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Bangkok's Night Scene In Review


Patpong's Glory Days

01 January 2011
William R. Morledge

January's Nightlife News
Bangkok's Bars - 10 Years Ago  
A Smile in the Land of Smiles.
Ask Us ! - Whence The Cellar Bar?
Graffiti  -BKK's  Midnite Vandals - #63

         This month, prompted by a several readers' letters (one of which is found below), we will endeavor to answer specific questions raised and to address -yet again- the question of Patpong In It's Prime".

The letter:

Two places I've heard about but never seen - the Star of Love in Patpong (....not the Star of Light, I've been there), and Pussy Galore.   On my prowls I haven't seen either.

Also, is Lipstick ever open?   Or Peppermint?   Their signage is still there, but no other clues.

And is Wild Cat the same as Fire Cat?



         First, the Peppermint Lounge.   It changed to the Pepperment Bistro & Club in April 1993, and then to Peppermint Bistro Club & Restaurant in October 1995.   Regardless of the legal names, it was just known as "The Peppermint" - it closed permanently in November 1998.   (It's sign remains - but a memory of the good times.)

         The story of the Star Of Love is complex.   It was the original name of today's Star Of Light oral services bar on Patpong II.   When the Name-Gestapos cracked down on the Patpongs in February 1999, the Star Of Love was forced to change it's name, and chose Star Of Light - it has retained that name until the present day.
         Meanwhile, during that same 1999 crackdown, on Patpong 1, the Lady Night oral services bar was also forced by the authorities to take it's real, registered name: the Star Of Love.   It remained the Star Of Love from that date (February 1992) until it closed in January 2005 - never to reopen.   Presently, there is no Star Of Love on the Patpongs.

         The Lipstick (real name Pink Lady) of Patpong 1's Halcyon years closed in August 2001.   It reopened a year later in August 2002, only to close again in December of that same year.   It reopened as Lipstick Pub in May 2004, as a gay bar, and closed permanently in December 2006.   As you mentioned, the sign remains.

         Yes, Wild Cat and Fire Cat were one and the same.   The Wild Cat, (the original and legal name), was given a new neon sign reading, "Fire Cat" in the late 1980's.   The "Fire Cat" is an "historical landmark" on the Thai Night Entertainment Scene.   It introduced to Patpong what would become known as the "upstairs bars" --- in the 80's-good-sense-of-the-word.   (Today's connotation of an 'upstairs bar' is, however, generally that of a "rip-off" bar).   Fire Cat was the first in Thailand to feature 'no-cover-charge' All-Nude, All-The-Time AGo-Go interspersed with "shows".   This format eventually spread to Nana Plaza, and beyond.   In December 2002 it reverted to it's old name Wild Cat.   It closed permanently in September 2008, by then, a shadow of it's former self....

         The Pussy Galore was an older upstairs bar dating back to the 80's (and yes, it took it's name from a James Bond movie).   In December 1998 it became the "double-bar" Pussy Galore / Pussy Alive.   (It dropped the "Pussy Alive" in April 1999, returning to just "Pussy Galore".)   In November 2002, Pussy Galore closed permanently - becoming the Queen's Castle I show bar.   The Queen's Castle remains at that location today (next to today's Kiss).

         As might be implied by the above, the Patpongs have seen better - and wilder times.   Most all agree up to this point.   However, recently, we have seen in print, and on the WWW several opinions expressed as to when the 'Patpong Heyday' actually occurred.   And this can be the subject of heated discussions over beers at the Madrid - and other places.   A most subjective subject, as it were, in that each of us has his own personal memories of "the good times".   However, if we make an attempt to remove subjectivity and look at this bone-of-contention in an objective manner, it will be seen that the Patpongs were at their peak with regards numbers of Night Entertainment Venues during the 1988 - 1989 period.   (We can verify this by surveys.)         This also coincides with the highest level of activity in the upstairs show bars; there were more upstairs show bars during this period, and the shows were much less inhibited - to include full-on sexual intercourse.

   This period, not coincidentally, also coincides with the rise of the 'tent-city' vendors' market right smack dab down the middle of Patpong 1.   The market was, according to an earlier report, going full steam by Christmas / New Year of 1989.   It can be shown by consecutive annual reviews that the Patpongs have been in almost perfect linear recession since that time, giving way mostly to brik-a-brak shops and imitation branded goods shops - it hasn't been too hard to connect the dots as to the cause of the Patpongs' contraction - another point that most will agree upon.   

'Round About Midnite

         This New Year's Eve an unusual number of expats were attracted to the midnite services at Bangkok's many hundreds of wats (temples), rather than ringing in the new year at the standard 'count-downs' at the usual haunts.   
         Although virtually none of the farang could understand the phra's 'sermon', they were nonetheless fascinated by the ceremony itself, and the strange beauty of the suroundings.


