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Archives  Archives
Bangkok's Night Scene In Review



Royal City Avenue

01 November 2009
William R. Morledge

November's Nightlife News
Bangkok's Bars - 10 Years Ago  
A Smile in the Land of Smiles.
Ask Us ! - Boo Sa Bar?
Graffiti  -Bangkok's  Vandals - #49


         Known as RCA to everyone, including taxi drivers, Royal City Avenue is the name of the street and of the Night Entertainment Area that resides within.   This scene has long ago attained a "critical mass" worthy of becoming a Night Entertainment Area in it's own right, however the MIDNITE HOUR does not cover it on a regular basis as it is not an "expat" area.   To be sure, expats are welcome in RCA, but, for example, on our visit there this month, we were the only farang to be found.

         Nevertheless, any history of Bangkok's Nightscene would be incomplete without including a full report on any Night Entertainment Area of this magnitude and longevity - and significance....

         There is some disagreement as to where the Royal City Avenue actually begins and ends.   Formally, it begins at Rama IX Road and extends to and under the Second Stage Expressway (this is the expressway to Suwannaphum International Airport).   It continues on the other side of the expressway in a curving arc until it joins Kampheng Phet 7 Road at the railroad tracks near Petchburi Road.   The controversy probably exists because the RCA entertainment area exists only from the expressway to Kampheng Phet Road - there being a difference between RCA road and RCA Night Entertainment Area.   We have reflected this on the map herein.

         RCA probably came to highest prominence (to farang eyes) in 2003 during the Thaksin regime's national crackdown on the Night Entertainment Scene.   Thaksin's Crackdown Czar, Khun Purachai introduced at that time a "Zoning" scheme as part of the Government's "Social Order Crusade", whereby only those Nitespots within the approved zones would be allowed to stay open, and others would have to close down.   The three approved Night Entertainment Zones were the Patpongs, the Rachadapisek Massage/ Brothel Strip, and RCA.   Nevertheless, this would have meant the close-down of Soi Cowboy, Nana Plaza and dozens of lesser Night Entertainment Areas, both Thai and expat.   It was apparent to everyone that the Thaksin mob left alone those three areas due to their respective political clout.    (Even the outrageous Thaksin and his henchman Purachai knew they couldn't take on the Poo Yai behind the scenes at these three areas).   One can begin to understand why Thailand's current Nightscene operators are not keen to see any kind of a "rehabilitation" of the fugitive former Prime Minister.

         In the case of RCA, the political force behind its being included in the protected Purachaiian Entertainment Zones is none other than the Thai Military, who are the larger of the country's two institutionalized 'mafias' (the other being the National Police).   Up until the attempted implementation of the zoning plan, this fact had only been alluded to indirectly in the Press.


         For those of you who have been to RCA during the day, but who have not seen it at night, there is a pronounced transformation after the sun goes down.   A large section of the roadway is blocked off to traffic (vehicles must detour around), and the Night Venues take over, much as is done on Soi Katoey - moving tables and chairs out into the roadway itself.   However, RCA is an order of magnitude above other Night Entertainment Areas in this respect - some of the largest bars in Bangkok exist here - for example, Route 66, Flix and Slim Live (see map).   It is quite obvious that heavily moneyed interests are behind these venues.

         So, if you are looking for a change of pace, you may be interested in making an evening of it at RCA.   A word of caution, however, the main hours of operation for the larger venues are from 22:00 hrs to 02:00 hrs, so don't go too early....   And while we are on the subject, let's quickly dispell a couple of expat myths;   -No, the girls there are not "much more beautiful" than the girls found elsewhere, and neither are they "younger".   The 'mix' is as it is anywhere else.   It is true, however, that fewer of the young ladies speak English.   So if you are planning a visit to RCA, -and we do recommend that- leave your unrealistic expectations at home.....
*Click* and Go >>>>
to see our full Royal City Ave Pictorial



*Click* and Go >>>>
to see our full Royal City Ave Pictorial




*Click* and Go >>>>
to see our full Royal City Ave Pictorial



          This month's Thai Smile Award goes to a young lady who often visits her friends on Soi 22.

Farewell to an old friend and an old Southeast Asian kick-about, Steve Joel (as reprinted from the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand notice.) -

In Memoriam:
Steve Joel

Australian public relations consultant, Steve Joel, passed away on 25 October at the Police General Hospital in Bangkok after a long struggle with illness.

Mr. Joel, 56, was well known in both public relations and media circles with a career that began in journalism, working with United Press International and Australian Associated Press (AAP) before making a move into public relations.

