Reformatted 01 2013
Archives     Archives
Bangkok's Night Scene In Review

Anatomy of a Bar Area

01 July 2007
William R. Morledge
Ask Us - Tell Me All - Tell Me Now
A Thai Smile......

July's Nightlife News
Graffiti  -Bangkok's Art Vandals # 22


This Page

An Easy Square Retrospective

The Easy Square.
The MIDNITE HOUR has, over the years, received many inquiries as to our sources of information on the Night Entertainment Scene.   By way of (circuitous) reply, we shall present "The Anatomy Of A Bar Area", and in the process reveal how we go about maintaining accurate, timely and independent records on Bangkok’s Expat Night Entertainment Areas.   And for those with masochistic tendencies, we will provide an example of an historical database : the complete spread for every bar that ever existed in the long-defunct Easy Square Night Entertainment Area.

...we developed parameters for keeping our finger on the pulse of the world’s most dynamic Nitelife Scene

Almost invariably, the birth of a Night Entertainment Area is not an overnight affair.   Usually, as one might expect, one or two bars will open up in an area, and if they do well, then others will follow.    Provided the area has adequate available real estate, there is at least the potential that the area will develop further into a full-fledged, stand-alone Night Entertainment Area.    If we are lucky enough, and alert enough, and wise enough to take note at the time, we will start maintaining a database on that area in anticipation of it’s development into a full-blown Night Entertainment Area.    But first a word about how we got started, what motivated us, and how we developed parameters for keeping our finger on the pulse of the world’s most dynamic Nitelife Scene.   
The Easy Square.

When we first started Bangkok Eyes a little over 5 years ago, we realized that first of all, we would have to define our purpose, our raison d'etre.   We noticed over the decades (since 1967) that the old truism was still just as true: “A two inch pencil is longer than the best memory.   ”   Heretofore, the ‘history’ of Bangkok’s Nightlife was much like the Viet Nam War - everyone’s vision of it different; everyone’s recollection fragmented, clouded by time and oft times wildly at variance with fact.   There have been a few books along the way that have helped to set the Bangkok night scene record straight, such as Alan Dawson’s Patpong, and Cleo Odzer’s Patpong Sisters, and the occasional old travel guide or magazine to remind us of how at least some of it “really was”.   

A two inch pencil is longer than the best memory.

But even taking these several point-in-time references as a whole, there was still an enormous void, the myriad old, and even relatively new Night Entertainment Venues that had been largely forgotten by time.    Either that, or (the greater sin) - decisively mis-remembered as to which years they were in operation and even their locations.    And this void was one that no one was filling, (not even the old Trink columns were adequate in that regard).    We at Bangkok Eyes had found our niche - it was time, we thought, to compile and maintain an ongoing history - a running tab of which bars were in existence, and which bars opened when, or when they closed.    We decided that at that same time, we would supplement our cumulative Nightlife History with the research of old records, whenever we could get our hands on them.   

From the outset, we realized that the entire Bangkok night scene was too large a target - to accomplish that, we would need a full-time team just to walk the sois and complete the surveys.    As a compromise with the reality (the enormity of Bangkok’s “Scene”), we then decided to limit ourselves, at least in general terms, to : “an historical source to Bangkok's "Major Expat Night Entertainment Areas”, with the occasional one-off report on other Nitespot areas and/ or Venues.   
         The Nice Bar - originally from Soi Cowboy - was the first to move into Easy Square (when it was still called Nam Thip Plaza) - they were the Seminal Bar.   

Once our overall objective was in hand, we realized that we would then have to define just exactly what constituted a “Major Expat Night Entertainment Area”.   Was it 10 bars?   Twenty bars?   And what other factors came into play that defined a “Major Expat Night Entertainment Area"?   It was decision time, and we had no precedent to fall back on.   After long consultations, over many beers, with many of the longer term Expat residents, we synthesized a useable working definition of a ‘Major Expat Night Entertainment Area’.   We also decided that in the future, we would refer to it as the much more readable, “Night Entertainment Area”, and let “Major” and “Expat” be understood as inclusive in the definition.   

The definition, as synthesized five years ago by us, and still in use today, is; “A contiguous area where approximately 12 Night Entertainment Venues (or more) could be found.   It was decided that this density of bars in a given area would have reached a “critical mass”, that is to say there would be enough Nitespots at that locale to have caused it to be self-sustaining.    To say the same thing another way, the area would become a “draw” in it’s own right; where it was not only possible, but likely, that a night-reveler could be enticed to come and spend an entire evening.”
         The Hang Out did just that - it was the last man standing at Easy Square.   But that was mostly out of spite, as they were the newest bar there, and the shafting they got from the real estate crooks was the most severe.   They stayed for the full term of their lease - and let the Devil take the hindmost.   We like their style.

