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Bangkok's Night Scene In Review


Soi Udomsuk

01 December 2011
William R. Morledge

December's Nightlife News
Bangkok's Bars - 10 Years Ago  
A Smile in the Land of Smiles.
Ask Us ! - Flood Hype - II
Graffiti  -BKK's Midnite Vandals - #74

         We have recently heard from a number of regular readers that Soi Udomsuk has "Nightlife" - but that it is mostly geared to local Thai patrons.   At first, we were going to ignore this as not really relevant to Midnight Hour readers, but then, on the other hand, what if we were missing out on something?   After all, we have surprised ourselves in the past (Sri Nakarin South, for example).   To make a long story short - we went for a look-see this month.

The Rao Cocktail Lounge is an exception to what one is likely to find elsewhere on Soi Udomsuk - it is a full-on Night Entertainment Emporium, often showcasing mainstream stars from the Thai entertainment world.   In the photo above, they advertise popular singer Takkatann (Grasshopper) to sing on 24 November (unfortunately one night only).


         Udomsuk is located in the south of Bangkok, almost to the Bang Na-Trat Highway, stretching exactly between Sukhumvit Road and Sri Nakarin Road.   It is unusual in a few ways - first it is a 'Soi' (Soi 103 Sukhumvit) and it is a 'Road' (officially designated Udomsuk Road), so whether you say, Soi Udomsuk, or Udomsuk Road, you will be correct.   Another interesting feature is it is an almost perfectly straight East-West road of almost exactly 4.0 kilometers in length.

Due to the complexity and large area of this map, we have connected names to actual locations with red lines through a focal point to maintain clarity of viewing.   The connecting lines remain in original order, by group, and individual Nitespots can be identified as to location.   Many names appearing in 'English' on the map will appear only in 'Thai' at the actual venue.


         Although there are approximately 37 Night Entertainment Venues on Soi Udomsuk, it must be remembered that they are scattered randomly along a four-kilometer stretch, and, with one exception, would not be considered to be a part of a Night Entertainment Area.    Many of these 37 Nitespots are open-fronted single shophouse 'karaoke' or 'khrua' (kitchens) that serve alcoholic beverages, and are lit with one or two strands of Christmas lights.   While technically qualifying as Night Entertainment Venues, they are of little interest to the average Expat nightcrawler.

Life is a full-service spa, and would appeal to farang as well as locals.


         The exception we noted above is between Udomsuk Soi's 56 and 58 - and this area has the potential to become a true Entertainment Area.   (See yellow area on the above map.)   The Nitespots along the main street-front are not terribly impressive, but on seeing flashes of neon down one of the wide driveways, we went inside to explore.   There is a huge, (almost) deserted field behind the shops fronting on the Soi (they also have interior access), where four additional, more sophisticated Nitespots are situated.   This nearly-empty land area could easily support at least 20 additional Night Entertainment Venues, AND have space left over for parking.

The Jamaica is a mostly outdoor beer garden style Nitespot, with local singers performing most nights.   (Thai music, not Reggae....)


         So, at least, one part of Soi Udomsuk, as it now exists, has the potential to obtain the required self-sustaining "critical mass" and become a "Night Entertainment Area" in it's own right.   It hasn't happened yet, but the trend is - that this large amount of empty land - this vacuum - will likely soon be filled.   

The Fun is a Thai-style pub.   Open to all, of course.


         Should it eventuate that this area is developed into a Night Entertainment Area, however, it is virtually certain that there will be little appeal to the Expat community of night-lifers.   There is very little English spoken on Soi Udomsuk, and the style of entertainment is geared toward the Thais.   This is not to be construed as a negative recommendation, however, as there are a good many of our readers who are able to enjoy themselves in a "Thai Thai" environment.   And, having said that, there are a few (very few) larger, more "international style" Nitespots there, such as Rao Cocktail Lounge at the Sri Nakarin intersection, the Life Spa and the Nirand Grand Hotel Massage Parlor.

