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Bangkok's Night Scene In Review

Rachada's Other Face
- RACHADA'S SOI 4, 6 & 8

01 October 2006
William R. Morledge
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         ost of us know Rachadapisek Road as home to the dozens of steam-and-cream massage emporia made infamous by Night Entertainment Czar, cum real estate magnate, cum politician, Chuwit Kamolwisit - but there is another face to that stretch of road that most of the expat community has scantly heard of, let alone visited.
Hardly a scene from The Fast & The Furious, a bevy of Haa Roo's coyote dancers takes a break between sets to snap a few photos in the parking lot.

         Thriving alongside, or should we say, across the street from these brothel massage parlors is a very active Pub and Karaoke scene.   This 'other side' to Rachadapisek Road's face was, until recently, however, almost exclusively in the 'local' domain.   

         We had long ago heard the local ladies talking of "The Hollywood" and of Rachada's "Soi 4", but we had thought it was, perhaps, a single location with, at most, a couple of local pubs.   We had no idea that they were talking about two separate and well established Night Entertainment Areas.   The first being "Soi Hollywood", which is in fact two sois (6 & 8), connected at the back by another soi, forming a large "U".   Soi 4 on the other hand, is a separate maze of small sois each lined with pubs (*click* to our maps at the right).

         And while Soi Hollywood and Rachada Soi 4 still mostly cater to the younger Thai revellers, the number of expats visiting the two Night Entertainment Areas is on the increase.   (We should note that the "Over 20 Rule" is enforced perhaps more strictly at these two locations than at the more well-known 'expat' Night Venues.)
*Click* To Map
Soi 4 >>

*Click* To Map
Soi 6+8 >>

*Click* To
 Photo Essay >>

         One of the first things we noticed when entering Soi Hollywood was there was no shortage of real estate.   Virtually all the Nitespots had, comparatively speaking, huge parking areas.   The Night Venues themselves were virtual emporia, when compared to the single and double shop house bars on Soi Cowboy or Patpong.   It is obvious that big bucks have been invested in developing these once wide-open rai.   The Hollywood Awards, for example, when including the main structure and parking lot, is approximately the size of Soi Cowboy - all of it.

Door Art Of The Month

     This month's Door Art Award goes to Modern Club - a mostly (but not exclusively) Thai entertainment emporium on Rachadapisek Road, Soi 8.

         While Rachada Soi 4 also has several very large Night Entertainment Venues (Bang Rak,  Snop,  Zaleng, etc.) dwarfing those we are used to in the 'expat' bar areas, none match the colossal size of those found on Soi Hollywood.   While both Nitespot Areas are only a stone's throw apart from one another, they are a little 'out-of-the-way' for the expat unless he, or she, has own transportation.   The easiest way to visit is by the new subway, alighting at Rama 9 Station and walking North, or going one more stop to the Thailand Cultural Center, and walking back about 5 minutes.

Known as just "Hollywood" to taxi drivers and revellers alike, the actual name is Hollywood Awards, and lies on the connecting soi between Soi 6 and Soi 8, Rachadapisek Rd - all the way at the back.

         While it needs be said that both Soi Hollywood and Rachada Soi 4 have, some time ago, reached the self-sufficiency mark of "Critical Mass", the Night Entertainment Areas are still not mainstream expat areas.   As such, MIDNITE HOUR will not regularly cover the comings and goings of the new & old Night Venues in these areas.   Instead, we will be visiting occasionally, and will report back on any significant changes.

The Snop is by far the most popular spot on Soi 4 - in spite of a very thorough check of I.D. cards and personal belongings....

         In summation, Rachadapisek Road, you ain't no 'One-Eyed Jack', we've seen the other side of your face - and by all observations, it appears that the Night Entertainment Areas we saw there will be prospering far into the future.

 Historical Minutiae Dept.


'The Hare & Hound'

   Hi, When last in Thailand (1999) with friends and wanted a taste of home we used to go down to the Hare and Hound in Soi Cowboy for one of their roast dinners.   It was good to relax outside as well , cos you didn't get bothered and could watch the world go by.

When did it close down, and what happened to the people that ran it?

John N

         The New Hare & Hound Pub and Restaurant closed down on Soi Cowboy on October 2001.   (After months of renovating, the Dollhouse A Go-Go bar opened at that location in Feb 2002.)

