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Bangkok's Night Scene In Review


Soi Darling
- SOI 12's GOT NEON....

01 August 2011
William R. Morledge

August's Nightlife News
Bangkok's Bars - 10 Years Ago  
A Smile in the Land of Smiles.
Ask Us ! - Cowboy on Cowboy
Graffiti  -BKK's Midnite Vandals - #69

         Midnight Hour visits an old favorite this month : Soi Darling.   This is Soi 12, Sukhumvit Road to the uninitiated.   It had been a while (years) since we wandered down the Soi, so we were pleasantly surprised to see the changes.

They are not kidding - early of an evening, just about sundown, one can observe a steady stream of blonde mem-farang heading in to report for duty....


         Once upon a time, back in the late 60's and early 70's, Soi 12 sported only the Darling Massage.   Later, many years later, Cabbages & Condoms opened within (a restaurant, but with several sidelines, to include a reported abortion clinic), but still the Soi was nothing to write home about.   Then, many years after that, Crepes & Co came to town, but, also a restaurant, didn't really contribute to a "Night Entertainment Scene".

Insomnia is mostly (but not entirely) a 'Thai' late night 'pub'.


The Crepes & Co is a long-time resident of Soi 12, unchanged in many years, with it's own following.


Darling was the first Night Entertainment Venue to put down stakes on the Soi.   It was, and is, one of the larger steam-and-cream 'fishbowl' massage parlors built in the 1960's.


If the Darling is a large massage parlor, then Lavana is a Massage Imporium.   It takes five minutes to read their 'menu' of massages - and we doubt they have left anything out.....


Cabbages & Condom's has grown from Meechai's original small restaurant.   It is now nothing less than an 'estate' - with Coffee & Condoms coffee shop located all the way in the back forty.


"Little Korea"

Sukhumvit Plaza, Soi 12


- (See Map, Above)

         Before the construction of Sukhumvit Plaza at the top of the Soi, there was no change in the entire Soi.   However, once the complex was filled with tennants, to include Nitespots, there was a concurrent increase in interest in Soi 12.   Many know Sukhumvit Plaza at the top of Soi Darling as "Little Korea", or "Koreatown", and for good reason - virtually all the shops and Night Entertainment are geared toward the Korean tourist and resident.   Below, we review the Korean Night Entertainment in this complex.

Tomato is a Korean club located at the top (4th floor) along with Genki Massage.   (No escalator service - must use the elevator at the rear).


S.B.S is ostensibly a music pub located on the second floor.


The Rock Under Bar is a straight up bar - with occasional live music.   On the 3rd floor, by escalator or elevator.


The Paradise is a 'men's club' and 'karaoke' for Korean gentlemen - located on the 3rd floor.


The King And I Spa and Sauna have their main entrance at ground level on Soi Darling, however the sauna can be accessed from upstairs in the atrium.   They also have a small annex on the 4th floor.


The Kangaroo Club is located at the rear of the ground floor, on your right going in.



          Our Thai Smile this month is no longer part of the Bangkok scene...

? Old

Any old PHOTOS of
Bangkok's Nightlife ?

Please CLICK HERE and send to us for publication.   

Many Thanks,
William R Morledge

 Historical Minutiae Dept.

How Critical The Mass?


      Wonderfull website, especially for us former "old Bangkok hands', but a quickie on your maps & histories section.   What exactly do you mean by a place reaching "critical mass" - it seems to me that this would be difficult or impossible to determine in a meaningful way?

      Keep up the good work.

Hello, B,

         We have actually provided explanations of 'Critical Mass' several times over the years, but as it seems it is soon to become a FAQ (Frequently Asked Question) it is certainly worth revisiting.   Midnight Hour realized not long after we started up that we would not be able to report on the entire Nightlife Scene in Bangkok (as it applies to expats) - there is just too much going on, and it is spread out over the entire 'mega-opolis' that is Sin City.

         We noticed that a given area, once it has enough different Night Venues, restaurants, and the like, it becomes a self-sustaining 'draw' to the expats in the community.   This, imperically, works out at about a dozen Nitespots - and we emphasize, that it is a plus-or-minus figure - and to a certain extent, arbitrary.   It becomes a place that expats will come to spend the evening (or at least a big part of it).   We also realized that we had to limit the physical size of a Night Entertainment Area, to be 'contiguous' - something that could be explored by walking (once the car is parked, or once a nightcrawler has disembarked from the taxi).   