The Living Room is spacious outdoor Beer Garden with live Thai entertainment.   A pitcher of beer - Baht 100- - standard fare for the Soi.


         For those of you interested in a change-of-pace, and feel like exploring Soi Udomsuk, your best bet would be to take the Sky Train (BTS) out to the new Udomsuk Station on Sukhumvit Road, and head out from there.


Noir Artist Coles shows
at Bed Supperclub

         Here comes the night.....   Bangkok's own, Chris Coles, will have a showing of his unique Bangkok Nightscene art at Sukhumvit Soi 11's Bed Supperclub from 8 December until 18 December.   Many of his latest works will be on display.   A "Not-To-Be-Missed" for the Bangkok nightcrawler.


          This month's Thai Smile goes to one of last month's Halloween demons on Soi Cowboy.....

? 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.

Bangkok Flood Hype - II

Hi Will,

      I ..... wanted to thank you for your open letter regarding the recent floods.   I know, as I am sure you do too, of many businesses really struggling as tourists are not heading over in droves.   Here in Australia, the Government has issued warnings to tourists to stay away.   My Thai friends are upset as not all of Bangkok is flooded, so I am hoping that leading up to Christmas, tourists will head back there..   .....look forward to reading Bangkok Eyes every month, so keep up the good work.

Kind regards,
Greetings, J,

      Thanks for a most kind letter, part of which we have reprinted above.   Although you have posed no 'question' to us, we received quite a bit of similar feedback on last month's "the flood" article.   We find it most interesting that the Australian Government has issued a travel notice WARNING AGAINST *  travel to Thailand.   Additionally, we have found both local and international Media (CNN, BBC) to be dangerously, if not outright criminally, negligent in reporting the flooding in the areas around Bangkok.   Most of inner Bangkok City never flooded, and the inundated areas around Bangkok are receding daily.   Most visitors to Bangkok, to include former visitors, will not go to, nor have ever been in, the areas that were hit by floods.

      Irresponsible travel warnings such as these have completely ignored the fact that virtually all of Thailand's other tourist destinations were not affected by the floods; Chieng Mai, Phu Ket, Koh Samui, Pattaya, etc.   It appears, however, that media sensationalism is losing out to the facts, and that tourism is on the upswing.   -And is likely to continue on a positive note, now that the beginning of the cool season is upon us.

* We note with dismay that even as of this writing (30 November 2011), the Australian Government, (that is to say, the shite-for-brains apparatchiks with their emu heads-in-the-sand) - through their official website, <link>  still have this to say about Thailand :

      * Exercise a normal degree of caution.
      * Exercise a high degree of caution
      * Reconsider your need to travel.
      * Do not travel.

      * Exercise normal safety precautions
      * Exercise a high degree of caution
      * Reconsider your need to travel
      * Do not travel

AREAS surrounding the PRA VIHARN (also known as Preah Vihear), Ta Kwai and Ta Muen Thom temples on Thai-Cambodia border
      * Exercise normal safety precautions
      * Exercise a high degree of caution
      * Reconsider your need to travel
      * Do not travel

      * Exercise normal safety precautions
      * Exercise a high degree of caution
      * Reconsider your need to travel
      * Do not travel

Will Morledge,
'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 December 2011 Follies  begin...
    BANKOK EYES' Expat Night Scene.

