The prospect of a vaccine to protect Planet Earth from Coronavirus in the coming New Year is cause for at least guarded optimism in Thailand's Night Entertainment Industry (provided the currently approved vaccines are anywhere near as effective as the claims). While celebrations are premature in the extreme, it would be appropriate that the MIDNITE HOUR commence an holistic assessment of Bangkok's various expat Night Entertainment Areas. It will be interesting to see how Bangkok's Nitespot Areas are faring, as compared to the myriad dystopian predictions of last March. This month we revisit Soi 8 (Sukhumvit Soi 8). (Continued below...)
After more than one year away from Soi 8 (August 2019), and more than eight months of Coronavirus-related lockdown (borders), we anticipated our visit would be bleak, to say the least. However, we note that the inventory (inclusive of bar-restaurants and massage parlors) had only dropped by two Venues over the 16 month period - one less bar-restaurant (property now under redevelopment), and one less single-shophouse massage parlor. It would be hard to compare how busy things are now compared to last year, however most Venues had customers, and a few of those Venues had a good crowd. Those interested in viewing our 2019 map and article can do so at - this <link> .
In summation, not only is Soi 8 'currently weathering the Coronavirus storm', it looks to be able to maintain on an even keel for the duration. Below are additional photos of several of the Soi 8 Venues.
Another month has gone by, and Planet Earth's citizenry continues to find itself being cowed by the Coronavirus-Coronaphobia double-whammy imposed by virtually all countries. It is axiomatic that these global border lock-downs have continued to destroy tourism worldwide - and more to the point - tourism in Thailand. We continue to monitor the Coronavirus situation locally and abroad in order to provide our readers with realistic expectations regarding timeframe(s) for reopening of Thailand'sNight Entertainment Scene. This month, however, there is a 'light at the end of the tunnel'...
Remember these? It is a virtual certainty that something similar awaits the traveller in 2021. Those who feel their freedoms are being yanked out from underneath them by having to wear masks in certain situations, and having to carry proof of vaccination will cordially be invited to stay home. (Yes, we frequently receive comments along these lines from those who have found a way to keep themselves in a state of perpetual of indignation...)
This last November three drug companies, Pfizer, Astra Zeneca and Moderna, announced they will commence production and distribution of the vaccines which they have separately developed. (These companies claim a greater-than-90% effectiveness - three times more effective than the seasonal flu vaccine.) Distribution is foreseen to commence sometime later this month (December). Should the timeline for this initial deployment be met, it is likely widespread vaccination programs will get under way in Europe (including the UK) and USA by January 2021. (One hopes that the world's governments see the value in vaccinating the medical community, the elderly and the 'must-travels' first.) It is conceivable that, through vaccinations, Covid-19 will cease to be a serious medical, and (more importantly), social problem by the middle of 2021.
This month, we continue to reaffirm that sound countermeasures, when diligently applied, will stop the spread of Coronavirus in regions following the 'Isolation Protocol'. For several months, Thailand has not had a single 'in-house' case other than those in quarantine upon returning to Thailand from abroad. This last month there have been two 'anomaly' appearances of the virus. One person was tested and found to have developed antibodies, indicating he had once been infected. Working the backtrail (tracing), none of his contacts, past or present, tested positive for Covid-19 contact. The second case was of a young woman who came to Thailand from Burma via a 'natural' route (translation: she came across the Thai-Burma border by wading across one of the common boundary rivers which are very low in water this time of year). She developed symptoms and was hospitalized, while some 30-plus people she contacted were 'back-traced' and tested (none were infected). Currently, Thailand is technically continuing to follow its 'Isolation Protocol'; masks must be worn on public transportation, to include taxis (taxis often not observing), and in public buildings and medical facilities - however elsewhere it is rather voluntary. 'Social distancing' is technically still on the books, but almost universally ignored. Automatic and semi-automatic temperature readings are still being taken at certain public and commercial buildings. Free sanitizing gel is universally available, and now mostly ignored. Those entering the country are still required to enter quarantine for 14 days, either at government-provided hotels, or (more expensive) a hotel from a short-list of authorized 4 and 5 star hotels. Self-quarantine is not allowed. Those found to be Covid-19-positive will be hospitalized in select government quarantine hospitals until fully recovered.
