ctually, the term "re-up" first became a part of the 'vernacular' during the Viet Nam conflict; it meant to re-enlist for another tour-of-duty. What we allude to here, of course, is giving Soi Thonglor another 'tour' - It's been 7 years, after all....
Typically on a survey or a resurvey, I will walk the entire area, to include side-sois and lanes, and this time around, it was no different. My first impression, even though I visited on a weekend night, was that Soi Thonglor was somehow darker, less lively. It is likely a couple of things contributed to this perception; first, some of the old stand-by Nitespots were no longer there (Witch's Tavern, Woodstock, etc), and secondly it seemed - at first glance - that there were fewer large Nitespots, and many new small single-shophouse Venues. I later confirmed the latter when making the below map.
On completion of the map I did a "head-count", and then compared the number of venues to the map of 7 years ago. It was a surprise that the total number of Nightlife Venues is almost twice the number of previous times. Things didn't add up in my head - it looked darker and drearier than previously, but yet there were twice as many venues. I decided to look more carefully at the types of venues now populating the new map. Thonglor, like most of Sukhumvit's sois had become home to a great number of small single-shophouse massage parlors, totaling over 20 - from legit Thai Massage through all variations of 'specialty' massage. Fully one third of Thonglor's Night Entertainment Venues are massage parlors.
I also noticed a shift in the "center of the action" from a rather even distribution in earlier times to a concentration around the center of the Soi and around the mouth of the Soi at Sukhumvit Road. A contributing factor here is that there is currently a number of construction projects under way in certain areas of Soi Thonglor. I also noticed a number of new Nitespots on the side-sois.
The most interesting development on Thonglor, and the one bright spot, is the number of quality Venues in and around Soi Thonglor, Subsoi 10 (see map). This is made all the more interesting by the Soi Ekamai (Sukhumvit Soi 63) development on the other end of this same Soi 10. In a future, projected scenario, this subsoi (Soi 10), to include the venues along it's full length up to Soi Ekamai, could very likely develop into a Night Entertainment Area in it's own right. Wait and see....
Another change in Soi Thonglor is the Thonglor of old was probably the only major Night Entertainment Area in Bangkok that had a large mix of regular farang revelers. This time around the farang participation on the Soi appeared to be much less than in times previous.
In the near future it is virtually certain there will be other changes in the Night Entertainment Scene, particularly once the bulk of construction projects along the main Soi is completed. We shall keep tabs on Soi Thonglor, and schedule in another revisit in the near future.
Analyses aside, there is still a lot of Nightlife to be experienced on Soi Thonglor, and would be well worth a visit for those looking for a change-of-pace in their entertainment lives. Photos can be keyed to the map for location.
Very good Thaniya and Thaniya map but I notice your map not show Hanabi one example can see in first photo. Some mistake?
Thank you for bringing this to our attention. Others have made mention of similar 'discrepancies' in the past. The problems we face in making maps of some of the Night Entertainment Areas are several. In this case, our survey of Soi Thaniya covered two nights; the photos and some of the mapmaking were made on the first night, and the remainder of the mapmaking was done on the second night. As we do not get to that location regularly, we cannot pick up, for example, when bars are temporarily closed, or have forgotten to turn their signs on. Alternatively we occasionally see a bar sign which is turned on long (sometimes months) after the bar has actually closed.
We base the populating of our map, rather, on which signs were lit, and / or which bars had hostesses sitting outside, on the actual night of survey only. Also, in our survey of Thaniya, we did not cover each bar by walking up the 6 or 7 floors to check if they were actually open, and we took it on faith that the lit signs were the indication that they were open. This creates the possibility that the maps we place on Midnight Hour will have the occasional error. Note : this will not happen with the Night Entertainment Areas we survey on a monthly basis, as we are already quite familiar with the Nitespots and their individual histories.
Like the gunfighter's epitaph on Boot Hill, "I knew this was going to happen, I just didn't think it would be so soon." We'd all heard the rumors; thought we'd seen the handwriting on the wall.... Once Randy had parted active participation in Gold Fingers, could the A Go-Go bar continue to keep it's head above water, or was it just a 'waiting game'? This month, unfortunately, Game-Over. But what a run... born in the mid-80's it had seen a number of expansions and contractions, becoming one of the most popular "Patpong regulars" bars in Patpong's history. Alas, yet another nail in the coffin, the coffin that awaits the once-legendary "Patpong I".
