Bangkok's Got The Blues

01 January 2014
William R.  Morledge

January's Nightlife News
Bangkok's Bars - 10 Years Ago  
A Smile in the Land of Smiles.
Ask Us: Eyes Demise?
Graffiti  -BKK's Midnite Vandals - #98

         The Blues, and by that we mean LIVE Blues, has been searching for a Bangkok home for longer than we care to remember.   Blues, mixed with a lot of what was then called "Soul Music" made a fairly good, if rather temporary, showing back in the 1960's in Jack's American Star Bar on Petchburi's Golden Mile.   But, as long time residents will recall, Jack's didn't 'make it to the future'.   Nevertheless, there would be other venues along the way that would cater to the Blues.

Humble Mike, left, and Danny of Danny California's Blues Allstars performed at Apoteka on New Year's Eve to a SRO crowd.

         To name just a few of the more prominent attempts through the years by Bangkok's Nitespots to provide Blues bands a home, many will remember Checkpoint Charlie's at Clinton Plaza at the turn of the Millennium.   And then there was Mojos which opened in 2003 on Soi 33 - which did quite a respectable job (and is still open today).   And we can't forget Tokyo Joe's on Sukhumvit Soi 26 back in 2007.   Joe's is also no longer around, unfortunately.

The 'nurses' at the Apoteka stand at the ready, prepared to bring libations to those in danger of dehydration.

         And while there have been, and are other Nitespots hosting Blues gigs on a semi-regular or casual basis, none has held out the promise of becoming a "home" to performing Blues artists - somewhere these 'travelin' bands' could hang their hats.   That is, until now.   Enter the Apoteka on Sukhumvit Soi 11.   The Apoteka (Apothecary) advertise that they have a live Blues Band every single night.

Humble Mike readies for a launch into a harmonica solo, the likes of which you won't find this side of the big waters.....   Danny California's Blues Allstars did a rockin' rendition of Auld Lang Syne as the countdown ended on New Year's Eve.

         And going hand-in-hand with Bangkok's increased interest in the Blues, and the Apoteka's initiative in becoming a regular showplace for Blues bands, there is a noticeable increase in the number of quality bands in town these days.   For example, the Apoteka recently featured Danny California's Blues Allstars, leading with Danny and Humble Mike - and very solid back-up.   Apotika has also had the Nervis Brothers with Eddie Baytos ( a New Orleans Blues band with a Zydego flavor ) and a much improved Soi Dogs Blues Band.   And this is by no means a comprehensive list of the Blues bands currently gigging through the Apoteka on a regular basis.

There's just something about girls in uniform.   The lovely Apoteka waitresses in their 'nurse' attire were garnering almost as much attention as the blues bands.....

         Although not the only venue in town to feature the Blues, the Apoteka has, in a very short, few months become the most popular - most of this by word of mouth.   On weekends, you often won't get a table during performances (but that's not a problem - feel free to stand upstairs on the inside balcony with a beer - the view is much better).

The Apoteka doesn't have much in the way of identifying neon - the Apoteca sign is difficult to see walking past on the sidewalk.   Look for the "Green Cross" signifying the 'apothecary'.   It is sandwiched in between the Fire House and the Double Wide, just opposite Q Bar.

         If you are planning to get down to the Apoteka and see the best blues on offer here in Bangkok, it is recommended you either get there early, or call for a reservation, and you might want to plan to have a meal while you are there.   They are located deep in Sukhumvit Soi 11, immediately across the Soi from the Q Bar.   And yes, there is ample parking in the rear for those who drive.

At Apoteka, the "Thai Smile" is far from dead, and goes hand-in-hand with prompt, friendly service.


January's Thai Smile beams 'friendly' to all.

The Marriage Tree

Vincent Calvino is ....  BACK
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Many Thanks,
William R Morledge

 Historical Minutiae Dept.

Eyes Demise?


         I heard a rumour that the Bangkok Eyes web site was closing down.   Any truth in it?    Hope not, enjoy your monthly spread.

B. B.

Greetings, B. B.