         Once an area reaches Critical Mass - and is seen to be in a 'contiguous' area, and frequented by expats, we commence monthly coverage.

Best of luck,
'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 August 2011 Follies  begin...
    BANKOK EYES' Expat Night Scene.

      PATPONG  I  

                The 3rd floor Red Parrot Pool Hall, has, as mentioned in the previous edition, entrances on both Patpong 1 and Patpong 2, with identical signage at each entrance.
      PATPONG  I  

                The Nice Massage
    (Await photo)
      PATPONG  I  

                The Queen's Castle upstairs show bar is once again closed down.   Closures (now a regular 'feature') last from one to two months.
    - File photo
      PATPONG  I  

      PATPONG  II  
                The King Corner Net, up on The Ramp, has closed down.   Either on-line gambling is not popular, or it is illegal, or both.
      PATPONG  II  

                Got to hand it to the Black Pagoda - they definitely have the knack of 'promotion' down to a fine art....   They are located on the 3rd floor bridge overlooking PPII.
      PATPONG  II  

                The The Rock, also up on The Ramp has re-closed down.   Frequent closings these last couple of years - not a good sign..... m

    - File photo
      PATPONG  II  

      SOI  COWBOY  
                The Apache Beer Bar is not only closed down, it is torn down.   The 'Apache', at least in name, has experienced several incarnations - so let's not count it out yet....
      SOI  COWBOY  

                The last thing Deja Vu needed was more neon - in fact there was no more room for more neon.   So they replaced some....   Still looking good - in a LasVegas-sort-of-way....
      SOI  COWBOY  

     NANA  PLAZA  
                Rainbow 3 has got some new neon up - much more visible than any previous.   This was made possible when they covered the doorway to the Villa Bar (previously adjacent, then absorbed by Rainbow 3).

      NANA  PLAZA  

      SOI  KATOEY  
                The Lert Rot À-La-Carte has some new neon up - this time in English - B B House Pub & Restaurant.   And they are still bringing in the customers.   May they persevere.
    SOI  KATOEY  - (SILOM  SOI  4)

                Sphinx has redone the outside area to accomodate more custom.   The decorations are first class.   Keep on rocking.
    SOI  KATOEY  - (SILOM  SOI  4)

    Door Art Of The Month

                   The Napoleon takes the "Door Art" prize this month with some real art.   With none other than 'Napoleon' himself.   Keep on keeping on.

                Thanks Massage has taken over the reins from Candy Massage & Spa.   May they continue to slip and slide.

                Last month we noted that Hookers was closed.   As it is still closed, with motorcycles parked in front of the door, we must conclude that they are indeed out of business.   Ashes to ashes, so be it, then.
    - File photo           

                Closed indefinitely for the ongoing renovations is the Peep Inn short time hotel - located on the ground floor of the Peep Inn Complex.
    - File photo           

                7ème Ciel Fashion Massage open only last month, has reverted to it's old self, the AS Massage.   Wish them success as they re-enter the fray, however, they could do something to improve the nearly-invisible signage.....

                The The Puss Inn Pub bar is yet the latest Nitespot to fall headlong into the abyss of Washington Square.   We hope they find a soft landing elsewhere....
    - File photo           

                The new bar beer we noted last month has been completed - and opened.   They have yet to nail up any neon - so (rather than rely on hearsay) we will have to advise later on a name .   Welcome them to the neon jungle.

                It looks like the Bada Bing (QPP branch) has finally crashed and burned.   The signage, and all, has been removed.   We hope they find things more to their liking a little further on down the road a piece....
    - File photo           

                Platinum is yet again closed - and with the Bada Bing also closed (same owner?) they may not be reopening this time around....
    - File photo           

      SOI  EDEN  
                The Blue Lightning (a.k.a. Cafe Des Sports) was closed down when we passed by last Saturday night - so, what, then, are all the party balloons doing up?   We'll check back, and get back atcha.
      SOI  EDEN    SUKHUMVIT  SOI  7/1

                Boo Sa Bar, one of the seminal Soi Eden bars has closed it's doors, and a lot of the furnishings have been removed.   End of an era?   We shall keep you posted should it pop back out of it's crypt....
      SOI  EDEN    SUKHUMVIT  SOI  7/1

                The Ocean-Boy has renovated it's front porch - into a bar beer - not yet too well attended.   Time will tell if this was a worthwhile undertaking.