Coronavirus Overview GLOBAL 3rd WAVE - BUT MANY NATIONS IMPROVE 01 December 2020
This December Bangkok Eyes continues our ongoing review & analysis of the global figures alongside several 'typical' individual countries. For purposes of comparison, this month we are publishing data for the same countries we analyzed in previous months. Note: 'typical' countries are so selected because of their accurate record-keeping and, not coincidentally, their implementation of internationally recognized precautionary and medical treatment procedures used in containing the Coronavirus. It is immediately apparent from the graphs below that the Coronavirus is far from gone - and the number of cases continues to increase. Nevertheless, world officialdom is in recognition that many nations are essentially winning the battle against the virus.
As the above upsurges and declines are recent, we have used both 'new case' and 'death' data to best illustrate the actual trending by the most accurate and visually observable means. Bangkok Eyes has reproduced the above information as a public service - this information is readily available to the public on the Internet and through other sources. This information is not to be construed as a prediction, or an estimate, or a projection relating to changes in the prevalence of the Coronavirus, either as to length of time, location or severity.
All charts sourced at www.worldometers.info from W.H.O. data.
Here we reiterate from last month's column: there is only one long-term solution to ridding the world of the Covid-19 Pandemic, and that is through "Immunity". And there have only ever been only two possibilities to arrive at immunity:
* First is through herd-immunity, which in several countries, appears to be winning out (falling or plateaued death rates, in spite of increasing numbers of new cases). Thailand has recently taken (limited) measures, which in the long run tend to promote herd immunity: In addition to commencing the long-term special tourist visas, Thailand will be starting 'business' visas with China and Japan for those able to pass the required medical screening. While these are the types of steps necessary to return to normalcy, the currently envisioned process will be too slow to be meaningful in the economic sense, and will impact the Night Entertainment Scene little, if at all.
* The second possible method to obtain immunity is through a vaccine such as discussed above. While the new vaccines are a cause for hope, they are not yet a cause for celebration. In the slight chance the vaccines are not successful, nations will need to adopt, and to pursue courses of conduct which will be more able to provide herd immunity (such as the Sweden Model).
*We note the local Thai Night Entertainment Areas are open and doing reasonably well, as, of course, their main source of custom is not foreign tourism. (Examples of local ThaiNitespot Areas: Sri Nakarin South, Soi Thonglor, Soi Udomsuk, Soi Ekamai, RCA.)
""I am impressed by your layout honoring 'high pants' Trink. A trip down Memory Lane! ... ... From my first week in Thailand, in the early '80s, I was an instant fan of Bernard. His Saturday, Bangkok Post, column was almost always the best part of their otherwise slim-pick'n Saturday. I remember one of the times, when the forces of 'up-tight' Hi So, 'preserve our culture' mavens managed to have his column banned from the newspaper! ... ...
(A friend) and myself held a walking-Irish-Wake that very weekend. We had 'bon-voyage' drinks in the remaining, last-man-standing, bars of Pat Pong, recalling the good old days, sharing our own stories about then and now. It was a grand, high spirited, tour of the past, just as Trink would have wanted. Not that anybody need give a hoot!"
""A lovely tribute. ... I admire your genuflection to the master of all that he surveyed – from extracurricular activities with a certain demimondaine to caravansaries, dram shops and constellations (after-hours meeting places). The nightery news of the week will never be the same.
All honors to Bangkok Eyes. The lineage is safe, unbroken, unbowed. But, I don't give a hoot. ... "
""Really well done on Trink. ... He told me once after he was fired that it was the women at the Post mainly responsible as they really didn't like him. When he tried to start up on line I think he wanted US$12 per year, or some such, and I told him that isn't the way to go, he should sell ads and post columns for free (as Stickman eventually did so well) but he went his own way."
""A lovely tribute. ... I read a couple of others and Roger Crutchley was good in the Bangkok Post and yours was excellent. Keep up the good work."
""An amazing tribute to a true character of Thailand. It was really well written.""
""A lovely tribute. ... Excellent summary (likely the definitive statement) on Trink's life. Well done."
""Excellent in all respects. ... .. Remarkable article. Exceptional tribute.""
""Interesting Trink's name would be on an urinal in the Thermae. Thermae, the original next to the Chavalit, (near the) the Firestone Building, was an old haunt for me while I was in Bangkok. Those were good times."
