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Bangkok's Night Scene In Review

Soi 5 Neon Revue

01 April 2007
William R. Morledge
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April's Nightlife News
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         In December of 2003 MIDNITE HOUR made our first survey of Soi 5 Sukhumvit Road.    Optimism was running high; we even predicted that it might continue to grow and become a Night Entertainment Area in it's own right.   Let's take another look and see what has changed over the last three-plus years....
The Public House is new, it wasn't around 3 years ago, but if ever a place had location, location, location, it would be this place - right on the corner of Soi 5 & Sukhumvit Rd.   The beer bar format has customers sitting out next to the sidewalk - as part of the passing parade.

         Below is an updated map of Soi 5 showing those venues which qualify as "Night Entertainment Venues".   If you would like to see our old map, click here <link>.

         What we have noticed, comparing the Soi 5 of three years' ago with today's is that the number of Night Venues has stayed about the same.   But there are fewer bar-lounges and more massage parlors than before.   So much so, that one has to wonder how so many massage parlors could exist on such a small soi, considering that there is an abundant number of massage parlors outside the area as well.   Suffice it to say, that they seem to be doing a good business here, in spite of the drop-off in tourism due to the hot season.
Alice Club was in fact an open fronted lounge bar 3 years ago, but you may remember it by it's old name - Club Ryu.

         Three years ago, there was an abundance of Japanese-oriented lounge bars on Soi 5.   A quick comparison has seen the demographics change markedly - from Japanese to Arab/African.   This is quite easily explained due to the concentration of Arab/African tourists in Sois 3 and 3/1.   It seems the Japanese are moving out to other locations (such as Soi Dead Artists - Soi 33).
The Amari Hotel Beer Garden has stood the test of time - it seems to appeal to a good number of hotel guests that don't feel like venturing out into "the wilds" of the Big Uneasy.

         We at MIDNITE HOUR will return periodically to Soi 5 - and will be keeping you informed of the changes.   At this juncture, however, we must conclude that it does not look promising for Soi 5 as far as becoming a Night Entertainment Area in it's own right - while there have been a good number of changes in the intervening three years, overall growth has remained at zero, and it is a long way away from an independent "destination", where one might want to go to spend an entire evening..             
The Po Thong Massage is new, it has taken over where the Japanese oriented Himawari left off.

Door Art Of The Month

     Gulliver's Travelers' Tavern has the complete package as far as door art is concerned - neon graphics, general lighting and presentation.   It takes the Door Art Of The Month prize for this April.

         Follows are photos of the remaining Soi 5 Night Entertainment Venues.
Pearl House Massage is a newcomer, located quite a walk down the soi on your left.

Money $ Thai Massage & Spa is one of the vets - although not shown on our original map three years ago (as we were not including massage parlors at that juncture.)

The Asuka Club is one of the few remaining Japanese-oriented bars to have survived since our original survey - they still seem to be doing a good business.

Baan Thai Massage took over from the old Sweet Heart, which if we are not mistaken, moved over to Queen's Park Plaza.   This is one of the few massage parlors that caters to Arab-speaking custom - check out the sign.

      The Bua Thip Massage is also relatively new, having taken over from the old Moody's Place.

Cher-Tree Massage is new.   One wonders how one small Soi can support so many foot & body & oil massage parlors....but it does.

The Tunnel is, relatively speaking, one of the older venues on Soi 5 - and as the name implies, it is built like a tunnel.   That tunnel, followed to it's end, will spill out at the side of the Soi 7 Bier Garten.

Ancent Thai Style Massage (sic) is most likely meant to read, "Ancient", but the misspelling doesn't seem to affect the business there - they always seem to be full.   They must be doing something right.

The E' Best is brand new, located just to the side of the Foodland.   It is quite a pleasant place to stop for a drink - and it should be busier than it is.

 Historical Minutiae Dept.


Almost any question
The Q & A

KB :
         I and my Thai girlfriend ... would like to have a threesome with a farang girl / woman (age not relevant) in Bangkok - do you know where we can find, or do you know anybody?   Thanks for your help.

         Over the course of a month, we receive several similar requests, many legitimate, and some just giving us a tweak to see if we are maintaining our sense of humor.   Nevertheless, it would only be appropriate to explain to all who haven't already read our "ABOUT" page that MIDNITE HOUR is an historical website, keeping track of old and new Night Venues, entertainment trends, and Night Entertainment news in the predominantly expat Night Entertainment Areas.   We regrettably do not provide information on sexual contacts or relationships.

