Last month the Midnite Hour took note of two seemingly contradictory trends - increased Covid deaths / new cases, and the continuing reopening of the Nightscene. In fact, over the last three months, Thailand has experienced it's highest Covid numbers ever. Perhaps the most noticeable "apparent anomaly" in these 'Times of Covid' is the popularity of Pubs - both newly reopened and brand-new.
O'Shea's - located just inside Sukhumvit Soi 33/1
No longer does Bangkok Nightlife consist of Lounges, A Go-Go's, Late Night Coffee Shops and Steam & Cream massage parlors. The Bangkok Night Entertainment paradigm has long since shifted - a distinctly wider selection of Venue types has found it's way into the Night Entertainment 'landscape'. For quite some time, a major player in today's Bangkok Nightlife scene is the "Pub" - of the 'Great Britain' kind. (We do need to differentiate between the proper "Pub" and those lounges, pool bars and sports bars that have "Pub" on their signage, but are not pubs in the real sense...)
Scruffy Murphy's - Located on Sukhumvit Soi 23, just past the entrance to Soi Cowboy.
The criteria for the so-called 'proper' pub are decor, adequate seating for couples and groups, as well as a bar, perhaps a dart board, but not necessarily a billiard table (unless they have an upstairs, where such might be found). A selection of beers / ales, local and imported, as well as a respectable mixed-drink menu. The premises must be suitable for such as ladies' nights, group participation quizzes and the like, and be accessible to single female custom (...we've noted some Venues having signs in Thai language prohibiting 'freelancers'.) Full or part-time live music may or may not be a feature. And last but not least, 'pub food' - where a decent meal can be had at any time. Note: we draw a line here between "Pub" and "Club", also growing in popularity, and may or may not meet some of the "Pub" criteria. All things being equal, we will be covering the "Club Scene" in the near future. Below is a sampling of other Pubs, now serving, in the Bangkok area.
The Blarney Stone - located on Soi Nana, Sukhumvit Soi 4.
Chequers British Pub also located on Soi Nana, Sukhumvit Soi 4.
Hanrahans - also located on Soi Nana, Sukhumvit Soi 4. .
Londoner Brew Pub (formerly atop Soi 33 Sukhumvit) - 1178 Pattanakarn Road Reader submission, copyright to owner.
The Old English Pub - midway down Soi Thonglor, Sukhumvit Soi 55. Google Maps, copyright to owner.
P.J. O'Brien's - Sukhumvit Road near the Phrakhanong BTS Station
For those planning to travel to or from Thailand, The Thai Government has again eased travel restrictions - effective 1 May (this publication date). We have summarized the current guidelines below (reprinted from the Government website), and are providing a link to the full text for those wanting to read in detail. We note that the Government can change travel policy from time to time, so prospective travellers should update on a regular basis, both with the Tourist Organization of Thailand (TOT), and your local Thai Consulate.
A Summary of Current Government Guidelines on Covid-19
Bangkok, 1 May, 2022
The following rules will be in effect from 1 May, 2022, with specific requirements for vaccinated and unvaccinated / not fully vaccinated travellers from all countries/territories with scheduled arrivals from this date.
Vaccinated travellers must have the following documents for entering Thailand:
* A valid passport, and a Thailand Pass (via https://tp.consular.go.th/), or a Border Pass for arrivals via border checkpoints.
* An insurance policy with coverage no less than US$10,000. Thais and foreign expatriates under Thailandís national healthcare coverage are exempt from this requirement.
* A Certificate of COVID-19 Vaccination.
* Everyone 18 years of age and older must be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 with an approved vaccine at least 14 days before travelling to Thailand.
* Travellers 5-17 years of age travelling to Thailand unaccompanied must get vaccinated with at least 1 dose of an approved vaccine at least 14 days before travelling to Thailand. Those travelling with parents are exempt from this requirement.
* Travellers with a history of COVID-19 infection who have received at least 1 dose of an approved vaccine post-infection must have a medical certificate of COVID-19 recovery.
On Arrival Requirements
* Upon arriving in Thailand, all travellers must undergo entry screening including body temperature check, and present the required documents to the Immigration/Health Control officer to carry out the checks.
* The vaccinated travellers will then be allowed entry and are free to go anywhere in the kingdom. *For arrivals by land using a border pass, they will be allowed a stay of no longer than 3 days within the specified areas only.
* Likewise, unvaccinated / not fully vaccinated travellers who have uploaded proof of a negative RT-PCR test within 72 hours of travel via the Thailand Pass system will be allowed entry and are free to go anywhere in the kingdom.