""Great issue, great piece on Trink. I remember scanning the column for the word "showing", which should give you an idea about my level of sophistication at the time. The column is, as always, jaw-dropping. Your energy and frame of reference are prodigious. Wish I were there, but the way things are going, it won't be for quite a while or, maybe, ever.""
""Really good Trink piece. ... ... Can't wait to get back but resigned to several more months of not even knowing when it may be impossible. Victoria has now had over a week without cases so there's some hope for the Aus-Thai situation...in the meantime my guess is the Chinese will come in force soon - I wonder how that will play out for the night entertainment scene?"
"As some country singer said, 'It's all been fun.' "
As I recall, Bill Book did have a bar across from Lucy's Tiger Den1971-75, or so. Was it not called The Cellar? You could get 'serviced' in the mens' room. He was an ex-Navy SEAL. The Cellar, to me, was The Thermae Coffee Shop, Suk Rd, which moved about a block from the 1970's - 80's location. I used to hit it back in the 70's after the race track on Sat-Sun w/ Tony Khim & Anton Perera, Sports Editor for Bkk Post. It was open most hours. Tony Khim opened more pubs than anyone I knew. Then, he was a friend of (Udom) Patpong.
MIDNITE HOUR: Bill Book ran Bill Book's Cellar Bar until about 1991. It was then located in Gaysorn, which at that time was a warren of small sois across the street from the Thai Yonoke. Gaysorn is still there, but has been entirely redeveloped with mega shopping and hotels. It was a 'Special Forces' bar; Bill was reported to be 'Special Ops' of some flavor. If you walked in wearing a tie, it would be cut off, and nailed to the wall. It did have 'special services' by the female staff, as you have mentioned. Lucy's Tiger Den was originally on Silom Road near the Dusit Thani Hotel, but later moved to Surawong Road opposite Patpong 2.
I know you and your group can't predict the future and I doubt you can email the PM, but still your information on your blog about Covid-19 in Thailand is excellent. Assuming that vaccines become generally available in the first half of next year, do you see Thailand opening up to general tourism in 2021? Do you see it on a country-by-country basis with some country's citizens (e.g., USA), at the bottom of the list?
In the event your assumption becomes reality, I see some possibilities: The vaccines now in the news (once proven efficacious and without side effects), could become available and inoculations could begin in substantial quantities in the US and Europe by January, and everywhere else by June / July. Countries with well-managed isolation measures, particularly in Southeast Asia and Asia, could likely be the first to enter into bilateral arrangements with Thailand. Covid-19 inoculation records would be required, as per years gone by, when we were required to travel the world with an updated yellow 'shot card' (see a sample above). It is possible that the Hawaiian Islands will be the first to re-integrate with the rest of the world - ahead of the rest of the USA - they are very keen to reestablish tourism with Japan.
It is most likely we will see a graduated and nearly full global reopening by the end of 2021. Again, this is only considering likely possibilities.
Bangkok'sNight Entertainment Venues, closed down in late March due to the Coronavirus, have officially been allowed to reopen since 1 July. This month we will highlight significant 'Bars In Transition' - to include photographs - as before. However, due to the large number of Nitespots opening and closing temporarily (and not notifying the public), we will continue including the additional descriptor, "(OPEN SOMETIMES)' when known to us. In the longer, historical view, this should provide a more accurate picture of the current 'in-flux' PandemicNightscene.
Last month, we noted that the Safari would be making a trial run at reopening on Saturday, the 14th. Well, it turned out to be much more successful than we would have imagined. Khun Ning brought in a crew of A Go-Go girls, and a number of Bangkok's 'old-hands' showed up (along with a surprising number of walk-ins). The evening's successful outing has encouraged the Safari - which will now be open each Friday and Saturday - for the foreseeable. Let the good times roll...
The Thigh Bar, on the other hand, is feeling the Corona pinch. They have closed down until (according to the owner) 'the airport opens up and the vaccine arrives'. Hopefully, this will be sooner than later...
The Twilo Live is also feeling the Corona Crunch. They were closed down when we passed by on the weekend. (We have moved them into the growing category of "Open Sometimes"...
The Corona Pinch has finally gotten to the Kazy Kozy - which was shut down and darker than a poisoned well when we passed by this last weekend. (File photo below...) "Open Sometimes" (?) - a wait-and-see item...
Tilac is also feeling the strain - no longer able to keep the inside A Go-Go bar open, they are now serving at the outside tables only. Keep on keeping on...
