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Bangkok's Night Scene In Review

Soi 22's Other Bars

01 November 2006
William R. Morledge
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         ention 'Soi 22' and most people think of either Washington Square or Queen's Park Plaza Night Entertainment Areas, but we usually don't give a second thought to the slowly expanding number of Nightspots on the Soi itself.   So let's give it a second thought.
They say, 'Blondes have more fun,' but we say girls wearing glasses do.   This trio from the Angel Bar beer bar took a break from their ongoing street party to 'say cheese'.

Angel Bar, being a little lacking in real estate, usually bursts out onto the sidewalk shortly after they crank up the volume.

The Himeyure, obviously 'Orientation Oriental', is located in a group of four Japanese bars deeper into the Soi.    With the soft lighting, sofas and curtains, the 'brothel effect' extends right out to kerbside.

The Natsuko also has it's lovely staff wait outside to, hopefully, snag any passing Japanese clientele.

Flyers is on the corner of Sukhumvit and the Soi and is a two-storey pool bar & lounge.   Since they opened a couple years back, they have been one of the more popular meeting points for those who also enjoy a game of pool with their beer.   Pool sharkettes abound.

The Connection Bar is a smaller, and quieter, single-shophouse lounge near the top of the Soi.

The D'Pelican is in the "Honey House Enclave" (for lack of a better descriptor), and is relatively new.   They are also a 'guest house', and they really do have a shuffle board and good food.

The Aloha Bar is the smaller of the four Japanese bars deeper in the Soi.

The Tombo Club (sometimes spelled, "Tombow") is the oldest and largest Japanese bar on the Soi.   -And judging from the lack of lovely hostesses kerbside, the busiest.

The My Bar Pub & Disco might in fact be the successor to Pickles.   It is still in it's 'soft opening' stage, and looks good to go.      Note the now popular 'water curtain' windows.   Their sign looks way better during the daytime (when they are not open), as it's almost unreadable at night.   We know you just nailed it up, but it's time for some new neon, gang.

The New Cowboy Bar is the grand-daddy of them all - at least on Soi 22.   When Cowboy, of Soi Cowboy, was forced out of his original location, he opened another bar in Washington Square, but it wasn't long before he was in debt again - and forced, again, to give up that bar.   He didn't have the money to open another bar, so he joint-ventured with Grant Francisco to open the New Cowboy Bar - the first bar actually ON Soi 22.

The Titanium has, surprisingly, succeeded - in a location where this disco-pub format wouldn't be expected to.   They have an upstairs 'cold room' where you can knock back sub-zero shooters - but be verrrry careful....   And the hostesses in Vietnamese Ao Dai are mighty easy on the eye.

The Oscar Bar is a small glassed-in lounge at the entrance to "Honey House Enclave".   Very comfortable, one of the few air conditioned bars with a view of the passing goings-on.

Pickles Cocktail Bar, located just across the street from the Soi 22 entrance to Washington Square, is now advertising that they will be moving soon.   Nevertheless, they seem to be doing a good business, in spite of their higher "Soi Dead Artists" prices.

Tina goes way back - and we mean WAY back.   Originally the Three Roses at the top of Soi 16 in the 1970's, they were in the first group of three that pioneered Nana Plaza as a Night Entertainment Area in 1982.   They later sold out to become Toi Bar in Soi Cowboy - again selling out after several years.   The next move was to Soi 22 as the New Toy Bar.   They later changed their name to Tina, and moved from outside on the Soi to their current location in the "Honey House Enclave".   They are the only A-Go Go Bar on Soi 22.

Door Art Of The Month

     This month's Door Art Award goes to Tina for their wall mural of maidens bathing at the waterfall.


The 22 Bar Scottish Pub originally started out on Sukhumvit Road near the top of Soi 22.   A year or so ago, it moved deep into the Soi, across from the New Cowboy Bar.   We thought it was a goner, but, no, there were enough faithful 'Scotties' following it down the Soi to keep it afloat.

 Historical Minutiae Dept.


Pink Panther Redux


   I hear two stories on the Pink Panther on Patpong.   ....   Is it really closed?   I was assigned there in 1987, and we can remember some hot and stormy nights.    ....

Bob B.

         Well, the answer to your question is yes, and no.   The Pink Panther A Go-Go closed in May of this year, only to do a quick renovation and reopen as The Pink (for copyright reasons).   But it is no longer an A Go-Go; they have the current dishwater substitute - Coyote Dancing, which is about like smelling Famous Amos chocolate chip cookies, but not actually being able to eat any.

         We get a lot of mail on the Pink Panther, and we thought you might enjoy the below reproduction of this newspaper advertisement, also from 1987 - sent to us by regular contributor J.N.   Now, if that isn't an unconquerable smile....

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             This month the MIDNITE HOUR awards the "Thai Smile" to a young lady who was, until recently, a student..

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    William R Morledge

       MIDNITE HOUR presents our monthly recap of the   
    NEWS on Bangkok's Expat Night Scene.   
    Let the  November 2006 Follies   begin...

