July sees Bar Beers gaining ground
Bangkok, 16 August 2002
William R. Morledge
Midnight Hour has compiled and reviewed the July 2002 changes for the 12 most frequented expat Night Entertainment Areas, and we have noted several interesting changes. But the biggest change is not a change at all - and that is, the onslaught of newly opening bar beers in Bangkok continues unabated, with several either currently under construction or newly opened this last month. We think you will find July's "vital statistics" on new venues and those that have closed to be plentiful and interesting. We apologize in advance for late publication, as we were under a deadline to complete our previous article, Bar beers now "major players", which coincidentally ties in well with today's issue.
The newest addition to the Soi Cowboy Night Entertainment Area is the Cactus Club. It is owned and operated by the same people who own the Long Gun (Lucky Star) and the Raw Hide, and at least for the present, they are (wisely) sharing staff between them. Welcome aboard.
Also recently reopened on Soi Cowboy is the all new, improved Suzie Wong. Its new face lift is a big improvement, and looks expensively oriental. Welcome back.
Still on Soi Cowboy, the upstairs/downstairs Dollhouse has been closed for "renovations". Actually the "renovations" were dictated by our Purachaiian overlords, and consist of "renovating" the doilies the girls wore to be a tad less revealing. The authorities said the "renovations" would take one month, so we hope to see business as usual (almost) on 27 August.
There has been quite a bit of activity in Cowboy Annex this last month. The Soi Dogs bar has taken over from the B-52 Bar & Grill, and the original B-52 in the front Asoke Plaza section has changed over to the B-52 Bar & Grill.
Also in Cowboy Annex, the Quarter Moon Bar has taken over from the old Sweet Heart, and the Oasis II has reclaimed its space from Boom. Both bar beers are in the '8-Pak'. Wish them all the best.
Still in Cowboy Annex, this time in the '4-Pak', the Fantasy Thailand has taken over from the Princess bar beer. Also, the Up To You has opened in the corner that was previously used to maintain the central pool table. (This version of Up To You is no relation to the long-defunct Good Girls? Bad Girls? Up To You bar beer on Tobacco Road.) Welcome to both.
While we are still in Cowboy Annex, I am pleased to say that it looks like the hyper-sleazy Muay-Thai boxing ring located in the Lolita's Corner has folded. We are happy to see these undesirable elements go elsewhere. This, however, leaves Lolita's Corner empty and ripe once again for development - it will be interesting to see what replaces the boxing ring.
In Nana Plaza, the old Nancy Bar and Silver Dragon Bar are being renovated into a single, new area by the owners of the adjacent Mandarin. It remains to be seen whether this will be a separately operated new bar or an adjunct to the Mandarin itself.
The Lollipop Mermadium in Nana Plaza is closed for one month. I think everyone knows the drill by now - it seems the Purachaiian powers-that-be are serially closing down the Crown Group bars; one reopens, and they close down another. The Midnight Hour does not support institutionalized corruption in any form.
In Queen's Park Plaza on Soi 22 a new venue has opened its doors: the Starlight Pub. Although the Queen's Park Plaza is, for the most part, a bar beer area, the new Starlight Pub is one of the growing number of air-conditioned venues. Its centerpiece is a pool table; and as it seems there is already an excess of pool tables in the surrounding pubs and bars, it is hoped that this newcomer will be able to compete.
While still in Queen's Park Plaza, what gives with the recently opened Coconat Globe Bar (sic)? Is it going to open for real, or is it going to close for good? Will keep you posted.
In Patpong I, The upstairs Pussy Galore have completed their "move" to the nearby downstairs Pussy Collection, thereby relinquishing their old space to the downstairs King's Castle III. This is just a case of 'musical chairs', however, as all 3 locations are King's Group bars.
