couple of years back, give or take so many months, the rumor spread that the Imperial Queen's Park Hotel was going to close; it's fate unknown. And immediately, the rumors started.... The rumors with the most traction were saying it would undergo a long renovation, and perhaps be reopening some two years down the road.
The Just opposite the Marriott Marquis Hotel the Park 22 Complex started and completed construction and opened for business - all while renovations were on going. The Park 22 has since filled up with restaurants and a popular wine bar.
SOI 22 (Sukhumvit)
We, at MIDNITE HOUR, heard the rumors as well. Once the Imperial Queen's Park Hotel closed, the Night Entertainment on Soi 22 would dry up. Nitespots would go out of business, and the staff would be looking for work elsewhere. Nitespot owners and staff were convinced the end was nigh, and naturally, were very concerned.
The rumor, of course, came to pass - the Imperial Queen's Park Hotel closed, and renovations commenced - although, almost imperceptably. We at MIDNITE HOUR were among the many bar-wags and Internet bloggers that put in our two cents' worth, prognosticating the demise of Soi 22 as a viable Night Entertainment Area. And, to be sure, we did see a few Nightspots close down. We too-readily assumed that this was because the big hotel closed down, and we were seeing the beginning of the end. It didn't enter our minds that these fluctuations were part of the normal ebb and flow of the Bangkok Nightscene.
The Marriott Marquis opened last month in the previous Imperial Queen's Park Hotel digs. But how will it affect the Night Entertainment Scene on Soi 22?
SOI 22 (Sukhumvit)
However, several months after the closure of Imperial Queen's Park, we noticed that while there were variations in the number of Nitespots, none of the variations, when considered individually, or as a group were statistically significant. What did this mean? It meant, 'Wait and see'.
Fast forward: last month the successor to the Imperial Queen's Park, the Marriott Marquis opened. It was time for us to get busy and dig into our old surveys and see just how Soi 22 fared during the predicted draught of customers due to the absence of a large hotel. At this juncture, we already had our suspicions, but the facts are the facts.... The results of our review are shown on the graph immediately above.
Our preliminary observations were confirmed : there were no significant statistical variations - starting from the period of 'hotel-closure rumors' up until the opening of the successor hotel. The pundits, the bar-wags, the 'old-hands' - all were wrong - and that includes us. It goes to show that scenarios which appear logical, and even highly likely, are not necessarily that which will transpire. To finish on an upbeat note, it appears that there has been a minor surge in the number of Nitespots on Soi 22 over the last four months. Time for some more 'Wait and See".
I see that you put seminal bars up for the various Entertainment Complexes and even have the seminal bar that started the "A Go-Go" scene in Bangkok.
I think some of the readers might like to know what the seminal bar is in, say, Pattaya (yes I know a bit out of your area), or better yet - what the seminal Ladyboy bar was in Bangkok, or in just one of the Nightlife Areas.
Not entirely my cup of tea but as I'm a bit of a history want-to-know-it-all kind of guy, I thought I'd ask.
The seminal bars in Pattaya have been mentioned in our columns on a couple of occasions, however, were not specifically designated 'seminal'. A note of explanation; a seminal bar may, or may not, be the first in it's respective area, but rather it is the Nitespot that 'started the fire' - the bar that began the trend - for what would be the mainstay type of bar for that Night Entertainment Area.
In Walking Street in the early - mid 70's there were three A Go-Go's, the Harbor Light, and Hank's Hideaway and Dino's (not to be confused with another 'Dino's' on Soi 29 Sukhumvit in Bangkok during those years). All three Pattaya bars were near the 'Big Tree', but across on the inland side of the roadway (the roadway not yet called 'Walking Street'). Hank's Hideaway was a lounge format with eats, combined with A Go-Go, and not really typical. The Harbor Light was in a single-shophouse, and had a small A Go-Go stage behind the bar, also not really typical. Dino's was of the 'classical design', with a large raised center stage - A Go-Go interspersed with 'shows' (candle, etc). The nod to 'seminal bar' would go to Dino's. Footnote: The classic Tahitian Queen claims to be Pattaya's first A Go-Go, but it would be more accurate to say it is the longest running A Go-Go in Pattaya - it opened in 1978, or thereabouts. It would not get the nod as the seminal bar.