         The Hare & Hound (shortened name) reopened in Washington Square on 20 Sep 2003 (keeping it's chef and most of the same menu).   Below is a photo of the new place - it is still there today.   It goes to show you can't keep a good Pub down.

Siamese Twins

On Soi 23 there is beer bar (with girls) called Siamese Twins.   Are there any other beer garden bars or beer pool bars on Soi 23 still?   I don't mean side streets ... I mean actually on Soi 23....


         The short answer to your question is, 'yes' - there are other such bars.   We have included photos below of the Soi 23 bars & pubs (not counting those on Soi Cowboy, but having "Soi 23 addresses").

         * An additional note to historians - the Siamese Twins really used to be twins.   The original Siamese Twins started out as a bar beer about 100 meters down toward Soi Cowboy in the now defunct Cowboy Annex (Asoke Corner).   

         More specifically, in January 2003, the original Siamese Twins bar beer took over from the old Unit Bar in the 8-Pak complex inside Cowboy Annex (on the Soi 23 side).   In December of that year, it expanded - taking over the adjoining beer bar area, which it converted to a pool bar area.   Two months later in February of 2004, the entire Soi 23 side of Cowboy Annex was hit by massive closures, as the land owners prepared to redevelop the land - the entire 8-Pak and almost all the other bars closed virtually overnight.

         But months before this original Siamese Twins was closed down, they had seen the handwriting on the wall, and had opened their second Siamese Twins on Soi 23 - at it's present location.   So there was, in fact, a period of a few months where both of the Siamese Twins were open for business on Soi 23 at the same time.

The Siamese Twins - as it is today - a lounge bar on Soi 23.

The Offshore is the longest-standing of the lounge bars on Soi 23, dating back to when a large number of the expats coming to Bangkok worked 'offshore' on the oil rigs.

The Green Diamond - a relative newcomer, is almost directly across the street from the Siamese Twins.

The Glow - a another relative newcomer, is technically a Soi 23 Nitespot, but you have to wind around a couple of corners to get there..

The Ship Inn is an English Pub of long-standing, near the entrance to Soi Cowboy.   They start with an English Breakfast at 09:00 a.m. - and keep on going.

Too Many Dominos

      Last month we related the story of Bangkok's two '80's-era Dominoes.   But we were perhaps a little too self-satisfied with our own 'job-well-done'.   It seems we might not have done all our homework, after all.   On reading our article, alert reader "CX" recalled a card he was given in 1986, perhaps on Patpong I, from the "D. Domino".   Does anyone else have any further info on the D. Domino?   If so, please let us know.   The card is interesting from another historical aspect : it provides a rather complete and explicit listing of the 'shows' that were popular in the 1980's in the so-called "upstairs" bars on Patpong and elsewhere.   Our thanks to "CX" for sending this in.

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    - In the LAND OF SMILES -

             This month the MIDNITE HOUR awards the "Thai Smile" to a part-time student living in Bangkok.

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    Many Thanks,
    William R Morledge

       MIDNITE HOUR presents our monthly recap of the   
    NEWS on Bangkok's Expat Night Scene.   
    Let the  October 2006 Follies   begin...

      PATPONG  I  
                The SuperStar doorgirl was sporting a hot T-Shirt and even hotter leather vest the other night.   She advises that they are for sale in sizes inside - watch out Jesters !   Keep on a-rockin' & a-rollin'.
    Photo with permission

                After two tries, the Kitchen X has succumbed to the miseries.   Something to do with no customers = no money, etc. etc.   R.I.P.   But there to take over where they left off is the Thaifood Restaurant & Pool Ball.   ...'Pool Ball' ?   If we didn't know better, we would say that the gremlins have been up to a little   .   Nevertheless. let's wish them luck as they wade into the sharkpool.


    Give me a sign.....

          Help us out here....   Before it closed almost two months ago, it was the Queen's Castle 2.   Last month while it was shut down, they hastily changed the sign to read Queen's Castle 1 (see last month's issue).   This month, now that they are reopened, they are calling themselves just Queen's Castle - having ripped the "1" off the overhead sign.   But to muddify the waters even more, their drinks menu (above) is calling it -in Thai- Queen Classel 3 (that's not a misspelling).   Nevertheless, welcome them, whoever they are, back to these streets of shame.

