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Daytime Nana Plaza

01 October 2007
William R. Morledge
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         Activity-wise, Nana Plaza's dog day afternoons are split pretty much down the middle.   Half the people there are getting themselves ready for the evening's activities, and the other half are tending bar in slow motion for the bar-beer crowd, or just beating the heat, or beating the rains the best way they can.
         This young hostess has found a quiet corner upstairs for a bowl of kwei tiew before her shift starts.

         The daytime 'scene' of bar beers and Poolbars, however, is quite different from the night scene.   Daytrippers to Nana Plaza would not likely imagine that this is one of a select group of Nitespot Areas that has established Bangkok as the King of Night Entertainment, worldwide.   The neon transformation to a rock-n-roll haven of A Go-Go and companship-for-hire won't start until the sun goes down.
         A common refrain is how different a Bar Area looks during the daytime.   Not so with the NEP - it doesn't seem to go through any radical vampire-like transmogrification - it remains more or less recognizable around the clock.

         Nevertheless, Nana Plaza does have a substantial 'bar scene' during the day.   Virtually all the ground floor bars, including the A Go-Go bars, are at least partly open to the public, either for playing a game of pool or just having a long cool one.   On the afternoon of our visit, there were 14 venues open at the NEP.   (The Cat House bar beer -2nd floor- is the only upstairs venue to be open during the day).
         Pharaohs, while inside off the street, still does a fair daytime trade.   They are not quite deep enough inside, however, to avoid the steady parade of hawkers, selling everything from dark glasses to shoeshines to lottery tickets.

         The following Pictorial Essay is not the 'Nana Plaza' most people will know or remember.   Nevertheless, it is of interest to Midnight Hour from an historical viewpoint in that it is a very real, 'organic' part of this Night Entertainment Area.   
         The beauty shop on the 3rd floor next to Carnival does a steady business from mid-day to late at night.   Virtually all their clientele are bar girls from 'The Plaza'.

         Follows are some photos that will, perhaps, give you the flavor of the Nana Entertainment Plaza's 'Daytime Nightscene':

         Did you know the Lollipop was pronounced ' Lowly Pop' in Thai?   We didn't have a clue until we read the sign day before yesterday.   The Lollipop doesn't get busy until the inside A Go-Go opens, however.

         Lucky Lukes, was originally (technically) just outside the NEP - nothing more than a shed against the wall when it opened, nevertheless, it was first on the scene - even before the complex was renamed Nana Entertainment Plaza.   Only later did it move inside where it now stands - and where it now is three times bigger than when it was born.

         The Roadhouse (sign long since 'disappeared') now sits in what used to be the parking lot (along with Pharaohs and Alibi).   Although it does a fair trade during the afternoons, business picks up markedly in the night.

         The Spirit House bar beer gets its name, rather unsurprisingly, from the adjacent spirit house in the upper photo.   The second spirit house (left) came later.   Come nightfall each evening, the spirit house is bedecked with garlands and often almost obscured by the scented smoke of the hundreds of joss-sticks.

         Obsession outside bar beer does a fair daytime trade, as does the Holly Wood Rock (rear), but they depend on their night-time A Go-Go for their real income.

         The Alibi, with drink coasters and bar towels drying, it's time to wipe down the bar and see if they can attract their share of the daytime custom.   As long as it's not raining, their open-air setup is a big draw in the late evenings.

Gimme A Beer Instead...

We thought it was just Christmas decorations.....


         The Big Dogs is one of two of the Big Guns in Nana's daytime trade.   Daytime or night-time, the Big Dogs always has a crowd.   Being situated in the entranceway to the NEP doesn't hurt business either....

         The Morning-Night Poolbar is the other Big Gun at Nana - they have a license to print money - they are busy from the time they open until they throw everyone out sometime after midnight.   They are best known as a daytime / night-time pickup point - a rather substantial flock of semi-freelancers hangs out there, and is ready to take your money at the pool table or elsewhere.

         The Mandarin appears to be open, but they just use the afternoons to clean up and air the place out.   They won't get rolling until after 6:00 p.m.

