Cool Quarters: Bangkok’s New Concept Mall

  • A local purveyor in the Market.

    A local purveyor in the Market.

  • Roast, on the top floor, offers some of the best brunch meals in the city.

    Roast, on the top floor, offers some of the best brunch meals in the city.

  • The open-air design floods the four=floor space with light and breeze.

    The open-air design floods the four=floor space with light and breeze.

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A gathering ground of Bangkok’s coolest local purveyors and small businesses (and the hip crowds that follow), The Commons is a welcome new antidote to the city’s pervasive mall culture. Here’s what makes it surprisingly uncommon.

By Gabrielle Lipton

The Concept
A minimalist concrete cube in the trendy Thonglor area, The Commons took the brother-sister duo behind Bangkok’s hot brunch spot Roast (which now has a second location here) four years to create. Think of it as a park, shopping center, and buzzy hot spot rolled into one—or, more coolly, a temple to casual indulgence and hanging out. Less than half of its 5,000 square meters is occupied by the 30 vendors, while the rest is open-air space filled with tables and chairs, pockets of greenery, and walkways linking the four floors: Market (stall-style eateries), Village (shops and cafés), Play Yard (a fitness studio and kids’ area), and Top Yard (Roast, a workshop kitchen, and green space).

To-do List
While little ones are happily cared for in the toy-stocked playroom or a dance class at Little Pea, fitness studio Absolute You offers Pilates, spinning, and yoga classes all day long. Up at the Top Yard, the Commons Kitchen hosts cooking workshops and classes run by tenants, often aided by fresh pickings from the herb garden right outside. Come on a weekend, and bands and DJs will fill the space with music until midnight.

Market Value
Take advantage of the Market floor’s open-plan concept and piece together a meal from multiple vendors. A few suggestions: fresh oysters from the Lobster Lab with rosé from the Barrel Wine Bar; a pulled-pork sandwich with khao soi curry from Thai comfort-food counter Soul Food 555 with a cherry-soda cold brew from Roots Coffee Roaster; quinoa salad from Absolute Fit Food with a papaya smoothie from Twist Juices; or Peppina’s caprese pizza with a craft IPA from the Beer Cap. Save dessert for the Village—macarons at Brix or Japanese shaved ice at Maygori, followed by an old fashioned at train bar–styled Track 17.

What’s in store
Shopping in the Village is unapologetically about wants rather than needs. The fashion crowd’s favorite Plant House sells unusual bouquets out of a sunshine-colored miniature greenhouse; Treasures vintage store is a closet of carefully chosen, oft-embellished statement pieces; and streetwear store NEX’s Herschel Supply backpacks and Toms shoes go perfectly with JBL’s latest headphones from audio boutique Sound City by Mahajak. Among the many giftable pantry additions in the Market, don’t overlook Vietnam’s famous Marou chocolate bars stacked on a platter at Roots.

This article originally appeared in the April/May print issue of DestinAsian magazine (“Commons Knowledge”).

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