Wrapped around Bangtao Beach, this northwest district of Phuket suddenly has a buzz of its own.
Cherngtalay, an up-and-coming locale in northwestern Phuket.
The best of Phuket’s drinking and dining scene is scattered across the island, from the Old Town’s hipster hangouts to the high-end hotel offerings down the west coast. But in the last six months a new hub has been coalescing in the Cherngtalay area, within easy reach of the Laguna resort complex. The latest opening gathering buzz among islanders is Project Artisan ( 66-/937-909-911; theprojectartisan.com), a cool multipurpose venue that, when fully completed later this year, will house a café, deli, art studio, gallery, and holiday bungalows. Already, locals are making a beeline for the weekend seafood barbecues held in its garden as well as the foot massages at Saparod Pineapple Spa. Close by in the ever-expanding Boat Avenue complex is Iniala Kitchen & Bar ( 66-76/602-308; inialakb.com), a spin-off of the super-luxury Iniala Beach House up the coast in neighboring Phang Nga province. The casual neighborhood eatery serves modern Mediterranean fare courtesy of Catalan chef Sandro Aguilera, with highlights including sea bass ceviche and Galician octopus with potatoes and chimichurri. BrewBridge ( 66-76/606-650; fb.com/brewbridgebar), just a short walk away, is the latest addition to Phuket’s growing number of craft beer bars. With exposed wooden ceiling trusses and a back wall lined with beer casks, it offers a slew of imported brews to choose from; locals swear by the Ace Pineapple Cider and Deschutes Brewery’s Fresh Squeezed IPA as refreshing solutions for the hot Phuket summer. If those don’t do the trick, head to Catch Beach Club ( 66/653-482-017; catchbeachclub.com) on nearby Bangtao Beach. If the name sounds familiar, that’s because Catch first opened on Surin Beach back in 2008. Its new setting is even better than before, though the successful formula remains the same: stylish surrounds, fine food, and a high-end champagne list that draws a fashionable crowd in search of a good time.
From left: The entrance to Project Artisan’s Saparod Pineapple Spa; a bird’seye view of Catch Beach Club, at the southern end of Bangtao Beach.