This is a rather long-winded and not-too-specific definition.    And, yes, when it came down to the wire, the definition was not only arbitrary, it was in large measure subjective.   As there was absolutely no way everyone we polled on the matter would come to agreement --there wasn't even a consensus- we couldn't even take a vote on the matter.    In fact, it can honestly be said, no one agreed one-hundred percent with anyone else.    So, for consistency’s sake, we have locked the door on further discussion - we will continue forth with the above definition, and should others wish to define such things otherwise, we respect their right to do so.   

While we were at it, we further defined “Nitespot”, or “Night Entertainment Venue”.    Not to put too fine a point on it, it is, “an establishment that offers some form of entertainment, and/ or the opportunity to encounter others for the purpose of being entertained”.    We'll leave it at that, except to point out that this definition excludes ‘just restaurants’, and it does not necessarily mean that the Venue in question must necessarily be open only at night.   
         One of the better appointed Poolbars in Easy Square.   This photo was taken when there were already 15 venues in operation, with two large air conditioned pub-lounges under construction - and 12 more loc allocated for new bars.   Shortly after this, Easy Square got the news that the property would be redeveloped (which hasn't happened to date, by the way....).

At this point, we confess also we had an ace-in-the-hole -a leg-up- in our plan to become an historical Nightlife website.   We had (and have) at our disposal a very large (and ever-growing) database which includes surveys of these Night Entertainment Areas going back to the late 1980’s.   This database did not, however, become a definitive monthly ‘head-count’ survey until early 1993.    Some observant readers have noted that we often refer to the “Zootramp Database” or the “Zootramp Saloon Count”.   This is a database that has been created by a shadowy long-term resident of Sin City, and is a distillation of his monthly surveys - where he physically verifies that each of the Nitespots in a major area are in fact open and functioning for their intended purpose, and notes any newly opened or closed bars.   

As an added flourish, the Zootramp has selected a bar in each Night Entertainment Area that was there at ground-zero, there from a time before the area had reached ‘critical mass’, it would necessarily have to be the bar that ‘set the tone’ for that area - the bar that was the trend-setter and harbinger of what was to come.    He refers to that particular bar as the ‘Seminal Bar’ - we have carried that terminology forward in our historical presentation of this ever-unfolding Scene.   
         As was de rigueur in Bangkok during the era of the Opportunistic Bar Beer Areas, unscrupulous real estate deals at Easy Square came to their inevitable conclusions, and bar owners were chased out by the wrecking ball (note carnage in the background).   This spirit house was the last to leave Easy Square.

So, 5 years ago, with our new website up on the World Wide Web, and our six-guns loaded with ideas and definitions and a great mass of data, and an even greater sense of history, we began our reportage-in-earnest on Bangkok’s Expat Night Entertainment Areas.   

For those of you who find that the Devil is in the Detail - and somehow delight in it - we present, The Anatomy Of A Bar Area (by way of a very small example).   The following is the complete database, and thus a comprehensive history of Bangkok’s shortest-lived Night Entertainment Area, the now defunct Easy Square:

Easy Square (Nam Thip Plaza)
Extract From The Zootramp Saloon Count
Name Opened Closed Bar Type Remarks
Nice Bar Oct 03 Jan 05 Pool Bar-O 1st, Seminal
Ocean's Bar Oct 03 Jul 04 Bar Beer .
Cheers Bar Oct 03 Sep 04 Pool Bar .
Dao BB Nov 03 Sep 04 BB .
Friend Ship Oct 03 Apr 04 BB .
Tawan Thong Dec 03 Nov 04 Karaoke .
Happy Karaoke Jun 04 Apr 05 Karaoke .
T.L. Bar Feb 04 Apr 04 BB .
4 U Bar Mar 04 Sep 04 BB .
22 Square Mar 04 Apr 04 Boxing Arena .
Apisara Apr 04 Sep 04 BB .
The Basement Apr 04 Sep 04 BB ,
D & D Bar Apr 04 Sep 04 Poolbar .
Mam & Mam Apr 04 Sep 04 Pool Bar .
Easy Sq Arena Apr 04 Jul 04 Boxing Arena .
Mook Bar May 04 Oct 04 Pool Bar .
Louis Jun 04 Aug 04 Poolbar .
Thai Boxing Bar Jun 04 July 04 Poolbar .
Hang Out Aug 04 May 05 Poolbar Last Out

While there are many uses for the Database, one of the most interesting is, when used in conjunction with the Bangkok Eyes maps, we can now recreate the map of any Night Entertainment Area for any month on our surveys (a frequent request of our readers).

