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Bangkok's Night Scene In Review


Soi 11 Revisited

01 November 2010
William R. Morledge

November's Nightlife News
Big Chilli's Patpong
Bangkok's Bars - 10 Years Ago  
A Smile in the Land of Smiles.
Ask Us ! - The Bat Boat Resurfaces !
Graffiti  -BKK's  Midnite Vandals - #61

         Although Midnight Hour had vowed to regularly update our Nightscene surveys of the Sukhumvit sois, it wasn't until recently that we realized it had been a full three years since our last Soi 11 survey.   Our wake-up call was an email from a reader - recommending that we include Soi 11 as a separate Night Entertainment Area in it's own right.

         The author of the email indicated substantial recent growth on Soi 11, so we thought it best to postpone our planned lead story and get back to have another look at "Soi Ambat-duh".   Although we noted that, in fact, several new venues had opened over the last 3 years, it was also apparent that several old venues had bitten the dust.   Except for a proliferation of one-room specialty massage parlors, the balance, on whole, had not changed to any appreciable degree.   

         While a person could certainly spend an evening on Soi 11, (dinner, bars, clubs, massage, disco), things remain a little too spread out - not meeting our criterion for 'contiguous'.   But just because we have not 'dubbed' it a Night Entertainment Area, that is no reason to stay away - we would certainly recommend a visit to anyone looking for a change-of-pace, or who has never 'done the walk'.

         Below are several photos of some of the more prominent, mostly new (some old) Nitespots on Soi 11.

         The St. Moritz Bangkok is one of a chain of very posh Entertainment Complexes.   Too rich for our blood, but you may want to investigate.......   (You can also Google them....)

         Temples is a streetside outdoor / indoor lounge ideal for a relaxing drink or two, while watching the passing foot-traffic.

         The Ambassador Hotel has had a disco for years; prior to becoming the Climax, it was going by the moniker "Spice Club".

         The Ananda, relatively new, and 'around the corner' (see map) is a true 'spa'.

         Charlie Brown's is an old stand-by - having withstood the ravages of time....   Note: they are 'hidden' around the corner in the small "U" soi, so just walk on in....

         The Koreana Karaoke has changed it's sign and expanded a little since 3 years ago, but it is still going strong.   Korean karaoke?   We don't even want to think about it....

         We would be remiss in NOT mentioning the old Federal.   Technically speaking, the Federal Hotel Coffee Shop would qualify as the oldest Night Entertainment Venue on Soi 11, even if it never did aspire to the grand-sleaze popularity of either the Grace or Nana coffee shops....

         The Bed Supper Club is more for the Thai-Yuppies and clubbie-farang.   Not our cup of tea, but remaining very popular over the years.

         Domino's is the oldest dedicated Night Entertainment Venue on Soi 11, and you can still get a decent meal at the bar....   And we recommend it - for a taste of 'old Bangkok'.

         Zanzibar is another relative old-timer - pleasant outdoor dining, dancing and live music - even more enjoyable, now that the cool season is upon us.

         Cheap Charlies (Charlie's Bar) is an ongoing phenomenon - it has less square footage, and more customers than any other bar we can think of.   "Standing room only" doesn't begin to describe the overflow farang crowds every weekend....

         Q Bar has traditionally been the northern anchor to Soi 11, only recently usurped by the St Moritz for the northernmost 'honor'.   Nevertheless, the Q Bar persists as one of the best known, most popular bar / lounges in the area.

         Review :

Big Chilli's Patpong

         The September 2010 issue of Big Chilli claimed to be a Collector's Issue, and it was certainly that.   Author and Publisher Colin Hastings' article, "Memories of Patpong" was a comprehensive look at the the two Patpong Roads (I & II) - Bangkok's once-premier Night Entertainment Area.   Memories of Patpong is a mix of narrative, interviews & quotes, a sidebar and several historic old photographs - a most pleasurable trip down memory lane (or should I say, a pleasurable trip down the "street of shame"?) for anyone who has ever spent time on the 'Pongs in their heyday.
- Copyright 2010 The BigChilli Company Ltd.         

         Of course, even a book-length feature couldn't tell the whole story, as Alan Dawson's Patpong: Bangkok's Big Little Street proved (as great as it was).    Nevertheless, Big Chilli's coverage was a mini-grand tour covering high points over the last 50 years; from the days when it had only a few Night Entertainment Venues, a couple of restaurants, and a lot of airline offices, all the way through the peak at the end of the '80's, and onward to the present.   They even alluded to some interesting conjecture on the future of the Patpongs.

         Midnight Hour' first arrival in Patpong Road was in 1967, so there were many touch-points (and photos) in the Big Chilli article that held personal memories.   A depth of exposure was brought forward with quotes/ articles from four long-time Thailand residents, Shrimp, Dean Barrett, Tim Young and Alex Mavro - two of whom we have known for years.   
- Copyright 2010 The BigChilli Company Ltd.         

One of the many historical photographs assembled by author Colin Hastings - this is Bangkok's original Roxy Bar, which was located on Patpong II.