Open at the same time at the top of what is now Walking Street, at the foot of South Pattaya Road, was the Fantasy Club, which was on / over the water, open-on-both-ends, overlooking the water. It could be considered the 'seminal' freelancer bar (the Thermae-by-the-water), as well as the first 'Marine Bar'-style open bar.
Simon, the original one, at the end of what is now Walking Street, was the first gay-katoey bar, but mostly gay, few katoeys. Also early - mid '70's.
The MIDNITE HOUR doesn't follow the gay/katoey scene as a separate category. As a result, we are unable to single out the first, or seminal, katoey bar in Bangkok. We do, however, report on Soi Katoey and Soi Twilight bar areas to the extent we provide an update based on a 'monthly survey' - as they are historically significant to Bangkok's Night Entertainment Scene. As far as the Nana Plaza Night Entertainment Area goes, the Casanova was the first katoey bar, and is still there today.
The 5th Floor, 'for-Japanese-only' Tokyo Girl's Collection (TGC) have found a way out from under it all, selling out lock, stock and barrel to The Emperor Club. - Which should be opening right about.... now. Most need not make the trip up to the 5th floor, however, as it is just as 'Japanese' as it was last month....
The Butterflies A Go-Go has taken over (after some minor interior renovations for the better) from the Jail Birdz. Or has it? Prominent amongst all the new neon is the Jail Birdz signage of old. This likely due to the usual administrative delays in official name registration. Nevertheless, welcome Butterflies to the vicissitudes.
ButterfliesA Go-Go have done a great job, not only on their new neon, but on their end-of-year decorations. This month the Door Art of the Month Award is happily presented to Butterflies.
The EQ Late Night Club perhaps best typifies the 'BangkokNight Entertainment Venue' in it's enthusiasm and elaborate preparations for the end-of-year celebrations.
A 'For-the-Archives' pic of Hanrahans, an open-fronted Irish Pub - one of the longer-lived Nitespots on Soi Nana. May they continue to march....
Heaven's Bar, up on the 2nd floor across the street from Country Road, near the Soi 6 cutoff, has closed it's doors. Let's see if this is a "New Year's Thing" - I'll keep an ear to the ground, and give you a come-back.
Three of Queen's Park Plaza's stalwarts have spruced up for the New Year by nailing up new neon : the Lucky Bar, the Meaw Meaw Bar, and the Sin Bin. May they continue victoriously in the unrelenting neon wars.
QUEEN's PARK PLAZA (Sukhumvit 22)
The 3-Sister Bar have decided to come back to work again. And good timing, at that - they had a substantial New Year's crowd. Rock and Roll.
The Asuka Club in Sub-soi 4 ran headlong into the Abyss last month, making room for the new occupants : So Ra Japanese Karaoke. They should be rolling out the red carpet right about.... now. Welcome them to the piranha pool.
SOI DEAD ARTISTS (Sukhumvit 33)
The Charming Massage has just opened up in Sub-soi 2, next door to the recently closed The Office. They hope to get some additional neon tacked up soon. Welcome them to the machine.
SOI DEAD ARTISTS (Sukhumvit 33)
The just-relocated, just-reopened Love & Service Massage (Mitu) has closed down for at least a month. Located in Sub-soi 4. Let's wait and see whether or not it reopens....
ince the passing of King Bhumibol Adulyadej in October of this year, a number of wall murals in his honor have appeared on the streets of the city of Bangkok, Thailand.
This 20-foot high mural of a now famous picture of the King Rama IX has been re-rendered in an out-of-the-way soi near Saphan Hua Chang.
These professionally rendered street murals of King Rama IX have supplanted spaces previously the haunts of local and international graffiti artists. We suspect that, unlike the usual Bangkok graffiti, these murals will not be painted-over any time soon.
"The King taught that we Thai people should love one another."
There are several other 'Remembrance Murals' in and around the Bangkok area. We have provided below some other examples for your viewing.
"We ask to be under the feet of the King each reincarnation. With all our hearts, all the Thai people."