The long-defunct Chili, (the bar tucked away in the corner as you ascended the left-hand staircase to the 2nd floor) has been replaced by the brand-new Whiskey & Gogo. All looks good-to-go... Welcome them to the neon jungle.
A For-the-Archives pic of Nana Plaza. We note that Random now has some signage that can be seen by all. Let it roll.
The Club 69 has been trying to open for the last two months. We don't know what their constipation is all about, but we remain hopeful it will open this month (December)...
Diamonds Bangkok is not only closed, they have stripped off the entire facade. What, exactly, will replace it is known only to the heavens... Greener grass, gents... (The below file-photo taken at a previous temporary close-down).
The DC-10 (Spanky's 3) closed down without warning. Although the below photo was taken on a weekday night, we suspect they are now "Opening Sometimes". A wait-and-see item, of course...
The On-Again, Off-AgainGeisha A Go-Go is currently Off-Again. We wonder what the excuse is this time... We'll keep an ear to the ground, and get back atcha...
The Mexican (Mexican bar-restaurant) was closed this weekend (when we thought they should be open). It is located in the Rajah Hotel main building complex - as you walk back towards Soi 2. We have, somewhat arbitrarily, deemed The Mexican "Open Sometimes", and will update in the coming issue.
SOI NANA - (SOI 4 SUKHUMVIT)
Where Have All The Flowers Gone? 'LONG TIME PASSING'
The number of iterations of the 'Nana Disco' over the last 20 years is too long to list here. And generally speaking, each new Venue lasted a shorter time that its predecessors. Based on feedback from friends and correspondents, the last time it had that 'popular buzz', the last time it was the go-to after-hours hotspot, was in 2015, at that time calling itself 'Angels'. If our vote counts, we agree... (The Venue is currently closed due to the Pandemic.)
SOI NANA - (SOI 4 SUKHUMVIT)
*Na Na Massage - (in Nana Condo) - CLOSED.
*Elegance Salon & Massage - RECLOSED. - OPEN SOMETIMES *Pine 26 - RECLOSED. - OPEN SOMETIMES
Gone, but not gone... Last month, we noted that Soi 22's oldest bar, New Cowboy, had closed down, and its signage removed. We made a note to keep tabs in the event it were to reopen. Well, it did, after a fashion - it is now called the B52 New Cowboy. New signage, but the interior is unchanged... (Note: the B52 that moved into Subsoi Starlight from Queen's Park Plaza is still there.) Gotta let the train roll on...
The J. Star is a brand new Sports Bar-Restaurant located just next to the Hangover. The Pandemic be damned, it already has traction - a healthy crowd the evening we passed by. Welcome to the vicissitudes...
*Honey Bee Bangkok massage - CLOSED - Located in Soi Lemongrass.
*Terminal 69 bar beer - CLOSED - Top of the Soi, no sign...
*Shag Bar 2 beer bar - CLOSED - Top of the Soi, no sign...
The Wine Connection, after an overlong birthing, finally opened its doors. Its wine selection is superb, from reasonably priced Argentinean, all the way up to the 'good stuff'. A great menu and bakery if you are planning to have a meal. Welcome to the shark pool.
(Sukhumvit Soi 11)
The Bafros Bar & Lounge (African Beat) has reopened, if not bigger, then a lot better... Welcome back to the fray...
(Sukhumvit Soi 11)
The Lush Rooftop (above the Hemingway) is once again open for business. The indoor-outdoor setup is an excellent way to get away from the bustle of the street... ('Open Sometimes', until further notice...)
(Sukhumvit Soi 11)
The WXYZ Bar located in the Aloft Hotel is closed (signs removed - so we don't think it will be reopening). May they find something more to their liking a little further on down the road a piece... The Aloft's other two venues, Levels and Crave remain open.
The Long Shots was the first (November 2019) - and perhaps the smallest- bar to open in Soi 7 Plaza. We went back for a look-see, and they were gone. ...But not gone - they moved into the more spacious digs previously occupied by "Welcome Open". A big step up - looking good. (BTW, if you are looking for the "Welcome Open", they are alive and well on Sukhumvit Road - between Sois 10 and 12.)
SOI 7 PLAZA
The colorful Yadong sign is not a new Soi 7 Plaza bar. It is -as advertised- selling Ya Dong in a part of the long-existing Players. Drink and be merry...