         The Cat House is up one flight of steps, and do a button-hook to the left.   They are the only upstairs bar open in the afternoons.

 Historical Minutiae Dept.


-Art Crime Shoot-
Transient Artwork Preserved

Bangkok's Q & A Lowdown


I love the graffiti wall pictures you have on your website.   Can you tell me where these places are?

I would like to photograph them for a photo shoot (I will have a whole photo crew with me, with complete setups).

Preferably not on streets which are too busy; better would be privately owned premises.   It's better to photograph privately owned locations because (we would) only have to ask permission from the owner - on a busy street the government permits would be a real pain.


There are several areas, most of which are "private" areas, in that they are areas that have been abandoned by original commercial occupants, and are destined for redevelopment.   Most of these areas are walk-on - no fences to climb, or guards to get past.   Other graffiti artists use the term 'legal walls' for areas such as these, however that might be a slight stretch of the definition.

I wouldn't know how to get in touch with the current owners in these areas, but I do know that there have been at least two previous shoots, one by a Thai TV serial, and another by a German crew (and I shoot at these locations every 60 days or so). Neither went through the formalities of getting owner permission, and neither had a problem.

I believe if you don't set up in too grandiose a style, just taking your basic crew in - that you would have no problem. Shooting on the street only would present a problem if you were going to block traffic, auto or pedestrian, but most of the artistic graffiti is not on the street, in any case.

There are a couple of good areas on Rachadapisek Road. The best way to find them is to take a drive (or a local bus) from the Rama 9 intersection going north on Rachadapisek toward Huay Kwang. You will spot them from the roadside. These areas are usually overpainted every couple of months by competing artists, so things stay fresh, however one never knows what the quality will be like on any given visit.

Being on land destined for redevelopment, occasionally a 'favorite' area will disappear, but others will appear, so no guarantees on what will be 'up', or where, by the time you get here.


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    - In the LAND OF SMILES -

              This month's Thai Smile goes to an eerie, vaguely ghostlike pair who were doing a little PR for the newly-neon'd Santana Club.   (We couldn't resist....)

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    Let the October 2007 Follies  begin...
    BANKOK EYES' Expat Night Scene.

      PATPONG  I  
                It looks like the King's Group is going to try once more to get the King's Lounge kick-started.   (We note - it is still keeping the Tip Top sign up to pacify the Sign Gestapos.)   Welcome them back to the neon circus.

                The old Show Girls sign has popped back out where the Queen's Castle III used to be.   It's anybody's guess how long they are planning to stay - let's see if they get serious with some serious neon.....   We've seen this all before, but nevertheless, let's welcome them back to the sharkpool once again....

      PATPONG  II  
                 A lot of what goes on at King's Garden goes on outside at the sidewalk tables.   These dek promote are part of the scenery each weekend.


    My, how time flies....

             Without mentioning any names, the bar in the photo opened their doors on 03 April 2004.   How time flies when you're having fun....   That minor discrepancy aside, it is one of the best A Go-Go's on the Pongs....


                 As we were forewarned last month, the Naturals has taken it's 60's music and headed for higher ground.   Hopefully Fate will show them the other side of it's face the next go-round.   We understand a new lessee has been found, and we should see some new activity in the next 60 days, or so.


                 The Trade Winds Pub, open only three months since being completely overhauled, is right back where they started - under renovations.   Sometimes it's just best not to try to understand.   We'll keep an eyeball peeled and get back atcha - but we suspect there will be a new owner and a new name...
    - File photo

      SOI  COWBOY  
                  The Midnite Bar has -yet again- redone it's neon, and all to the good.   The Soi is looking more like Las Vegas each passing night....

               Well, we now know what will become of the old Cowboy One.   It was bought over by the Spice Girls, who have gutted it, and will soon incorporate both single-shophouses into a double-wide A Go-Go.   (Note: they already have the overhead neon moved into place - lookin' good.)

                  We saw how the light was being caught by the balloons out front of the Shark, and thought it would be appropriate to snap one for the historical records....