    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  :
          A decade ago, Supergirls, the upstairs all-nude A Go-Go Showbar, closed down for 'renovations'.   They would soon reopen, however today there is no bar at that location.   Of historical interest, their real name was Blue Angel Bar.
    PATPONG   1 -  August 2001

          Ten years ago, Kool Spot Pub reopened after a one-month closure for 'renovations'.   It was located just past the Telephone Pub on the left as you walk in ( currently, there is no Night Entertainment Venue at that location).
    SOI  KATOEY  - (SILOM  SOI  4) -   August 2001

          This month, ten years ago, the Shadow (Crazy Jack's) reopened after a brief renovation.   Those digs are currently occupied by Cocktail Club.
    SOI  COWBOY  -   August 2001

          One decade ago, the Vixens Nightclub (up on the second floor) closed down for a renovation. They would soon reopen as Vixens / Rock Hard .   The Balcony Bar & Hotel currently occupies that real estate.
    NANA  PLAZA  -   August 2001

          A decade ago, this month, the Mondrian opened in Sub-soi Wallstreet (Sub-soi 3).   The Lookie-Lookie now occupies that shop.
    SOI  DEAD  ARTISTS- (SUKHUMVIT  SOI  33) -   August 2001

    ASOKE  PLAZA  /  ASOKE  CORNER - (previously Cowboy Annex) - 2001

    Asoke Corner / Asoke Plaza
    Night Entertainment Area
    ( August 2000 - August 2005 )

                 Ten years ago, Sanuk 1 & 2 bar beers opened in the 6-Pak sala in the rear Asoke Corner area.

                 A decade ago, the Playboy Vadsana bar beer opened in Asoke Corner.

                 Also in the rear Asoke Corner area, and also a decade ago, the Princess 23 Bar opened - it started out as the Crazy Girls 23.

                 Ten years ago, the Lolita's Pool & Tarts Pool Bar took over from an already-existing snooker room.   Owned by Lolita's, which was just across the parking lot in the Asoke Corner area.

                 A decade back, the Kiss Bar bar beer in the front Asoke Plaza area, became the Kiss Kiss Bar - still a bar beer.

    ASOKE  PLAZA  /  ASOKE  CORNER - (previously "COWBOY ANNEX") - August 2001

    TOBACCO  ROAD   - August 2001

    Tobacco Road (Soi Zero)
    Night Entertainment Area
    ( ~ August 1988 - 9 August 2006 )

                Ten years ago, this month, the Mad Dogs bar beer closed down.   They were located at the front, two back, on your left - as you walked in.

    TOBACCO  ROAD  - August 2001




             Perhaps one of the most extraneous and arcane forms of Night Entertainment is that of graffiti.   Often illegal, frequently artistic, occasionally humorous, and most of the time controversial.   Graffiti is not a form of 'entertainment' that all will enjoy.   Many see it as vandalism - plain and simple, while others see it as an art form, or 'art brut' - a street sub-set of Modern Art.

             The "Graffiti Artist" as hyped in Hollywood film is the lone-wolf who steals into the night dressed in camo, wearing butyl-soled rock-climbing shoes with cans of spraypaint strapped to his torso - someone who, from all outward appearances, could easily be mistaken for a suicide bomber on a skateboard.   By the light of a full moon he works feverishly throughout the night, trying to finish his graphic social protest before he is seen by pry-eyed up-tight neighbors, or a passing squad car, or the first light of dawn, whichever comes first.   In one Hollywood film a graffiti writer was lowered off a bridge by his feet to create a spectacular and very irritating (to the police) work-of-art while suspended upside-down.   The reality, however, is much more mundane than that, as may be seen in Banksey's latest award-winning film, Exit Through The Gift Shop <link>.

             Nevertheless, even with the shattering of the 'mystique' of the graffiti writer, as graffiti becomes more mainstream (appearing in renown galleries, and auctioned at famous auction houses), the works produced are not diminished in any way - colorful, twisted, irreverent, vulgar, disturbing, esoteric, thought-provoking, often strikingly beautiful in their own weird way, and almost always original.   