* Otherwise, unvaccinated / not fully vaccinated travellers must proceed to undergo the quarantine for 5 days. The trip to the prebooked accommodation must be by a prearranged vehicle on a sealed route within a travelling time of no longer than 5 hours. Then, they must undergo an RT-PCR test on Day 4-5. Travellers under 5 years of age, travelling with parents and undergo the quarantine together, can have a saliva test. Travellers whose test result returns as negative will be allowed to go anywhere in the kingdom, while those whose test result returns as positive will be referred for appropriate medical treatment and the expenses must be covered by the required insurance / own expense for foreign travellers, or national healthcare coverage for Thais and eligible foreign expatriates.
During the Stay
* While in Thailand, both vaccinated and unvaccinated / not fully vaccinated travellers are advised to strictly follow the health and safety standards. Travellers who are experiencing COVID-like symptoms should get tested. If testing positive, they must get the appropriate medical treatment.
The Covid-19 Certificate of Vaccination for International Travel
(Reprinted by request.)
For Thais and foreigners living in, or otherwise vaccinated against Covid-19 in Thailand, your records have automatically been maintained at the Department of Disease Control, Ministry of Public Health. Your records can be accessed by you at any time by downloading the Moh Phrom app on your smart phone, and filling in the data - exactly as recorded on your hard copy vaccination certificate given to you at the time of vaccination.
Should you be planning to obtain your "International Certificate" (yellow booklet below) to travel outside of Thailand, open your Moh Prom app and scroll down to the International Certificate box - and click-and-apply. Note: foreigners are given a 13 digit ID number in lieu of the Thai National ID number, which you will find on your hard-copy certificate, and you will be required to use it when applying. You will be able to book an online appointment to obtain your Covid-19 Certification of Vaccination on the app - which, when completed, will usually involve a wait of approximately one week to ten days. When you go to pick up your certificate, bring your passport and hard copy vaccination certificate(s) for verification purposes. The pick up point is at the Bang Rak Hospital Building next to the new Saint Louis BTS station on Sathorn Road. The fee is fifty (50) Baht.. The earlier requirement to present your onward travel documents / airline tickets is no longer in effect, all are welcome to process for the new yellow booklet. We recommend all expats process for this certificate, as the rules and regulations on the international scene are in flux, and you may be required to show the certificate at many and various points of entry, etc, to include getting back into Thailand.
In summation ( Reprint from previous issue.) -
Bangkok Eyes will continue our efforts to encourage tourism by providing updated information on travel and entertainment which could be useful to those wishing to visit Thailand. Travellers to the Kingdom, once through the entry drill for testing, etc, currently have a great amount of leeway in travelling in-country, and visiting Night Entertainment Venues. However there are current regulations for wearing masks in most circumstances - public transportation, public and commercial buildings and other locations accessible to the public. However when in restaurants and pubs, bars, etc, there is no requirement to keep masks in place once seated. Social Distancing is technically still 'on the books' but virtually entirely ignored. Foreigners in Thailand must keep their vaccinations up to date, and should keep proof of vaccination with them when out and about.
READER : Dear Sirs,
(While in Las Vegas) I watch video's of Pattaya every few days. I especially watched on May 1 as that was opening day for Pattaya and Land of Smiles. Noticed in Pattaya most all the bars were open, music playing and girls aplenty. Traffic heavy. Missing ? Punters. DAH!Thai mentality as they assumed the first day that restrictions were dropped the place would be chockablock full. Punters - first of all - have been though this with Thailand before. They're not going to make plane and hotel reservations until they're sure that Thailand is going stay open.....
Your observations are spot-on, both for Pattaya and for Bangkok. Reopening a bar and rolling out the red carpet will not put customers 'belly-up-against-the-bar' - doubly so, if there are virtually no customers. While there are a few Nitespots doing well at this juncture, most are not. While the number of tourists has risen slightly, it is nowhere near its previous highs, not by half. Providing there is no new Covid blowout, it will take a minimum of 4 to 6 months for the Night Entertainment Scene to get back on it's feet.
In your last issue you implied that Soi 7 bar area would be up for redevelopment. Aside from possibly panicking the bar owners there, do you have any actual information on that area being redeveloped?
