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Bangkok's Night Scene In Review


The Pattaya Run
- WHY  DO  WE  DO  IT ?

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Bangkok,
01 October 2005
William R. Morledge
 
The  GRAFFITI  Page - New !
Rumor Of The Month
October's Follies in review


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         Pattaya City, as it is now called, is still just 'Pattaya Beach' or 'Pattaya' to almost everyone.   It is just a little over 140 kilometers from Bangkok, so it is a little too far away for a commute, and just too near to go for a vacation.   It is, however, ideally suited for a "Pattaya Run" of one or two nights.

         But why make a Pattaya Run when everything anyone could ask for in the way of Night Entertainment is right here in Bangkok?   The answer to that is that there are big differences between the two Night Entertainment Capitals.

Big Easy-Hard

         It looks like the battle rages - warring hard-on drugs.   Ten years ago, were the fortune-tellers waxing euphoric of these coming miracles?   Noooo....   We find this amusing on more than one level.   Notice they are peddling 'erectile disfunction' medicine, when everyone reading this column knows full well that 99 times out of 100 it is taken as the recreational drug of choice.   In fact we have never met anyone who takes it for 'erectile disfunction'.   Now, either someone is being easy with the truth, or they are buying medicine so they can go out and do it more and better and faster and stronger and with more partners.   It's not too difficult to see (in fact it sticks out like dog's testicles) that taken in the context of the twin Sin Cities of Pattaya and Bangkok, what we have here is an ego medicine - more time in the rack equals, somehow, a better time.   Sorry, but that does not compute.   It's like taking steroids and closing one eye as they hang the gold medal around your neck.   What are you really proving, gents?   Hey, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

         The first of the major differences between the twin Sin Cities is Pattaya's Night Entertainment Areas far outnumber Bangkok's - by an order of magnitude.   One of MIDNITE HOUR's most 'Frequently Asked Questions' is why we don't also cover the Pattaya Scene.   The answer is, simply, it is impossible.   In our surfing experience, we have come across several Pattaya-based websites, and as good as they are, they don't even come close to covering each Nightscene Area, (each Bar Beer Area, etc.) - there is just simply too much going on there.   Last weekend (while on our Pattaya Run) we noted no less than 6 bar beer areas nearing construction completion, some of them will be large enough to attain instant 'critical mass' and be considered as separate Night Entertainment Areas.   --And we didn't have time to cover more than a few of Pattaya's many sois.   Another way of saying the same thing; MIDNITE HOUR just couldn't do it justice - and there are others in Pattaya already doing a much more thorough job than we could, being Bangkok-based.   So, in summary, if it's virtually infinite variety you are looking for - Pattaya, not Bangkok.

Urine Deep Trouble

         The translation:
NOTICE

It is forbidden to bring in addictive drugs, or 'E' (ecstasy), or 'K' (ketamine) into the Disco.    If urine testing shows addictive drug use, there is a 5 year prison sentence.

         This sign outside the Marine Disco, posted by Pattaya's Finest in 1997 is still in effect - trust us.   As free and easy as Pattaya is, this is not the place for indiscretions - if you are caught, and if they decide to make an example of you, you will end up broke and broken.   This is not about right and wrong; this is about smart and stupid.

         Another reason we Bangkokians will make the Pattaya Run is the Night Venues in Pattaya experience a greater degree of freedom from the petty tyrannies of The Men In Too-Tight Uniforms.   It's not that the Pattaya Men In Tan are any less corrupt, or that they are blind to what is going on, it's that they are smarter.   The Pattaya Night Entertainment Scene is free (comparatively) to entertain the foreigner in just about any way they see fit.   For those of us who have spent time in both Pattaya and Bangkok - this is most apparent.   If you are looking for a more relaxed atmosphere - comparatively free from the petty harassments, go to Pattaya, not Bangkok.

         And there is another more 'intangible' reason for making the Pattaya Run - each of these Sin Cities has it's own 'feel' to it - it's own 'attitude'.   This is probably best illustrated by observing that Bangkok is refusing to issue any more licenses for new A-Go-Go bars; Pattaya on the other hand, has one or two new A-Go-Go's opening every month.    The single common denominator in discussions between folk who spend a lot if time in both cities is, "Pattaya is like Bangkok used to be fifteen, twenty-five, thirty-five (you pick a number) years ago.   So if you are interested in revisiting that feeling, or perhaps experiencing it for the first time, go to Pattaya, not Bangkok.



A BRIEF PICTORIAL    PART 2

The MIDNITE HOUR Graffiti Page



         Last month was our 'kick-off' column on Bangkok's graffiti, so if you missed it, just click here. <link> and see what you missed.   Last month's issue also had a thumbnail history of graffiti which might interest you.

         Let's continue on, then....

