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Bangkok's Night Scene In Review


10th Anniversary Issue !

01 February 2012
William R.  Morledge

February's Nightlife News
Bangkok's Bars - 10 Years Ago  
A Smile in the Land of Smiles.
Ask Us ! - Mama-sans II
Graffiti  -BKK's Midnite Vandals - #76


         Bangkok Eyes started out a decade ago as an exercise to teach ourselves "html" - and somehow, after myriad torturous misfires, that 'exercise' ended up as an actual .com website.   At that time, of course, we had no idea our "interesting project" would last for ten years - nor did we have any idea that those ten years would pass in the proverbial blink of an eye.   In that our 'direction' was an historical approach to the Nightlife Scene, we didn't expect to attract more than a few 'hits' each month.   The last thing we expected was to end up with even one regular reader - so in that regard, we owe you all a huge "thanks".   Below we have selected a story from each year - each of the stories has historical relevance to the Bangkok Nightlife Scene - and, coincidentally, elicited a significant 'reader response' at the time.   

Virtual Bars
We took an in-depth look at the profound impact the Internet & email were having on Bangkok's "Bar Scene", and saw that it would likely impact the status-quo in a big way.   Looking back, in that most of what we had to say has come to pass, it is no longer an eye-opening essay - however, when we first published, we recieved a huge response from readers.
         (* CLICK * anywhere in this box to go to the story.)
Sukhumvit Square Smashed
A major Nightlife figure (now a prominent Thai politician), owner of nearly a dozen brothel-massage parlors, joined forces with a branch of Thailand's Military Mafia and destroyed - completely bulldozed - a commercial area in downtown Bangkok.   The area, Sukhumvit Square, was home to over 120 privately owned businesses, 60 of which were bars.   And they did so under the noses of the police.   And they got away with it.   It made sensational international news at the time, but Bangkokians know better than to think "influential persons" will be punished, regardless of the crime.
         (* CLICK * anywhere in this box to go to the story.)
Cracks In The Crackdown
Thaksin, as Prime Minister, let loose his henchman, the notorious Purachai, to reign in on Bangkok's Nightlife Scene.   They were out to 'protect Thai dignity' - a dignity that (in their eyes) had been destroyed by sex-tourism and the Longman's Dictionary.   Their intent was to force all Nightlife activity into three "Zones" - areas that were controlled by other 'influential persons' : the Patpong family (Patpong I & II), the 'Military mafia' (RCA), and the Rachadapisek Strip (owned by the wealthy Chinese - to include the likes of "Mr. Hot-tub" Chuwit).   Everyone would then close his / her Nitespot by midnite, and go safely home to bed.   But the reality, the economics, of underworld power came home to them quite suddenly......
         (* CLICK * anywhere in this box to go to the story.)
Cowboy - All Of It
Our most popular pictorial to date was published in November of that year (more websites stole pictures from this issue than any other).   It was a photo essay of Soi Cowboy.   Many of those "great old bars" have disappeared, and this essay has held up as a "snapshot-in-time" of Bangkok's second-oldest Expat Night Entertainment Area.
         (* CLICK * anywhere in this box to go to the story.)


          This Thai Smile should last me for the entire month....


Christopher G. Moore's
latest now in
Bangkok bookstores

Read The Wisdom Of Beer Press Release HERE
- All works Copyright Christopher G. Moore - used with permission.

? Old

Any old PHOTOS of
Bangkok's Nightlife ?

Please CLICK HERE and send to us for publication.   

Many Thanks,
William R Morledge

 Historical Minutiae Dept.

'Mama-sans' Revisited


Learned something about "Mama-san" (in last month's issue) but noticed that among her jobs, there was no mention about recruiting girls.   Have you ever been to Angeles City in the Phils?   There are signs all over saying, 'Hiring Mama-sans', but they must bring a certain number, like 10-15, girls with them.   The Mama-sans there get a commission from every lady drink and barfine for one of their girls.....

The Japanese bars have, besides the Mama-san, She-Mama-sans, who I believe (may be) assistant Mama-sans.

In some A Go-Go bars, the girls in one "floor", or group on stage, will look different from the other 'floor' because the Mama-sans are different ?