In Patpong II, the Bua Luang (Yellow Lotus) Group have opened another 'Karaoke'. This one is on the 3rd floor of the building across the street from the Foodland (above Cosmos Club). They have had Bua Luang Karaoke's on the 2nd floor and /or 4th floor of that building since October 1994, but the new 3rd floor addition is taking a different tack - they are serving up 'pleng chiwit', which translates as, 'songs of life', or, less literally, 'folk music'. The Bua Luang Karaokes are for Thai locals, however Farang are most welcome. (The Bua Luang Group also owns Target at the Silom end of Patpong II, which is a ground floor pool (pool tables) bar aimed at the Farang market.)
Any discussion of Clinton Plaza is depressing to those many of us who watched it grow from an ad-hoc parking lot to a popular A Go-Go Night Entertainment Area. The Candy Store is the latest A Go-Go bar to close, leaving the Dollhouse as the lone remaining bar of that format. The adjacent White House, long closed, is being bulldozed - expect the Candy Store to be next. The Candy Store, previously Flowers, was the first A Go-Go to open in Clinton Plaza - its demise emphasizing the fate of the Night Entertainment Area. Scuttlebutt at Clinton Plaza says that by the end of August, most of the 'outside' bars will be closing or moving elsewhere (as with Suzy & Crazy Bar). I expect that is a bit premature, however.
Clinton Plaza's Rock Hard Bar Beer has also called it a night - lights out, shutters rolled down and locked.
The Rak Oi bar beer has changed names to the Meena Bar in Tobacco Road. You have to be careful or you might not notice the Meena Bar; it is at the very front of the area, next to the street and slightly apart from the two rows of bars that form the main part of Tobacco Road (Soi Zero) Night Entertainment Area.
Sukhumvit Square continues to grow at what appears to be an unsustainable rate. By the way, I wonder if it is even called Sukhumvit Square anymore; I noticed that the sign was taken down, and nearby another Happy Today sign has been put up. I'll have to check on that and get back to you.
One of Sukhumvit Square's new entries is the Titano Bar, which faces out on Soi 10. It has taken over the reins from the Rolls Royce Bar; both bar beers. Welcome, and good luck.
Also on Soi 10 in Sukhumvit Square is the new The Little Mermaid. And it is little. - I wonder if it even has the seating capacity to turn a profit? Nevertheless, Midnight Hour wishes it well.
The last new entry on Soi 10 (Sukhumvit Square, of course) is the T-Time Bar & Restaurant. It is a combination bar beer and restaurant, and at least has enough space for a few tables. Welcome to the Night Entertainment Scene.
Also new to Sukhumvit Square is a bar beer with an unusual name; the Jasmine and Kitingoen Bar, which appears to have taken over from the Artistic Bar. Good luck, guys.
At the rear of Sukhumvit Square next door to the long established Tippler's Tavern is a brand new Indoor-Outdoor pub; the Bonanza Pub. Indoors is the pub, outdoors is the pool table. Someone has invested some time and money to make this pub a comfortable place to go and have a drink. Certainly worth a stop.
The biggest news in Sukhumvit Square won't be news for another month, but it is worth mentioning what you might expect to find come the end of September. In the middle of the Square, they have been building a large, elevated concrete area with a permanent roof. It has been given the working name of "77 Sunset", and is now showing a 'For Rent' sign indicating there are 14 separate bar beer areas available for immediate development & occupancy. It remains to be seen how quickly the area will fill out - the nay-sayers believing no one will want to rent there because of the less than optimum location for passer-by foot traffic. But no one thought the original Happy Today 8-Pak --also in Sukhumvit Square-- would lease all their space either. Let's have another look at the end of September.
Still in Sukhumvit Square, on the West side, the new Tikki bar beer has opened for business. Wish you all the best.
The Suzie & Crazy Bar which moved into Sukhumvit Square last month (a sister-branch of the bar beer of the same name from Clinton Plaza) have shortened their name to just Suzie.
A larger pub-style bar, the Colorando, has renovated Sukhumvit Square's old Harry Potter and rolled out their welcome mat. They look set to install air-conditioning, but at the present time, they are going 'Open-Sided'. Welcome aboard.
Last, but not least (while we are still on the West side of Sukhumvit Square), the Mooney has reopened after a 1 month layoff. Welcome back.
© 2002, Bangkok Eyes / bangkokeyes.com
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