We have heard of no immediate plans to redevelop Soi 7 Plaza. Nevertheless, in our experience over the more than 30 years, we have seen similar scenarios involving sudden unexplained closures, each, sooner rather than later, leading to an unceremonious tearing-down of the bars to make way for a major redevelopment project. We would rather have the bar owners of Soi 7 Plaza be aware of the inevitability of redevelopment of the land on which their bars sit - which are in fact sitting on prime Sukhumvit real estate. Some of Bangkok's most entertaining Nitespot areas have similarly been on 'opportunistic' land - taking advantage of available unused space for whatever time they had remaining - before the bulldozers came to clear it all out - Easy Square on Soi 22, Sukhumvit Square, Clinton Plaza - to name a few.
This month saw a number of Venues reopen on Patpong 1.. While not all were Night Entertainment Venues, it was encouraging to see the increased activity. Nevertheless, Patpong 1 is far from reaching a new 'Critical Mass' - only time will tell if this once famous Night Entertainment Hub will be revived. (Video filmed 31 April 2022.)
The 5th level Emperor Club has reopened above Shenanigans. This club will appeal to Japanese custom. May they prosper...
Venues open April 2022 through 1 May 2022 :
*King's Castle 1 - REOPEN
*King's Castle - REMAINS OPEN
*Emperor Club - REOPEN - 5th level above Shenanigans.
*Tip Top - - REOPEN - as a Pool Bar.
*Wong Barber - REOPEN
*Derby King - REOPEN
*Shenanigans - REMAINS OPEN - (On Suriwong Road)
*Unnamed massage parlor - REOPEN - Upstairs above Thigh Bar.
The Patpong Museum once again presents exclusive entertainment of interest to Bangkok's resident expats, as well as the slowly-but-surely increasing tourist crowd... While you're there, drop up to the Black Pagoda, one flight up.
Venues in transition April through 1 May 2022 :
*Tavern Three Saloon - RECLOSED
*Triple 888 Massage - - RECLOSED - 3rd level, on The Ramp.
Hooters, in spite of our predictions of doom, has survived the cold Covid winter. Gotta let the train roll on... Located in the Nana Hotel.
SOI NANA - (SOI 4 SUKHUMVIT)
Last month we included a pic of the new 2nd level Swan Karaoke. This month they switched out signage becoming Swan Isarn Mak Muan. The Swan Group is also in the midst of playing musical chairs with other of it's Venues - we shall report next time 'round.
SOI NANA - (SOI 4 SUKHUMVIT)
Venues that transitioned April through 1 May 2022.
Big B's Pool Bar relocated from Soi 7 Plaza this last month to the former One For The Road (next to the defunct Apoteka). They are planning a Wang Dang Doodle on the 28th - all friends new and old welcome. Let the good times roll...
(Sukhumvit Soi 11)
Venues that transitioned from March through 1 May 2022.
*Cali-Mex Bar & Grill 11 - CLOSED
*P P Massage / Ya Dong Potion - CLOSED - Subsoi Havana Social
Rumors come and rumors go, but all those rumors of the last month predicting a reopening of Soi 7 Plaza are no more to be heard. Although some Venues opened for brief periods during April, generally the Soi 7 Plaza remained closed. As of the beginning of the month, no definite date for its reopening has been promulgated. As of this writing, two bars have already seen the handwriting on the wall and moved out, lock, stock and chrome barstool : Private Bar (relocated to Soi 22), and Big B's Bar (relocated to Soi Ambassador). What we would not like to see (worst case scenario) is a repeat of the brute-closures that took down Asoke Corner, Easy Square (Soi 22), Soi Zero, Sukhumvit Square and Queen's Park Plaza. Time will tell all - we will continue to monitor...
The notorious Eden Club, which featured (a mandatory) two masseuses of exceptional versatility, and which gave Soi Eden its popular moniker, had long been Covid-closed. This month we see Eden Club will not be reopening - the premises now occupied by the new Red Fern. (We wonder if the Red Fern is any relation to the previous Bai Fern?) Welcome them to the bright lights, big city...
SOI EDEN (Sukhumvit 7 / 1)
The Madrid of Patpong 1 renown has either moved lock, stock and barrel to New Road (Charoen Krung Road), or it has opened another Madrid at that location. On the day of our survey, the Madrid was closed. Judging from the signs taped to the front, they are apparently opening part time. (Yes, we've heard all the rumors.) So, as Bernard Trink would say, more on this as we hear of it...
SOI 49 NEW ROAD
The Le Bouchon Restaurant & Pub, formerly of Patpong II fame, had their grand opening (reopening) this April at their new location on Sathorn Soi 1 (Soi JUSMAG to you aging residents and longtime return visitors...). The new digs are well-appointed, spacious and the cuisine is as good as ever. We hope only that they are not too far off the beaten path (location, location, location)... Welcome them back to the nightcircus....