Graffiti #008
Redbutton
6 ft. high


Graffiti #009
Man - Motorcycle - Mural
8 ft. high x 30 ft.



Graffiti #010
Mutilated Man
8 ft. high x 25 ft.


Graffiti #011
Stucco Job
8 ft. high x 12 ft.


Graffiti #012
Dragonshead Stairwell
5 ft. high x 8 ft.


Graffiti #013
2002 Jesus
4 ft. high


Graffiti #014
Zetts Doubletag
5 ft. high x 6 ft.





This is not a graffiti per-se, although there are those who say....   The MIDNITE HOUR Graffiti Page is prepared by Staff Contributor "Boge" Hartman.   ;




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Many Thanks,
William R Morledge







(MIDNITE HOUR will not have a Rumor Of The Month for the month of October 2005.         -Ed.)



October's Follies
begin here

     MIDNITE HOUR presents the NEWS on the Bangkok Night Scene; - the 'history-in-the-making' for all major Night Entertainment Areas  - for the month ending  1 October, 2005 :

PATPONG I
MAP
            
Silver Girls


         This last month it was Asahi's turn to flog the grog on the streets of Patpongs 1 & 2.   In recent months, it was Tiger Beer, Corona Beer and Malibu that had their lovelies blocking your footpath - but if the Patpongs must have touts, then this is the way to go.   The friendly promoter shown above was not the least bit shy about advertising her wares; she says she and her silver-lame'd friends will be there at the Asahi booths each weekend.   As we are wont to say, things could be worse....


         Below is a photo out-take of the Asahi girl.   "She's too cute to be a minute over seventeen."
         PATPONG I

             We were told, but would we listen?   Nooo.   The Tip-Top has been renovating for the last couple of months, so we asked - and were told that they would reopen as Tip-Top again.   We watched the construction proceed, and it kept looking more and more like a lounge as it progressed.   But we were wrong - the new Tip-Top has opened as a partially open-fronted restaurant - not lounge.   This venerable mollusk of Patpong is not -per se- a Night Entertainment Venue, but, like Mizu's, has been a part of "The Scene" for so long, we would be remiss in not noting it in the historical record.          PATPONG I

PATPONG II
MAP
            We got a fright when we saw the Mike's Place (Spanky's) door double-bolted and the entranceway looking darker than a poisoned well.   But not to worry, they sustained some water damage during the recent tropical storm Vincent, and while they are drying out, they are going to spruce up a bit.   One can always hope that they have resurrected the old Mike's Place A-Go-Go license.....   Look for them to reopen on or before 01 November 2005.   This 'damage due to tropical storms' seems to be going around, no matter where you are on this planet - hard evidence of global cooling, if you ask us.... PATPONG I I

         
Door Art Of The Month
Award

The MIDNITE HOUR nod for best Door Art Of The Month goes to Century - Neither graffiti nor Van Gogh, it is an unusual subject for a Nitespot Venue 'work of art'.

The Century is located on the 3rd floor of the Cosmo"s Stairwell- across the street from Foodland.   As mentioned last month, Century was closed for renovations.   Renovations having been completed, they have hit the deck running.   Keep on keeping on.

   PATPONG I I

NANA PLAZA
MAP
            Obsession A-Go-Go - is still closed (inside only) "for renovations".   We don't, however, see any signs of construction going on, and it's been more than a month now - begs the question, 'bust' or 'renovation'?   No one was around to ask, so we will have to throw a marker down and get back to you. NANA PLAZA

SOI COWBOY
MAP
            Pop quiz: When is the Deja Vu not the Deja Vu?   Answer : "When it is the Five Star 2".   Take a look at the two photos of their marquee below, and see if we are not right.   The top photo was taken in May when they opened; the lower photo was snapped last night.   There are a couple of new, smaller Deja Vu signs down by the entranceway, but it seems that, yes, the Sign Gestapos have been hard at it again.

One really has to wonder at Bangkok's 'crackdown mentality' - the authorities decide they 'don't like' this or that sign because the biggest words on the sign do not portray the registered name of the Night Venue.   That is plenty reason enough to bust them, right?   This is the very essence of the tiny-minded bureaucratic machinations with which the local authorities continue embarrass themselves.
SOI COWBOY

            As we went to press last month, we mentioned that we suspected the Apache would be opening within hours.   Well, we were right - and as technically, it opened in September, we will mention it again this month for the historical record.   And, yes, it is a 'table dancing' bar with the angled mirrors on the tabletops for those who would prefer to see which shades of pink the bikini bottoms are, or are not.   The night we visited, they were packed to the rafters - may Fate deal them all aces and faces.
SOI COWBOY