      No truth in it.   Regarding rumors, we used to say, 'If there's smoke, there's mirrors.'   If I am in a wheel chair, or strapped to a gurney, someone will be pushing me through the streets while I complete my monthly surveys.   Unless of course, there is something the Authorities haven't yet gotten around to telling me.........


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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.
    'Boge' Hartman
    Historical Research
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    Let the January 2014 Follies  begin...
    BANKOK EYES' Expat Night Scene.

       PATPONG  I  
                Last month we noted the impending opening of the Lust Bar & Club might take place before the Holidays.   And they opened just before Christmas.   (At least the downstairs portion that was the Radio City did).   The upstairs (in the old Lucifer Disco Tk digs) should be opening right about....... NOW.   Welcome to Partytown.

      PATPONG  I  

      PATPONG  II  
                The Baan Thai Traditional Thai Massage, ensconced for years on the 3rd floor of the Pavilion Place hotel has seen it's end of days.   We wish them a soft landing, wherever, whenever.
    - File photo        
      PATPONG  II  

                Up on The Ramp, the Cozy Club has reopened - sort of....    We walked in the other evening and we were the only ones there...    The only ones - no bartendee, no cashier, no hostesses.   We assume someone came back later, if only to lock up....
    - File photo        
      PATPONG  II  

                Up on The Ramp Thai-labelled Khrua Thai Karaoke (the "Kitchen Karaoke") decided to look carefully at what they were doing.   They have dropped the "karaoke" becoming a Thai restaurant.   Know your capabilities, know your limitations.   They have removed their sign, we have removed them from the rolls..
    - File photo        
      PATPONG  II  

       SOI  COWBOY  
    They may be insane....

          The Insomnia had become the Insanity Night Club a few months back, and we hadn't even noticed.   Located at the top of Soi 12, they have, quite intelligently, advertised at both Nana Plaza and Soi Cowboy.   The advertising is directed, not at the farang, but rather at the Thai young ladies working in the respective venues - and they will either bring their own farang or attract other farang to the Insanity.   There's good rockin' tonight.

     NANA   PLAZA   
                The Mercury Go Go Bar has some new neon nailed up.   Certainly more visible, but it's mooted as to whether it is any easier to read....   May they continue to rock 'n roll.
    NANA  PLAZA - (Sukhumvit  SOI  4)

                The upstairs (3rd floor) Lone Star Saloon A-Go-Go digs are up for lease - investors take note.   (We venture a guess this puts the kibosh on the rumor that the Lone Star would reopen "soon".)
    NANA  PLAZA - (Sukhumvit  SOI  4)

     SOI  NANA  
                 The After Dark opened softly last month, however they are now under a full head of steam.   Live music is their prime agendum.   Located in the Rajah Hotel compound.
      SOI   NANA   

                 It took the brand-new Sheikh almost one month to tank, falling headlong into the Abyss.   Taking over the reins this month is the brand-new G Terminal  Lounge - Club.   Located upstairs in the Rajah Hotel outbuilding.   Welcome them to the Big Uneasy.

      SOI   NANA   

                 As far as Expat Night Entertainment Areas are concerned, the Hillary 1 Pub & Pool ran away with all awards for Christmas spirit and decorations.   Wishing them constancy.
      SOI   NANA   

      SOI  KATOEY   
                 The For Fun has opened the Club 4 upstairs.   Primarily "for men", as their downstairs has become popular with both straight and gay.   Welcome to the nightbeat.
    SOI  KATOEY  - (SILOM  SOI  4)

      SOI  22  
                 To set the record straight, the correct name is of the traditional Thai massage parlor is Lek @ 22 , and not Lek 22, as we had previously mentioned.   This pic for the archives.   May they keep on keeping on.
    SOI  22 - (Sukhumvit)

                 The Hana Fashion Health Massage has some new, easier to see neon out streetside - which will surely catch more passing foot-traffic.   FYI, a "Fashion Massage" parlor specializes in, well, special massages of varying, well, variety.   Located in the small sub-soi across from the Jade Pavilion hotel.   May they continue to slip and slide.
    SOI  22 - (Sukhumvit)