      PATPONG  I  

                After several months of darkened doorways, the old 2nd floor Queen's Castle has re-emerged as Nice Massage, a traditional massage parlor.   Note : this is now the second "Nice" massage parlor, the original just a few doors down.   Same owner, however (King's Group).   Welcome them to the sharkpool.
      PATPONG  I  

      PATPONG  II  
                Beating the odds, Black Pagoda remains ever-popular - in spite of it being suspended mid-air three stories above Patpong II.   Attractive, come-on graphics haven't hurt their appeal in the least.   Let the good times roll....
      PATPONG  II  

                Below, a "for-the-archives" pic of the Rig I, now that it has all it's new neon in place.   (Up on 'The Ramp'.)   Keep on keeping on.
      PATPONG  II  

                The Three Lady's, also up on 'The Ramp', has resurrected itself yet again.   All welcome back.
    - File photo        
      PATPONG  II  

                Against all odds.   Mike's Place has reopened yet again....   Welcome back to the vicissitudes.....
    - File photo        
      PATPONG  II  

      SOI  COWBOY  
    Door Art Of The Month

             The Lucky Star (say, 'Long Gun') has completed it's latest entry into the Soi's 'Vegas neon wars'.   Not that their old signage was that bad, they just needed to put something out- overhanging, like the rest....   Quality works - the best we've seen this month.

      SOI  COWBOY  

                The Long Gun's sister, Rawhide, is also redoing it's neon - to great effect.   A likely candidate for next month's "Door Art" award.   Same friendly faces.   A Go-Go the prime agendum, and still going full-throttle....
      SOI  COWBOY  

     NANA  PLAZA  
                The Nana Plaza is probably Bangkok's only Expat Night Entertainment Area to have a "community' Christmas tree.   A Merry Christmas to you, too.....

      NANA  PLAZA  

                The Nana Liquid Disco (successor to the Nana Disco at the Nana Hotel) is advertising in a big way in Nana Plaza.   Although it opens at 9:00 p.m., it is not really in competition with the NEP bars, in that it doesn't really get rocking "'till late".

      NANA  PLAZA  

      SOI  KATOEY  
                A 'for-the-archives' shot of Sphinx's new neon....   BAU (Business As Usual).
    SOI  KATOEY  - (SILOM  SOI  4)

                The For Fun is undergoing heavy interior renovations, and should be back in business by New Years.   (They are, however, continuing to serve drinks on their outside terrace.)
    SOI  KATOEY  - (SILOM  SOI  4)


                The S 33 Compact (Sukhumvit Hotel) has taken over the reins from the old Peep Inn Plaza.   In spite of dire predictions, the remaining Nitespots within that compound are still (at least for the time being), going pedal to the metal :
    - Nyan Nyan.
    - Strawberry Farm.
    - Hibari.
    - New Club Fushicho.
    - Joy.
    - Kocho Ran.
    - Zoo.

                Last month, we noted the closures of both Beavers and Hookers.   As per our promise, we have gone back for a re-check, and unfortunately they both remain closed - and heavily sandbagged.   We shall remove them from the rolls for now; hopefully they will reconstitute themselves in the near future.   Ashes to ashes - so be it, then.....

    - File photos           

                The Horse Says Moooo winebar & restaurant and the upstairs Zantana Spa have both reopened - having survived the floods that never were....   Welcome them back to the night follies.
    - File photo     

             Likewise the Tengoku Massage has also reopened after a brief closure last month, and seem to be going full-steam-ahead....
    - File photo           

             The Chip In Club has resurrected after almost a year in the shadows.   Welcome them back to the machine.

    A Race Against The Clock

    The Moulin Rouge has a novel form of the traditional "Happy Hour" that could lead to some serious good times....

                Another "for-the-archives" pic of the 52 Bar.   May they continue to rock.

                The Monkey Bizness bar beer, closed down for part of October, has reopened with a flair this last November.   The rock continues to rock...