      PATPONG  I  
                The Queen's Castle III upstairs showbar reopened as we suspected it might (see our remarks last month).   They are also showing another sign downstairs : "Showgirls", so don't be misled, it's still the QCIII.   We suspect they are still having their problems with the Bangkok's Sign Gestapos.   But to tell the truth, we liked the old neon much better (see lower photo).

    Photos with permission

                Gone, but not gone, the Super Pussy has popped up out of the crypt and it's door touts are once again curbside encouraging one and all to go upstairs for a beer.   Although only closed for one month, the sign looks like it has been through Hurricane Katrina - some of the patch-work isn't even the same color.   Nevertheless, let's welcome them back to the vicissitudes.


    A Bigger Shadow....

          When the Tip Top mob of decades past branched out in the '80's and started opening bars (King's Castles), who would have thought the empire would have grown - and then kept on growing?   They are now, of course, known as 'King's Group Entertainment'.   Here's wishing them constancy.

                Never having nailed any neon up, they didn't have any to tear down.   Although it may have actually been open longer, we first noticed the unnamed bar beer in May of this year.   When we passed by the other night, their miniscule space had been littered with other vendors' packing crates, and what-not.   Ashes to ashes, so be it, then.
    File photo

      PATPONG  II  
                The fat lady sung very quietly this last month at the Century - the roller-shutter had quite obviously been rolled down and padlocked to the deck for the final time.   Their sign, a hastily made MagicMarker job, says that the 4th floor is closed and they are moving downstairs.   Only one niggly little problem with that - there is no one except the old regulars downstairs.   It may just be our jaundiced eye, but this spells 'gone' in our book.   

      SOI  COWBOY  
                The Baccara had no sooner got their new neon nailed up, than they tore it all down and did it all over again.   All this as part of a general face lift. The top photo, (see below) is the latest iteration.   The lower photo appeared here last month.   The Baccara was the first Nitespot in Bangkok to have the second-level A Go-Go stage with the see-thru floor, and is packed out virtually every night - equally popular with Asians and Farangs.   Let it roll on.




    Thoraxes Galore

          We are not really in favor of tattoos or body piercing, but then again, what's not to like?   These two young ladies graciously posed for our tongue-lolling photographer the other evening on Soi Cowboy.

                The Irish Pub has collected it's last chit in the cup this last month, bringing down the curtain on one of The 'Boy's older single-shophouse bars.   It started out in October of 1995 as DL Irish Pub (in, as some may recall, the old Bamboo's digs).   They finally dropped the "DL" from the marquee in January of 2004.   Their trail of tears now over, we wish them luck in future endeavors.

                The Club A opened with a bang in June, only to close with a whimper in November (this year).   Perhaps it was the "bang" - they were so bloody noisy in the entertainment area, it was impossible to carry on a conversation - even by shouting.   You had to go outside to order a drink - and we're not making that up.   Lending support to this were the renovation crews, whose hammers and saws were set aside for the night - they were saying that the restaurant portion will be moved to the front, and the 'disco' will be moved to the rear.   They also said we should look for a name change.   One way or the other, all their trials soon be over - we'll keep a finger on the pulse, and give a come-back.

                The mob that took over the Venus Club from the original owners in April of this year has finally hung out some new neon.   The Hang Out, as it shall now be dubbed, is however, otherwise unchanged - and is geared more to the Japanese style, where the hostesses stay behind the bar until 'selected'.   (Although we were most welcome).   Keep on keeping on.

    File photo

                The typically ambiguous Miss Pu Ke Massage Center has been open for some months now, but has only just started trying to stay open past sundown.   They offer the gamut of traditional Thai and 'Spa' services.   They are located almost all the way down at the end of the Soi on the right.   It is interesting to note that the Thai name is "Miss Phuket".   (Come again?)   Keep on a-slippin' and a-slidin'.

                The Ban Khon Thai traditional massage parlor, opened in September of last year (2005), has succumbed to the miseries.   Greener pastures, gang.   -But we noted that the venue is now chock-full of construction materials - major modifications are afoot - to which, we will keep you apprised.   Ban Khon Thai was located until most recently in Sub-Soi 1 near the Pan Pan Italian Restaurant.

                While we are on the subject of renovations, both the old Koi Gokoro and the Degas Club have hammers and saws a-flying.   The Degas Club will reopen sometime in the middle of this month (Nov 2006) under the same name.   The Koi Gokoro will be completed soon afterwards, with, likely, a name change.   We'll keep tabs on both and do an update at the end of the month.
    File photos

                We don't know what Denny's Corner Beer Bar is doing right, but it is doing it again.   It might have a lot to do with the solid rock 'n roll music, because for the first time in memory, they are bringing in the crowds.   They are located on the corner of Soi 22 and the entrance to Washington Square,   The beat goes on.

      SOI  KATOEY  
                Speed, having been "closed for renovations" more than once in recent history, is once again "closed for renovations".   Speed should have had the guts renovated out of it by now - it better bloody-well look like Windsor Castle when it's done.   We'll give them the benefit of the doubt, but if it doesn't reopen in the next couple months, we will be dropping them from the rolls.