 Historical Minutiae Dept.


Read All About It
The Q & A Lowdown

Dear sir,

I plan to visit BKK with friends very soon, pls. send detailed info.



      The shorter the question, the longer the answer.   We refer you to our Archives <link> - and once you've covered that, you will have a fair idea of what you have ahead of you.   Enjoy your holiday here.


  • Email and "ASK" - -   Click Here
  •           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
    * Zootramp Publications


    - In the LAND OF SMILES -

              July's awardee of the "Thai Smile" works in Denny's Corner, one of Washington Square's better known bar beers.   She has made it known that she works behind the bar.
    Thanks to contributor David Selby
    in Germany for photo and permissions.

    ? Old

    Any old PHOTOS of
    Bangkok's Nightlife ?

    Please CLICK HERE and send to us for publication.   

    Many Thanks,
    William R Morledge

    Let the July 2007 Follies  begin...
    BANKOK EYES' Expat Night Scene.

      PATPONG  I  
                Two worlds collide: the world of brick-a-brack and the world of bars.   One doesn't need to be too deep a thinker to understand why the once proud Patpongs are no longer leaders of the Night Entertainment pack.

      PATPONG  II  
                We guess that even the Patpongs can have one too many oral servicing units.   Lolitas has thrown in the soggy towel - yet another contender fails to fill Mike's Place's shoes....   

    Above - as we found it last night.   Below - a few days after they opened.


                The Cozy Club Pub & Karaoke (up on The Ramp) are - they say - closed for just one day.   Nevertheless, 'trust and verify'.   We'll swing by later in the month just to see that things are back to same-same....


                The Trade Winds have popped back out of their crypt after a one month hibernation - during which time they renovated.   Everything looks new and bright.   Welcome back to the same-old same-old.


                Last month they had their soft opening, and were tentatively using the handle, "New Steve's Bar".   Looks like they got a new moniker along with the new neon shingle.   Let's officially welcome The Strip to Bangkok's neon follies.   Lookin' good - inside AND out.   Let 'er rip, then, gentlemen.


               Last month, the New Screw Boy completed their relocation to another new location on Soi Twilight (see our last month's issue).   And yet, they have now relocated second time - this time back to Patpong II.   Which, by the way, isn't so much a relocation as it is a return to their old digs (they closed down when the Pink Panther did last year, and became "Bangkok Bar" - which is now, of course, no more.)   But truth be known, it's just musical chairs - the Bangkok Bar and the various Screw Boys are all owned by the same people.


      SOI  COWBOY  

    Door Art Of The Month

               One need not ask - when the entire front of a bar is lit up like a fireworks display, you can bet it is part of the Midnite Group.   The Our Place Show Case has just taken over the reins of what has been just "Our Place" for over 20 years, and they have given it a facelift that would leave Las Vegas begging.   You won't be able to miss this bar if you are on Soi Cowboy - it is too bright - literally.   We had a hard time adjusting our camera to take these photos without the flash.   Say no more, we had to award the Show Case the Door Art Of The Month Award.   Have a look at a couple more shots below.


     NANA  PLAZA  
                          The Mandarin's dek PR wait at the top of the escalator to cadge passing customers.   Customers, however, were few and far between last night, as a steady rain dampened things generally.

             "It was a dark and stormy night...."   We always wanted to lead with that....   Nana Plaza was more wet than dark, however, as can be seen from the below photo.

             The Hollywoods, in their various forms have populated Nana Plaza for years - the one constant is this sign.   We'll file this one away in the historical archives....

      SOI  KATOEY  
                It looks like a new bar will be opening soon in the old Zygosis digs (closed last April) - we see they are now advertising for men, ladies and ying prapate song, which translates roughly as "females of the second kind".   We are assuming this is the politically correct way to say katoey or transgenderite....


                It looks like someone finally took the option on the old Home Bangkok Pub, which was closed by Bangkok's Men In Too-Tight Uniforms last November for having on the premises substances unbecoming a public venue.   They are looking for a pizza cook and a bartender - can't be all bad....


                Immortal Touch Massage & Spa is the latest ambiguous massage to open it's doors on Soi Dead Artists.   They are located on Sub-Soi 3 down near the Green Parrot.   Welcome them, and although it was their choice to gamble all these nights away, let's hope they roll more sevens than nines.

