01 August 2013
William R.  Morledge

August's Nightlife News
Bangkok's Bars - 10 Years Ago  
A Smile in the Land of Smiles.
Ask Us: Afterskool Wherefore Art Thou?
Graffiti  -BKK's Midnite Vandals - #93


      Koh Samui's infusion of hoards of bloodsucking, tourist-gouging Taxi-Meters has not yet killed off the traditional maroon-sided song taew transport to-and-from the island's several beaches.   Down at Na Thon Town's boat quay where backpackers disgorge from mainland ferries several times each day, one can still occasionally catch the familiar cries of the song taew drivers - 'Lamai Lamai Lamai', or 'Chaweng Chaweng Chaweng' - hoping to lure a full pickup-load of passengers before departing to whichever beach.

      We've lost track of the number of times we'd been to Koh Samui since the late 70's, but we haven't lost track of the not-so-slow destruction of it's native beauty by ever-encroaching "civilization".   The same old story all over again.   The 'new' airport, the car ferries, the 'five-star hotels', the jet skis.... you name it.   Koh Samui was, and is all too quickly becoming a 'Pattaya', a 'Patong'.   Not having visited for a couple of years, and with minimal expectations, we expected the worst as we bailed into the nearest song taew for the 40-minute cross-isle trip to Lamai Beach.   

      Arriving in Lamai , we found less 'destruction by progress' than anticipated.   Lamai was still, to our surprise, a viable beach-stay destination.   Albeit with a number of changes - the first thing we noticed was how much it had grown and filled in with new structures and shops.   Lamai, and Samui in general, is much more family-oriented than in past times - couples with kids.   The next thing becoming abundantly apparent was the Burmese Invasion - a majority of the shops, new and old, were staffed by Burmese (with good-to-better English Language skills).   The third thing we noticed was the plethora of recently opened massage parlors.   Lamai Beach has literally dozens of massage parlors - from pan-boran to 'spa' all the way to 'hanky-panky'.

It is now not at all unusual to see A Go-Go and/ or Coyote dancing in many of the bar beers and other Nitespots.

      The fourth thing we noticed, as the sun went down, was an increase in number and quality of Night Entertainment Venues.   Whereas, in our earlier Lamai Beach report (our October 2004 issue <link> ) where we noted three nascent Nitescene Areas, now the entire town is dotted with Night Entertainment Venues of various flavors ; bar beers (of course), steel-masonry-neon discos, live music pubs with Thai or Filipino musicians, the aforementioned massage parlors, bistro bars, pool bars, sports bars - many of which are serving up A Go-Go / Coyote dancing.   'Things have changed'.   Really changed - not yet up to the variety and quality found in Pattaya or even Patong, but they are catching up quite handily, thank you very much.   In this issue we will not be able to cover the entire Lamai Beach Scene (there are just too new many venues), so we will stick almost exclusively to the 'Night Entertainment Areas'.


      But the other side of the "progress" coin is the several things that were there in the early days that are no longer around today.   (In no particular order - )   The 60 baht-a-night A-frame hooches nested in the coconut groves (share bathrooms) where they would turn off the electricity at 9:00 p.m. (and you had better not forgotten to bring along the indispensable flashlight, oh, and a length of cord to make a clothes line...).     The several bangalow (sic) restaurants that served up magic 'shroom omelettes.     The evening walks down the beach to check out the bungalow blackboards for the specials on the menu and to see which VCR or BetaMax movie they were showing that night.     The kwai-chon bulls pulling logs along the beach at the crack of dawn, training for the next big fight.     The nude & semi-nude beach scene.     The overcrowded SongSerm boats to and from Samui (or nothing).     The packs of semi-feral soi dogs marking out their territories in the sand until they were, yet again, chased away.     The remnant fishing communities along the beach resisting the encroaching 'civilization'.     The hippy food.   To name but a few things.     And no more laying on a beach towel in the warm tropical sun to work on one's tan - a cool, ocean breeze sweeping onto shore.....    (At least not for me - actually, it was my dermatologist who put the kibosh on that one).


      There is no doubt where the Lamai Beach scene is heading - it is becoming more and more homogenized - more like every other overcrowded, too-popular holiday destination.   All too soon it will become like Samui's other once-grand beach, Chaweng, where, now one literally cannot walk from the beach road to the sea without walking through someone's hotel, restaurant or nightclub.   A regular contributor to these pages, Jondalar, reckons that the two lines on the graph, "modern conveniences" and "unspoiled island retreat", crossed sometime in the mid-eighties - and it's been all downhill since then.   Nor would we argue with that.   But for the time being, Lamai Beach has a few good days - and nights - left in it.








All Samui photos - Sony Experia V Smartphone.


August's Thai Smile is an apprentice masseuse.   And to save some of you some time (you know who you are), we will not be providing contact details....

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Many Thanks,
William R Morledge

 Historical Minutiae Dept.

Afterskool Not Fade Away

Hi Rich,

Great job with the update on the maps.   One question though...where is the infamous Afterskool Bar on the Soi Cowboy map?   Did I miss it?