SOI 7 PLAZA
There is a new bar beer in town, and it is Heaven. And by the time the owners' (the ladies are twins) come-one-come-all birthday party gets started on Friday, 4 December, they will have some neon nailed up to prove it. Welcome to the machine.
The Club Sapporo (located in the S-33 Compact Hotel) was closed down like Alcatraz when we passed by the other night. A weekend night, so they should have been open. We'll keep an eyeball peeled, and get back atcha if there is a change in status.....
ARTISTS (Sukhumvit 33)
*33 Society - (OPEN SOMETIMES)
*Joy - (OPEN SOMETIMES) - In S-33 Compact Hotel.
*Fortune 17 Karaoke - REOPEN *Fortune Club & Massage - REOPEN - In Subsoi 3.
*Apoteka - STILL OPEN - Thurs - Fri - Sat.
The Chrome Bar specialty massage has been doing its best to stay open during the Pandemic; opening and closing. But during this current closing, it looks like the Grim Reaper has made off with all the signage.... Gotsta get paid. (File photo below.)
* The Boomerang closed. It was located along the side fence.
* Previously the Je Taime closed to make way for Whooters. Whooters then closed, making way for the return that month of the Je Taime. It was located along the side fence.
(Total Nitespots that month: 21 )
* On the ground level, Big Dogs opened newly, having absorbed the recently closed Alien Plazabar beer and Leo Gardenbar beer.
* On the ground level, Hot Rods Video Arcade & Bar (in front of Obsession), closed for renovations. (They were never a 'video arcade', but rather just a bar beer.) They would be absorbed by Obsessions, which is still there today.
* Up on the 2nd level, Pool Boxers opened newly, having taken over the reins of the just-closed Welcome To Millennium. (We wonder how many remember either of those bars....?) Those digs now occupied by Straps.
(Total Nitespots that month: 41 )
Soi Katoey ( Silom Soi 4 )
*The Ibiza took over the digs of the Eivissa (which was only open for one month - after replacing Que Pasa?.) Currently home to 'Welcome Bar'.
(Total Nitespots that month: 15 )
Soi Dead Artists ( Sukhumvit Soi 33 )
* The Richmond Club Lounge and Bacchus were under construction during that month. No Nitespots currently occupy that construction site.
(Total Nitespots that month: 26 )
Buckskin Joe Village (~ December 1988 to 9 June 2006)
(Also called 'Tobacco Road', 'Soi Rot Fai', 'The Tracks', 'Soi Zero' & 'Machim' [Thai] )
* The Sexy Eyes closed.
* The Soundtrack Beer Bar replaced the just-closed Love You Bar bar beer.
(Total Nitespots that month: 20 )
Washington Square (~ April 1999 to April 2014)
* - No changes that month / year.
(Total Nitespots that month: 17 )
(Originally ''Entertainment Plaza'')
[ ~February 1999to June 2003 ]
* - No changes that month /
(Total Nitespots that month: 21 )
''13 Night Market'' Entertainment Area
(Originally 'Old Thermae Compound')
[ April 2000 - March 2005 ]
Yes, Banksy is at it again. This time on the London Underground. Disguised as a maintenance worker, he entered a train and began stenciling and spraypainting a 'mini-mural' in one of the train cars. And, as you can presume from the accompanying photos, his mice were the 'stars of the show'...
'central mouse' is not only NOT wearing his mask, he is sneezing green ejecta onto the train window. Some, who may harken back to the Bubonic Plague, may question Banksy's choice of having a rat as a Covid super-spreader, but the central message, "Wear Your Mask" remains. (There are, of course, a few who suspect Banksy may have another message hidden there somewhere....)
To dispel any ambiguity as to authorship, Banksy also left his tag across the end door of the car. In one photo, he can be seen in full 'maintenance man' gear waving off passengers - so that he could get on with his graff exhibition. (Final note: The graffiti has since been removed by the authorities, with the recommendation that Banksy reproduce it elsewhere... [?] )
Bangkok Eyes is an historically based news outlet, and as such, all graphic excerpts herein are considered,
under current legal precedents and
prevailing interpretations, 'Fair Use' under Copyright Law. Copyright of any original artwork resides exclusively with the artists.
Bangkok's original site !
The MIDNITE HOUR Graffiti Page is prepared by Staff Contributor "Boge" Hartman.
(Boge's photo, above, is not a graffitiper-se, although there are those who have insinuated....