A Go-Gos a-building
Bangkok, 02 September 2002
William R. Morledge
What with a lingering Purachaiian axe hanging over Thailand's Night Life and the ongoing close-down of Clinton Plaza, it was beginning to look as though Bangkok's Night Entertainment Scene had taken its first blow to the body, its first inexorable step back into oblivion. However, the Midnight Hour notes this week that the earlier rumored construction of A Go-Go bars in Sukhumvit Square is going ahead as per the gossip of that long ago April day. Midnight Hour's earlier report can be read in full in the 20 June 02 Archives', -- an excerpt found below:--
No longer just a rumor, the first two A Go-Go bars now a-building in Sukhumvit Square are more than 50% complete, and are scheduled to be open for business before the end of October.
This month's gossip - and it is nothing more than gossip- is that some of the familiar A Go-Go owners from Clinton Plaza are moving across the street to Sukhumvit Square, as some of the Clinton Plaza bar beers have already done. As at this draft, the names of the A Go-Go bars a-building are now a closely held secret.
At this juncture, the total number of A Go-Go bars planned for Sukhumvit Square is not known. Still in Sukhumvit Square, the large central roofed area, 77 Sunset, in the central court has not yet seen any development in its 14 bar beer bays. Empty since its completion over a month ago, and with no signs of activity, maybe the rental per bay of 36,000 baht/ month is not as realistic as the developers had thought...
If you have been to the far rear of Sukhumvit Square, you have noticed a large parking area. This large area is at least potentially beneficial to its success as a Night Entertainment Area. However, one of the Square's denizens has passed on the rumor that the area will be used by the developers to bring in tour busses. Should this eventuate, it would certainly be a first for a bar-type Night Entertainment Area, and would be more than a little unusual in light of what is still at least technically a governmental crack-down on Bangkok Night Entertainment Areas not in the "Big 3".
The California Bar in the Happy Today 8-Pak in the Soi 10 corner of Sukhumvit Square has called it an evening; upturned barstools behind the counter casting a long, dark shadow. However, gossip on the block has it that its as-yet-unnamed successor will open by the end of September.
Sukhumvit Square's The Little Mermaid bar was in fact too little to support itself. Its roller-shutters down, and padlocked.
The modestly named Little Shinjuku Bar Beer has opened for business. It looks a little small to actually be self-sustaining, but then again it might find itself in a very good location, once 77 Sunset gets rolling inside Sukhumvit Square.
Last month Mooney bar beer reopened in Sukhumvit Square, only to become this month's Gwynnes Bar. 'Bar beer' is the format; welcome aboard.
Last month the @ Ease, Bangkok's first 2-storey bar beer, appeared to have gone out of business. This month Midnight Hour confirms that it has, in fact, gone under. Its novel roof-top seating, while not practical for the Monsoon season, was interesting, to say the least. Midnight Hour wonders who will take over?
Although it never really got around to putting up a sign, The Vibration (The Bar In) bar beer located on the West side of Sukhumvit Square has called it a night. Upturned barstools behind the darkened counter tell the tale.
Is The House's Bar a new bar, or is the sign going to be for one of the existing Sukhumvit Square bar beers? We will follow up on this one, and let you know.
On Soi Katoey (Silom Soi 4), the Hip Hop has recently opened on the 3rd floor, just above Speed. All the best.
Also on Soi Katoey, Superstar Frank's new Noriega has at last opened. Its located all the way at the end of the soi, across the street from the recently opened downstairs portion of Bobby's Arms. Its a 2 story place, very well decorated, with pleasant staff. Both Superstar Frank and Bobby believe, and have put their money where their mouths are.... that "Soi Katoey" is finally losing its reputation as a solely gay venue. Best of luck, Frank.
Play, also on Soi Katoey, has closed -again- and it looks like they are closed for good, this time.
Clinton Plaza, hanging on by its fingernails, is crumbling brick by brick, bar by bar. Several of the remaining outside bar beers were reduced to a pirated extension cord for the refrigerators and candles for light. In talking with one of the remaining bar beer owners (who has also opened a new place across the street in Sukhumvit Square), Midnight Hour was led to believe the winding down of Clinton Plaza could take a couple more months. When it finally closes down, Clinton Plaza will be the first A Go-Go area to have gone under since the disappearance of the legendary Golden Mile on 'New' Petchburi Road, circa 1976.
