog died— not I died. Is this really MY fault? My point EXACTLY. Let’s blame our shortcomings on someone else!
Nori Tsubouchi of Nori’s Bar bringing together I.W. Harper, Cinzano Extra Dry, and Peychaud’s for his rendition of the Manhattan cocktail
While reflecting with a drink in my hand, I realized gin always gives me special clarity. I needed to quit moping and find the mofo who broke my website anyway. So I went on a search for Mark Wiens, ambushed him in a coffee shop, and we worked for a couple of hours to simplify the website. It was pretty ugly at first, but now that all the pieces are coming together, I’m feeling pretty brand new. New clothes, new man– right? Anyway, the occasion called for a celebratory drink, in particular one that I didn’t have to make myself.
If the blog died in Japan, it was certainly resurrected in a Japanese bar— in Bangkok. (Pictured: Housemade Strawberry umeshu with hand carved ice sphere)
This is how I ended up in a place, reminiscent of the metropolitan bars I love so much in Japan, called Nori’s Bar. The bar is tucked away in Sukhumvit 49 with no signage or other fanfare to indicate the revelry happening inside. That’s if you don’t count the early morning collisions between people stumbling out of Nori’s Bar, and people coming in early to work in the unremarkable office building where the bar is located. Just like the secluded nearby with speakeasy called J. Boroski’s Bar, the regulars have made me promise not to include too much detail on how to find Nori’s. I honestly don’t think Nori, who’s seen whiskey light up my night during his time as head bartender at Hanakaruta’s on Sukumvit 39, would really mind me sharing his place too much. However, I have clear instructions from a few drunks who don’t want to see you on their beloved bar stool when they arrive at 2am.
How about Glengoyne (15 years) neat or I.W. Harper (12 years) on the rocks, to put some hair on your chest?
Beyond said bar stools, sofa, and a piano, there are few decorations at Nori’s. The stacked wall of spirits is probably a sturdy bookshelf and Nori himself is the only staff present. The weathered, handwritten menu has one page of suggested drinks and another dedicated to bar snacks (including bowls of ramen no sober man has ever tasted). Nori may remind you the menu itself are just suggestions, so you’re better off having him create something for you, or picking from a large selection of blended whiskey or a few single malts you’d like to try. Have them neat or spun around on a carved, spherical ice cube. If you’re not into whiskey
go home— I mean opt for Nori’s house infused umeshu or sake. Finally, you’ll find everything at Nori’s pretty reasonably priced, especially when compared to the rest of Thonglor’s bars. The prices alone are more than enough to make you scowl at the idea of sharing it with strangers and scoff at the arrival of thirsty food writers.
NORI’S BAR LOCATION AND HOURS
Address: Somewhere in Sukhumvit 49
Phone Number: 085 147 7085
Hours: When Nori-san is Around
Price Range: 200 – 400 THB on average per drink
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/norisbarbkk
Tip: Having trouble finding this place? That’s ok because Nori has a side gig doing cocktails at The Raw Bar (between Thonglor sois 14 & 16) on Sunday and Monday evenings. You are also likely to find a larger selection of single malts for Nori to curate while he’s manning the bar.