    Our enlightened City Fathers...

             Have you been wondering why the BMA have been blacktopping large sections of the sidewalk on Sukhumvit Road?   Well now we know - look both ways before crossing the sidewalk, we always say.....


     NANA  PLAZA  
                 As "the scene" at Nana Plaza has remained relatively stable this last month, we have taken the opportunity to update our "historical records".   Below is the long-standing Fantasia.   Keep on rollin'.

                 The Carnival has some new in-your-face neon at the top of the escalator in front of the Mandarin.   Looks like the neon wars are spreading from Cowboy to Nana - so much the better - Nana Plaza has been looking rather old lately....

      SOI  KATOEY  
                Will somebody please tell us what's up with the Zygosis?   One minute it's open, next minute it's closed.   We note it has it's new neon up, however, so we suspect it will be reopening again soon - don't drop it from the rolls just yet....

                It looks like the Telephone Pub & Restaurant has got the drop on the others with regards getting 'lit up' - some colorful neon, indeed.

                The P.X. Plan Co. Ltd. is slowly edging around to using it's old name of Phoenix - however with a little add-on to hopefully appeal to the Japanese golfing set (which in Thailand is no small demographic group.)   Their full name is now Golfer's Lounge Phoenix, and will continue to be so - until the next crackdown by the local Sign Gestapos, of course.

                The Santana Club has got the blues - and this is a good thing.   They are just about completed with their renovations, and we suspect that they will land next month's Door Art Of The Month Award, unless something rather spectacular pops up somewhere else.   There's good rockin' tonite - and each night, for that matter....   (No, they didn't close down for renovations.)

    Door Art Of The Month

             Jack & Betty Massage Club have taken line honors for the Door Art of the Month this month.   The above photo says it all - colorful and tasteful.   Jack and Betty was Jack & Betty Massage & Center up until last month - but they were located all the way down at the end of the Soi and out of traffic's way.  They have now completed their move 'uptown' - taking over the old Full House digs on Sub-Soi 1 (Soi Pan-Pan).   The new Jack & Betty Massage Club will be officially opening it's doors for business right about ........ NOW, so wish them luck as they continue to tip-toe through the Nightlife minefield..


                The Mykonos has opened it's patio up once again and continues to serve food, drink and music to a mostly Thai clientele.   Re-welcome them all over again.
    - File photo

                The Midnite Hour
    is updating our photo gallery, so we thought we'd share this pic of Sazanka, a Korean Style Akasuri.   Some sort of a translation is in order.   This massage parlor is not about whether or not you want a 'special massage', but rather which 'special massage' you would prefer.   You may select from a menu.   You may also select from another menu (album) which masseuse you would like.   Sazanka has been around for quite a while - may they continue to slip 'n slide.

                Photos can be deceiving.   It looks for all the world like the Sweetheart bar beer has folded tents and left town, however just the opposite is true.   They have bought over the next door Bamboo Bar (who never had a sign, so they had none to take down).   The Sweetheart people will be using their old digs for a pool table - once it finally arrives.   Let the beat go on....

                We thought we had come across a brand-new Poolbar, but the Nice 'N Easy had just opened up the front, and turned some lights on.   We don' need no steenking air conditioning.   They look all the busier for their efforts - keep on keeping on.

                It didn't take Lucky long to get some new, hot, technicolor neon up.   Looks much better than the old drab white one.   The rock still rocks....

      SOI  EDEN  
                The Tequila Dragon is looking much better (and doing much better) now that they removed that barricade from around the outside seating area.   Let the good times roll - all three floors of it.
    SOI  EDEN  SOI  7/1

                Although Sukhumvit 1 Plaza is generally quiet, the DC-10 #2 seems to be keeping their head above water..   Continue to march, then.

                Several of the denizens are complaining that business is, let's just say, less than healthy on Soi Twilight.   Below is a shot of Balls for the historical archives.


    (No News !)