Hi Paul,

Good catch!   In fact most people do know the Sunshine as the Afterskool Bar.   We, being very old fashioned -and attached to the 'history' of the Night Entertainment Scene- still refer to it as the Sunshine.   We have included a photo from November of 2007.

Originally the Sunshine was on Sukhumvit between Soi 14 and 16, and when the street was widened in that area, the bars that were there moved out.   The Sunshine moved to Soi Cowboy, and over the years has had a number of other 'second names' while also keeping 'Sunshine'.

Thank you for your note - we will revise our map to show both names - Sunshine & Afterskool Bar.


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    Let the August 2013 Follies   begin...
    BANKOK EYES' Expat Night Scene.

       PATPONG  I  
                Opening newly, or perhaps only newly nailing up their sign, the Pussy Special is being heavily touted on the street.   It is located upstairs in the old Lipstick digs.   Although the sign says no cover charge, if you are planning a visit, make sure you ask if there is a charge for "Show", or other.   And check your chits as they are being put in the cup.
      PATPONG  I  

      PATPONG  II  
                The Strip has added a significant bit of neon - they now spell out "A Go Go".   Of course, nothing has changed inside, still good-rockin' times.
      PATPONG  I  

                Screw Boy has added a new outside bar - well stocked with beer, we note.   It doesn't seem to be doing too well at present.   Only time will tell....
      PATPONG  I  

       SOI  COWBOY  
    Door Art Of The Month

              The Crazy House opened (softly) a couple of weeks ago in the old Ship Inn digs.   First floor A Go-Go.   Second floor has more of the same with substantially less apparel (and a see-through deck).   Third floor will be a disco, opening right about ..... NOW.   Fourth floor a Thai-Farang restaurant, now serving.   Take your pick, elevator or stairs.   Drinks cheaper than on Soi Cowboy (just around the corner), however that may change once they get their stable up to speed.   Staff has a good attitude, and their neon/ facade is the best we've seen for a long spell.


     NANA   PLAZA   
                The Lone Star Saloon, opened only last December, has cashed in their chips and headed for parts unknown.   Should the rumor of the bust by Bangkok's Finest prove false, then this would be more proof, if more proof were needed, that bars on the 3rd floor have just not been -on average- as successful as the lower floors.   We'll get back atcha on this one....
    - File photo           

    NANA  PLAZA - (Sukhumvit  SOI  4)

                The Monster Ink opened on schedule (see our last month's note).   Monster Ink resides in the old Spirit House digs.   Wish them luck as they cast their dice against the pitted wall of fate.
    NANA  PLAZA - (Sukhumvit  SOI  4)

     SOI  NANA  
                 No more Nana Liquid (closed several months previously), it is now once again Nana Disco - and looking good.   Can also be accessed through the hotel lobby, as before.   Let the good times roll....
      SOI   NANA   

                 Hillary 4, in a master stroke of marketing, worked a deal with a local brew distributor to dispense cups of free beer on the front steps.   Yes, really, free beer.   It packed the place out, not to mention packing out the sidewalk in front....   Keep on keeping on.

      SOI   NANA   

      SOI  KATOEY   
                 The venerable, and normally busy Tapas Room Club was anticipating 'mayhem' last Saturday, with a flock of well-known DJ's.   The rains had other ideas, unfortunately....
    SOI  KATOEY  - (SILOM  SOI  4)

                 The trend continues.   It's been a long time since there has been anything but the occasional katoey on Soi Katoey, but there has been a large contingent of gay clientele regularly patronizing the various Nitespots for years.   Recently, we are seeing more and more mixed couples (as noted previously in these pages).   The couple shown here are enjoying the cool weather on the verandah of the Sphinx.   May the Sphinx persevere.
    SOI  KATOEY  - (SILOM  SOI  4)

      SOI  22  
                 Last month, the Miraku Massage disappeared off the face of the earth, only to be replaced by Cosy Massage.   But last month was then, this is now.   The Miraku Massage is back and the Cosy Massage has gone the way of the Archaeopteryx.   Some kind of Japanese musical chairs, one supposes....

    SOI  22 - (Sukhumvit)

                 Sidewalk Cafe regulars can now return.   Our note and photo last month indicated it was closed, if only temporarily, and fortunately, that was the case.   Located at the entrance to the old Washington Square.
    - File photo  
    SOI  22 - (Sukhumvit)

                   Not only are the Livingstone's Beer Garden and the Livingstone's Sports Lounge closed, the entire Livingstone's multiplex is lights-out.   Only shadows and dead leaves decorate their doorway.   The hanging roots from the ficus in front seem apropos the African-themed complex's closure.   May the fates deal them a better hand next time 'round.

                   The Japanese Snack Bar has opened in the Sabai Sabai Massage digs (closed a month earlier).   In Japanese, it is the Hoshi Japanese Snack - Hoshi meaning 'star'. (Thanks again, Ajarn...)   Located in the deep end of Soi Pan Pan.

