Bangkok's Night Scene In Review
The Pattaya Run
- WHY DO WE DO IT ?
The GRAFFITI Page - New !
Rumor Of The Month
October's Follies in review
Pattaya City, as it is now called, is still just 'Pattaya Beach' or 'Pattaya' to almost everyone. It is just a little over 140 kilometers from Bangkok, so it is a little too far away for a commute, and just too near to go for a vacation. It is, however, ideally suited for a "Pattaya Run" of one or two nights.
But why make a Pattaya Run when everything anyone could ask for in the way of Night Entertainment is right here in Bangkok? The answer to that is that there are big differences between the two Night Entertainment Capitals.
The first of the major differences between the twin Sin Cities is Pattaya's Night Entertainment Areas far outnumber Bangkok's - by an order of magnitude. One of MIDNITE HOUR's most 'Frequently Asked Questions' is why we don't also cover the Pattaya Scene. The answer is, simply, it is impossible. In our surfing experience, we have come across several Pattaya-based websites, and as good as they are, they don't even come close to covering each Nightscene Area, (each Bar Beer Area, etc.) - there is just simply too much going on there. Last weekend (while on our Pattaya Run) we noted no less than 6 bar beer areas nearing construction completion, some of them will be large enough to attain instant 'critical mass' and be considered as separate Night Entertainment Areas. --And we didn't have time to cover more than a few of Pattaya's many sois. Another way of saying the same thing; MIDNITE HOUR just couldn't do it justice - and there are others in Pattaya already doing a much more thorough job than we could, being Bangkok-based. So, in summary, if it's virtually infinite variety you are looking for - Pattaya, not Bangkok.
Another reason we Bangkokians will make the Pattaya Run is the Night Venues in Pattaya experience a greater degree of freedom from the petty tyrannies of The Men In Too-Tight Uniforms. It's not that the Pattaya Men In Tan are any less corrupt, or that they are blind to what is going on, it's that they are smarter. The Pattaya Night Entertainment Scene is free (comparatively) to entertain the foreigner in just about any way they see fit. For those of us who have spent time in both Pattaya and Bangkok - this is most apparent. If you are looking for a more relaxed atmosphere - comparatively free from the petty harassments, go to Pattaya, not Bangkok.
And there is another more 'intangible' reason for making the Pattaya Run - each of these Sin Cities has it's own 'feel' to it - it's own 'attitude'. This is probably best illustrated by observing that Bangkok is refusing to issue any more licenses for new A-Go-Go bars; Pattaya on the other hand, has one or two new A-Go-Go's opening every month. The single common denominator in discussions between folk who spend a lot if time in both cities is, "Pattaya is like Bangkok used to be fifteen, twenty-five, thirty-five (you pick a number) years ago. So if you are interested in revisiting that feeling, or perhaps experiencing it for the first time, go to Pattaya, not Bangkok.
(MIDNITE HOUR will not have a Rumor Of The Month for the month of October 2005. -Ed.)
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 October, 2005 :
We were told, but would we listen? Nooo. The Tip-Top has been renovating for the last couple of months, so we asked - and were told that they would reopen as Tip-Top again. We watched the construction proceed, and it kept looking more and more like a lounge as it progressed. But we were wrong - the new Tip-Top has opened as a partially open-fronted restaurant - not lounge. This venerable mollusk of Patpong is not -per se- a Night Entertainment Venue, but, like Mizu's, has been a part of "The Scene" for so long, we would be remiss in not noting it in the historical record. PATPONG I
We got a fright when we saw the Mike's Place (Spanky's) door double-bolted and the entranceway looking darker than a poisoned well. But not to worry, they sustained some water damage during the recent tropical storm Vincent, and while they are drying out, they are going to spruce up a bit. One can always hope that they have resurrected the old Mike's Place A-Go-Go license..... Look for them to reopen on or before 01 November 2005. This 'damage due to tropical storms' seems to be going around, no matter where you are on this planet - hard evidence of global cooling, if you ask us.... PATPONG I IPATPONG I I
NANA PLAZAObsession A-Go-Go - is still closed (inside only) "for renovations". We don't, however, see any signs of construction going on, and it's been more than a month now - begs the question, 'bust' or 'renovation'? No one was around to ask, so we will have to throw a marker down and get back to you. NANA PLAZA
SOI COWBOYPop quiz: When is the Deja Vu not the Deja Vu? Answer : "When it is the Five Star 2". Take a look at the two photos of their marquee below, and see if we are not right. The top photo was taken in May when they opened; the lower photo was snapped last night. There are a couple of new, smaller Deja Vu signs down by the entranceway, but it seems that, yes, the Sign Gestapos have been hard at it again.
