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Ghosts of Nitelife Past
- FLASHBACKS AS JONDALAR FINDS AN OLD SHOEBOX....

                  MONTHLY
                            COLUMN
 
Bangkok,
01 June 2011
William R. Morledge


June's Nightlife News
Bangkok's Bars - 10 Years Ago  
A Smile in the Land of Smiles.
Ask Us ! - And Berore The Super Star?
Graffiti  -BKK's Midnite Vandals - #66



A folding'Tee-Pee' countertop promotional by the Pink Panther - mid '80's.'
(12 cm. x 16 cm.)


         Most of you don't know Jondalar, and that is how he, we are sure, prefers it.   He, nevertheless, has been basking in Bangkok's psychedelic-hot neon and slinking into, and out of, darkened single-shophouse bars for an accumulated 30-plus years.   The other day, while rummaging through an old sea-chest he dragged down from his attic, he came across a forgotten, and quite moldy old shoebox.   As serendipity would have it, he found it stuffed to the brim with mementos of the Patpongs in their golden years.   He has generously shared some of his 'collector's items' with us.





A folding 'business card' by the Roxy - mid '80's.'
Top: exterior.  Lower: inside the fold.   

(9.5 cm. x 13 cm.)



         The debate as to when the Patpongs hit their peak will rage as long as there are folks who remember when.   And it is not only understandable, but absolutely unavoidable that each of us will cast our vote for the days, months and/ or years we were nightcrawling those streets and bars.   However from a statistical take, the years 1988 - 1989 can claim the blue ribbon, hands-down.   Those years saw the greatest number of bars, as well as the most varied types of entertainment.   And those relatively permissive years saw an 'attitude' amongst the Nightscene crew, from the bar owners on thru to the ladies-of-the-evening - that attitude is no more.   It is a bygone age, no matter your point of perspective.





Two postcards (you remember them - they were before the Internet....)
- handouts by the Pink Panther - mid '80's.'

(17 cm. x 10.5 cm.)



         Most of Jondalar's doling out of mementos (shown herein) are from Patpong II - and this got us to remembering what a comparative Heaven Patpong's second (but history shows it was really first) soi was in those days.   The lineup of super-bars is staggering - when compared today's standards.   Starting with the Pink Panther (well represented here), and working towards Silom, first there was the Sugar Shack (the original, not the Thai-yuppie namesake on Sarasin Road), then, there was the Flash Bar (with a most memorable A Go-Go crew).   Following on down, then there was the Other Office (before it became the New Other Office).   Then came the Roxy (again, the original - not the Nitespot of that name that opened on Soi Katoey years later).   After that were Bobby's restaurants, then Mike's Place in it's prime (and the many memorable SRO nights).   The Flying Machine had not long expired (too bad), and the Cloud Nine had just morphed into the indefatigable Crown Royal (both great bars), and the next-door Smile had just changed hands, becoming the Rififi (then a great bar - before it went downhill and Patpong regulars started calling it the Riffraffi).    Further on down were the steam-and-creams : the Plaza Massage and the original Takara's, (courtesy Ladda Of Patpong, of course).





A folding'Tee-Pee' countertop promotional by the Pink Panther - mid '80's.'
Top : inside the fold. Lower : exterior.

(12 cm. x 16 cm.)



         Talk about a lineup.   But we are not done - on the other side of the lane from the Pink Panther, the Executive Lounge was getting ready to open (see our reference to the Executive Room on Patpong 1 elsewhere in this issue).   Next door to that was the upstairs Blue Hawaii A Go-Go, which later became the recently extinct Super Queen.   Then came Topless (Playboy Topless-Topless-Topless) which was actually all-topless, all-bottomless all the time).   A little further on down was the upstairs Cleopatra (downstairs being the Bat Boat).   Across the lane were the Crazy Horse bars (the beginning of the French beachhead in the Patpongs).   After that, came the "stairwell' which took us up to the rear entrance to the Super Star Disco (and a couple of other 'hidden' bars on the above floors).   Across the lane, there was the venerable La Costa massage.   Considered as a whole, Patpong II in 88 - 89 was a hard act to follow, an indelible chapter in Bangkok's Nightlife history.

         (Note: We have excluded several minor bars in our summation of Patpong II.   All pix reproduced here with permission Jondalar.)




            



          Our Thai Smile this month is being worn by a young lady on the day shift.






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Many Thanks,
William R Morledge



            
 Historical Minutiae Dept.