(The above is one of several similar queries.)

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  •           We can answer virtually any (reasonable) question on the Expat Night Entertainment Scene in Bangkok - be it Historical or very recent.   Send us an e-mail and we will do our best to answer you soonest.
    'Boge' Hartman
    Historical Research
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    - In the LAND OF SMILES -

    This month theMIDNITE HOUR awards the "Thai Smile" a young lady who serves beer at a late-night sidewalk bar at the Asoke-Sukhumvit intersection.

    ? Old

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    Many Thanks,
    William R Morledge

    Let the April 2007 Follies begin...
       MIDNITE HOUR presents our monthly recap of the   
    NEWS on Bangkok's Expat Night Scene.   

      PATPONG  I  
                The street-side 'bar beer with no name' located just past Super Pussy went down for the count at the beginning of last month.   Their demise was made all the more ignoble by having been taken over by yet more brick-a-brack stalls that continue to choke the once-mighty Pong.   Greener pastures....
    - File photo

      PATPONG  II  
                Sisters and The After are, in fact, joined at the hip.   While they have separate entrances, there is also a connecting door at the rear.   The After is a large late night pub whose closing time is limited only by the lack of imagination of the Men In Too-Tight Uniforms .   Sisters on the other hand, is, well, "anything" you want it to be, according to the mamasan.   They are quite serious about the "Take Two" appearing on their sign.   Shake it, don't break it, guys....   For more details, go to <link>.   They are located on the 4th floor in the Cosmo's stairwelll across from Foodland - in what used to be the old Century pub digs.   Welcome them as they wade into Sin City's dark waters.


      SOI  COWBOY  
                The Suzie Wong is now but one of many Nitespots that have employed wooden sidewalk extenders (check out the photo below).    During the day, the sections of sidewalk are drawn up like so many drawbridges - and the Soi returns to it's original width.

                It's the hot season, and tourism is undeniably down. The other night Soi Cowboy's Nitespots had more girls out on the street beckoning to passers-by than they did in the bars themselves.   This too shall pass.

                A quick snack between 'floors' outside on the Soi isn't dampened by the lack of a place to sit.    These two A Go-Go dancers from Moonshine Joint found the yum woon sen and shrimp just too delicious to pass up, so they hunkered down right there in front of the food cart, and got stuck into it.

     NANA  PLAZA  
                If you are going up to Spankys but see it full of workmen, that's because the dancers are temporarily shaking the chrome poles next door in the old Hog's Breath.   Presently neither location has any neon up, but starting (approximately) today, the two bars should be joined into a single double- wide A Go-Go.   We are betting they will retain the original Spankys neon, some of which is shown below, but we can anticipate some additional LED razzle-dazzle like the sister bars on Soi Cowboy....
    - File photo

      SOI  KATOEY  
                We heard it through the grapevine.   Someone is opening an unnamed short-time hotel above Bobby's now defunct Pool Boyz Club....
    - File photo

                We promised you another look at the La Vogue Club neon, once they got their archway on fire.   This is the view a prospective, usually Japanese, customer would see looking down the small lane from the Soi, with the Oshare on the right.   Keep on rollin'.

                All these (almost 6) months that the Santana Club has been closed, they have kept a candle burning in the window - giving hope to passing nightcrawlers that it would once again throw open it's doors and roll out the red carpet.   Well, about 3 weeks ago, that is exactly what happened.   Welcome them back to the sharkpool.

                 Jack & Betty Massage & Center has risen from the ashes of the Miss Phu Ke Massage, and it looks for all the world that no one even missed a beat.   Jack & Betty offers the usual array of legitimate and ambiguous services.   While we wish Miss Phu Ke (read: Phuket) a better roll of the dice next time around, it looks like Jack & Betty is already off to a successfully slippery start.   Let the nightwinds blow kindly.

                One of the older traditional massage parlors, the Po Massage has cashed in it's chips and headed for higher ground (if you don't mind the mixed metaphor).   In it's place is the unusually named Pheeran Massage & Spa.   We can safely agree that the Pheeran will be offering a wider selection of massages than it's predecessor.   Let's welcome them to partytown.