             The artist gets off on accomplishing the works.   The viewer either gets off on enjoying the work, or is offended by it.   Either of which pleases the artist.   If you are one of those who enjoys such, this column is for you.

    [ Check out Bangkok's dedicated Graffiti page at " BKK"  <link>. ]


    Taki 183

    - Photo source: NY Times        

             Last Thursday night in New York City, publisher HarperCollins had what they were calling a "signing party" for their Spring-launched “The History of American Graffiti,” (now available on Amazon for $26.40).   The book itself is a new and thorough undertaking of the American graffiti movement by the duo Roger Gastman and Caleb Neelon.

             The signing party had an added star attraction - none other than tagger and graffiti artist Taki 183, there by request of co-author Gastman, who finally tracked him down after a two year search.   It goes without saying that Taki features prominently in the Gastman/ Neelon tome.   Taki, as you may know, was highlighted in an earlier New York Times article, 'Taki 183' Spawns Pen Pals, in 1971.   The article created a furor of curiosity and a plethora of tagging imitators - not to mention a flood of follow-on publicity.

    The History of American Graffiti - the book.
    - Photo source:        

             Taki's real name is Dimitrius (with no given last name, even at this late date), but once the book signing began, he, rather than the authors, was deluged with requests to sign the inside-covers.   The more recent New York Times article (this week), citing their own earlier 1971 article, claims there is agreement among urban historians that Taki is responsible for the modern graffiti movement.   These are slightly brave words, as other urban historians not associated with the New York Times also site graffiti pioneers Julio 204 (often sited as 'first'), as well as Frank 207 and Joe 136.   Taki himself, acknowledges he was not 'the first', also giving a nod to Julio 204 (whose real identity was never known).   Nevertheless, Taki (because of the 1971 article) was the catalyst - after that article, things went viral, to include a massive popularization of graffiti writing overseas.

             Taki, in "real life", is a contented family man, father of two - and downplays his role as graffiti pioneer.   Reflecting on times of old, he cited the constant inundation of political posters and stickers put up by the various political aspirants of the day as his rationale, his excuse, for tagging virtually all over New York.   But in reality, he states, he wasn't motivated by any burning political agenda, and wasn't overly politically aware; his job as a messenger during those years provided him 'opportunity', and his 'motive' was, "...there was nothing else to do, and it was easy ...we were just killing time".   

             Having long ago given up tagging to pursue a college education, and eventually a career in restoring classic automobiles - Taki's only remaining tie to his old life is his website ( <link> ), where he now tells his story and would be pleased to sell you one or more of his limited-edition prints for $75 per copy.   He, however, recently allowed himself the luxury of travelling to Los Angeles, to see -and be seen at- the Museum of Contemporary Art’sArt in the Streets” - yet another comprehensive historical review of graffiti - which, not coincidentally, was showing several of his works.

    The Grimaldi Forum in Monaco
    - Photo : Grimaldi Forum - all rights reserved        

             But Taki's fame as one of the pioneers of the modern graffiti movement is not limited to the US of A, by any means.   From July 21st until August 19th the Grimaldi Forum in the Principality of Monaco will be featuring 400 major graffiti works representative of the modern graffiti movement in the 20th Century.   For those unaware of the Grimaldi Forum, it is an immense modern Congress and Cultural Center which often has prominent gallery showings.   Collector Alain-Dominique Gallizia will be one of the major contributors to this "Monegasque" showing, displaying many of his acquisitions for the first time.   Other first-time exhibits will be works by Rammelzee, an American master-artist who, before his death last year, had a profound influence on 'Pressurism'.   The entire, combined, gallery presentation is called "Graffiti Art, 40 Years of Pressurization" ("Pressure of the spray can and the street," according to organizers).   We are not surprised to learn that Taki 183 is prominently featured there as well.

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

    Graffiti #484
    Toof Jive
    8 ft. high x 10 ft.

    Graffiti #485
    Glass Fred
    8 ft. high x 13 ft.

    Graffiti #486
    Paper Lotus IV
    8 ft. high x 10 ft.

    Graffiti #487
    All Trashed Out
    6 ft. high x 13 ft.

    Graffiti #488
    Dezzy Loo
    8 ft. high x 10 ft.

    Graffiti #489
    6 ft. high x 10 ft.

    Graffiti #490
    Trash On Trash

    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 - 2011,   BANGKOK EYES /

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