                Papa may have had the blues these last few months - but we knew they would eventually get over them.    In a blaze of blue - they reopened this June (after their second extended shut-down).   So, let's hope the third time is the charm - and that they keep on keeping on.   'Come to Papa.'

                A quick shot of the Londoner Brew Pub for the historical archives.   Check out the unusual reflection (from yet another bit of neon) at the top of the photo.   Located at the top of the Soi - in the basement.

                 Since this cluster became three bars, instead of just the two, all three seem to be doing better.   For the Happy Pub and the Cheers Pub and the 52 Cub, let the rock continue to rock, and the roll continue to roll.

                The Meaw Meaw Bar is the third bar at this location in the last six months to cast it's dice against the pitted wall of Fate.   The two preceding bars lasted a little more than one month each - let's hope the Meaw Meaw doesn't become just that much more fodder for the neon machine.

                A couple of months ago, we noted the death-rattle and final gurgling wheeze of the Lee Lee Pub & Pool Bar, but this time around, judging by the sign, it looks like they are trying to sell the place in earnest.   As we get frequent inquiries about "buying a bar" (mostly from persons outside of Thailand who don't know these treacherous waters), here's your chance.   For the record, the Thai language on the sign reads, "Lease at inexpensive price," so be advised you would not actually be 'buying' anything.   As MIDNITE HOUR is not in the real estate business, don't mention us in your inquiries.

      SOI  EDEN  
                We started out to give space to Absolute 7 Bar's new neon, but then the crowd started gathering.   These flower urchins are part and parcel of the night scene, but be warned, as innocent as they appear, some of them are on the light-fingered side.

                Although the Black & White had just reopened less than two months ago, they are no-show once again.   Our sources on the ground there at the Plaza say that a week ago they just stopped coming to work.   This last round, they never put up any neon, so there was none to take down.   The place is already painted black, inside and out; will someone read them their last rites?
    - File photo

                The New Screw Boy X lasted about a month at this location before folding tent and making off back to Patpong II - see our note above.   This bar, however, has reverted back to it's original name: Fresh Boy - we would welcome you back, but you never really went anywhere....





    You-Tube Made Me Do It


             Not long ago, MIDNITE HOUR had an article on the amount of graffiti being posted onto the Internet (which would, of course, include this site).   A large number of these Internet sites were anti-graffiti in general, and spent a lot of time 'psychoanalyzing' the "graffiti artist mentality", bemoaning the expense to the community, and issuing dire warnings that the next step in the taggers' downward spiral would be a life of gang-warfare, etc, etc...   But that was just the booster rocket - the warhead was about to detonate.

             For those who really appreciate "street art", the only conceivable thing more enjoyable than viewing graffiti is to watch it being done - watching the magic happen before their eyes.   Enter You-Tube.   It started off small - and is now in the process of mushrooming - 75 videos have been uploaded at last count - and there is no end in site.

             This of course has given community leaders a new demon.   Ironically, and to their credit (and to the credit of freedom of expression) one of the You-Tube videos is an out-take of a television program showing concerned officials putting the blame squarely on the irresponsible You-Tube.   "If it wasn't for You-Tube, there wouldn't be all those "copy-cats" out there that are coating our cities in spray-paint," they said.   

             Of course, from where we stand, we can only recommend that the concerned officials plant fake You-Tube videos on the Internet showing graffiti artists committing suicide after sinning against the community with their spray-cans.   This way, all those copycats would go out and kill themselves, and cities around the world would be rid of graffiti forever.   (Hey, we're not just pretty faces...)

             By the way, both the photos above are 'clickable' - but don't waste your time if you are in Thailand - You-Tube is still banned.

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

    Graffiti #147
    More & Better & Stronger
    7 ft high x 23 ft

    Graffiti #148
    Hot Chocolate
    7 ft. high x 28 ft.

    Graffiti #149
    7 ft. high x 16 ft.

    Graffiti #150
    8 ft high x 13 ft

    Graffiti #151
    8 ft high x 7 ft.

    Graffiti #152
    Long Knives
    8 ft high x 18 ft

    Graffiti #153
    Banana's Shadow
    8 ft high x 11 ft

    Graffiti #154
    North Wall
    7 ft. high x 130++ 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....)    

  • Email me- Click Here

  •   --- Datzit Fernow
                   William R. Morledge


    Bangkok Nightlife

    Copyright  ©  Bangkok Eyes / : 2002-2005