                 Yet another small bar beer has opened at the top of the subsoi just opposite Queen's Park Plaza.   As of this writing, it remains nameless.   Welcome them to the dark side of bright lights big city.
    SOI  22 - (Sukhumvit)

                 The recently opened Analisa Massage was shuttered from the cold - only darkness shone out from within when we passed by the other evening.   Giving them the benefit of the doubt, this may be just a New Year's closing.   We'll have another look and get back atcha next time around.
    - File photo        
    SOI  22 - (Sukhumvit)

                   At the risk of sounding redundant (see photo), the Santana has closed (again), and the ladies have migrated across the street to the Napoleon Club.   Reportedly a shortage of hostesses, not customers.   ....OK.....   Let's keep this one "under observation".

                   The Tengoku Massage in Subsoi Pan Pan has packed up lock, stock and ya mong and headed for their new digs on Sukhumvit Soi 39.   Greener pastures, ladies....

                   Joy is either open or closed again.   However, when we passed by the other evening, it was open.   Going there is the quintessential "pot luck" experience - you never know if it will be open when you get there.
    - File photo        

                   The New Club Fushicho is locked down like Alcatraz of old.   There is an explanatory note in Japanese taped to the door - and we suspect they have gone away for the New Year's holidays.   But either way, whether they sink or swim, we will keep our ear to the ground and get back atcha next issue.


    Door Art Of The Month

       Bash's facade is nothing short of breathtaking.   They sweep the voting on Door Art honors this month.   They are an 'upscale late nightclub'.   Upscale?   No shorts and sandals!?   Let the good times roll....


                    The Kachatara is a spa, and if we can believe the sign, they also teach massage.   Located in the small subsoi just around the corner past Q Bar.   May they 'make a go of it', and be hounded less capriciously by the fates.

                    The Raintree Massage is not new, so there is little excuse for us walking past it the last two months without noticing it.   We wish them, somewhat belatedly, smooth sailing in these dark waters.

                   In the 'Ambassador Hotel Corridor' the Tana Salon has closed, while the Harmony Massage has opened.
    (No photo available)

                   The Banana Club Massage for Men is nowhere to be found.   Darwin to the fore - and he plays no favorites.   It was located in the small subsoi just past Q Bar and around the corner.
    (No photo available)

                    The Angels Kiss having softly opened last month, is up and rocking full-time this month.   Their modus operandi is A Go-Go / Coyote & Lounge.   And before you write it off as just another off-broadway venue, you had better check out the quality of the decorative denizens....
       QUEEN'S  PARK  PLAZA -   SOI 22

                   In the We Don't Make Mistrakes Dept, the Cockwell Inn had taken a couple of days off -unbeknownst to us- and we announced that they had closed down.   No such thing.    (We thank the many who emailed us to this effect.)   They are back, more and better, faster and stronger.
       QUEEN'S  PARK  PLAZA -   SOI 22

      SOI  EDEN  
                The Christmas / New Year's holidays saw an upswing in business in Soi Eden.
    SOI  EDEN -  Soi  7/1 Sukhumvit

                The The New Boys Bangkok have an unusual and eye-catching centerpiece - which might be a statue of Neptune, or it might be a statue of a merman....   May they persevere.

    Bangkok A-Go-Go

    Thailand when A Go-Go ruled the night...
    CLICK HERE to download
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    Bangkok Eyes goes back in time to see
    who was new - and who was through.
    How many of these old 'watering holes' do you remember ?

    10 YEARS AGO  :

    Patpong I
       *  The upstairs SuperGirls reopened after a 5 month closure.   There is no Nitespot at that location currently.

       *  The upstairs Queen's Castle II reopened after a 4 month closure.   The Night Bar currently holds down that location.

       *  No changes that month / year.

    Patpong 2
       *  The Century opened on the 4th floor of the Cosmos Stairwell, taking over the reins of the Ban Bua Luang Cafe.   No Nitespot is currently at that location.