- File Photo
And while we are on the subject of the Gold Fingers..... Out of the blue, and through a circuitous route, we received an old photo of Patpong 1 from the old Mississippi Queen'sTony Douglas. But it wasn't just any old photo - it showed not only a number of long-forgotten bars but their location relative to one another, and to present-day bars. The key is the two bars, Ecstasy and Bunny House, each bar appearing to be one-doorway wide. This of course is the ground floor entrance stairways to those two upstairs bars. There is only one location on Patpong 1 where there are two upstairs bar doorways adjacent to one another. Ecstasy was where the now extinct Fire Cat was, and the Bunny House was where the upstairs Takara is today. This places the Roma in the recently closed Pussy Collection spot, and the legendary Mississippi Queen in the just-closed Gold Fingers. After putting our heads together, we have narrowed the timeframe of this photo down to the years 1974 - 1978. A million thanks to Tony, and to "P." (you know who you are).
The Dragon's Head Tea House & Sake Bar
is now no longer "pre-opening", nor is it having a "soft-opening", it is full-blown OPEN. I've got my sights set on a couple of those small cups of warm sake and some of their home-made pizza....
You've got to hand it to The Strip a Go Go - no one has more imaginative promotions than they do. Nor are they 'come-ons', they deliver the goods....(but be sure to read the fine print).... Let the rock continue to rock....
Now you see me, now you don't.... Bada Bing was still showing some neon when we passed by last weekend, but we understand the Name Gestapos will be insisting on a name change very soon now.... But seeing is believing, we'll report back next round....
Almost without noticing, the Cocktail Club closed it's doors - to be quickly, and almost as quietly, replaced by the Crazy Cat. (Sign Gestapos again?) If this name rings a bell to any of you long-term residents, the New Crazy Cats closed it's doors on March 2005, and was absorbed by Deja Vu. Welcome the Crazy Cat as they give a roll to the dice.
Door Art Of The Month
Dazzling, no other word for it, the Crazy Cat signage takes full advantage of a reflective background to reveal the most exciting new neon Door Art we've seen in months...
The Lighthouse was celebrating their 3rd birthday when we passed by this last weekend. My, but that roast pig looks good... Let the good times roll...
The Bush Garden has closed it's doors for good. And as it passes into history, so is written the last sentence in a remote bit of Nightlife trivia. Back in the days of Clinton Plaza, the two owners began to feud. One of the owners decided enough was enough and opened the Bush Garden next door to Clinton Plaza in the Ruamchit Mansion. (BUSH Garden - CLINTON Plaza.... geddit?) As it happened, Bush Garden far outlived Clinton Plaza, but not before the original owner had moved on. Oh, well....
Chapter umpteen..... The Plaza gossipers got it right this time : they had been whispering the new name for the recently closed Rainbow 4, which was the more recently closed R&B Bar, which was the more recently unnamed half of Four Bar. The name, at least this month, is in fact, Twister Bar. Taking any bets on whether or not the Musical Chairs has stopped in the Plaza? Don't look at me, my bookie won't answer my calls....
While management sorted itself out, the Jail Birdz was temporarily closed. This was, however, very soon put right - they are back, pedal to the metal. Welcome them back, as they slip into the same old, same old.
The very end part of the Bunnies / MILFS complex (to include the part that used to be D's offices) has finally been opened to the public - as a very comfortable Pool Bar. Get down tonight....
The newest branch of Asia Herb Association has opened up mid-Soi, near the turn-off to Soi 6. Strictly legit massage. Let's wish them all aces and faces.
In the We Don't Make Mistrakes Dept., last month we noted the opening of the new Hollywood Salon. ....So far, so good. But then we mentioned that they opened in the old Relax Time Massage digs. Nope - Relax Time Massage was located next door, and happened to be closed on the night of our last-month's survey. This month, both Nitespots are a slippin' and a slidin'.
The Exotic Massage is the 'replacement' for what was the Soft Sense (closed a few months back). We note: no 'foot massage' - this is the 'quick test' as to whether a massage parlor is 'ambiguous' or not. Located on Soi Lemongrass, just past the old Queen's Park Hotel. Welcome them to the Big Uneasy.
SOI 22 - (Sukhumvit)
The Pretty Relax Massage has taken over, lock, stock and KY from the Quickie Massage (which lasted all of 2 months). Hmmm, perhaps there is something in a name, after all.... May Lady Luck smile as they cast their lot with the rest....
i Bar was the bar that replaced the Degas bar when it closed in June of 2012. When the i Bar closed a couple of months ago, the Degas sign reappeared, but the Venue remained closed. The Himawari Snack Bar & Karaoke was the eventual occupant, opening it's doors (at least to Japanese customers) this month. Welcome to partytown.