      SOI  EDEN  
                In the beginning (of Soi 7/1) there was the Eden Club.   It is still there, still thriving.   It does, however, have a new bit of neon - displaying it's devilish mascot.   May they continue to slip and slide.....
      SOI  EDEN    SUKHUMVIT  SOI  7/1

                Five Star (Ha Dao) the Twilight Zone's only non-gay Nitespot, is undergoing massive renovations - hopefully reopening in time for New Years.   Hopefully without a name change.....   We'll keep an eye out, and advise y'all next issue.....
    - File photo        

                Balls - The Sports Bar - which seems to open every other month, is 'open' this month......
    - File photo        



    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, King's Cloud Cleopatra, up on the second floor, closed after only two months under that name.   In the months ahead, it would reopen as "Cleopatra" again.   There is no Nitespot at that location today, however renovations are currently ongoing - again, by the King's Group.
    PATPONG   2 -  December 2001

          Ten years ago, Eden Garden Kama Sutra closed again - however, it would reopen yet again in the ensuing months.   It was located on the ground floor, two levels under today's Red Parrot.   There is no Nitespot at that location today.
    PATPONG   2 -  December 2001

          A decade ago, Honey Moon (remember them?) opened up in the old Dandy Bar digs (remember them?).   Today, the Cactus Bar occupies that real estate.
    SOI   COWBOY -  December 2001

          Ten years ago, Rainbow 3 opened up on the 2nd floor between Titty Twisters and the Nana Guest House.   It is still there today (ten years already !?)
    NANA   PLAZA -  December 2001

          A decade ago, Exposure reclosed (deep in the Soi, next to the old Kool Spot).
    SOI   KATOEY -  December 2001

          Ten years ago this month, Hyper reopened (next to today's Telephone Pub).
    SOI   KATOEY -  December 2001

          A decade ago, Blue Sky Club reopened on the second floor of the Peep Inn Plaza after a brief one-month closure.   It is no longer there - the Peep Inn Plaza is soon to be renovating.
    SOI   SOI  DEAD  ARTISTS  -  December 2001

          Ten years ago, this month, The Office Bar opened in Sub-Soi 3.   It took over the reins of the then recently closed The Pinnacle.   It is still there today.
    SOI   SOI  DEAD  ARTISTS  -  December 2001

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

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

                 Ten years ago, 527 Bar bar beer opened up in the then recently closed down Kiss Kiss - located at the front of Asoke Plaza.

                 A decade ago, the V.R. Bar bar beer opened in what would become the '6-Pak' next door to Lolitas in Asoke Corner.

                 Also ten years ago, the Powell Pub opened in the old Friends Karaoke, also next door to Lolitas, but on the other side.

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

    CLINTON  PLAZA   - 2001

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

          A decade ago, Hollywood A Go Go East reopened it's doors.

    CLINTON  PLAZA   - December 2001

    TOBACCO  ROAD   -  2001

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

                Ten years ago, this month, the Susie's Bar bar beer closed.   They were located half-way down on your right, as you walked in.

                Ten years ago, this month, the Lucky Luke's Bar (ex; Nui Lucky Bar) bar beer reopened.
    TOBACCO  ROAD  - December 2001



    INTRO To "Wall Candy" - (OR, 'Graffiti For Dummies')

             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>. ]


    Spraycan Berlusconi

    Such artwork as this, only Banksy can be suspected.....   Here, Berlusconi, as Napoleon, rides a horse with a hog's head, and pulls a cart of Disney-like mouse bimbos.
    - From several sources        

             Silvio Berlusconi, Italy's longest reigning post-war Prime Minister is stepping down.   His political record is impressive - he headed three of approximately 20 governments since the end of WWII.    Further, he is third longest reigning Prime Minister in Italy's entire history, after dictator Benito Mussolini and Giovanni Giolitti.   So why have graffiti artists gone to such great pains to attack him?