       *  The Topless 2 Pool Bar opened in the old Kob's Place II, which was, previous to that, the New Lady.   Those digs now a part of the Tavern Three Saloon Pool Bar.

    Soi Cowboy
       *  No changes that month / year.

    Nana Plaza
       *  No changes that month / year.

    Soi Katoey (Silom Soi 4)
       *  No changes that month / year.

    Soi Dead Artists    (Soi 33)
       *   Anego reopened it's doors after a brief closure - located at the rear of 33 Comlex   It has since become a restaurant.

    Queen's Park Plaza     (Soi 22)
       *   Nok Merry Bar 2 became Nok Merry Bar, the original having closed out on Asoke Corner.

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

       *  No changes that month / year.

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

    Cowboy Annex   (Asoke Corner/Asoke Plaza)
            (Closed down on Feb 2005)

             *  The Richiy Bar Pool bar beer reopened after a one month hiatus.   Was located on the side fence, Annex side.

             *  The Internet @ Route 23, on the Asoke Corner side, reopened after a one month closure.

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

             *  The Barber and Beauty Massage Massage Parlor opened in the old 13 Thai Traditional Massage digs.

    Easy Square   (Deep in Soi 22)
    (Closed down May 2005   )

             *   The Tawan Thong Karaoke Club opened new.

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    "Magasins Généraux Pantin"

    - Received as unattributed works - all rights to copyright holder, if any.     

    - Received as unattributed works - all rights to copyright holder, if any.     

           Originally a showpiece of French commercial activity, the Pantin Général Stores in Paris, France closed at the beginning of the Millennium - at least as far as commercial activities were concerned.   The five-storey structure stood idle only briefly, however, as it was soon "discovered" by the local spraycan set.    As layer upon layer of spraypaint accumulated over the last decade, the structure became known as 'Graffiti Général' by the graf artists and the 'Parisienne' themselves.   We note that Graffiti Général has, in recent years, also attracted artists from most points around the globe, becoming what is known (at least amongst peers) as Paris' "monument to graffiti".

          However, all that will soon come to an end when Graffiti Général's new tenant, BECT (an advertising group) renovates the facilities for use as an office block.   Graffiti, almost by definition, and certainly by all precedent, is generally thought to be something destined to a very finite life span - either destroyed by the weather, or overpainting, or the bulldozer.   However, unlike the similarly doomed graffiti which once covered the recently whitewashed 5-Pointz warehouse in Queens <link>, Graffiti Général's graf treasures have been preserved -en masse- in an original 21st Century manner.

          And it was the new landlords themselves, BETC, who have become the self-appointed saviors.   They have digitally recorded the over 5,200 graffiti images which decorate Graffiti Général's interior and exterior.   But this is only the beginning - they then reproduced the entire building to exact scale, inside and out, graffiti and all, in high-rez 3-D software.   Now, virtually, just as in a "first-person-shooter" video game, one may visit the BETC website, and "walk" through the building, viewing the various works of art.   Many of the paintings have been supplemented with a small icon, which, when clicked, will provide a "pop up" with commentary on that piece.   

          Although 'virtual galleries' and digital archiving have been, and are being created in ever-increasing fury, there has never been anything of this magnitude and level of imagination for visual works, and certainly not for the preservation of graffiti art.   Not only have BETC hammered 5-Pointz (the self-proclaimed Institute of Higher Burnin') in one-upsmanship for their Graffiti Général preservation efforts - they have opened a lot more eyes to the potentials of digital archiving.   If you are interested, you may want to take a walk through the Graffiti Général building yourself (and how could you not be interested?) at GraffitiGéné  <link>

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

    Graffiti #687
    16 ft high x 33ft

    Graffiti #688
    4 ft high x 5 ft

    Graffiti #689
    6 ft high x 17 ft

    Graffiti #690
    4 ft high x 3 ft

    Graffiti #691
    Shokablock Antique
    15 ft high x 23 ft

    Graffiti #692
    Stars Out Tonite?
    4 ft high x 3 ft

    Graffiti #693
    6 ft high x 9 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


