To say that Phuket has its fair share of bars is stating the obvious. The problem is that many of the drinking spots around the island, especially in the main towns, are designed with more than just imbibing in mind. Many of the nicest bars are attached to restaurants or are part of luxury hotels.
1. Aussie Bar
You wouldn’t expect to find classy along Patong’s Soi Bangla, but the Aussie Bar is decent enough to label itself as family friendly. If you’re hankering to see some sports from home, this is the place to be. And it’s hassle-free, another rare experience on Bangla.
2. Le Versace
This is mostly a restaurant, but the bar shares the fabulous view over Patong. There are open and covered sections to the bar, which features an impressive cocktail menu. As the name suggests, the décor is on the sumptuous – some might say gaudy – side.
3. Joe’s Downstairs
At Kalim Bay, overlooking Patong, this is a gorgeous spot for a sundowner. Joe's is right on the rocks, just a metre or so above the waves, and its all-white décor is suitably dazzling. The wine list is of particular note.
Another restaurant that doubles as a bar, Boathouse sits on the sands at pretty Kata beach. The rooftop Sunset Lounge is the place for cocktails, while the Beachfront Bar offers 32 wines by the glass as well as cocktails and a wide range of beers.
5. Hock Hoe Lee
Hock Hoe Lee was established in the late 1950s mainly as a supplier of coffee to workers in the tin industry. Later it developed its own range of teas, before returning to the roasting and promotion of coffee. Enjoy it on the spot, or take home a bag of beans.
6. Chalong Bay Distillery
The distillery produces Thailand’s only domestic rum. It’s good enough to have won several international awards and is now exported to 11 countries. You can see the production process and then repair to the bar for a tipple. The cocktails are highly recommended.
7. Wassa Homemade Bar
High above Patong, and with a sweeping view of the city and bay, Wassa enjoys cool breezes on even the hottest Phuket days. Don’t expect fancy cocktails – this is more a beer, spirits and fruit juices kind of a place.
8. Siam Supper Club
The best place for a drink near the Laguna Phuket complex, Siam Supper Club's long bar is the centerpiece of this clubby place. It's stylish and jazzy, with live music some nights. There is also a spectacular range of 'reserve' wines, including Grange.
9. Quip Sky Bar
Sitting above Quip Bed & Breakfast, this is Phuket Town's first rooftop bar. Without a stunning seascape to rely on, Sky Bar simply offers a charming setting overlooking the old town's historic buildings. Be aware you'll need to climb up five floors.
10. Ska Bar
Bob Marley lives on at the southern end of Kata beach, with the Ska Bar's (very) relaxed vibe set to a soundtrack of classic reggae music sometimes mixed with hip-hop. Nothing fancy here – just a friendly spot and a colourful setting that includes fire dancers on the beach.