SOI 1 SATHORN ROAD
Jack's Bar (just say, 'Jack's') has been a longtime watering hole for those long-term expat residents that prefer to drink afternoons, rather than nights. However, lately, partly due to the gradual increase in tourism, it has become a popular, often crowded, destination for foreigners on holiday. Its appeal is it's ancient wooden waterfront premises - and providing one arrives early enough, a seat can be had overlooking the Chaophraya River. May they persevere...
This month Midnite Hour looks at some of the more famous Night Entertainment Venues from 1965, as well as a couple that have long faded into history...
Most long-time residents and return visitors remember raconteur-pianist Sam Scott from The Yard Of Ale on the corner of Convent and Silom roads. But his first BangkokNitespot was the Drop-In Tavern (in 1965) in the New Road Night Entertainment Area, just off New Road, toward the Oriental Hotel on the soi then called 'Oriental Avenue'. This clipping's lead, "Don't Kill Your Wife" may have been a take-off from the Jack Lemon film, How To Murder Your Wife, playing in Bangkok at the time...
Having gone through boxes of clippings from 1964 onward, this is the first instance we found of the long-enduring Takarabarber / massage / steam baths. We note the directions to foreigners is "Off Silom Road, behind Alitalia Bldg.", but the Thai directions to taxis was "Takara Barbershop, Patpong 2 Road". The Takara has, over the years, shifted to a number of locations on the Patpongs, their original location is currently occupied by The Strip Bangkok.
The Borvon Massage shown here is the later 'annex' on "New" Petchburi Road's then-new 'Golden Mile' - (The original Borvon on Sukhumvit Rd. was featured in this column several months ago). The directions for the taxi are lost in time - it was located 'kitty-cornered from the Ban Kaew Ruen Kwan' (?)....
Although the Bangphra Golf Course is not a Night Entertainment Venue - and not in Bangkok, it is interesting to observe that Thailand was starting to become a golfing destination as far back as 1965.
Celebrity entertainer Maurice Rocco was winding down his long-running contract with the Oriental Hotel'sBamboo Bar in July 1965. Many thought it would be the 'end of an era', but he would return...
Yes, there was the occasional Japanese bar in Bangkok as early as 1965, as the above clipping on the Bar Ginza attests, but nothing on the order of today's Thaniya RoadNight Entertainment Center.
Resident Philippine musicians Narcing Aguilar and Bennie would do gigs at various Nitespots in the New Road - Suriwong - Patpong area in the evenings, then head over to Max's Place and play " 'till late "...
The Star LightNightclub would advertise far-and-wide each time they changed their entertainment program, usually featuring entertainers from overseas. ..But the Kimchi Sisters? Surely their manager could have thought of a better name for the group....?
This month Midnite Hour directs our readers to an excellent article on the 'gentrification' of graffiti itself. The The New Republic's article takes the reader on a journey from the origins of modern day graffiti (defined in its simplest form as spray-paint graffiti), where graf writers in the '60's and '70's worked in secret, almost always under the cover of darkness, throwing up pieces on walls, trains and anything else - without the promise or expectation of reward, or that their works would last beyond the time it took them to take a snapshot.... They were not concerned that their works were, by definition, virtually always vandalism....
But 'change' was coming, and change was as slow as it was inevitable. By the time of the infamous 5 Pointz graffiti incident - where graf from dozens of graffers over many years was unceremoniously painted over by the building's legal owner, precipitating a successful lawsuit by the graf artists - 'the page had obviously turned'. Today's graf artists are ever-hopeful they will land a hard-money contract with an ad agency or film company to do background work. They have their own websitesselling copies of their works, T-shirts, and etcetera. We live in a world where municipalities provide 'legal walls', call graffiti pieces 'murals', and where we can find art classes teaching spray-paint 'graffiti art'. Graffiti is now displayed in museums, for sale in art galleries, and auctioned off in prestigious auction houses. Inevitably, spray-paint art for the politically / commercially correct masses has brought with it dreary conformity - leaving much of the old-time edgy originality and unfettered criticism (the rage against the machine) 'on the cutting-room floor'. Such is the nature of today's 'neutered' graffiti artist...
Those interested in reading The New Republic's excellent article in its entirety can *click* here and go.
Down On The Corner
8 ft high x 4 ft (Wrapped)
8 ft high x 17 ft
A Gooey Goodbye
6 ft high x 8 ft (Center section)
8 ft high x 14 ft
6 ft high x 12 ft (Center frame)
6 ft high x 11 ft
8 ft high x 15ft (Center frame)
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 creators.
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....