    "The Archives" - All Our Back Issues Here
    - 2014 -
    01 JAN -    Bangkok's Got The Blues
    01 FEB -   

    - 2013 -
    01 JAN -    Not Fade Away - The Survivors
    01 FEB -    Rare Old Photos
    01 MAR -   Copa Reprise
    01 APR -    Arise, Soi 22
    01 MAY -    Where to Next ?
    01 JUN -    Bangkok Noir
    01 JUL -    MAPS - The Major Update
    01 AUG -    Lamai Lamai Lamai
    01 SEP -    Tim 'Wanchai' Young
    01 OCT -    Soi Wall Street
    01 NOV -    Little Thonglor - Soi 11
    01 DEC -    Mississippi Queen

    - 2012 -
    01 JAN -    Mama-San
    01 FEB -    Our 10th Anniversary Issue !
    01 MAR -    How Gay Nana ?
    01 APR -    Sukhumvit' Soi 23 - The Big Picture
    01 MAY -    Khao San Road - Unique Bazaar
    01 JUN -    Ekamai - It Used To Be Too Far
    01 JUL -    Nightlife Pioneers
    01 AUG -    The New Puritans
    01 SEP -    Nana - On It's Own
    01 OCT -    FAIL - War on Nitespot Drugs
    01 NOV -    Patpong Unbroken
    01 DEC -    Drugs & the Nightscene in History

    - 2011 -
    01 JAN -    Patpong's 'Glory Days'
    01 FEB -    Nightlife In A Digital Age
    01 MAR -    Co-Co Walk Plaza
    01 APR -    Soi 33 Marches On
    01 MAY -    Nightlife Permissiveness
    01 JUN -    Ghosts of Nitelife Past
    01 JUL -    STATE - The Cinema, Soi & Area
    01 AUG -    Soi Darling
    01 SEP -    Sri Nakarin South
    01 OCT -    Soi 8 Reprise
    01 NOV -    Floodless in Bangkok
    01 DEC -    Soi Udomsuk

    - 2010 -
    01 JAN -    Street Bars II - The Triple-Dip
    01 FEB -    Our Kind Of Art - II    - Chris Coles
    01 MAR -    The Dead Artist Bars - Soi 33
    01 APR -    "Soi Ginza" - Thaniya Road
    01 MAY -    Night Scene Blues (Red Shirts 1)
    01 JUN -    Nitespots Recover Slowly (Reds 2)
    01 JUL -    World Cup Special
    01 AUG -    Those Old Photos
    01 SEP -    The German Invasion
    01 OCT -    Racism & Prejudice
    01 NOV -    Soi 11 Revisited
    01 DEC -    Soi 22 Updater

    - 2009 -
    01 JAN -    The Santika Fire
    01 FEB -    Salt & Pepper
    01 MAR -    Nana Plaza - Update & Maps
    01 APR -    Soi Nana Update
    01 MAY -    The Nightscene & The Riots
    01 JUN -    "19" Re-Focus
    01 JUL -    Rain Dogs - The Underground
    01 AUG -    Soi Thonglor - A bridge-too-far
    01 SEP -    Ban Chang - Our Little Secret
    01 OCT -    The "Ginza Effect'
    01 NOV -    Royal City Avenue (RCA)
    01 DEC -    Sutthisan & The Inthamara's

    - 2008 -
    01 JAN -    2007 - Looking Back
    01 FEB -    Owning A Bar
    01 MAR -    Expat's Bangkok
    01 APR -    Nude Dancing
    01 MAY -    After Midnite
    01 JUN -    Night Scene In Flux
    01 JUL -    Our Kind Of Art
    01 AUG -    Trendy Plaza Reprise
    01 SEP -    The Elephants Are ....Back
    01 OCT -    Grand Prix Intro
    01 NOV -    Grand Prix - Rick's Story
    01 DEC -    "Old Bangkok Hand"