    Graffiti Websites
    Outrage Authorities


    In what can only be described as a protracted guerrilla war, Melbourne graffiti artists continue to confound the Authorities.   The most recent skirmishes involve graffiti websites that are just a little too helpful.   The war doesn't appear to have any victors in sight.

    Police and other Municipal authorities in Melbourne are becoming increasingly incensed with the unchecked "how-to" advice appearing on graffiti websites in the area - and it seems that there is very little they can do about it.   In addition, these websites are also providing 'help kits' and even downloadable "plans" which are specific to the local train bogeys.

    Graffiti artists are encouraged by these websites to practice their throw-ups at home, to include practicing with stencils.   This allows them to go out as a team and to 'bomb' a string of train cars, or buildings, or whatever, in a minimal period of time - thereby reducing drastically their chances of being observed.   

    Melbourne Assistant Commissioner Gary Jamieson said a well-practiced team of six graffiti artists could 'bomb' an entire train carriage in as little as ten minutes.   

    The Assistant Commissioner said that each tagger knows exactly what he will be doing, and that they are very well practiced.   He said that they would decide who's going to do the black line around the outside, and who's going to do the colors in the center.   He claimed that contrary to popular belief, many of the graffiti artists are not teenagers, many are in their 30's.   "They video themselves and you'll see them looking at the stencil (checking) what their part is.   Each one has a different role."

    An unnamed police source said one confiscated DVD showed graffiti crews video taping themselves painting gigantic murals on, and in dozens of train carriages.   Daylight seemed to be no impediment - they would often see cars driving past.   One man was videoed spray-painting a train he was on - and the train was moving.   Another graffiti artist was standing beside the tracks spray-painting a train as it passed him by.   Yet another man used a pressurized fire extinguisher instead of an ordinary spray-can so that he could complete a giant mural in record time.

    The more the Melbourne authorities elaborated, the more the citizens became convinced that the city had gone graffiti-mad.

    The same police officer said that graffiti artists would spray-paint a large letter "P" on the front of trains so that anyone seeing the train approach would know that it had some new graffiti viewing for their enjoyment.

    Assistant Commissioner Jamieson said graffiti vandals travelling on the outsides of moving trains were a disaster waiting to happen.   He claimed that these spray-can vandals were soaring to new "heights of challenge", and that sooner or later people were going to be injured.   He claimed that the authorities' efforts were "almost" as if they were saving the graffiti artists from themselves.   (We're glad he clarified with the "almost".)

    A spokesman for one of the websites accused of providing 'helpful' information to graffiti artists said that they were only reporting that which is going on all around them - and such things as plans for train carriages have been available in the Public Domain for train hobbyists for a very long time.   The spokesman said that inasmuch as graffiti artists could just as easily obtain all this information from other websites, it would be inappropriate for their website to be singled out.   Further, he could not be responsible as to how or where the provided information was applied.

    Yet another website was providing specific information to taggers to help them avoid detection by teachers, police and other authorities.   The list of tips include not writing your tag on school books and bags.   Budding spray-can vandals are warned that if they are practicing their tags or throw-ups on paper, to make sure the paper is always disposed of.    And don't forget to keep your sketchbooks hidden at all times.   This goes for photos and/ or videos of your work.   

    And it goes without saying that your computer is a bad place to keep things - as it could be confiscated.   Some of the tips could have come only from seasoned field vets, however, like - placing a strong magnet on the bottom of your spray-can to prevent the ball bearings from rattling around as you travel or work.

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

    Graffiti #169
    The Walls Belong To Them
    6 ft high x 12 ft

    Graffiti #170
    Suck The Heads, Throw The Rest Away
    8 ft. high x 12 ft.

    Graffiti #171
    Bushy Blond Hairdo
    7 ft. high x 9 ft.

    Graffiti #172
    Being There
    6 ft high x 5 ft

    Graffiti #173
    3-D Glasses Kit
    7 ft high x 18 ft.

    Graffiti #174
    Throwing Up Cider
    7 ft high x 12 ft

    Graffiti #175
    8 ft high x 17 ft

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

       The MIDNITE 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....   - Ed)

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                   William R. Morledge


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