In 1980 he worked in Thailand for two years, before moving to Singapore with Batey Advertising and later establishing his own PR firm in Singapore until 1987.

Mr. Joel returned to Sydney then to Thailand in 1994 where he established his own company specialising in corporate, travel and tourism promotion.

He was widely known and respected in the Bangkok-based media and commercial community due to his success as a public relations consultant.   He was also a long time member of the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand (FCCT) and an active supporter of sports and and charity causes.

Steve Joel was nephew of a prominent Australian, the late Sir Asher Joel, a leading figure in journalism and public relations and a member of the New South Wales parliament.

A cremation ceremony will be held Monday, November 2, at the Wat Klong Toey Nai Temple at 4pm.

Father Joe Maier is overseeing a memorial service at the Holy Redeemer Church Soi Ruamrudee, Bangkok on Friday November 6 at 3pm (1500 hours).

? Old

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Many Thanks,
William R Morledge

 Historical Minutiae Dept.

Boo Sa Bar

Hello sir,

I am Mr. Ferreres Alain de Lyon, France, I desire to make contact with his Boo Sa Bar, Soi 7 / 1 in Bangkok but I have no answer from them.   I do not know if it is open or closed, thank you I learn to my request, my sincere thanks,

Mr Alain Ferreres
Greetings, Alain,

Yesterday, we passed by the Boo Sa Bar on Soi Eden and we found that the original owner has resumed management of that bar (and the bar is not closed - in spite of what the website says...).   We will be sending you his name and email address privately today, so feel free to contact him at any time.

Thanks for writing in.

'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 November 2009 Follies  begin...
    BANKOK EYES' Expat Night Scene.

      PATPONG  I  
                The upstairs Lucifer Disko Tk reopened full-throttle last night (Halloween) and started things off with a disco party.   Remains to be seen if this is a 'soft opening' as it looks like there are a few odds-and-ends yet to be attended to.   We hear from the door louts that the downstairs Radio City will have it's reopening on, or about, 15 November - we'll keep an eyeball peeled, and get back atcha.

                The SuperStar A Go-Go has some new sponsored neon - we'll add this pic to the archives....   The rock still rocks - keep on keeping on....

                The Queen's Castle I has at last reopened.   All is as it was - welcome them back to the neon jungle.
    - File photo   

      PATPONG  II  
                A soft opening of sorts for the King's Pool - the King's Group staff have set up an outside bar beer while the final decorations are being attended to.   It can be found at the corner of Patpong II and the soi connecting to Patpong I (Soi Bookstore).   We can expect the 'real deal' tomorrow night - a Loy Krathong opening, complete with all the fine Thai traditional costumes...   We'll return next issue with more pix.   Welcome them to the big uphill.
      PATPONG  II  

                The Funky Dojo was to have opened right about now, but it looks like they are experiencing the usual indiginous tradespersons delays.   Nevertheless, we can get a glimpse of what promises to be a Night Entertainment Venue of substance.   We'll have another look next month, and get back atcha.
      PATPONG  II  

      SOI  COWBOY  
                The Cowboy Two has so much add-on that we can barely see the main neon. Nevertheless, a most attractive A Go-Go bar.   Let the good times roll.
      SOI  COWBOY  

     NANA  PLAZA  
    Door Art Of The Month
                   The Angel Witch has upgraded it's door art - and as it works out, most timely for the Halloween festivities.   Highest marks for some excellent neon graphics.

      NANA  PLAZA  

      SOI  KATOEY  
                Massive renovations are taking place in the old Noriega's Bar digs.   In fact they had a one-night 'soft opening' last week, but the whole magilla (food, live music) won't be on display until the official opening sometime around the first week of December.   The new Nitespot will retain most of the old management team, however, it looks like SuperStar Frank will not be in the mix.   We are told we should expect a name-change, however the name has yet to be selected.   Welcome them back to the piranha pool.

                The brand-new Soulmate Club had it's soft opening last night (Halloween), however, the full-blown red carpet doesn't get rolled out until the 7th of November - a week from now.   Six floors, they have pool tables upstairs, as well as an ST floor, and a travellers' rooms-for-rent floor for those who are coming in on holidays and are looking to be close to the action.   Soulmate occupies the old Mozy digs.   May they always have a chinchoke up on their wall.

                Many months ago, the Name Gestapos cracked down on the Phoenix, making them display their real name, P.X. Plan Co., Ltd.   As time progressed, they put up supplemental signage indicating they were still the Phoenix.   However, now it looks like the transformation is complete - their current neon shows them to be the New Phoenix Lounge.   This Nitespot is primarily aimed at Nippon clientele, and is located inside the Peep Inn Park on the ground floor.