          Well, for starters, "The Knight" - as he is nicknamed - is somewhat less than chivalrous - his armor more than slightly less than shining.   Berlusconi is first and foremost a businessman - politics has been his toy; politics and the premiership were the biggest items on his shopping list of goodies.   Forbes had him down for a net worth of about US$9 billion in 2010.   But it wasn't a big pile of money that made him the dark knight of Europe, it was how he got it.   And what he did with it once he had it.   In hindsight, money bought power, power begat more money, and then corrupted totally.   Berlusconi was criticized for his dominance over the Italian media whilst he held political office.   It wasn't just 'dominance', however, it was coercion of others while he supported his brother in his own media ventures - to wit, his company Mediaset remains the largest in Italy.   After promising to divest himself of interests in Mediaset after his election, he never even entertained the notion to honor that election promise.   To date, it remains the predominant, purple and swollen example of his several conflicts of interest.
    - Contributor does not claim to be source        

             If it were just a matter of raising the ire of international leaders from Obama to QEII with tasteless and tactless remarks, that would be one thing, but considering the depth of his involvement with the dark side, that kind of 'small change' doesn't even register on the meter.   Berlusconi was, and is also heavily invested in the fields of television, cinema, finance, banking, insurance, and even sport (owner of AC Milan).   In the course of pursuing these business interests, for the most part while still in office, he has been brought up on insider trading, false accounting and tax fraud, as well as corruption and bribery of both police officers and judges.   Add to that - giving false testimony and multiple real estate scandals, where auditors could not determine the sources of his profits.

             But all of this is relatively tame compared to his being charged with involvement in the international drug trade, and his dealings with the Mafia - the wiretap revelations of his conversations with Mafia boss Giuseppe Guttadauro were a news sensation, and would have ended the career of a lesser monied, lesser influential person, and would likely have ended him up in prison.
    Roughly translated: "You pay for the Crisis !"
    - Contributor does not claim to be source        

             In the international political arena, it was revealed that while in office, he had made secret, behind-closed-doors agreements with Russia's Putin and Libya's Ghaddaffi for the securing of petrochemicals solely for Italy - much to the surprise and objection of his European trading partners.   While on the home front, he joined Licio Gelli's secret quasi-Masonic lodge Propaganda 2.   A scandal arose when police discovered that Propaganda 2 aimed to change the Italian political system to a more authoritarian regime through a 'quiet revolution'.

             His administrations were also heavily tainted by several sex scandals, to include most recently, the blatant procuring of foreign, under-aged prostitute Karima el-Mahroug.   Valter Lavitola, who was actually stupid enough to attempt to blackmail Berlusconi on his sexual transgressions was told by Berlusconi: "The only thing they can say about me is that I screw around....   Now they're spying on me, controlling my phone calls.   I don't give a fuck.   In a few months ....I'll be leaving this shit country that makes me sick."
    - Contributor does not claim to be source        

             All the while, the Teflon-coated Berlusconi continued to skate on all legal charges brought against him - he kept receiving amnesties, acquittals and statute of limitations dismissals, much to the amazement of the rest of the world.   His currently ongoing, and still unresolved, court trials are:
          - The attempted bribing of lawyer David Mills (corruption to influence a judiciary sentence).
          - Corruption of senators of the Romano Prodi government camp.
          - Paying an underage girl, Karima el-Mahroug, for sex, and abuse of office relating to her release from detention.
    - Contributor does not claim to be source        

             If, as Waylon Jennings said, 'All we do or say is all we ever will be," then have a listen to what Berlusconi said in 2003, during an interview with Nicholas Farrell, then editor of The Spectator magazine, "Mussolini had been a benign dictator who did not murder opponents but sent them 'on holiday'."   Well, Mr Berlusconi, now that you are stepping down, have a nice 'holiday'......

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


    Graffiti #512
    More Crimes
    7 ft. high x 11 ft.

    Graffiti #513
    Switched Baby
    7 ft. high x 9 ft.

    Graffiti #514
    Down Boy
    6 ft. high x 11 ft.

    Graffiti #515
    Morphing More
    7 ft. high x 12 ft.

    Graffiti #516
    Silver Swivel
    7 ft. high x 11 ft .

    Graffiti #517
    Redwood Shrooms
    5 ft. high x 8 ft.

    Graffiti #518
    Highly Mirrored
    7 ft. high x 20 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 - 2011,   BANGKOK EYES /

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