Hi, A.T.,

We received a number of emails on our "Mama-san" article, yours being the most interesting.   Your observation on the Angeles City Mama-sans - and their bringing in / recruiting girls was very informative.   Also in Thailand, the Mama-san will often recruit girls from her home town (province), and I should have included that in the story (thanks for that).   Examples of that are (or were at one time) Toy Bar and the old Three Roses, where virtually all the girls spoke Border Khmer (Surin & environs).

Your mention of "She-Mama-san", or 'Chee-Mama' is in fact in use - however our further inquiries indicate that the "Chee" is from the English "she", and is usually just used as a variation of "Mama-san" without reference to hierarchy.   (See below photo from our last issue).   We should have taken the time to explore that in our last month's story also.

But to your question, there are different reasons for different line-ups for different 'floors'.   One example (of several) would be where one floor of first-stringers (where the girls are very attractive) will have the most attractive girl dance 'point', so she is the first thing you see when you walk in, or look in.   This 'floor' (in this example) would then finish it's set, the girls would then put on their robes and leave the
S.W.  A Go-Go and walk across to S.  A Go-Go (owned by the same group), and repeat.   These girls normally can't be bought out (at least until very late).   

Thanks for reading and thanks for writing in.
         The above sign (from the Onnanoko) reads:
Seeking applications quickly (for) :
"Chee Mama"
"Hos" (short for 'hostess')
High pay, good earnings.
120 baht / drink.
If interested, contact telephone:
* Mai (number) *

'Boge' Hartman

  • 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

    Let the February 2012 Follies  begin...
    BANKOK EYES' Expat Night Scene.

      PATPONG  I  

                The King's 3 (the King's Castle III) gets high marks for their Chinese New Year spirit.   A note to our readers; this is a Ladyboy Bar.
      PATPONG  I  

                The Club King's has improved on their downstairs decor (although it may be a little dark for playing pool).   See also our photo last issue - taken shortly after they opened for business.
      PATPONG  I  

      PATPONG  II  
                The Narita, up on The Ramp, has taken over the reins from the Chill Chill (which had just reopened last month after a long closure).   Modus operandi  unchanged - a pool lounge.   Welcome them to the sharkpool....
      PATPONG  II  

      SOI  COWBOY  
                The Joy Bar closed down last month - to undergo renovations to become the new Cockatoo - Bangkok Ladyboys bar.   We passed by the other evening and they were putting the finishing touches on the new place.   By the time you read this, they will (almost certainly) be open.   (If otherwise, we'll get back atcha.)
      SOI  COWBOY  

     NANA  PLAZA  
    Door Art Of The Month

              The Erotica has yet again redone their facia and neon.   What an excellent job - this month's Door Art Award, for sure.   Most inviting.

      NANA  PLAZA  

      SOI  KATOEY  
                The Balcony has combined their anniversary celebrations with the Chinese New Year holiday celebrations.   May they keep on keeping on.
    SOI  KATOEY  - (SILOM  SOI  4)

                It looks like the Souvlaki has gone the way of the Euryapteryx Curtus - and yet they have a sign posted for hiring new staff.   And isn't that the way?   Virtually every bar that finally augers in at the end of their runway will put up a 'hiring' sign - as an indication that they really aren't going out of business.   I guess these signs fool some of their creditors some of the time......
    SOI  KATOEY  - (SILOM  SOI  4)


                Gone, but not gone, Hookers has popped up out of it's crypt and is going hell-bent-for-leather getting ready to reopen.   In fact, by the time you read this, they will be sliding mugs of ale down the bar once again.   Welcome them back to the nightcircus.   

                The Garden Club Karaoke should be opening right about..... NOW !    Their sign is a bit misleading; it reads, "Girls Karaoke Sound".   What they mean is 'Girls, Karaoke, Sound.   We asked the kind lady at the door - and she assured us that this is a club for gentlemen.

                It is a little complicated - the place next door to the Blue Heaven used to be called, 33 Bangkang (at least for English readers).   It closed down for renovations a couple of months back.   Last month, Blue Heaven's sign had been removed.   It is back this month.   Renovations are complete on the old 33 Bangkang, and they are open, however they don't have a name up yet.   Until they get their own name they are using Blue Heaven's.   Both Nitespots share the same neon facade.   The two bars are more an attraction to Japanese customers than Western.   May they continue to rock.


