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The new column that gets you there before the guidebooks
The Met Bar
Forget about simple decisions like 'shaken or stirred?'. At the Met Bar, the uber-groovy scratch their heads over the latest in bespoke martinis: pineapple, lychee, or perhaps sir would care for the tom yumtini? If you want to see and be seen, your first stop in the City of Angels must be this new sibling to London's legendary Met Bar. There's just one drawback: it's members only, unless you're staying at the Metropolitan Hotel (or gorgeous, glam and brash enough to fake it). Decor-wise, it's your standard-issue minimalist zen den, and the waiters waft around in austere threads designed by Yohji Yamamoto. As it's a private club, it escapes the attentions of Thailand's fun police and their 2am (soon to be 1am) curfew (27 South Sathorn Road, Tungmahamek, Sathorn, Bangkok 10120; tel:  2625 3333; or see www.metropolitan.como.bz).
Don't wear out all your poses at the Met Bar ... save some for Bed Supperclub, favoured haunt of actress-model-wannabes. This place is the last word in hip chic, an emporium of see-me-now hauteur where gorgeous people recline like pashas on vast white sofas (pictured above), nibble on artfully prepared eats and watch weird art installations to a soundtrack of nicely chilled house. You can't miss it from the outside - there's only one building in the street that resembles a squashed tin can held up by toothpicks (above, right). And best of all, you can brag about the supermodels who were in Bed with you last night (26 Soi Sukhumwit 11, Sukhumvit Road, Bangkok 10110; tel:  2651 3537; or see www.bedsupperclub.com).
This 'restaurant that's a bar that's a club' has become one of the city's hottest tickets, serving up sounds and tastes under the moniker 'World Food. Global Grooves'. Home-grown sounds are supplied by Groovalax, the record label and DJ booking agency that is the evening job of high-society jeweller Sri Van Bueren. He juggles his stable of Bangkok's best mixmeisters, while every so often they make way with visiting 'names', such as Stephane Pompougnac from Paris's Hotel Costes and fellow Frenchman Claude Challe from the Buddha Bar. What does 'world food' mean? How about Indian rasham with steamed goat's cheese wonton, thai-marinated salmon with beetroot red wine reduction and pickled ginger, or Moroccan seared scallop with blue ginger cream? (Conrad Bangkok, All Seasons Place, 87 Wireless Road; tel:  2690 9299; or see www.conradbangkok.com).
Caffe Di Roma
If it's scene and cuisine you crave, try Caffe Di Roma, an oasis of top-notch Italian nosh, bang in the middle of Patpong carnival of weirdness. Outside, bargirls pout and gyrate, and touts mutter about unnatural acts with pingpong balls, but inside, behind thick sheets of glass, you're safe and sound, sipping chardonnay, sampling squid-ink salmon ravioli and tucking into a perfect pizza. Ask boss Alain Mettoudi for a window table, if you want sleazeballs with your meatballs (On the small lane that divides Patpong 1 and 2, Suriwong Road; tel:  2632 8250).
For ladies - and lads - who lunch, it's hard to go past the slick, chic Greyhound Cafe, with outlets in most of the capital's swankier department stores. 'No bull*****ing no backstabbing no gossiping no smoking area' is the rubric on the wall, but don't take it seriously. For this is arch-bitch central, awash with the venomous babble of television soap-opera divas, pop stars, high-society matrons and the rest of Bangkok's celeb-stocracy. Waiters dress down in basic black, and the menu is a study in pared down perfection. The fried marinated chicken wings provide little jolts of pleasure on your palette, the Italian clam and mussel soup is to die for, and 'complicated noodle' isn't as hard as it sounds - but you will have to get your hands dirty, wrapping lettuce, minced pork and zesty chilli sauce up in rice noodle sheets (2/F Emporium Shopping Centre, 662 Sukhumvit Soi 24; tel:  2258 4321; also outlets at Zen, Central Chitlom and U Chu Liang Building).