             The Midnite Bar has been eking in a renovation, apparently between dance sets.   But now it is beginning to show - the emphasis is on sapphire blue.   Next time you walk past, have a look at the facade, or walk in and look to your right - the Midnite Bar is slowly transmogrifying into one of the hottest looking Night Entertainment Venues on the Soi.   The format of their entertainment seems little changed, for those of you who have been there before.   Keep on rockin'.
   SOI COWBOY

SOI DEAD ARTISTS(Soi 33)
MAP
            The newest massage parlor to open on Soi Pan Pan (Sub-Soi 1) is the Baan Khon Thai Massage.   The format: "slightly ambiguous", and as can be seen below, prices are within acceptable limits.   Welcome to the rough-and-tumble.
SOIDEADARTISTS

            The Venus Club is nothing if not chameleonesque.   They have not only recently changed their neon, they have now changed their 'format'.   Probably the best description of this format is 'grope-show'.   While the groping is basically non-stop, the dance-shows take place from time to time on the second floor.   (Prices on Soi Dead Artists remain higher than in the other Night Entertainment Areas, and the Venus Club is no different - hostess drinks are about Baht 160 and the escort service fee is Baht 1,000.)   Another way to say the same thing, the action at the Venus Club is as close as you can get to being an A-Go-Go bar without actually having it on your sign.   Shake it, don't break it, ladies, you do know well how the guardians of our virtue can be when they think they can publicly make an example of someone....
Be warned: this team, and sisters-in-kind, will come out on the sidewalk, sandbag you and drag you in for a drink or two.
   SOIDEADARTISTS

            The Brick, which opened only in February 2004, is the second of the Christie's Group bars to show up missing from roll call this year - following the slow, agonizing death of Papa, just next door.   When we passed by last night, all we could see was darkness shining out from within.   Ashes to ashes; so be it then...    SOIDEADARTISTS

            When we cruised Sub-Soi 5 last night, we noted that the Arsom Sabai traditional massage had roller-shutters padlocked to the concrete floor.   Looks for all the world like it has wheezed it's last.    SOIDEADARTISTS

SOI KATOEY
MAP
            The Roxy Bar & Club have got some brand new neon - not to replace the old, but in addition to the old.   The significance of this flashy sign seems lost on all, including the staff, who were even more vague than usual.   We'll throw a marker down on this one, and get back to you.
  SOIKATOEY

             Soi Katoey had the Men In Tan out in force last Friday, minding our morals for us with the hard-pounding zeal of a tropical storm.   But as can be seen from the photo, sometimes Bangkok's Finest are the Men-In-Plain-Clothes.   If you are under twenty years of age, don't try coming in the front way; come in through one of the back doors facing the parking lots behind.
We wonder just how much Malibu really enjoys being part-and-parcel of the Crackdown?
  SOIKATOEY

QUEEN'S PARK PLAZA
MAP
            Friendly Bar bar beer, opened last month without neon - well, this month they have it right out there in plain sight, well draped with Christmas lights.   I thought it looked familiar, so I asked - sure enough - it is their old sign from the long-ago destroyed Asoke Plaza Night Entertainment Area.   They are planning to put a more elaborate sign up at some future date, but they say this rainy season is hitting pretty hard, so don't hold your breath.
  QUEEN'SPARKPLAZA

SUKHUMVIT 1 PLAZA
MAP
            Gone, but not gone, Josephines Beer Garden has resurrected - at least in a manner of speaking.   They have every light on in the place except the sign, which gets us to wondering....   The large format projection screen is up and running - for the sports channels, but the pool room has disappeared entirely.   But most ominously, the place was entirely empty (again) this Friday night.   Don't give up the fight, gang, but you are going to have to promote yourselves better than you have been.   SUKHUMVIT1PLAZA

SOI EDEN
MAP
             The Sweet Heart Club has finally got some neon down lower (by about three floors) where the passers-by can actually see it.   And it doesn't look bad.   Let the good times roll.
  SOIEDEN

OTHER NIGHTSPOTS OF NOTE
            Just around the corner from Soi Cowboy on Soi 23, you are going to run into the Ship's Inn, that is if you haven't already done so.   They open early for breakfast, and stay late.   If you like whole wheat toast with marmalade and tea with your breakfast, you've found your spot.   'British Pub' is the modus operandi.
   One of the older Night Venues in the Soi Cowboy area.   Check out the 'lucky gecko' in the lower left corner.


            The Tunnel has been around for a while, but in that it seems to improve with age, it is well worth a mention.   It is located on the shortcut between Soi 5 and Soi 7 Sukhumvit - at the Soi 5 end.   A long, thin bar beer, it was once even longer when the strip of karaoke rooms was operational (now used for junk storage, thank goodness).   There is quite a bit of new construction on that small shortcut, and if all of it is destined for Night Entertainment Venues, we will have to make a return visit in the very near future for an update.
   



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