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Bangkok's Night Scene In Review



Soi Thonglor
- SOI 55  -  A  'BRIDGE-TOO-FAR'

01 August 2009
William R. Morledge

August's Nightlife News
Bangkok's Bars - 10 Years Ago  
A Smile in the Land of Smiles.
Ask Us ! - Lucy's Remembered
Graffiti  -Bangkok's  Vandals - #46

         We at Midnight Hour have heard several times recently that Soi Thonglor had blossomed in the last few years, - in the Night Entertainment sense.   And in that we are former residents of Soi Thonglor, we could not resist a trip down (and a quick survey):

   The Witch's Tavern is the granddaddy of them all (or should we say, 'grandma' ?) on Soi Thonglor - none of the other Nitespots currently on Soi Thonglor were in existence back when the Witch's Tavern first came on the scene.   Located on the main soi near Soi 10.

         Our first impression was that there were not really that many Night Entertainment Venues on Thonglor, but after a half an hour of surveying, we were surprised to find that there are now quite a number of Nitespots on that once-quiet soi (we surveyed the soi from top to bottom - finding over 30 such venues).

            We immediately became interested in whether or not Thonglor would meet our 'metrics' on qualifying as an "Expat Night Entertainment Area".   While we found many farang-friendly Nitespots, the predominance of venues were geared for exclusive Japanese patronage.   Another group of Night Entertainment Venues, while farang-friendly, were geared mostly to local patronage.   
   Self-explanatory.   Hobb's House of Beers is located on Soi Thonglor near Soi 16.

   The Exotica Exclusive Club is a member's club for wealthy Thais, replete with gaudy pseudo-Greco-Roman 'architecture'.

          Another criterion we at Midnight Hour consider is whether the Night Venues are in a reasonably contiguous area - are they grouped near enough to one-another that a typical nightcrawler could reasonably expect to walk to either of the venues from any other, and make an evening of visiting the various venues on Soi Thonglor?   (Or to say the same thing another way - did any grouping of Nite Venues reach 'critical mass'?)   We did in fact find a grouping around Soi 9 (see map) which numbered about twelve venues, however they were predominantly a mix of Japanese and Thai - not really attractive to the average long-stay farang or tourist.   
   The Spa de Bangkok is an upstairs, upmarket spa for hi-so clientele - just above She Bar and Hob's at Thonglor Soi 16.

         Our last consideration as to whether Soi Thonglor would make it as an Expat Night Entertainment Area was whether it was in a location likely to be frequented by us 'Expats'.   In fair consideration, we do not feel that Soi Thonglor is yet enough of a 'draw' - it currently doesn't have the type and quantity of Nitespots that would entice the farang nightcrawler to take that longish trip down to that soi.   In this sense, Soi Thonglor is still a 'bridge too far".
      The To Die For should win a prize for the most illegible sign in all of Bangkok Nightlife - first time around, we thought it was written in Cyrillic - but no, it is in English.   They are located deep into Soi Thonglor on the right just before the new bridge over the khlong.

            But don't get us wrong, we are not suggesting you scrub Soi Thonglor off your list of places to visit - quite the contrary, it would be well worth the visit - if you were, say, looking for a change of scenery....
   The staff of the Miyabi are not overly fond of picture-takers.   They appeared to be quite concerned that the photos we took would capture their souls.   Let's put the world, and them in particular, on notice - photos taken from a public place are not illegal - if you don't want something to be seen by others, it should not be visible from the public roadway.   This should not need to be explained.

   The poor old Morakot Hotel - slowly being taken back by the rain and the weeds (only closed last year).   This once-popular R&R hotel, which sides-up to Soi Thonglor, and fronts on "New" Petchburi Road, was almost directly across the street from the legendary Thai Heaven - talk about location, location, location - come evening time (in the '60's and '70's), you couldn't find a room.   Fare thee well, ye ghosts of the Morakot....



          This month's Thai Smile Award is awarded to a young lady who prefers the outdoor life on Sukhumvit Road.

? Old

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Many Thanks,
William R Morledge

 Historical Minutiae Dept.

The Tiger Den Revisited



         Any idea what ever happened to Lucy’s Tiger Den?


Greetings, D.