Mirror On Early Patpong
- WANCHAI REFLECTS ON THE '60's and '70's


To Bangkok Eyes,

One of the few 'Early Patpong' pix showing the Bad Apple.
Photo copyright, if any, unknown.   
  PATPONG  I  
A Real Classic Photo!

What was located in the same building, before the Safari?

Well, like I've always said, "The Bad Apple", run by Khun Wanchai.   And before 1970 the Bad Apple was "Reeve Hankins Insurance Company".   And before that, it was the "USA Information Library" (USIS) - coupled with original Super Star building - which is now the Thigh Bar.

Please note - the location in the photo of the original "Charlie's" Super Star Bar (brings back real memories), then there was the "Bad Apple", then "Tien Tien Restaurant".   Before it became the Tien Tien, it was the "Marco Polo Night Club", and is now the "Twilo".   The current "Super Star" used to be a "Members Club" (the name?), before that it was "Everret Shipping Company", and before that, it was "The IBM Building" Thailand). Following down the street, next was "Majestic Custom Tailors", then the famous "Grand Prix" - which is now the "Kings Castle 1" (King's 1).    Air France is now King's Corner.

On the opposite side of the street starting from Silom: was, "Amor", later to be the "Roma Club" located on Silom Soi 4, but before that it was called "Lucky Strike" (and now it's a "7 Eleven").    "Air Vietnam" became the Texxan - now a "Big Bag Shop".   Further on down was "Barnn", which later became, "Blue Jeans" then "Cozy Corner".   Then there was the alley way that lead to the Bangkok Christian Hospital - and up to the "Scene Night Club" on the second & third floors.   The Scene later became the "Executive Association of Thailand" (the "EAT CLUB") - which was the "TOSCO Members Club", and now is the "New Madrid Apartments".   Below was "The Executive Room" and the "Jockey Club" which were next door to "The Madrid" (still there), which was next to "Napoleon", which was next to "Derby King Lounge".   Going on down, next was "The Sea Saw Restaurant" ("Barn?"), and then came the "Black Jack" which is now "Gold Fingers".   And many-many more names moving down the street towards Suriwong Road.

How things have changed?

When I die and go to the gates of Heaven, I'm going to ask the Lord, "Please give me back all my lady drink money, buy-offs and tips for the ladies of the night, and I promise God, I'll be a good boy and won't ask you for anything else!"   Go figure where I'll be headed?........and like they say, "The rest is HISTORY"!

The Street really has changed a lot, huh?

Thanks,

Wanchai
Greetings, Wanchai,

The Street has indeed changed.   An awesome oral history that has filled in many of the historical gaps.   Among all of the above (very little of which we previously knew), the only question we could find was Wanchai's query as to the name of the Members' Club that preceded the current Super Star.   Fortunately, it was the one thing we were able to research - the name of that Nitespot was the Ambassador Member's Club.   (See the photo below.)
At the right can be seen the Executive Room and the Scene Night Club and Cocktail Lounge (mentioned by Wanchai, above).   Behind them in the far distance, the Mississippi Queen (white on red) can just barely be seen.   The Ambassador Member's Club at today's Super Star location is just in front of Rick's Grand Prix.   Is that the Play Boy just behind Rick's?
Photo copyright, if any, unknown.   
  PATPONG  I  

Best of luck,
'Boge' Hartman




? ASK US (ALMOST) ANYTHING !
  • 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



     TOP
    Let the June 2011 Follies  begin...
    BANKOK EYES' Expat Night Scene.

      PATPONG  I  
    MAP

                The other evening (10:00 p.m.) we went by the Club 66, noticing it was swamped in darkness - and the sign was turned off.   We went upstairs to attempt to see if they were, in fact, closed.   We pushed on the door and it was unlocked.   Everyone, bartender, pool hostesses, waiters, were sitting on barstools inside - in the dark.   I asked them if they were open, to which they replied they were.   I asked, "So why so dark?"   They begrudgingly turned on the lights.   Isn't there something in the rule book which says if you are open at night, you turn on the lights?   Or is it just me?
      PATPONG  I  

      PATPONG  II  
    MAP
                The Red Parrot has opened, softly, in it's old digs on the 3rd floor of the large building on Suriwong Rd that stretches from PP1 to PP2 (entrances on both the Patpongs).   They have a brand new "Red Bar", and when all is done up, spit and polish, they will have 34 pool tables.   That is not a typo: 34 tables.   And plenty of room between tables, so you are not hitting someone in the ass with your pool cue every two minutes.   The pool-shark hostesses will be glad to have a game or three with you if you come alone (but they say that they are not allowed to go out with customers).   Already, according to those already on board, many of the old patrons are making their way back to the blue velvet.   Continue to rock and roll, then, gentlemen.




