Mr. Baan’s Bar and Mookata to Bring Northern Thai Cuisine and Cocktails to Former Khla Space

Ava PattonNovember 15, 2023
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Sunny and Alex Martin | Photo by Kaeng Phet Charinda
Sunny and Alex Martin | Photo by Kaeng Phet Charinda

Downtown Phoenix welcomes a new bar and restaurant from the folks behind Lom Wong, which focuses on the regional cuisine of northern Thailand.

The new concept, dubbed Mr. Baan’s Bar and Mookata, occupies the space behind Lom Wong, where recently shuttered cocktail bar Khla resided.

Mr. Baan’s opened earlier this month by reservation only. The new location will carry on Lom Wong owners Alex and Yotaka “Sunny” Martin’s efforts to highlight the people and places of the couple’s native Thailand.

The DIY barbecue experience is named after Sunny’s uncle, who Alex describes as “the life of the party.”

Inspired by the cuisine of the city of Chiang Mai in the Thai highlands, the bar and grill will serve a blend of shabu-shabu and Korean barbecue along with a variety of rotating grilled skewers, including pork and curried corn on the cob.

A separate seating area is reserved for mookata, a traditional Southeast Asian cooking method that utilizes a charcoal grill with a domed top surrounded by a bubbling moat of meat drippings from the grill. A variety of salty, sweet, spicy and sour dipping sauces are served alongside the meal.

The varied menu will offer a “unique representation of other sides of Thai cuisine that are reflective of family, friends and what we love to do when we visit,” Alex says.

According to Alex, the inspiration for Mr. Baan’s cocktail menu came from the flavors and drinking customs of northern Thailand. The adventurous cocktails will highlight Thai ingredients that aren’t always prominently featured in American Thai restaurants. Be ready to fully immerse yourself in Thai drinking culture, from piña coladas with coconut curry soup to Bloody Marys with squid ink.

Mr. Baan’s will serve a variety of flavors to suit every palate, from spicy Thai chile cocktails to smoky ping yang (grilled pork) skewers.

The Martins are most looking forward to bringing “a special experience” to Valley residents and visitors.

218 E. Portland St., Phoenix, 602-675-0522,