      Lucy's was originally on Silom Road, but later relocated to Suriwong Road.   Tiger suffered with diabetes for years, eventually losing one foot, and things went downhill from there.   He eventually died of further complications from diabetes in the mid-1980's, and Lucy's Tiger Den closed down shortly thereafter.
      A good book on Tiger is still available for purchase on the Internet:
The Tiger of Bangkok by A.J. "Tiger" Rydberg with Alan Dawson
      A lot is mentioned on the web about Lucy's being a CIA hangout, blah, blah, blah, however, the Tiger Den was at that time (pre-Internet) a rallying point for overseas expats - and Tiger was a font of information on which overseas projects were starting up, and which companies were hiring.   Of course, we were all saddened to see Tiger go.

'Boge' Hartman

  • Email bangkokeyes@gmail.com 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

    Let the August 2009 Follies  begin...
    BANKOK EYES' Expat Night Scene.

      PATPONG  I  
                The Takara Massage has some new neon up.   It's pretty cheesey, but it's new.   Might we suggest something in keeping with the surroundings?   Nevertheless, when all is said and done, the new sign hasn't affected the quality of the massages.   Keep on a slippin' and a slidin'.

                The Funky Dojo is undergoing some major renovations - and when completed, will continue all the way back to Patpong II, and will face the Electric Blue across the Soi.   We will, hopefully, be bringing you the photo coverage two months from now....
    - File photo      

                Yet another bit of neon that goes virtually unseen by the passing hoards - almost completely covered by the hideous tent city that sets up each evening in the middle of Patpong Road.   (Yes, the Gold Finger's is one of the few true rock 'n roll bars....)   Let 'er rip, then, gentlemen.

                As we haven't seen any progress on the so-called 'renovations' at Radio City for several months - we are expunging them from our rolls. They came on the scene in October of '94 - having taken over from Smile Club.   Looks like they, and the joined-at-the-hip Lucifer Disco Tk (upstairs) have bought the farm.   We'll let you know when we see any signs of life at these digs...

    - File photo      

                 The Queen's Castle is closed down yet again.   Looks like one of their typical 30-day closures....
    - File photo      

      PATPONG  II  
    Light, not Illumination...

                The Star of Light has also got some new neon nailed up - shared with the next-door tattoo parlor.   "Fram"?   "Pieveing"?   Don't ask - we haven't the foggiest.
      PATPONG  II  

                The Rock , located on The Ramp, is in lockdown mode.   However the chattel remains inside, so we are likely to see a reopening.   We'll get back atcha.
      PATPONG  II  

                The Royal Salute Cocktail Lounge , also located on The Ramp, is yet again closed.   Several lessees over the last couple of years have played out their hand trying to breathe new life into this venerable old bar - and gone bust trying; the tattered bronze plaque over the door a testament to the ravages of time
      PATPONG  II  

                This time next month Patpong II will have a brand-new triple-shophouse-wide A Go-Go, which is now abuilding in the defunct Siam Drug across from Foodland.   These three loc were home to several single-shophouse bars in the '80's.
      PATPONG  II  

                The Marco Polo is closed for business; major renovations are afoot - we'll let you know what Bobby has up his sleeve in our coming issue.
      PATPONG  II  

                The Park Bridge, open in August of last year looked darker than a poisoned well when we passed by the other night.   Somehow, we suspect it will be reopening - we'll give you a come-back next time.
      PATPONG  II  

      SOI  COWBOY  
                A pic of a smiling Our Place girl....
      SOI  COWBOY  

     NANA  PLAZA  
                The Mandarin Club has got some new neon out in the main gallery where it will do some good....

                This pic a for-the-archives shot of Nana Plaza's rear upper floors.

      SOI  KATOEY  
                The Nursery has gone the way of the touchhole cannon - only darkness shining out from within...
    - File photo      

                Last month we noted Superstar Frank's Noriega's Bar was closed for what was claimed to be "renovations".   Alas, it looks like ashes-to-ashes, dust-to-dust for Soi Katoey's only 'straight' Nitespot....
    - File photo      

                Last month we noted that the Vanilla was poised to open forthwith. And open, it did - it's full name is Vanilla Sexy Cafe & Bar.   They mean that quite literally, by the way.   It is a sexy cafe - details too many and varied to go into here....   Located on the 2nd floor of the Peep In Plaza - a Nippon-owned establishment, however gaijin welcome.   You may find it worth a visit.   Welcome them to the neon jungle.

                Welcome the Zoo.   It now occupies the old Tsukasa digs on the second floor of Peep Inn Park.   Japanese in flavor.   Welcome them to the vicissitudes.

