The best of Ari neighborhood around The Yard Hostel in Bangkok.
Yard means family, and we’re here to help. Perhaps you’ve already picked us as the place to stay while you’re in Bangkok, or you’re playing with the idea but you aren’t yet sure what to do in the area. Well, Ari (pronounced “Aree”) is a cool place – think Hackney in London, or certain artsy areas of LA, for something akin to the district around The Yard. Coffee shops (with bikes attached), galleries and bars are littered across the area, attracting young, dapper Thai’s, as well as tourists in the know.
To start, we’d recommend taking a walk along leafy Ari streets, admiring the architecture, as a great way to spend a morning, before taking a train from the well-placed BTS line into town to shop, or explore what Bangkok has to offer. But for those looking for a few ideas on where to eat, or where to chill, these tips can get you started.
Your breakfasts are taken care of if you’re staying with us, but what about lunch and dinner? Well…
Ari boasts a veritable feast of options. Cheap, fresh fruit stalls, barbecue pits and, of course, traditional Thai food (look for the red pork) can be found around Ari station. There may even be a few treats that catch your eye, all of which are so inexpensive that you’d be foolish not to try. It’s almost a rite of passage in Thailand to try as much as you can, after all, the food is where the culture of Thailand lies. Be warned though, on Sunday there are generally fewer carts, and on Monday the government has mandated that street food cannot be sold. Fortunately, there are a few options on these days, found below…
For a quick, cheap and authentic Thai lunch that’s just around the corner, Thanee is a great option. For 50 baht be wowed by choice red pork, crackling and the sweetest sauce in Ari. Eat in, or take away to have in the Yard’s garden. Find it past the first hairdressers, you can’t miss the red pork hanging in a case outside.
If you want to get off the street and sit in a restaurant environment, yet still desire Thaistyle cuisine, Shambala is a great option to try. You might walk past it the first time (if you walk past the galleria you have gone too far; just look for the kitchen out front, and walk straight in. Dishes are a little on the small side, so try to share three between two people at the least. It’s full of locals by lunchtime, so get in quick!
It’s difficult to describe Summer Street in only a few phrases, but we’ll do our best. Summer Street is seafood in a modernised street setting – the singular feature is the grey van sitting at the top of the road, where you can pick up a cool beer and wait until a table becomes free. Go with a group and try the seafood platter, where you can sample a different range of locally caught seafood, while taking in the sights and smells of this very individual eatery. Opens between 5 -11pm.
There are a few choice burger joints in Ari, and while Jim’s Burger seems to attract the attention of lists, it’s Paper Butter that wins the awards. And deservedly so: their burgers are packed with juice, and when layered with cheese are simply awesome. The buns also come in three distinct varieties – if you want to try a black bun, here’s the place to do it. Combine with curly fries for a real Western feast. The best part? It’s just outside The Yard’s front door, and they even deliver right to the bar. Win-win? We think so. (Open Monday – Saturday for lunch and dinner.)
Alright, let’s talk coffee. Ari is famous for it’s cool café culture, and here are our top picks for a quick caffeine fix, or a relaxing hour spent people watching.
Porcupine plays a mix of dub and acoustic covers in an all white-walled space, lit by large windows on the front. Solid tables of oak or marble support delicious coffees and pastries, or perfectly balance a Macbook, or notebook, should you want to catch up on your travel journal. It’s a good place to socialise, some of the tables sit enough to share, and there are a few cubby holes to hide away in. A Som favourite, but can you guess which?
Epicentre of Ari cool, Tokyo Bike is a minimal white and metallic little room boasting some of the best coffee in the district. Sit among beautiful imported bikes and minimal house music, and get to work. Maybe you’ll even begin to consider a fixie lifestyle. Slightly cheaper and slightly closer than Porcupine, but perhaps not as easy to sit for a long time, it’s the other Som’s favourite and definitely a recommended to many patrons of The Yard. We especially like the brownies on sale, give one a try. (Open Tuesdays – Sundays.)
Quiet, brick-walled and a good place to get busy, or gawk at a digital nomad. Admittedly it lacks the atmosphere of some of the other places on the list, but it is close for a convenient dose of caffeine, and is also a calming, quick iced-coffee away from the heat.
It’s a bar that has no name at all, but locals and residents know it as Ari. Big open windows sit on the corner of the main Soi (across from Salt), serving a cornershop-selection of beers, spirits and even wines. Ari is packed on a Friday night, so get there early, sit back and enjoy the people watching. The decor is stripped back, think brick work for both the floors and walls. We’re fond of the menu, at the top end serving steak, to the more shareable Thai platters. Opens 5-12pm, Thursday – Saturday.
But what about everything else?
The infamous chain is strewn around Ari, there are at least three around the main Soi, but the closest is across the main road, situated closely to a driving range.
We can’t all have hair like Mr. Turtle, but it’s fairly certain that at some point we’ll need a trim, especially for long-time travellers. For the girls, the sheer range of options spoils for choice, although the language barrier might make a simple trim tricky. For the boys, there’s only one real option: Neversay Cutz. From cool styles to quick trims, the guys here are skilled at what they do. Bring a photo, show the barber, and they’ll get to work. It gets a little busy so be prepared to wait if you don’t arrive early. To find, cut left onto the main Soi (where the street food is found) and you’ll see a barber’s pole next to a small alley. Mind the step!
We hope this guide helps give you a few ideas on stuff to try in Ari, but if you want anymore information, just ask! Opening times can change between establishments, so check to see what’s open. Otherwise, get on your bike and explore Ari, and let us know what you find.
* *Written by: James Haslam
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