    - 2007-
    01 JAN -    Bombs Blast Bangkok
    01 FEB -    Bangkok's Nightscene Websites
    01 MAR -    Prasitipol Dance Bar To Fall
    01 APR -    Soi 5 Neon Review
    01 MAY -    A Go-Go Bangkok
    01 JUN -    Arise ! Soi 11
    01 JUL -    Anatomy Of A Bar Area
    01 AUG -    Soi 26 - Too Far ?
    01 SEP -    Chuwit Guilty
    01 OCT -    Daytime Nana Plaza
    01 NOV -    Cowboy - All Of It
    01 DEC -    Another Nitespot Area Falls

    - 2006 -
    01 JAN -    Pattaya Ascending
    01 FEB -    A Go-Go Then & Now
    01 MAR -    ' Madrid '
    01 APR -    White Heat
    01 MAY -    Politics & Nightlife
    01 JUN -    Fagin's Bratpack
    01 JUL -    King Bhumipol's 60th Anniversary
    01 AUG -    Soi 10 - The Final Shaft
    01 SEP -    Pattaya's Soi Bua Khow
    01 OCT -    Rachada's Other Face
    01 NOV -    Soi 22s Other Bars
    01 DEC -    Soi Eden Goes A Go-Go

    - 2005 -
    01 JAN -    Asoke Plaza Crushed
    01 FEB -    The 'Nana Scene'
    01 MAR -    Asoke Plaza Smashed Again
    01 APR -    Sukhumvit 1 Plaza 'Arrives'
    01 MAY -    Welcome 'Soi Eden'
    01 JUN -    Bangkok's Bareback Riders
    01 JUL -    Soi 22 - A Macro View
    01 AUG -    Nana's Slide
    01 SEP -    Cowboy Street Scene
    01 OCT -    The Pattaya Run
    01 NOV -    Soi 19 In Focus
    01 DEC -    Bad Girls

    - 2004 -
    01 JAN -    Bangkok's Darkest Year
    01 FEB -    Where Is Trink ?
    01 MAR -    Soi 33 Just Won't Stop
    01 APR -    Cracks In The Crackdown
    01 MAY -    In The Zone
    01 JUN -    "Night-Scene Jumbos
    01 JUL -    Easy Square 'On The Map'
    01 AUG -    Soi 1 Entertainment Plaza
    01 SEP -    Khlong Toey Revisited
    01 OCT -    Koh Samui's Night Scene
    01 NOV -    Soi 1 Opens
    01 DEC -    The Bangkok Pub Scene

    - 2003 -
    01 JAN -    Cowboy Crackdown
    01 FEB -    Sukhumvit Square Smashed
    01 MAR -    Soi 10 Survivors
    > 01 APR -    War & The Night Scene
    01 MAY -    Entertainment Blues
    01 JUN -    '13 Night Market' Reborn
    01 JUL -    Clinton Plaza Falls
    01 AUG -    Soi 24 Nightscene Review
    01 SEP -    Does Soi Nana Measure Up?
    01 OCT -    Patpong - Legend & Myth
    01 NOV -    Easy Square 'Launched'
    01 DEC -    Soi Cowboy Urine-Swoop

    - 2002 -
    (OUR 2002 TEST COLUMNS :)
    01 FEB -    January: Big Changes In Bar Scene
    09 JUN -    Sukhumvit Square 'Explosion'

    20 JUN -    Soi 22's Queen's Park Plaza
    01 JUL -    Clinton Plaza - Already Dead?
    01 AUG -    Bar Beers Now "Major Players"
    16 AUG -    September: Bar Beers Gaining Ground
    01 SEP -    A Go-Gos A-building
    17 SEP -    Virtual Bars
    01 OCT -    A History In The Making
    01 NOV -    Pool Bars Come Of Age
    01 DEC -    January's Night Follies
    15 DEC -    Genesis: Sukhumvit's Night Scene
    - 2001 -
    20 NOV ( The Seminal Emails )

    Copyright 2002 - 2014,   BANGKOK EYES /

    Copyright 2002 - 2014,   BANGKOK EYES /