Bangkok's Night Scene In Review
Soi 1 Opens
-FIVE BARS KICK OFF EARLY
Boat-Jobs -Sex on the Water
Halloween - Bangkok Style
Rumor Of The Month
November's Follies in review
After trumpeting the impending "arrival" of Sukhumvit 1 Plaza in no less than two previous issues, MIDNITE HOUR would be remiss if we did not lead with the actual event. While the official opening day of "Soi 1 Plaza" remains today, 01 November 2004, no less than five bars have already rolled out their red carpets and unlocked their liquor cabinets with a vengeance. We might add that these were not "soft openings", all five Poolbars are fully operational -serving cold Singh to their pool-playing and lounging customers..
The leader of the pack, the first out of the starting blocks was the Sports Bar 2, opening on 14 October - which would likely qualify it as the "seminal bar" for the Plaza at some future date. The other four bars opened in quick succession in the week that followed. ...And they would be, by name, the Oasis, the Go Diva (Godiva), and The One Bar, and the Chemo 01. (See photos immediately below.)
Both the Chemo 01 and The Sports Bar 02 have parent bars still in operation in 13 Night Plaza - on Sukhumvit Road near Soi 13. The Chemo 01 is actually the fifth "Chemo" bar: - the first two (Chemo Bar and Chemo 02 Bar) were in the ill-fated Sukhumvit Square, while Chemo 03 was deeper inside Soi 10. The Chemo 04 being currently located in the above mentioned 13 Night Market. Curiously, the impetus to move out of the 13 Night Market and into Soi 1 Plaza was the impending closure of 13 Night Market (December this year.) However, MIDNITE HOUR now understands that this closing date is no longer firm, and they could be staying open for most of 2005 - which is not worrisome to either of the new Soi 1 Plaza relocatees, in that it looks as though their bars in both locations will be able to keep their respective heads above water.
Last month we mentioned that there was a large area in front of Soi 1 Plaza which was going to waste (it is now being used for parking). In speaking with the owner-mamasan of the Go Diva, she mentioned in passing that the area might be used for two additional outdoor bar beers, and that she was interested in grabbing the area just in front of her bar for one of those. While little more than a rumor at this stage, it would certainly be a better utilization of space, now that construction is nearly complete and there is no urgent need for contractor vehicles to park on site.
With only five bars now open, and the sixth bar (and last downstairs) soon to open, it remains to be seen if Soi 1 Plaza will reach that self-sustaining "critical mass" needed to become a stand-alone Night Entertainment Area. All will depend on how successful the future Night Entertainment Venues on the second and third floors will be. If history is a teacher, second floor bar areas have not always been that successful - as was demonstrated several times in the now-defunct Clinton Plaza. While a couple of the bars already seem to have custom, their owner-mamasans have confided that they are now hoping the completion of Nana Square complex (at the top of Soi 3) late next year will be giving them a much-needed boost in passer-by foot traffic - and into a respectable state of profitability.
I have been requested (unanimously) to give a plug in this column to Soi 1 Plaza's 01 November opening day celebrations. This I will gladly do, however, as we go to press only today, my message will be reaching most of you a little late. Nevertheless, we at MIDNITE HOUR wish everyone a pleasant time ( free food and drinks provided by the building owner ). For those of you who are unfamiliar with the area, they are located on Sukhumvit Road at the entrance to Soi 1.
MIDNITE HOUR presents the NEWS on the Bangkok Night Scene; - the 'history-in-the-making' for all major Night Entertainment Areas - for the month ending 1 NOVEMBER, 2004 :
So far, Carnival on the 3rd floor, after more than two months, still can't get their new neon mural to work like it's supposed to... But, hey, on the bright side, they have a mechanical bull to ride if you prefer a nostalgic 1980's sort of an evening... NANA PLAZA
The @ Corner bar beer has, with the help of Jack Daniels hung out a brand-new neon shingle - one you don't need climb a ladder to read. Lookin' good. They are always modestly busy - who says a bar beer can't do well on the Soi Of Joy? SOI COWBOY
Tied to the whipping-post this month is the Suzie Wong Bar - they have been selected arbitrarily by Bangkok's Finest for a 30 day shut-down. We wouldn't want these evil bars getting too uppity and start thinking they were free from tyrannical puritanism, now, would we? Why, it s almost as if the Benevolent Autocracy didn't have any real problems... The Suzie Wong has a huge banner stretched the full 2-shophouses announcing the closure and the reopening date of 18 November - you'd almost think they were proud of it... All the staff have been sent TDY to Sheba's across the way. SOI COWBOY
Much to MIDNITE HOUR's surprise, all the bars have, in addition to their own neon, brand-new small illuminated signs above their respective entranceways. In addition, all the interior footpaths are being elevated another four inches with a new running slab of concrete. Perhaps the rumors that they will survive another two years are true - these would be excessive investments to make if the intent were to close down at the end of the year (as previously bandied about). COWBOY ANNEX
SOI DEAD ARTISTS
Speed are now prominently advertising, "Rooftop Now Open". With the good weather now upon us, could this be the start of the next trend?
Two months ago, it was Happiness. Last month it was Paddy's Irish Bar. This month it's both - Paddy's Irish Bar - Happiness. Hey, it's not our job to explain, we only make note for the historical record... Same bar, same pool tables. Same friendly service. Keep on keeping on. QUEEN'S PARK PLAZA
Country Road gets around. Their latest 'branch' has just opened in the old Sugar Shak digs at the back of the Plaza. Some of you may remember Country Road from Soi Cowboy, Soi 19 and Pattaya - all still thriving concerns. They also had a branch in the ill-fated Sukhumvit Square before it fell to Mafia terror almost two years ago. They are keeping the Pool Bar theme. Welcome to the briar patch. QUEEN'S PARK PLAZA
Something BIG is happening out behind The Corner. It looks like it will be a large pub lounge or perhaps (as one wag had it- ) a fancy Japanese Karaoke. It looks like it will be complete in a week or so - mirrors being hung, windows glazed, interior fittings almost completed We'll get to the bottom of it and let you know. QUEEN'S PARK PLAZA
Charming Bar with it's pleasing atmosphere, has managed to stand the test of time. Located about fifty meters past Nana Plaza on your right going in. Let the good times roll.
Almost directly across the street from the above mentioned Charming Bar is the Bus Stop Beer Garden - and likewise, it has been around long enough that it's bright bit of neon is becoming a familiar landmark on Soi 4. A relaxing atmosphere, as compared to the hard hassle and fast hustle of other bier gartens in the area, it remains a good "get-away" spot. We wish you constancy.
--- Datzit Fernow
William R. Morledge
Copyright © 2004, BANGKOK EYES / bangkokeyes.com