          This month's Midnight Hour "Thai Smile" is being worn by a lovely young lady living in Thon Buri.

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Many Thanks,
William R Morledge

 Historical Minutiae Dept.

The Cellar Bar


         I have heard conflicting chatter on whether the old Viet Nam War era bar, the Cellar Bar is still around.   A guy by the name Bill Book used to run it, and catered to Special Forces types on R&R.   I seem to recall you mentioning this bar before - can you give us an update?   It was said he was an ex SF himself.


Greetings, BR,

         The Cellar Bar is the topic of one of our FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions.   Yes, it was run by an ex-SF by the name of Bill Book.   In the early days, we visited it perhaps twice.   Book sold the bar to others when the Viet Nam War wound down, and it wasn't long after that, deep-pocketted investors redeveloped the entire warren of small sois that used to constitute "Gaysorn".   Where those sois once were, and where the Cellar Bar was once located, is a large hotel and a large shopping center.   The Cellar Bar is part and parcel of the Bangkok Nightlife fabric, but it shall have to remain just a memory - an historical footnote.   One of the great bars.   By the way, the area is still referred to as 'Gaysorn'.

'Boge' Hartman

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

      PATPONG  I  

    Door Art Of The Month

                   The King's Castle 1 on Patpong 1 takes line honors this month for best "Door Art" - their neon in combination with yet another great New Year's get-up carried the day.   Well done, gentlemen.
      PATPONG  I  

      PATPONG  II  
                The lovely PR girls from Black Pagoda beckon passers-by in for a New Year's Eve drink.
      PATPONG  II  

                When Glamour Girls roll out the red carpet, they roll out the red carpet.   The Patpongs' newest A Go-Go seems to be taking off.   Wish them well for the New Year.
      PATPONG  II  

                Pinocchio's Lady & Ladyboy oral services bar is once again re-re-closed.   This is par for the course, one never knows when they will be open.   >> (yawn) <<.
    - File photo         
      PATPONG  II  

                Pat Pong 24 reopened this last month right on schedule - see our last month's edition.   A well-stocked Pool Bar, wish them well as they grasp the brass ring....
    - File photo  
      PATPONG  II  

                Le Bouchon Restaurant & Pub, we are pleased to report, remains open - last month we noted that it was closed when we made our monthly survey.   A great lunchtime pub, by the way....

      PATPONG  II  

                Up on The Ramp, the Matador House was closed for a New Year's break.   As was Kob's Place / Linda's Place.   Both Nitespots should be reopening right about.... now...   If we hear anything different, we shall duly report next time around.
      PATPONG  II  

      SOI  COWBOY  
                The Suzy Wong went all-out on New Year's Eve - the place rocked inside and out.   Excellent job, once again, lads.
      SOI  COWBOY  

                The Cactus Club is once again rocking full-tilt every night.   Welcome them back to the sharkpool.
      SOI  COWBOY  

     NANA  PLAZA  
                As we head into 2011, we note that NEP's central courtyard is once again back in action.   It looks like they will be serving bar-beer-style from a central section runing lengthwise.   And (perhaps) when the rainy season returns, they will stretch a tarp-type "roof" over the whole works.   --We're going to have to wait and see on that one.   No name(s) have been given to the new venue(s) as at this writing - (previously the Pharaohs, the Roadhouse and the Alibi bar beers).

      NANA  PLAZA  

                As promised, the DC-10 has reopened on schedule - with a flourish.   The new owners, as you might surmise from the supplemental neon, are Spankys.   They have taken the cream of the crop from the staff of the now-defunct Hollywood Carousel (3rd floor), and are looking good to go.   Welcome them back to the bump & grind.

      NANA  PLAZA  

                Voodoo have, yet again, gone the extra mile to entertain us on New Year's Eve - the young lady with the microphone is an accomplished mor lam and she had the predominantly Isarn staff from the Voodoo and surrounding bars up on their feet dancing, getting sh*tfaced, and taking pics of one another.   Good-on-ya, Voodoo....
      NANA  PLAZA  

                We wondered what all the commotion was up on the 2nd floor - a large crowd of nightcrawlers was congregating outside the Casanova Bar.   We went to have a look-see - it seems that the staff of the Casanova were posing outside in the passageway for their New Year's pics.   The Casanova is one of the older transgenderite / katoey bars in Bangkok.
      NANA  PLAZA  

                The Hollywood Carousel had a good run for the money - before finally cashing in their chips last month.   After going through a series of name-changes (Hollywood Strip, XXX...), they settled on "Hollywood Carousel" in July of 1998.   Word had it that there was just not enough passing foot traffic up on the 3rd floor - same-old same-old.   Wish them a soft landing - wherever.

      NANA  PLAZA  

    The Future Looks Bright Ahead...