                   Also located in the back of Soi Pan Pan, a new venue -The Bar- is rapidly nearing completion. It appears it will not only be a bar, but an Italian restaurant.   Italian-Japanese?   I like it already.   It should open by the end of the month - so we should have all the details in our next issue.

                   Last month we mentioned that Tuk Tuk was closed, or at least looked closed.   This month we are sure.   It is closed.   We wonder what they will do with the samlor hanging out of the second storey....
    - File photo         

                   The Moulin Rouge finally folded, after a slow, fitful demise.   We hope they catch the brass ring next time around....
    - File photo         

                   Open just this last April, the Magic Massage, located in Soi Wall Street, has already succumbed to Darwin's cold, merciless hand....    
    - File photo         



          Sometimes one's camera catches, quite by accident, an unintended view onto the Bangkok Nightscene.......   This enlargement found in the corner of an old shot of the Sin Bin (still at thart location).


                   It looks like a new venue, a 'Bar & Pool', is about ready to open in the other half of what was, up until a couple of months ago, the Boom Boom Pub.   Should be open by the end of this month, by the looks of things....

      SOI  EDEN  
                Last month The Country opened, but hadn't nailed up all their decor and signs and whatnot.   We promised a pic this month (below).   While promoting itself as 'food & drinks', it functions as a bar most of the time.   Relatively quiet and laid back, a well stocked bar is located just inside (not shown).   Welcome them to the neon circus.
    SOI  EDEN -  Soi  7/1 Sukhumvit

                A new bar, yet to have it's neon nailed up, is tentatively going by the handle,"Loersut".   It holds down the turf that was previously the home to Ocean Boy.   Welcome to the bright lights, big city.



    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  :

    Patpong I
       *  No changes that month / year.

    Patpong 2

       *  King's Lounge opened in the just-closed Platinum digs on the 2nd floor of Soi Bookstore (connecting PPI & PPII).   There is no venue currently at that location.

       *  Thai Traditional Massage opened on the 4th floor of Cosmos stairway (across from Foodland).   There is no venue currently at that location.

       *  Kob's Place opened on the 1st floor in what was up until then Wun Pub.   That area now occupied by the Tavern Three Saloon.   Note: this was the second "Kob's Place" - the original was up on The Ramp.

    Soi Cowboy
        *   No changes that month / year.

    Nana Plaza
       *   The Playskool A-Go-Go (inside portion) reopened after a brief closure.   It is still at that location.

       *   The Hollywood Rock closed it's doors temporarily, and would reopen soon after that.   No venue currently exists at that location, however the Angel Witch 2 is reportedly to open there in the near future.

       *   The Pretty Lady took over from the Bottoms Up (a name change).   Pretty Lady is still at that location.

       *   The Carnival closed it's doors temporarily, and would reopen soon after that.   The Billboard is currently in those digs.

    Soi Katoey (Silom Soi 4)

        *   g-4 up on the 3rd floor, closed it's doors - again.   The Bearbie Bar is currently at that location.

        *   The Hip Hop changed it's name to Hip Hop R&B.   The Bearbie Bar is currently at that location.

    Soi Dead Artists    (Soi 33)
       *   No changes that month / year.

    Queen's Park Plaza     (Soi 22)

       *   The O.B. 1 Bar closed its doors.   Those are currently the 3-Sister Bar digs.

       *   The Lek Massage & Spa opened new, and are still at that location.

    Washington Square (Closed down April 2013
             - the 3 bars remaining in the entranceway now counted as "Soi 22")

        *    The Crystal Bar located in the center section reopened after a one-month closure.   

    Clinton Plaza   (Closed down on August 2003)
       *   "CLOSED"

    Tobacco Road     (Soi Zero) -   (Closed down on August 2006 )
       *   No changes that month / year.

    Cowboy Annex   (Asoke Corner/Asoke Plaza)
            (Closed down on Feb 2005)
       *   The Cheeky beer bar opened newly - (ex: Keng, which had just closed).   Located on the right side in the Asoke Corner area.

       *   The No Money No Honey beer bar changed it's name to Money Honey.

       *   The following bars CLOSED :
             *  Playboy Vadsana   - in the 8-Pak
             *  Lucky Bar    - in the 8-Pak
             *  Prime Bar   - on the right side Asoke Corner side
             *  Marigold    - on the right side Asoke Corner side
             *  Shagnasty's    - on the left side Asoke Corner side
             *  Soi Dogs   - on the left side Asoke Corner side

    13 Night Market    (Atop the original Thermae digs)
    (April 2003 - March 2005   - Now closed down.

       *   Sport Bar opened in the just-closed New Bar digs.



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

    Graffiti #652
    26 ft high x 12 ft

    Graffiti #653
    Leggo Me
    12 ft high x 16 ft

    Graffiti #654
    Green Weevil
    12 ft high x 21 ft

    Graffiti #655
    Shadow Players
    16 ft high x 26 ft

    Graffiti #656
    23 ft high x 11 ft

    Graffiti #657
    Coat Of Harms
    8 ft high x 11 ft

    Graffiti #658
    Clockwork Clown
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    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

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