      PATPONG  II  

                The S.T.V. Bar bar beer (formerly the Memphis Queen) has closed, and has been torn down as part of the ongoing redevelopment of the old Bat Boat premises. We understand this is part of a larger King's Group development.
    (Searching archives for photo)
      PATPONG  II  

                The Topless Pool Bar / Sports Bar bar beer (formerly the Playboy Topless) has likewise closed, and has been torn down as part of the same ongoing redevelopment of the old Bat Boat premises.
    (Searching archives for photo)
      PATPONG  II  

                The Topless Beer Bar bar beer has likewise closed (the third of three to be closed down), and has been torn down as part of the same ongoing redevelopment of the old Bat Boat premises.
    (Searching archives for photo)
      PATPONG  II  

      SOI  COWBOY  
    MAP
                Yet another colorful for-the-archives shot of Soi Cowboy and it's Vegas-like neon.
      SOI  COWBOY  

     NANA  PLAZA  
    MAP
                The DC-10 (Spanky's 3) has added yet another colorful bit of neon to their collection.   The rock still rocks.

      NANA  PLAZA  

                Last month we rushed to press with some poor quality pix of the Strikers Sports Pub, so this month we felt it proper to publish something worthy of archiving.   Seems they are always busy, and that ain't bad.
      NANA  PLAZA  

                Up on the 3rd floor, next door to the new Billboard, another supersized bar is readying for opening ( in the old Hollywood Strip Dance Theque digs).   We should see them in action in a week or two.   The name is not yet for publication, however they are owned by the same people that run Billboard.   More on this next time.
      NANA  PLAZA  

                The tiny @ Lift bar beer is once again closed down.   The mamasan policing up under the escalator said no one came to work....   Closed, but wait and see - looks like all the chattel is still in place....


      NANA  PLAZA  

      SOI  KATOEY  
    MAP
                Ladies' Night Out on Soi Katoey - these mem-log did it up bigly and noisily this last weekend.   Lots of, "Woooooh's" and loud laughter.   They had quite a retinue of inquisitive stalkers as they hit several of the Nitespots to knock back a B-52, or two....   A good time had by all.
    SOI  KATOEY  - (SILOM  SOI  4)

                The G-Angel Cafe is not quite what it seems.   It is currently operating under the radar - on a busy weekend night, they move the A-frame chalkboard outside, and set up a couple of tables and chairs.   When business falls off later in the evening, they fold-up tent and disappear into the darkness.   Let's see how this develops.....
    SOI  KATOEY  - (SILOM  SOI  4)

      SOI  DEAD  ARTISTS  
    MAP
                The rumors on the street proved true - The Music Station (rest it's weary soul) had sold out, lock, stock and chrome barstool to the Tenderloins Sports Bar & Steak House.   May the Tenderloins persevere.
    Door Art Of The Month
    Award

                   The Tenderloins, having physically completed their relocation from deeper in the Soi have supplemented their original neon, as well as accentuated the existing architecture during renovations.   Clean lines make for an inviting atmosphere - a hands-down winner for this month's "Door Art Award".
      SOI  DEAD  ARTISTS  (SOI  33  SUKHUMVIT)  



    Mainstream Sideliners
    - PART-TIME PAY FOR PART-TIME PLAY


                Survey Entertainment's sign translates as shown below.   It is amusing to note that yet another English word has been adopted into the Thai vernacular : "Sideline" - meaning exactly as it does in English.

    Hiring
    (Receiving applications for -)

    Permanent employees,
    and 'Sideline'.
    Several positions.
    Good pay.
    (Phone number)



      SOI  DEAD  ARTISTS  (SOI  33  SUKHUMVIT)  

                The Monet has in fact moved into their new digs, co-located with the Dali.   We can't exactly welcome them to the night circus, as they are already longtime residents of the Soi - so wishing them continued successes.
    SOI  DEAD  ARTISTS - SOI  33

      WASHINGTON  SQUARE  
    MAP
                One of Washington Square's most popular expat bars, the Texas Lone Staar Saloon, has pulled up stakes, confirming the nagging rumors of these last few months.   It was never really the same (management-wise, and otherwise) since George passed on.   May they find things a little more to their liking a little further on down the road a piece.   -However, there is perhaps more to this than meets the eye.   Virtually all the venues in the Square have been getting only 6-month renewals on their leases - thus fuelling the fear that the old rumor is coming to bear - i.e., the closing of Washington Square for redevelopment.   See also below....