                         The small red sign reads (rough translation):

    "The future looks bright ahead for those far from drugs."

    This establishment abides by the laws enforcing the prevention of, and punishment for, drug use.

    Lumpini Police Station - Tel: 02- 255 5993 - 7

      NANA  PLAZA  

                The Hollywood Inn looked darker than a poisoned well when we passed by the other night.   Having opened only in July 2009 as a ST Hotel (with a small bar in the 'lobby'), they have suffered the same fate as the many preceding Night Venues - lack of custom.   

      NANA  PLAZA  

      SOI  KATOEY  
                The Sugar Bowl has found a home in the brand-new, well-appointed bar on Soi Katoey that was built (and completed some months ago) on spec.   Welcome them to the nightgames.


                The Bar Bar has plummetted head-first into the abyss, leaving no immediate successor (renovations are proceeding).   Wish them better luck in their next incarnation.   This Bar Bar is no relation to the Bar Bar on Patpong II, which is still keeping itself busy with your pain and their pleasure....

                The Tengoku Massage has only just rolled out the red carpet in their brand-new digs on Soi Pan Pan.   As may be inferred by the name, this Nitespot has a distinct Nipponese flavor.   Wish them well as they wade into an already crowded piranha pool.

                The Chip In Japanese lounge is down for the short count, as renovations proceed - they are expected to reopen mid-month.   We shall take a look - and reconfirm....

                The Hibiki Japanese lounge is likewise closed - we were told that this was just for a brief New Year's holiday....   Trust and verify - we will let you know....

                The Best Massage has closed - but NOT for New Year's holidays.   Major renovations proceed at a snail's pace.   It remains to be seen if they will reappear once the dust settles, however signs do not point to it.   Until then, we have removed them from the rolls.

                The diminutive Relax Beauty, open only a month, were closed when we passed by on New Year's Eve, however we hear that once the New Year break is over, they will be back in action.   We'll keep an ear to the ground and get back atcha.

                The new Japanese lounge Yumeji opened last month, however we failed to get a pic posted on the site.   This month we make amends.   Keep on keeping on.   They are located on Soi Pan Pan.

                The Japanese lounge Ran Hime Club and the Kiss lounge were both closed over the New Year, however both are destined to reopen in a day or so.   Any variation on this will be covered by us next time 'round.

                The Garden Spa Health & Entertainment Complex is, (so we hear) closed for New Year's only.   They should be back in soapy, steamy action right about.... now.

                Bali Hugh's looks like they are not going to make the bell for the next round - steel roller-shutters were padlocked to the decks as we passed by on New Year's.   We hope we are wrong, but should they reopen, we will duly make account.

                The 3 Sisters have called it an evening, and have put the digs up for grabs.   They opened only in May 2009 - a relatively short run.   May they find things a little more to their liking a little further on down the road a-piece.    Anyone interested can contact them at the phone number below.
    - File photo


                The N' Joy Bar bar beer has taken over the reins from the long-running Angel Bar.   Welcome them to the machine.

    - File photo

                The Meaw Meaw Bar has closed down for a few days for New Year's.   At least that's what the sign says...   We'll keep an ear to the ground and advise if there are any changes in the reopening.
    - File photo

                Re our last month's entry, we confirm that the No ! Bra has bought the farm.   As some of you know, the No ! Bra was the Queen's Park Plaza's seminal bar, and their disappearance is worthy of an historical note.   They were the first to open (at the end of 1998) as a small, ramshackle bar beer in an otherwise vacant property.   The ‘defining feature’ of the No ! Bra was the lively group of hostesses out on the sidewalk’s edge early each evening - encouraging foreign passers-by to come in for a drink.   Oh, and the other defining feature was the hostesses were very obviously not wearing bras as they bounced curbside to the blaring rock & roll eminating from the bar.....   Hence the name.   How the times have changed....
    - File photo

      SOI  EDEN  
                The Eden Club is closed - almost certainly temporarily.   We suspect they are on a New Year's holiday.   They also often close when their hostess/masseuses are all occupied.   Could be either, could be both.    We will keep an eyeball peeled, and advise of their reopening.....
      SOI  EDEN    SUKHUMVIT  SOI  7/1

                Last month we noted that a bar beer was under construction at the Rama IV end of the Soi, and opined that it would open within the month.   And so it did - welcome the Blue Man bar beer to the vagaries of the nightcircus.