SOI DEAD ARTISTS - SOI 33
Previously noted last month, Omotenashi Club Mitu and it's upstairs partner LB Club Mitu are currently presenting themselves to the outside world as Love & Service. They have however added their real (Thai) name to the signs, which reads 'Mitsue' in both cases. For practical purposes, they are a single Night Entertainment Venue. The beat goes on....
Below find a 'For-the-Archives' pic of The Pickled Liver British Pub. A well-appointed pub, located at the back end of Sukhumvit Soi 7/1. Night Entertainment, except for the very few, is a mug's game; wish Pickled Liver continued success in this never-ending 'trial-by-snakepit'.
For two months Classic Boys has had no sign (upper left in photo) - causing us to wonder if a change were upon us. And it was: it is now called New Classic Boys Club (see their banner). We presume new neon is in the pipeline....
Bangkok Eyes goes back in time to
Who was new - And who was through
in the Expat Night Entertainment world.
How many of these old 'oases'
do you remember ?
* No changes that month / year.
* The Topless Exotic Bar(also, 'Topless Topless Topless') became the Topless BarA Go-Go showbar. It is now the Top Less Pool Bar.
* The Pink Panther'supstairs lounge closed, leaving the Pink Panther A Go-Go intact.
* Up on "The Ramp" the James & Vinai Club closed down, having handed over the reins to the Sweetheart Club. (The transition to Sweetheart began the previous month....) No venue currently occupies that upstairs shophouse.
* The transition to the Long Gun Lucky Star from the Longgun was completed. (The original, legal name was the Lucky Star.) They are at the same location today.
* The XTC, forced by the 'authorities' to use a less suggestive name, relabeled their Nitespot the XXX Tacy. It is currently home to the Rainbow 2.
Soi Katoey(Silom Soi 4)
* The Buddy BeerPub & Restaurant closed it's doors for good. It was located where G's Bangkok now thrives.
* The DP 2000 reopened. It was located next door to Helene's Place.
Buckskin Joe Village(~ October 1988 to
(Also known -originally- as Tobacco Road or Soi Rot Fai or,
'The Tracks', and later as Machim [Thai] and Soi Zero)
Graffiti Studies 101 UNIVERSITIES EYE GRAF FOR POSTERITY
This graphic excerpt from Internet is, under current legal precedents and prevailing interpretations considered 'Fair Use' under copyright law.
In spite of the meaningless and embarrassingly useless, near-comical content of many curricula found in so many American Universities over the last twenty-five years, many of these universities have adopted a most useful secondary purpose - as repositories of bodies of knowledge; separate permanent reference libraries. An example of this is the archives of the Viet Nam War at the University of Texas at Austin (link).
Another interesting effort along these lines is the Association of College & Research Libraries and their periodic publication : College & Research Libraries News(link). A recent article in this electronic publication titled, "Street art and graffiti - Resources for online study" by Michael DeNotto, was an informed, brief dissertation on graffiti and a guide to sources of archived graffiti. (DeNotto is instruction librarian at St. Mary’s University of Minnesota).
While we do not entirely agree with DeNotto's perspective on the subject, the article is nonetheless a valuable, and interesting reference. (DeNotto attempts to differentiate between Street Art and Graffiti - we do not, as we hold fast to the basic definition of graffiti - "Any marking on any surface by an unauthorized source." This would include a jack-knifed "John [ heart ] Mary" carved in a tree or a park bench or a public toilet door.) DeNotto continues on with a relevant thumbnail history of graffiti, then proceeds to dive into a rather lame attempt to layer-on a 'legitimization' of academia's uptake of the 'study' and 'archiving' of graffiti. He would have us believe graffiti was of significant sociological and even psychological value to academics, and to the world. One cannot blame him for writing this kind of 'horse-pucky', however, because he needs reflect what these repositories of graffiti are themselves using as raison d'ętra, and he would likely never 'get published' if he didn't. Below is a brief excerpt from his article, which you are free to buy into - or not:
"Graffiti is now recognized as a legitimate source of academic study, and it is being studied as a reaction to injustice and disenfranchisement, a cry for revolution, a way to create awareness of sociopolitical issues, an expression of hope for the future, an effort to reclaim public spaces, or an attempt to beautify the urban environment, among others."
But where DeNotto hits a home run and earns his 'attaboys' is his compendium of what he refers to as "Crowdsourced Archives". In some cases, this is not an accurate descriptor, but nevertheless provides us with a grand resource on 'who is archiving what'. Below are these references, some of which were referenced by us in the past :