                No sooner than we praised their graffiti-like door art (see last month's issue), than the Big Shots tore down their "Non-Members Only" sign, and took a swan dive into the Abyss....   As they say, Darwin plays no favorites.

                We don't know what to make of the Suay Khom - it is for the time being, a Thai Karaoke - and soup kitchen.   It moved into one of the abandoned shophouses near the Happy Pub. They tell us the Happy Bar (no relation) is up for sale (deeper in Soi 22) - for what it's worth....

                The Queen's Park Massage has been at this location for several years - an adjunct to the Asia Massage across the street (with similar services).   Also first cousin to the two karaoke bars next door.   Keep on keeping on....

      SOI  EDEN  

    Door Art Of The Month
                   The recently opened J. Hong was using the old Tequila Dragon signage while they got their own neon fabricated to specification.   This month, it is nailed up in place - and looking good.
      SOI  EDEN  -  SOI  7/1    

                Dick's Cafe located in Bangkok's gay 'Twilight Zone' has some new signage blowing in the breeze....



    *Click Here*
    -read ALL About it....


















































    Bangkok Nightlife














    Bangkok Eyes jumps back in time to have a look at who was new - and who was through.   We'll be willing to bet that many of you "Old Bangkok Hands" will be reminded of some bars you'd almost forgotten.   (We also will be willing to bet you WON'T EVEN REMEMBER an even greater number....)

    10 YEARS AGO  :
          The old Book Store on the corner of Patpong I and Soi Batboat began renovating 10 years ago - it would eventually open as the Muzzik Cafe.
    PATPONG  I  -  1999

          The Pou Pee relocated from the old Screw Boy digs to the 2nd floor - above the S.T.V.   (The Kob's Place II had occupied that slot up until the month previous.)   There is no bar at this location now.
    PATPONG  II  -  1999

          Ten years ago, the Pinocchio's Club reopened, having dropped 'Xanadu' from it's name.   It is still there today as Pinocchio's Club.
    PATPONG  II  -  1999

          The Screw Boy A Go-Go reopened in it's old digs, after the Pou Pee moved across the soi.   It is still there today.
    PATPONG  II  -  1999

          The Boat Bar bar beer reopened after a one-month closure, however it's neighboring bar beer, the Saloon, closed up shop.    (The Saloon was located in the "island" between the main building and the back row of bars).
    CLINTON  PLAZA  -  1999

          The Suzy & Crazy Bar rolled out the red carpet for the first time ten years ago this last month.   It took over from the Beer & Coffee Hut bar beer.   (This was to begin Suzy's long odyssey - taking her from Clinton to Sukhumvit Square on Soi 10, to Asoke Plaza/ Asoke Corner to Soi 6 and on to Sukhumvit 1 Plaza, before finally settling in at the Erotica in Nana Plaza.
    CLINTON  PLAZA  -  1999

          The upstairs Love Scene Restaurant bar-restaurant (real name: Lao Jaroen) and the downstairs Sam's 2000 opened a decade ago, this month.   Sam's 2000 is still there today.
    SOI  COWBOY  -  1999

          Exactly a decade ago, the Carnival opened on the 3rd floor of the NEP.   They are still there today.   (Shouldn't they be having a birthday party, or something?)
    NANA  PLAZA  -  1999

          Almost exclusively a Thai venue - (farang rarely ventured inside) - the Phu Kradung Karaoke closed it's doors for the last time a decade ago.    Although most readers will remember that Night Entertainment Area as Soi Zero, it was being called Buckskin Joe Village at that juncture.   
    TOBACCO  ROAD -  1999



    [ Check out Bangkok's own source of evil spraycans, etc, at Montana Land <link>. ]

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

    Graffiti #316
    Pizza Head (2 views)
    9 ft. high x 12 ft..

    Graffiti #317
    What It
    12 ft. high x 12 ft.

    Graffiti #318
    Throw Down
    7 ft. high x 10 ft.

    Graffiti #319
    Doggie Styles
    7 ft. high x 10 ft.

    Graffiti #320
    Fold My Finger
    7 ft. high x 10 ft.

    Graffiti #321
    Grey Beard
    7 ft. high x 10 ft.

    Graffiti #322
    7 ft. high x (ongoing)

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

       The MIDNITE 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....   - Ed)

     --- Datzit Fernow

    William R. Morledge

    Copyright 2002 - 2009, BANGKOK EYES / bangkokeyes.com

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