                We no sooner touted their opening last month, than the Tube Bar got shot out of the saddle - they didn't even clock in the full month.   The sign says, 'Music On Request' - this is shorthand, or is it longhand (?) for Japanese Karaoke.   Perhaps Queen's Park Plaza is not an auspicious location for opening Japanese bars?   We hope they find things a little more to their liking a little farther on down the road a piece.   At any rate, they will have new owners come in sometime this month (November 2006), and there likely will be a name change.   We'll lay a marker down on this one, and get back atcha.

      SUKHUMVIT  1  PLAZA   
                The J.B.O. Massage just may be the smallest massage parlor on earth.   But not for long, when their neighbors move out next month, they will be expanding to three massage beds from the current 'one'.   It has all the earmarks of an 'ambiguous' experience.   Welcome them to the neon nightcircus.   Below, Suzie and staff from the Suzie Bar give a boost to the J.B.O. as our photographer 'takes his best shot'.

                The Honey Bar II looked darker than a poisoned well the other night when we passed by.   Other than the opening night 'whoopee', they never really got "open".   It is safe to say that the handful of bar beers that rushed over to Sukhumvit 1 Square from the now extinct Tobacco Road (Soi Zero) are all doing a reality check, and coming to the same conclusion --- the second floor just doesn't do any business to speak of.   The first floor -where there is considerably more 'walk through'- is barely surviving.   But one never knows, the cool weather should start in the next week or two, and the 'tourist season' may pull them out of the pit.

                Hello Josephine, goodbye Josephine.   Josephines Beergarden is no more.   In it's place is a big black box - a very big black box.   The Black &White has taken the reins and the once-wide open spaces on the roof have become an indoor disco.   The same 'late night' policy still stands, for all you insomniacs.   There has not been a change in ownership, this was just a renovation and a name-change.   Business as usual, rock the night away, gang.

      SOI  EDEN  
                Blue Star has gone uptown.   You can now call it Blue Lightning, thank you very much.   And the renovations (in progress) do look good.   When we passed by, they had already had their soft opening, and by the time you see this in print, renovations should be complete and the sign will really look like 'Blue Lightning'.   The nightbeat goes on.

    This attractive young khon serb at the Blue Lightning did a slow dance for us, completely impromptu.   She said we should put her picture on the MIDNITE HOUR website, and that we should let everyone know she is looking for a "good man", and to mention that this is not about sex.   But unfortunately this is not that kind of a website, so we won't be able to pass this along.
    SOI  EDEN  (SOI  7/1)

                After months of stalling, the Magic Table is starting to get serious about opening.   The French management says it should open no later than next month sometime.   As can be seen from the photo, their 'front verandah' is already being used by the next door The Ring Bar (same owner).   Inasmuch as we saw the hammers and saws a-flying, there is even an element of probability that they really will open this time around.
    SOI  EDEN  (SOI  7/1)

      SOI   TWILIGHT  
                We suspect the Sign Gestapos again - out of the blue The Boys up and changed their name to The New Boys Bangkok, with, of course, all new neon.   The door touts say all else remains the same - it is in fact, a 'boy bar'.   Let 'er rip, then.

                Located on Sukhumvit Road and Asoke, the Fantasy Bar is one of (usually) five sidewalk bars that open up curbside in the late evening.   The bars here are entirely 'portable' and operate with kerosene lanterns and Styrofoam ice chests.   The Fantasy Bar is the 'original', appearing out of the rubble of Asoke Plaza Night Entertainment Area, when it was illegally destroyed by influential real estate developers in February 2005.   It, and the others, operate with a wink and a nod from the Men In Too-Tight Uniforms, not to mention the grease, the regular (should we say 'traditional'?) infusion of bakshish.   The upside is they do a fairly decent business, closing down shop anywhere from 03:00 a.m. to 05:00 a.m.   Normal bar beer prices apply, to include the 'escort fee', should you want to take a walk with any of the staff.

                The Country Road (Sukhumvit Soi 19) had earlier been rumored to be closing this month (November), but it seems to be doing very well just doing what it did yesterday.   A comfortable, roomy place to play pool, with a mix of local and farang custom (unusual in these parts).

     NANA  PLAZA  

    (No News !)



    - And now to Bangkok's own brand of Graffiti....

    Graffiti #099
    8 ft high x 60 ft Mural

    Graffiti #100
    6 ft high x 5 ft

    Graffiti #101
    8 ft. high x 12 ft.

    Graffiti #102
    Storys on Storeys
    8 ft. high x 18 ft. (each)

    Graffiti #103
    8 ft high x (extended mural)

    Graffiti #104
    Wai Me
    8 ft. high x (mural - partial)

    Graffiti #105
    Kingsized Heart
    6 ft. high x 14 ft.

    Graffiti, graffiti , and more Graffiti - Bangkok's original and ONLY graffiti Site !

       The M IDNITE HOUR Graffiti Page is prepared by Staff Contributor "Boge" Hartman .

    (Boge's photo, above, is not a graffiti per-se, although there are those who have insinuated....)    

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                   William R. Morledge


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