                The Onna No Ko has reopened after the Chinese New Years holiday.   All is as it was.
    - File photo         

                The upstairs Zentana Spa has reopened, and is offering a special.....   

                The Stone II Karaoke stays open every night until 05:00 hours.   However, it is a best-kept-secret, so we are not going to tell you where it is....   Oh, OK, we're just kidding - it is in the parking lot (all the way back) behind Tenderloins.

                The Thara Bar isn't.   It is, however, a furniture store - until further notice.....

                As long anticipated, the Bourbon Street Restaurant & Oyster Bar has pulled up stakes and relocated down on Sukhumvit Soi 63.   We wish them well - and more than that, we will be heading down this next Tuesday for the Tex-Mex buffet - as usual.   It looks like their upstairs boutique room rental is still going strong however (?)   Below are a couple of pics for the archives....


                We passed by the Silver Dollar on 28 January and saw there was a lot of action, but didn't stop.   What we didn't realize was that it was their "goodby party".   Talk about opportunities missed....   The Silver Dollar was Washington Square's seminal bar, way back in 1985.   Greener pastures, gents - and ladies, greener pastures.....   Washington Square looks more like a ghost town every evening.....

    - File photos        

                It looks like the Baan Beer is leasing out another corner of their property - in hopes someone will put another mini-bar-beer up.   It also looks like they have some new neon nailed up.... Let it roll....


                The Sin Bin was darker than dark the other night when we passed by.   They, too, had a 'hiring staff' sign up - not always a good sign, so to speak.   We shall advise of a change in status, if any, next issue.

      SOI  EDEN  
                Although it looked like the Thai Terrace had reopened, it was deathly quiet.   Maybe this is too easy, but shouldn't they put a sign up saying, "Open", or something?   The only signs they have up are to warn motorcycles not to park in front.   (And of course, a motorcycle is parked in front.)   Let's wait and see what happens here.....
      SOI  EDEN    SUKHUMVIT  SOI  7/1

                The Fresh Beach Boy gay A Go-Go outdid the others in the Twilight Zone when it came to Chinese New Years celebrations.   May the persevere.



    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  :
          Ten years ago, Queen's Castle (1) reopened (yet again).   It was located where the second floor 'pay-for-show' Show Girls bar is now located.
    PATPONG   1 -  February 2002

          One decade back, this month, the 3rd floor "Traditional Massage" reopened.   That real estate, approximately above the Thigh Bar, is currently occupied by a less-than-recommended massage/bar.
    PATPONG   1 -  February 2002

          Ten years back, P.P. Thai Traditional Massage closed it's doors (P.P. for 'Patpong').   It was located on the 4th floor, in what is now referred to as the Cosmos stairwell opposite Foodland.   There is no Nitespot currently at that location.
    PATPONG   2 -  February 2002

          A decade ago, Angel Witch and it's attendant Angel Witch Beer Bar (just outside) reopened on schedule.   It is still there today, minus the outside bar beer.
    NANA   PLAZA -  February 2002

          A decade ago, Para Disio closed it's doors for good.   It occupied the 2nd & 3rd floors of what today is the Mandarin.
    NANA   PLAZA -  February 2002

          Ten years ago, the White Bar , located next door to today's Tapas, closed up shop for good.
    SOI   KATOEY -  February 2002

          A decade ago, Helene's Place, as a "Nitespot", closed.   It is still there as a restaurant.
    SOI   KATOEY -  February 2002

          Ten years back, the Sumire Club, a Japanese venue, closed it's doors for good.   It was located next door to today's Hattasat Tradition Massage.
    WASHINGTON   SQUARE -  February 2002

          A decade ago, Phoenix Club  (Blue Power Shaft) reopened after a month-long closure.   It was located in the Peep Inn Plaza.   It is no longer there, however, - note: the Peep Inn Plaza is now the S-33 Hotel.
    SOI   SOI  DEAD  ARTISTS  -  February 2002

          Ten years ago, the At 33 Music Restaurant closed.   It was located in the rear of the 33 Complex next door to where the current Blue Heaven is located.   
    SOI   SOI  DEAD  ARTISTS  -  February 2002

          Also a decade back, Luciano's Club 33 closed.   It was located where the Love Teen Massage is now located.
    SOI   SOI  DEAD  ARTISTS  -  February 2002

    ASOKE  PLAZA  /  ASOKE  CORNER - (previously Cowboy Annex) - 2002

    Asoke Corner / Asoke Plaza
    Night Entertainment Area
    ( March 2000 - February 2005 )

                 Ten years ago, the double-wide Monzabar took over the old Flipper and Choke Dee bar beers.   