    WASHINGTON  SQUARE

                A Garden Spa closed earlier this last month - one of the long-standing massage venues in the Square.   Fears of redevelopment and lack of business are the stated reasons.   Most of the masseuses have found work in nearby massage parlors.   Greener pastures....


    WASHINGTON  SQUARE

                A Cat's Meow, the quietest lounge in Washington Square even more quietly called it an evening early in May, closing it's doors for the last time - reasons as stated above.   They go way back - they were originally called the No Problem Bar.   Next time, if there is a next time, may they grasp the brass ring.
    WASHINGTON  SQUARE

      QUEEN'S  PARK  PLAZA  
    MAP


    Almost A Bar, Almost For Sale
    - LOST IN TRANSLATION


                 A "Bar For Sale" sign that someone tacked up on the Rumours Bar sounded encouraging, so we asked a friend to call the number appearing on the notice.   The conversation went like this:


    "What is the name of the bar that is for sale".

    "Well.... there is no bar, there is only land."

    "Where is the land located? "

    "In Queen's Park Plaza."

    "But there is no land left in QPP for building a bar, there are bars on all the lots of land there."

    "Please contact the guard and he will show you."

    "How much is the bar?"

    "One million baht, and 25,000 baht per month."

    "So, is the land for rent, or is it for sale?"

    "Yes."

    "Hokaaaay.....   I think this is where I came in..... "


      SOI  COWBOY  

                The Sin Bin has doused lights and locked the door.   It looks to be under heavy renovation - we'll get back atcha when it reopens, and let one and all know if there is going to be a name-change.
      QUEEN'S  PARK  PLAZA


                We are pleased to see that the Platinum has reopened - as we suspected it would - the chattel and goodies were never removed, giving rise to the suspicion that they would be only temporarily out of the action.
      QUEEN'S  PARK  PLAZA

      SOI  EDEN  
    MAP
                Even Chinese lions need to stop to get refreshments from time to time.   The troup of lion dancers were going from bar-to-bar on Soi Eden, asking the managers of each if they wanted the lions to do their thing - and bring the establishment good luck.   We saw no takers - luck must not be in season.
      SOI  EDEN    SUKHUMVIT  SOI  7/1

      SOI  TWILIGHT  
    MAP
                The Balls The Sports Bar has popped out of it's crypt and is going full-bore after having closed down last month...   Welcome them back to the sharkpool.   A table of mixed farang seems to be enjoying the cool of the outdoors (an unusual sight on this normally all-gay Soi).
    SOI  TWILIGHT



     TOP   

    A PAGE FROM BANGKOK's NIGHTSCENE HISTORY....


    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  :
    June
          A decade ago, the Eden Garden Kama Sutra closed after only having been open for six months.   It was located on the ground floor of the large structure which now houses the Red Parrot.   There is no Night Entertainment Venue at that location presently.
    PATPONG  2 -  June 2001


          Ten years ago, the Royal Salute Cocktail Lounge, located on The Ramp, reopened after having been closed for six months.   The King Corner Net online casino is currently at that location.
    PATPONG  2 -  June 2001


          A decade ago, the King's Palace, up on the second floor of Soi Bookstore finally closed it's doors.   There is no Nitespot presently at that location.
    PATPONG  2 -  June 2001


          A decade ago, the Las Vegas opened it's doors, having taken over the old J.B.'s Bar.   (We'll be willing to bet you had forgotten both these old bars....)   The Las Vegas eventually (many months later) combined with the Wet Lips Bar to become Cowboy 2 - which is still there today.
    SOI  COWBOY -   June 2001


          A decade ago, the Silver Dragon opened in the old Angel Witch Rock Dancers digs up on the second floor.   Currently the Mercury Bar A Go-Go is located there.   But the Angel Witch (Rock Dancers) didn't disappear, they just moved across the compound into the old double-wide Farang Connection digs.   (The Farang Connection having closed two months before that.)   Some of you will remember that when the Angel Witch reopened, it reopened as the old Angel Witch Rock Dancers AND the Angel Witch Beer Bar (outside along the walkway).   The Angel Witch Rock Dancers is still there today.
    NANAI  PLAZA -   June 2001


          Ten years ago this month, Exposure closed its doors again, for the second time in six months - they would reopen again the following month.
    SOI  KATOEY  - (SILOM  SOI  4) -   June 2001


