Wine drinking culture is something that has very slowly started to take form in Bangkok the last couple years and joining some of the notable wine-serving success establishments such as Wine Connection, Opus Wine Bar, and Tapas Cafe is Bar@494.
The 494 Wine and Champagne Bar (also known as Bar@494) at the Grand Hyatt Erawan is geared towards the well-healed local and business-sleek foreigner set. You automatically feel more baller the moment you walk in. It also attracts hotel guests and Bangkokians loading up before heading to Spasso, the hotel’s Italian restaurant cum disco.
The wine bar is actually quite small, meaning seating is limited, but that very intimacy of Bar@494 is what gives you a fresh sense of exclusivity as you throw back the vino. Plush leather chairs, a garden ambience, minimalist wood carvings, subdued lighting, and soft music work really nicely together at Bar@494. The waitresses wear sophisticated one-shoulder black dresses themselves and right next door is a cigar humidor and smoking room connected to a single-malt scotch private room. This is the place to pop bottles.
Although most wine bars in Bangkok have a happy hour, Bar@494′s lasts from noon to 10:30 pm. Start at noon and keep going? Yes, please. Their happy hour prices range from 99 to 299 baht for a glass from wines the world over. To their credit they have no Thai wines, and while its rumored that Thai wines win tasting awards and medals, we’ve yet to taste one that hasn’t tasted like shit.
You can tour the globe from New Zealand (Pinot Noir 299 baht) to Australia (Shiraz-Cabernet 199 baht) to Italy (Pinot Grigio and Montepulciano D’Abruzzo, both 149 baht). All had their fine points, particularly the Pinot Grigio’s fruity heavy finish, though the Montepulciano was too tart. They have over 30 wine-by-the-glass options to keep you tasting all night. Every table gets a bowl of mixed nuts that include the good stuff like pistachios, macadamias and walnuts, but be forewarned that mixing a wine with heavy tannins like Cabernet Sauvignon with walnuts will really dry your mouth out.
Bar@494 also serves food. Right now, their current special is a plate of four tapas for 100 baht, which includes cured Iberian ham slices, olives, cheeses and salads.
A lot of our friends carry an insecurity and intimidation in regards to what to order at a wine bar. Our position is to drop that insecurity and live by the apt adage that wine is like opera, you can enjoy it even if you don’t understand it.
Please note prices listed do not include VAT and service charge.