    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....)
    Soi 11 Revisited
    10 YEARS AGO  :
          The Cleopatra (King's Cleopatra Bar) a 2nd floor A Go-Go and show bar, closed for extensive renovations ten years ago this month.   They would eventually reopen.   There is no bar at that upstairs location today - the upstairs portion of the building has been removed, and downstairs has become King's Corner Poolhouse Restaurant.
    PATPONG  2 -   2001

          Ten years ago, the Eden Garden Kama Sutra opened it's doors for the first time.   It was located in the previous Opium Den digs - that real estate being across the soi from the Pink (Pink Panther) in the building currently under renovation.   No Nitespot is currently at that location.
    PATPONG  2 -   2001

          Ten years ago, the Royal Salute Cocktail Lounge up on The Ramp closed down temporarily.   After several subsequent reopenings and closings, it finally cashed in it's chips.   There is no Nitespot at that location today.
    PATPONG  2 -   2001

          Ten years ago, the three-storey Bluebird Club reopened after a month's renovations.   It would eventually become the Baccara - the Baccara remains at that location today.
    SOI  COWBOY -   2001

          Likewise, a decade ago, the Suzie Wong Bar reopened after having closed for a month.   They are still at that location today.
    SOI  COWBOY -   2001

          Ten years ago, the New A Go Go Duck (JUKES) (remember them?) closed for renovations.   That real estate is currently home to the Shark A Go-Go.
    SOI  COWBOY -   2001

          A decade ago Alibi bar beer "opened it's doors" for the first time - it was the third, and furthest back, of three bar beers to open in the center NEP courtyard.   For most of it's existence, it did not have a sign - most people never even knew it's name.   There are currently no Nitespots in NEP's center-court.
    NANA  PLAZA -   2001

          Ten years ago the bar beer Hot Rods Video Arcade & Bar located just in front of Obsession -was 'absorbed' (after a brief renovation) by the Obsession.   (In other words, they removed the old neon.)   That bar beer is still at that location.
    NANA  PLAZA -   2001

          A decade ago, the Film lounge opened in the old Enterprise Pub digs.   The Film closed it's doors many moons ago; this location is currently being staked out by the 4 Sports.
    SOI  KATOEY  - (SILOM  SOI  4) -   2001

          The Underground Music Bar opened its doors for the first time ten years ago, this month.   It no longer exists - and has gone through several subsequent name-changes.   The BAS Living Room currently holds court at that location.
    SOI  KATOEY  - (SILOM  SOI  4) -   2001

          A decade ago, the Dali Club rolled out the red carpet for the very first time.   They were the first Nitespot to occupy that shophouse, and they are still there - we wonder if they are having an anniversary party?
    SOI  DEAD  ARTISTS- (SUKHUMVIT  SOI  33) -   2001

          The Richmond Club Lounge opened it's doors ten years ago at a location which was not previously a Night Entertainment Venue.   That shophouse currently houses the Bar Fly lounge.
    SOI  DEAD  ARTISTS- (SUKHUMVIT  SOI  33) -   2001

          Likewise, a decade ago, the Bacchus opened at a location not previously a Night Entertainment Venue.   The Music Station is now in residence at those digs.
    SOI  DEAD  ARTISTS- (SUKHUMVIT  SOI  33) -   2001

          On the second floor of the Peep Inn Park, the Blue Sky Club (Japanese) closed its doors ten years ago, this month.
    SOI  DEAD  ARTISTS- (SUKHUMVIT  SOI  33) -   2001

          A decade ago, the Goya lounge opened it's doors in what was, up until that time, the Martini Lounge.   We wonder if they might also be having a 10-year anniversary party?
    SOI  DEAD  ARTISTS- (SUKHUMVIT  SOI  33) -   2001

          The 33 Center massage closed briefly, 10 years ago, this month.   Currently Best Massage occupies that Nitespot location.
    SOI  DEAD  ARTISTS- (SUKHUMVIT  SOI  33) -   2001

          A decade ago, the Fairy Club Japanese Karaoke Club said it's final sayonara's.   No Nitespot currently resides at that location.
    SOI  DEAD  ARTISTS- (SUKHUMVIT  SOI  33) -   2001

          The Blue Marine Pub & Restaurant opened for business a decade ago deep in Sub-soi 5.   They have long been out of business - the current occupant is the 33 Bistro.
    SOI  DEAD  ARTISTS- (SUKHUMVIT  SOI  33) -   2001

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

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

                 Ten years ago, the brand-new Friendship Bar took over the reins from the then-deceased Cat Bar.

                  Lolita (yes, that Lolita) opened its doors for the first time - in the newly opened area in the back - near Soi 23.

    ASOKE  PLAZA  /  ASOKE  CORNER - (previously Cowboy Annex) - 2000

    CLINTON  PLAZA   - 2000

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

          Rock Hard A Go-Go opened it's doors to the public a decade ago.   This was the 5th of 6  A Go-Gos that would eventually open in Clinton Plaza.

          Tivoli Bar & Grill opened it's doors to the public a decade ago inside the main building.   This was yet another of Frank's (SuperStar) business ventures.

          Wind Mill bar beer, also known as (Kangaroo) closed down operations a decade ago.   

    CLINTON  PLAZA   - 2001



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    William R. Morledge

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