Also in Clinton Plaza, both the Windmill and the Top Secret have closed. Both were outside bar beers. At this juncture, it was no longer a matter of ' if ', but ' when '.
In Patpong I, the second-floor Lipstick bar has reopened after a 12 month closure. But don't get your hopes up. Its a rip-off bar. Now owned and managed by the same people that own Concert Bar across the street, customers are invited to take a seat, and drink orders are taken. The drinks are served, but the chit does not appear in the cup. The customers are surrounded by 'hostesses', and shortly thereafter, the waitress comes up and asks if you would like to buy the girls a drink - all the while showing you a small sign (in a very dark room) which says that your drink and the show you are watching will cost you 300 baht. You are not told how much the drinks for the hostesses are. If the customer invokes the promise of bringing the Tourist Police, he can in fact finish his drink and leave, and pay 100 baht for his drink, instead of the demanded 300 baht, but not without a very ugly scene. Prices for drinks are not posted. It used to be the rule that upstairs bars on this side of Patpong I were all 'straight up', and the upstairs bars on the other side were the rip-off bars; but all that has changed with the 'reopening' of this new Lipstick. Spread the word. This is just one more straw on the back of the camel that is Patpong I. Midnight Hour fears Patpong I is slowly turning into a seedy Asian Tijuana, complete with vulgar, grasping touts and strong-arm rip-off tactics. If the current government is really interested in improving Thailand's image, this garbage, and its kindred, would never be missed.
Bua Luang's Target on Patpong II has completed renovations & reopened its upstairs (2nd floor) - this incarnation is the It Room disco. Well appointed, it doesn't get really rolling until the 'Midnite Hour'. Welcome aboard.
Now that The French Kiss Cafe Bar Resto has finished its renovations, it has changed its name to simply, French Kiss. Renovations included the removal of the old, big overhead sign, which has been replaced with a very-hard-to-find small one adjacent to the inside sidewalk, but the bar beer is still there, still thriving, as it has been for more than a decade.
Cactus Club , noted as "under construction" in July, has officially opened for business on Soi Cowboy in August. It seems to be doing well. Welcome aboard.
The Soi Cowboy branch of the Dollhouse reopened on schedule. Some renovations were accomplished as they sat out their time in the penalty box, having run afoul of the Purachaiian decency police the month before. Welcome back.
Meanwhile in the Cowboy Annex, there have been a few bar beer closures during August. The Bottleneck closed unexpectedly, just as it looked as if business was picking up. It was so named because it was located in the crowded, narrow pathway between the Asoke Corner and Asoke Plaza areas of Cowboy Annex. Also calling it a night was Luc's Bar (again). And in the 4-Pak , both the Up To You and the Fantasy Thailand bar beers have faded into the night - both open only one month.
In Nana Plaza, the Crown Group's Lollipop Mermaidium did not reopen after its one-month red-carding by Lumpini's Finest. What gives here?
In Soi Dead Artists (Soi 33 Sukhumvit), the Bar-Za-Bar has called it an evening. Located in a small subsoi, Midnight Hour suspects it had location, location, location problems.
Also in Soi Dead Artists, inside the Peep Inn compound, the Yokohama Member club has opened. Japanese only need apply. Wish them well.
Still in Soi Dead Artists, the As Found had its soft opening at the end of August, its official opening and party was 1 September. Located at the very end of the Soi 33 Night Entertainment Area, they may be pressed for passer-by foot traffic. On the other hand, parking shouldn't be a problem. Welcome aboard.
Lastly in Soi Dead Artists was the opening of the Café Buongiorno, which has a bar, and therefore deserves a Midnight Hour mention. Its entrance is about a 100 meters down the last small subsoi - plenty of parking on its converted-villa premises. It was previously the Blue Marine Pub & Restaurant. Welcome aboard.
The Monkey Bizness has closed in Queen's Park Plaza.
The Smile Bar bar beer has opened on Soi 1 in Queen's Park Plaza. Welcome, and good luck.
One of the two bars that pioneered Queen's Park Plaza, the Ngan Han, has been down for renovations for the last couple of months. It will be reopening as the Maxx, an inside-outside pub. Figure an opening date sometime in October.
Queen's Park Plaza's Coconat has re-re-opened. Lets hope it stays open this time around. Welcome back - again.
© 2002, Bangkok Eyes / bangkokeyes.com
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