                The Teen Massage (the original one that gave rise to all the imitators - and the term 'teen massage') has succumbed to the Darwinian Imperative and pitched headlong into the Abyss.   As the sign shows, their masseuses have migrated two doors down to the Teen 3 VIP Massage (same owners).


                Last issue we noted that Hugh's had opened up in Washington Square, and that we would follow up with a photo or two (see below).   Bali Hugh's Beach Bar & Grill (the full name) seems to be picking up some solid return custom - those that go to relax to relatively quiet music, and to avoid being pestered by hostesses.   Here's hoping Fate deals them all aces and faces....

                The Green Room Bar seems to have found a way out from under it all....   They have sold out - lock, stock, and chrome barstool to the brand-new The Puss-Inn Pub.   May the nightwinds blow kindly as they step into the line of fire.

                It looks like The Sportsman Bar & Restaurant have finally got their full kit up - the new lighting looks good from where we stand....   'Pool Bar' remains the modus operandi.   We'll keep this pic back for the archives.

                We heard a rumor that the Olive Oyl owners are contemplating closing down - all the more reason for us to click a pic, or two, for the archives.   More on this as we know of it....

      SOI  EDEN  
                At the far right of the photo below is the outside area of the Boo Sa Bar, which is back under old management (and NOT closed, as noted on another website) - so all are welcome back....
      SOI  EDEN    SUKHUMVIT  SOI  7/1

    A Halloween Graf

                Not too far from Soi Eden is a graf which, although it has been there for quite a while, seems made to order for the Halloween night festivities.

      SOI  EDEN    SUKHUMVIT  SOI  7/1

                This pic a 'neon update' for the Hot Male, located in Bangkok's most prominent gay zone.   Let the rock continue to rock.

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    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 King's Castle II A Go-Go reopened this month, ten years ago, after a brief one-month renovation.   It is, of course, still there today.
    PATPONG  I  -  1999

          The Pou-Pee bar closed down a decade ago (however, it would reopen again soon after that).   It was located above today's S.T.V. Bar bar beer on Patpong II.   There is now no bar at the old Pou-Pee digs; the area is undergoing renovations.
    PATPONG  I I -  1999

          The Cat's Meow opened a decade ago in the old  No Probl'm  digs.    The Cat's Meow is still at that location.

          The second of two halves of the  Rome Club closed this month, a decade ago.   The intrigue and murder surrounding this venue has never been fully resolved, and the premises have never been reopened (although The Balcony currently has set up chairs and tables out on the front sidewalk of that once-popular Nightspot).
    SOI  KATOEY  -  1999

          Also on Soi Katoey, the Night Venue that was Film Mix reopened, but without a name (and was using the old Film Mix neon).   They would soon get their own neon - more on this next month....
    SOI  KATOEY  -  1999

          A decade ago the Saloon Bar opened up on the second floor of the main building in Clinton Plaza.   Clinton Plaza ceased to exist as a Night Entertainment Area on June 2003.
    CLINTON  PLAZA  -  1999

          Ten years ago, also in the now-defunct Clinton Plaza, Bill's Bar opened up on the streetside (outside) corner of the main building.   Likewise, the Yahoo Bar bar beer opened ten years ago this month.   It was located up against the main Clinton Plaza building on the left side, going in.
    CLINTON  PLAZA  -  1999

          The long-running Lek's Boozer -located up against the wall between Clinton Plaza and 13 Night Market- closed down a decade ago, this month.
    CLINTON  PLAZA  -  1999

          The Arcadia closed down 10 years ago in the quickly-growing area called the 13 Night Market (located on the ruins of the original Thermae Coffee Shop).   Also, the then-recently opened The Rib Shack closed it's doors for the last time.
    13  NIGHT  MARKET  -  1999

          The U & I Bar bar beer reopened on schedule (after a brief renovation) ten years ago, this month.   However, the nearby Som's Place Beer Bar closed down this same period - never to reopen.
    SOI  ZERO  (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 #337
    Yikes !
    7 ft. high x 16 ft.

    Graffiti #338
    Don't Fence Me In
    7 ft. high x 21 ft.

    Graffiti #339
    Beside Her Now
    7 ft. high x 19 ft.

    Graffiti #340
    8 ft. high x 12 ft.

    Graffiti #341
    7 ft. high x 15 ft.

    Graffiti #342
    7 ft. high x 22 ft.

    Graffiti #343
    Summa Lord
    7 ft. high x 11 ft.

    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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