         Anyone having any interest in the history of the Night Entertainment Scene in Bangkok will be interested in obtaining a copy of this issue of Big Chilli.   We found our copy at the Kinokuniya, but only after asking.   The sales girl then surreptitiously slipped into the back room, suddenly reappearing with a plastic-wrapped virgin copy.   (No, we don't know the story behind all this furtiveness........)   Failing that, interested parties can likely, or perhaps, possibly, obtain a copy from Big Chilli by emailing them at the address on the inside cover of their magazine.   (Don't ask.... we do not have reprint rights....)


          This month's Midnight Hour "Thai Smile" goes to an office assistant in Krung Thep.

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Many Thanks,
William R Morledge

 Historical Minutiae Dept.

Papong's Flotilla-of-One

Dear Sir,

         A frequent visitor to Bangkok, and a 'regular' at Executive Lounge in years past (I maintained my own bottle of Cognac there at one point), it was a sad day indeed when I saw your photos of it's demise.   I noticed in the last photo however, that they might have demolished the wrong building.   The building behind with the graffiti guitar looks like it is about to pitch forward and crush all beneath it.   Are they demolishing the entire area?

Colin P.
Greetings, Colin P.,

         Your eye is sharper than ours.   What you have espied, however, is not a collapsing building, but the stern of a very large boat.   Yes, you heard correctly.   This is the rear of a once-popular, long-extinct Thai restaurant called "The Bat Boat", the 'bow' of which used to face the small soi connecting Patpong 1 and Patpong 2.   (Long time residents will remember Bernard Trink's references in his Nite Owl columns to "Soi Bat Boat".)   Most of the old restaurant was demolished years ago - we have no idea why they did not also demolish this portion.

         In answer to your last query, no, they are not demolishing the entire area.   However, it looks like the area that was once the Executive Lounge is being absorbed by the larger hotel and office building currently under renovation there (home of the old Red Parrot).

'Boge' Hartman

  • Email and "ASK" - -   Click Here
  •           We can answer virtually any (reasonable) question on the Expat Night Entertainment Scene in Bangkok - be it Historical or very recent.   Send us an e-mail and we will do our best to answer you soonest.
    'Boge' Hartman
    Historical Research
    * Zootramp Publications

    Let the November 2010 Follies  begin...
    BANKOK EYES' Expat Night Scene.

      PATPONG  I  

                Last month we noted that the King's Corner A Go-Go had closed for renovations, and we had antcipated that they would be open by now.   Apparently the renovations are of a major proportion.   Hopefully they will be reopening some time this month.
      PATPONG  I  

      PATPONG  II  

    Door Art Of The Month
                   Great "Door Art" can come from the most unlikely of places.   From a bar beer?   Yes.   From a bathroom door at a bar beer?   Yes.   This simulated stained glass window at Chicken Divine bar beer had caught our attention a few months back, and we were finally able to photograph it in what might be close to appropriate light.   

      PATPONG  II  

                Chill Chill, up on The Ramp, has done the Big Chill on us, fading into the night without so much as a 'goodbye'.   May they find things more to their liking a little further on down the road a piece.
      PATPONG  II  

                The Rig 1 Gold up on The Ramp on Patpong II looked darker than a poisoned well when we passed by the other evening - however, one of our sources on the ground tells us that there is a good chance they will be reopening soon.   We will keep all advised.   
      PATPONG  II  

                Pinocchio's Lady & Ladyboy oral services bar is once again closed.   As they have a history of temporary closures, we won't remove them permanently from our rolls just yet.   Should they reopen, we shall advise.....

      PATPONG  II  

      SOI  COWBOY  
                If there had been a "Best Halloween Celebrations" prize awarded to an expat Night Entertainment Area in Bangkok this year, then Soi Cowboy would have won, hands-down.   Ghouls and ghosts actually started appearing the night before - giving rise to the fear that Halloween could evolve into a 3-day affair like Songkran.......
    Halloween becomes a family affair as mama witch tends to the special make-up needs of little miss witch at the Long Gun (Lucky Star Cocktail Lounge).

    Cowboy 2 A Go-Go went all out - lights, decorations and plenty of ghouls and ghosts.....

    The Baccara had a street-full of witches to gather in the passing customers early on Halloween night.

                Even this spirit house took on an ominous glow on Halloween night..........

      SOI  COWBOY  

     NANA  PLAZA  
                As advertised, Bunnies has opened up in the old Cat House digs on the second floor.   They are now enclosed, and are basically a 'lounge', however management has indicated that they should be going "A Go-Go" in two to three months.   Welcome them to the machine.
      NANA  PLAZA  

                The mini-bar beer @ Lift has risen from its crypt to resume business as usual.   Well, almost as usual - they are even smaller than they were last go-round.   They are located under the escalator at ground level.   May they continue to rock.