          A decade ago, this month, the 420 closed it's doors (next door to Helene's).   The 401 lasted only one month.   It was located where Bearbie is today.
    SOI  KATOEY  - (SILOM  SOI  4) -   June 2001


          Bar-Za-Bar (Est Cuba 1862) opened ten years ago in the old Shoku Sai Restaurant digs.   It was located next door to today's Santana.
    SOI  DEAD  ARTISTS- (SUKHUMVIT  SOI  33) -   June 2001


    ASOKE  PLAZA  /  ASOKE  CORNER - (previously Cowboy Annex) - 2001


    Asoke Corner / Asoke Plaza
    Night Entertainment Area
    :
    -CLOSED DOWN-
    ( June 2000 - June 2005 )


                 Ten years ago, Choke Dee took over the reins from the then-closing Boomerang.   Located along the fenceline on the Asoke Plaza side.

                 A decade ago, the Je T'Aime bar beer closed up shop for good.   It was also located along the fenceline on the Asoke Plaza side.

                 A decade ago, in the newer Asoke Corner side, five new bar beers opened -
            - Crazy Girls (ex: Tree of Green)
            - Meow
            - Love Scene
            - Oraphin
            - Spanky's (the original)

    ASOKE  PLAZA  /  ASOKE  CORNER - (previously "COWBOY ANNEX") - June 2001


    CLINTON  PLAZA   - 2001


    Clinton Plaza
    Night Entertainment Area
    :
    -CLOSED DOWN-
    ( June 1998 - 7 June 2003 )


          A decade ago, the New York Pizza closed - it was located at the front as an adjunct to Bill's Coffee Shop - at the street front on the right going in.
    CLINTON  PLAZA   - June 2001


    TOBACCO  ROAD   - June 2001


    Tobacco Road (Soi Zero)
    Night Entertainment Area
    :
    -CLOSED DOWN-
    ( ~ June 1988 - 9 June 2006 )

                Ten years ago, this month, the Sidetrack bar beer closed down, however, it would open again a month later.


    TOBACCO  ROAD  - 2001





    VICARIOUS ART CRIMES   # 66

    MIDNITE HOUR's

    [ Check out Bangkok's dedicated Graffiti page at " BKK Graf.com"  <link>. ]



    GRAFFITI IN THE NEWS

    Voina - Reluctant Art Awardees


    Russkie Bridge Raises Finger
    OFFICIAL RAGE, CRITICAL RAVE



             Voina, the renegade Russian 'street action art collective', was recently shortlisted for the State Prize for Innovation In Contemporary Art for their June 2010 'Work of Visual Art' their now-famous graffiti assault on one of St Petersburg's draw-bridges (see photo).   Their graffito, subsequently named the Giant Galactic Space Dick, rose to greet the Russian Federal Security Service (say, "KGB") building and it's occupants at exactly 2:00 a.m. that date.   It stayed in high salute for several hours until the draw-bridge was finally lowered.

             Voina artist Alexei Plutser-Sarno, however, has vehemently condemned the nomination and shortlisting for that art prize, "The Voina Group has nothing to do with the nomination for the Innovation Award - 2010.   Our nomination was an initiative of the National Center for Contemporary Art (NCCA).   We consider the Innovation Award as a proposal of dirty money from the Mafioso-like authorities by giving artists a dole, they test them for conformism and loyalty to the executioners of Russian contemporary art."

             Voina sees any recognition of their efforts by the authorities as an attempt by officialdom to subvert and dilute their freedom of expression, and to draw attention away from other egregious and systematic acts of suppression of artistic freedom in Russia.   We must admit it does seem mighty peculiar that something causing such official outrage is also being so graciously praised by that same officialdom.....




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


    Graffiti #470
    Arrested 2
    6 ft. high x 17 ft.



    Graffiti #471
    God Ginseng
    6 ft. high x 8 ft.


    Graffiti #472
    Beaners
    6 ft. high x 15 ft.



    Graffiti #473
    Z.Z.'s Song
    6 ft. high x 10 ft.



    Graffiti #474
    Holy Moley Right Hand
    6 ft. high x 15 ft.



    Graffiti #475
    His Left Hand
    6 ft. high x 12 ft.


    Graffiti #476
    Speaking Rama (in 3 parts)
    7 ft. high x 38 ft.









    Graffiti, Graffiti , and more Graffiti - Bangkok's original 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 - 2011,   BANGKOK EYES / bangkokeyes.com
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