                The Let's Go Bar, which replaced the Cupid Bar last month, has already deep-sixed.   This otherwise attractive corner location must have been dobbed with some bad sanay - that's two bars opened and two bars closed in just under three months.   Next time around, someone had better call in the monks for a couple, three hours' chanting....
    - File photo

                The Lee Lee Pub & Pool Bar has foundered in dark waters after a relatively respectable four and a half years' attempt to stay afloat.   If you're in the market for a small, comfortable Pool Bar, give Lee a call at the number below.   We hope they find things a little more to their liking a little further on down the road a piece.
    - File photo


      SUKHUMVIT  1  PLAZA   
                The other half of the now-defunct Double Entry Bar (2nd floor) has just been taken over by the Relax Bar, and as is the modus operandi for almost the entire 2nd floor, it is a Pool Bar.   Let's welcome them to Bangkok's neon circus.

                The DC.10 #2 wasn't really gone, they were just playing musical chairs (again).   No sooner had they moved from the front of second floor to the front of the ground floor, than they moved yet again to what was (last month) the Angel Bar's digs.   Where does it all end?   Nevertheless, we wish them constancy.

                The Lynx has added some color to their neon - but fear not, all else remains the same - Pool Bar being the prime agendum.

                The Angel Bar has, it seems, been bumped from their original digs, and sent packing all the way to the rear - to the area previously occupied by the Revolution Salsa Bar.   Nevertheless they have survived their relocation to play another day.   Rock 'n Roll.

                The late-nighter Black & White (4th fl., roof), which took over from the original Josephines in mid October last year, has stuffed it's last chit in the cup.   The doors were bolted and the legal notices were posted in plain sight.   Alas, the Darwinian Imperative plays no favorites.
              -File photo

      SOI   TWILIGHT  
                The New Screw Boys A Go-Go Bar and it's late night counterpart, the $BM Discotheque (a.k.a. ' Black Market') didn't quite make it to the end of their second month - the fat lady sang before they even got all the way out of the chute, figuratively speaking.   It happens.   

      SOI  EDEN  




    Street Gang Graffiti

          If you Google "Gang, Graffiti, News" you will get how many hits, again?   How does "about 1,130,000" sound?   Incredible, but true.   Many of these links headline the ever increasing amount of gang violence and the concomitant increases in 'gang graffiti'.   While most of this 'news' is from the USA, to be fair, it is an increasing problem worldwide.

          What initially brought this to our attention was a news report saying that there had been an increase in gang warfare in Los Angeles, and that the cause of these "turf wars" was over whose graffiti got painted over by whom.   And who came back to repaint over that graffiti with their own graffiti all over again.

          All of this sounds like so much storm in a teapot until one realizes that people are maimed and killed in the process.   Outsiders need to be reminded that a gang's turf has a lot to do with their influence (ego) and their customer base (drugs = money, for those needing it to be spelled out).

          One 'enlightened' Police Chief commenced a policy of removing and painting over all graffiti, and repairing all the broken windows.   He said if the gangs saw that the community would not tolerate all this graffiti and breaking of windows, then they, the gangs, would stop and become nice people.   Chief, all I can say is your cranium is in rectal defilade (as we used to say in Vietnam).

       A police officer inspects a large mural idolizing the 18th Street gang in Los Angeles.    Contrary to popular belief, much of gang graffiti is in fact quite artistic.

       An Hispanic gang marks it's territory outside one of Los Angeles' housing projects.   "ELA" is, obviously for ' East Los Angeles', and the number 13 refers to the gang name.   Old English script is typical of Hispanic gangs in Southern California.

       Someone's home stood in the spraycan crossfire; the number "18" seems to be the paint war victor here.

          Unfortunately, gang graffiti has about as much chance of going away, either by force or by reason, as does any other kind of graffiti,   Let the municipalities rant and rave, let them spend their weekends removing the 'scourge' of graffiti in all it's forms; their chances of success amount to zip.

          Read the papers, read the web, graffiti is on the increase, whether we like it or not.   And while much of counter-culture expressionism comes from the spraycan alone, and doesn't have a violent counterpart, there is a very real, and highly visible component that is directly linked to violence.   It is therefore unavoidable that the words, "gang" and "graffiti" are often thought inseparable, joined at the hip, as it were.

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

    Graffiti #127
    6 ft high x 20 ft

    Graffiti #128
    10 ft high x 18 ft

    Graffiti #129
    Messin' 'Round
    10 ft high x 8 ft.

    Graffiti #130
    Pink Manah
    10 ft high x 15 ft

    Graffiti #131
    Popcorn Coup
    10 ft high x 12 ft

    Graffiti #132
    Quick 'N Dirty
    6 ft. high x 9 ft.

    Graffiti #133
    8 ft. high x 15 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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