As we went to press last month, we mentioned that we suspected the Apache would be opening within hours. Well, we were right - and as technically, it opened in September, we will mention it again this month for the historical record. And, yes, it is a 'table dancing' bar with the angled mirrors on the tabletops for those who would prefer to see which shades of pink the bikini bottoms are, or are not. The night we visited, they were packed to the rafters - may Fate deal them all aces and faces.
The Midnite Bar has been eking in a renovation, apparently between dance sets. But now it is beginning to show - the emphasis is on sapphire blue. Next time you walk past, have a look at the facade, or walk in and look to your right - the Midnite Bar is slowly transmogrifying into one of the hottest looking Night Entertainment Venues on the Soi. The format of their entertainment seems little changed, for those of you who have been there before. Keep on rockin'.
SOI DEAD ARTISTS(Soi 33)The newest massage parlor to open on Soi Pan Pan (Sub-Soi 1) is the Baan Khon Thai Massage. The format: "slightly ambiguous", and as can be seen below, prices are within acceptable limits. Welcome to the rough-and-tumble.
The Venus Club is nothing if not chameleonesque. They have not only recently changed their neon, they have now changed their 'format'. Probably the best description of this format is 'grope-show'. While the groping is basically non-stop, the dance-shows take place from time to time on the second floor. (Prices on Soi Dead Artists remain higher than in the other Night Entertainment Areas, and the Venus Club is no different - hostess drinks are about Baht 160 and the escort service fee is Baht 1,000.) Another way to say the same thing, the action at the Venus Club is as close as you can get to being an A-Go-Go bar without actually having it on your sign. Shake it, don't break it, ladies, you do know well how the guardians of our virtue can be when they think they can publicly make an example of someone....
The Brick, which opened only in February 2004, is the second of the Christie's Group bars to show up missing from roll call this year - following the slow, agonizing death of Papa, just next door. When we passed by last night, all we could see was darkness shining out from within. Ashes to ashes; so be it then... SOIDEADARTISTS
When we cruised Sub-Soi 5 last night, we noted that the Arsom Sabai traditional massage had roller-shutters padlocked to the concrete floor. Looks for all the world like it has wheezed it's last. SOIDEADARTISTS
SOI KATOEYThe Roxy Bar & Club have got some brand new neon - not to replace the old, but in addition to the old. The significance of this flashy sign seems lost on all, including the staff, who were even more vague than usual. We'll throw a marker down on this one, and get back to you.
Soi Katoey had the Men In Tan out in force last Friday, minding our morals for us with the hard-pounding zeal of a tropical storm. But as can be seen from the photo, sometimes Bangkok's Finest are the Men-In-Plain-Clothes. If you are under twenty years of age, don't try coming in the front way; come in through one of the back doors facing the parking lots behind.
QUEEN'S PARK PLAZAFriendly Bar bar beer, opened last month without neon - well, this month they have it right out there in plain sight, well draped with Christmas lights. I thought it looked familiar, so I asked - sure enough - it is their old sign from the long-ago destroyed Asoke Plaza Night Entertainment Area. They are planning to put a more elaborate sign up at some future date, but they say this rainy season is hitting pretty hard, so don't hold your breath.
SUKHUMVIT 1 PLAZAGone, but not gone, Josephines Beer Garden has resurrected - at least in a manner of speaking. They have every light on in the place except the sign, which gets us to wondering.... The large format projection screen is up and running - for the sports channels, but the pool room has disappeared entirely. But most ominously, the place was entirely empty (again) this Friday night. Don't give up the fight, gang, but you are going to have to promote yourselves better than you have been. SUKHUMVIT1PLAZA
SOI EDENThe Sweet Heart Club has finally got some neon down lower (by about three floors) where the passers-by can actually see it. And it doesn't look bad. Let the good times roll.
OTHER NIGHTSPOTS OF NOTEJust around the corner from Soi Cowboy on Soi 23, you are going to run into the Ship's Inn, that is if you haven't already done so. They open early for breakfast, and stay late. If you like whole wheat toast with marmalade and tea with your breakfast, you've found your spot. 'British Pub' is the modus operandi.
The Tunnel has been around for a while, but in that it seems to improve with age, it is well worth a mention. It is located on the shortcut between Soi 5 and Soi 7 Sukhumvit - at the Soi 5 end. A long, thin bar beer, it was once even longer when the strip of karaoke rooms was operational (now used for junk storage, thank goodness). There is quite a bit of new construction on that small shortcut, and if all of it is destined for Night Entertainment Venues, we will have to make a return visit in the very near future for an update.
NO NEWS IS GOOD NEWS DEPT.
--- Datzit Fernow
William R. Morledge