                The Super Pussy resides in abiding darkness, only shadows dancing in it's abandoned doorway.   A sometimes 'rip-off' - sometimes 'straight' "upstairs bar", we have to wonder if they just went out of business, or if they were 'asked' to close down....   We'll lay a marker down on this one, and let you know if it pops back to life.   As an aside, the Super Pussy has, or had, the most photographed sign on Patpong - appearing in countless websites and blogs.
    File photo

                Having reopened only late this July, the Queen's Castle III was looking darker than a poisoned well when we passed by last night.   It may hold the world's record for bars closed down, only to reopen again.   We expect this is yet another temporary closing.   
    File Photo

      PATPONG  II  
                On this particular rainy night, many of the bars had a goodly number of their staff out in front, hopefully to 'catch' some of the very few passers-by - the Electric Blue being no exception.

      SOI  COWBOY  
                The Baccara has got some new billboard-sized neon up - and looking good.   They also had a formidable team of P.R. Girls out on the Soi this weekend (see lower photo).



                The Tenderloins Bar & Grill has actually been open almost a year, but has been mostly 'Grill' and very little 'Bar'.   But that was then, this is now.   This last weekend we saw a very active bar, indeed - it's time we recognized Tenderloins as a "Night Entertainment Venue" in it's own right.   Do what you do, do well.   Tenderloins, by the way, is brought to you by the same people that have the Lookie-Lookie Gallery & Lounge, just across the street.

                The Santana Club has failed to answer the bell for the next round.   Originally opening in July 2000 in the old Leo Club Bangkok 1994 digs (remember that?), by September of that year, it was calling itself the Santana Club 2000 - the adding of the '2000' was a relatively popular thing to do at the turn of the Millennium - once the general population convinced itself that the "Millennium Bug" wouldn't destroy civilization as we then knew it......   Santana, being one of the older bars on the soi, we will endeavor to spread their ashes with care and reverence.


      SUKHUMVIT  1  PLAZA   
                As promised, the Rooster Bar got it's new neon nailed up - displaying a rather explosive green rooster, at that.   Where are they getting this high-voltage neon these days?   It never used to be like that....

                The new kid on the block this month for Sukhumvit 1 Plaza is actually only half new.   For two reasons - firstly, it is the Honey Bar II, the original Honey Bar being just across the hall on the 2nd floor.   Secondly, although the lights were on, and the pool table was ready for use, and the door was unlocked, there were neither staff nor customers.....   Does anybody know what's going on here?   We welcome them to the neon jungle - we think.....

      SOI  EDEN  
                The World Kitchen has, it seems called it quits as far as attempting to entertain Bangkok's Nightcrawlers.   Our guess is it takes something more than tables and chairs to be competetive with the other Nitespots that provide hostesses....   We understand they are still serving during the day, however.
    SOI  EDEN  (SOI  7/1)

                Located on Sukhumvit Soi 7, the New Wave is a first-class Poolbar that has stood the test of time.   The New Wave has also become a "hot" meeting point for freelancers and expat alike.   It has six (full sized) pool tables and enough room so you are not hitting some young pool-sharkess in the backside with your cue every time you take a shot.   Let the good times roll.

     NANA  PLAZA  

      SOI  KATOEY  
      SOI   TWILIGHT  

    (No News !)



    - And now to Bangkok's own brand of Graffiti....

    Graffiti #092
    The Rill Thang
    6 ft high x 30 ft Mural

    Graffiti #092A
    Chump Change
    (Detail of above)

    Graffiti #093
    Fowl Ball
    5 ft. high x 5 ft. (partial)

    Graffiti #094
    10 ft. high x 12 ft.

    Graffiti #095
    Hard Day's Night

    Graffiti #096
    10 ft. high x 6 ft. (partial)

    Graffiti #097
    Apple Ciderhead
    6 ft. high x 14 ft.

    Graffiti #098
    5 ft. high x 5 ft.

    Graffiti, graffiti , and more Graffiti - Bangkok's original and ONLY graffiti Site !

       The M IDNITE HOUR Graffiti Page is prepared by Staff Contributor "Boge" Hartman .

    (Boge's photo, above, is not a graffiti per-se, although there are those who have insinuated....)    

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                   William R. Morledge


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