      NANA  PLAZA  



    Poverty For Dummies

                In spite of the unseemly title, Get Rich Quick English For Bar Girls is a rather thick palm-pilot of useful English phrases which ladies-of-the-evening might likely use in on-the-ground situations.   Phrases are written in English, Thai, and Thai-phonetic - (when read, sounds like English).   We tested some of the bar girls on reading out the Thai-phonetic phrases, and each time the sentences came out in, well, at least understandable 'English'.   The owner of the above well-thumbed tome noted that an old mamasan comes around every few weeks selling them to the girls at their places of employment - Baht 150 per.....

      NANA  PLAZA  

      SOI  KATOEY  
                The Souvlaki, despite it's stated "Greek Grill" neon, is now a bar.   And a well-appointed one, at that.   May they keep on keeping on.

                Hookers was a little late getting off the ground, but the wait was well worth it.   Eye-candy staff and a well appointed interior lounge with soft red-glow lighting makes it one of the more comfortable Nitespots on Soi Dead Artists.   May the Fates deal them nothing but aces and faces.


                Popping up from out of the ashes of the Vincent Van Gogh much sooner than anyone thought possible, the improbably named Survey Entertainment (Survey Entertainment Co. Ltd.) has rolled out it's red carpet for one and all.   There is an 'outdoor' area in front, presumably for smokers, with a much-unchanged interior lounge - including an upstairs pool table.   Welcome them to the neon jungle.


                The Sazanka Massage, while still lit up, has relocated to new digs outside of Washington Square.   Wish them well at their new location.

                AS Massage has taken over the reins from the now defunct Wonderful Massage Place.   Special services remain basically unchanged.   We note there is also a much smaller AS Massage on Soi 11 - any relation, we wonder?   Wish them infinite happy-endings as they cast their dice against the pitted wall of Fate.

                Mash Pool & Darts was flying the Jolly Roger during Halloween - but within, no pirates, just good pool.
       QUEEN'S  PARK  PLAZA  - SOI  22

      SOI  EDEN  
                We hope we are mistaken, but it looks like J Hong have stuffed their last chit in the cup and called, "Time!" for the last time.   Only dead leaves and scraps of old paper sworled in the shadows as we passed by the other evening.....
      SOI  EDEN    SUKHUMVIT  SOI  7/1

                It looks like not one, but two new Nitespots are now under construction in Soi Eden.   We shall, of course, provide further on these developments in future editions....
      SOI  EDEN    SUKHUMVIT  SOI  7/1

                After more than three months renovating the old Future Boys, the brand-new Ocean Boy has opened it's doors to the public.   As with the other Nite Venues in the Twilight Zone, it is a gay bar.   We understand from sources on the ground that it has 'military backing'.   Welcome them to the sharkpool.



    Bangkok Eyes jumps back in time to have a look at who was new - and who was through.   We'll be willing to bet that many of you "Old Bangkok Hands" will be reminded of some bars you'd almost forgotten.   (We also will be willing to bet you WON'T EVEN REMEMBER an even greater number....)
    10 YEARS AGO  :
          Ten years ago, the second-floor Cleopatra Bar A Go-Go added a "King's" to the front of their name - their neon then reading; "King's Cleopatra Bar".   (Just in case anyone was wondering who was in charge....)   The "Cleopatra" no longer exists, it was torn down and rebuilt - reopening as the King's Corner Poolhouse Restaurant, which stands at that location today.
    PATPONG  II -   2000

          A decade ago the Obsession reopened after a one-month 'renovation'.   It was reported that this was the turning point for it becoming a katoey bar.   It remains at that location today.
    NANA  PLAZA -   2000

          The Eivissa opened it's doors to the public a decade ago.   They took over the reins from the Que Pasa ?.   Those digs are not now being occupied by a Night Entertainment Venue.
    SOI  KATOEY  - (SILOM  SOI  4) -   2000

          A decade ago this month, Enterprise Pub stuck it's last chit in the cup, and called it a 'wrap'.   That location is not now a Night Entertainment Venue.
    SOI  KATOEY  - (SILOM  SOI  4) -   2000

    CLINTON  PLAZA   - 2000

    Clinton Plaza
    Night Entertainment Area
    ( November 1998 - 7 June 2003 )

          Checkpoint Charlie's indoor-outdoor bar, (located in the central common area of the main building) added an "Exhibition" to their neon this month, a decade ago, causing some confusion as to what the real name of the Venue actually was.

    CLINTON  PLAZA   - 2000



    [ Check out Bangkok's own source of evil spraycans, etc, at Montana Land <link>. ]<

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

    Graffiti #421
    About Me
    6 ft. high x 23 ft.

    Graffiti #422
    6 ft. high x 17 ft.

    Graffiti #423
    6 ft. high x 13 ft.)

    Graffiti #424
    Duck Sanctuary
    6 ft. high x 20 ft.

    Graffiti #425
    Hunter S. T.
    6 ft. high x 9 ft.

    Graffiti #426
    Silver Lining
    6 ft. high x 19 ft.

    Graffiti #427
    Un Pogo Loco
    6 ft. high x 11 ft.

    Graffiti, Graffiti , and more Graffiti - Bangkok's original 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)

     --- Datzit Fernow

    William R. Morledge

    Copyright 2002 - 2010,   BANGKOK E YES /

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