                 A decade ago, the To Day bar beer opened in the '6-Pak' next door to Lolitas in the Asoke Corner half.

                 Ten years back, the Naughty Bar ? and the Oh! Yes (ex: Oasis) bar beers opened in the '8-Pak' - which faced out to Soi 23.

                 Also ten years ago, the Ban Rim Chong restaurant closed.   It was located on the right side going in from the Asoke intersection.

                 A decade ago, on the left side going in from the Asoke intersection, both the Love Scene and the B-52 Bar & Grill (ex: Oraphin) closed.   

    ASOKE  PLAZA  /  ASOKE  CORNER - (previously "COWBOY ANNEX") - February 2002

    CLINTON  PLAZA   - 2002

    Clinton Plaza
    Night Entertainment Area
    ( November 1998 - 7 June 2003 )

          A decade ago, the Wind Mill (Kangaroo) re-closed it's doors.   It was located outside, against the main building.

          Ten years back, the Janny Bar Beer opened.   It was located outside, against the outer wall.

    CLINTON  PLAZA   - February 2002

    TOBACCO  ROAD   -  2001

    Tobacco Road (Soi Zero)
    Night Entertainment Area
    ( ~ December 1988 - 9 June 2006 )

                Ten years ago, this month, the Honey Bar Drink & Food bar beer closed.   They were located half-way down on your left, as you walked in.

    TOBACCO  ROAD  - February 2001



    (An "Introduction" to Graffiti for those interested
    in the "Art" and the "Controversy".)

             Perhaps one of the most extraneous and arcane forms of Night Entertainment is that of graffiti.   Often illegal, frequently artistic, occasionally humorous, and most of the time controversial.   Graffiti is not a form of 'entertainment' that all will enjoy.   Many see it as vandalism - plain and simple, while others see it as an art form, or 'art brut' - a street sub-set of Modern Art.      (....Continued....)

    (New to this page?    Click HERE  for our full "Intro to Graffiti")

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


    Miami's Legal Walls

    - Copyright USA TODAY - Share Image  

    In Wynwood, Miami (Florida) they are telling us that graffiti used to be a sign of urban decay.   They say that, because they now offer motorscooter tours of that suburb to view all the "graffiti".   What is wrong with this picture?   Does this also sound “wrong” to someone else, or is it just me?
    - Copyright USA TODAY - Share Image  

    OK, here’s the gimmick.   This is ‘legalgraffiti.   Still sounds wrong, doesn’t it?   What they mean by this is; the graffiti artists not only have permission to tag those walls, they are invited to do so.   And they are also often ‘sponsored’ with free paint, and the like.   This is meant to accomplish two things.   Firstly, graffiti artists will do, hopefully, their spraypaint magic there, where they are supposed to, and not somewhere else.   Like putting newspapers down for the dog.   Secondly, it will make it easier for the tour guide to take his flock of Vespa riders around town and show them the graffiti.

    But, excuse us if we have to ask….. Isn’t graffiti something done in a public place (or able to be viewed from a public place) without permission, without inhibition, without limits to subject matter - regardless of how offensive, regardless of how critical of whomever, or regardless of how off-color or outrageous the works may be?   I sincerely doubt this sponsored graffiti is going to be critical of, well, critical of anything at all - or be even the slightest bit outrageous, in any sense.   It's like spray painting with the mayor looking over your shoulder, insuring all you do meets his approval....   And, no we are not supporting anarchy, or racial slurs, or anything similar, but, yes, we are in support of freedom of expression - and that means 100% freedom, not 75%, or even 99% freedom - freedom means freedom.   Hey, if we are going to limit the artists, why not insist they wear boxing gloves when they tag ?

    I mean, seriously, isn't this just‘mural art”?   Pop art?   Yes, murals are nice, and, yes, they are "art", but is it graffiti?   I can’t imagine myself hopping on a Vespa for a 15 minute ride around a Florida suburb to look at what amounts to contracted murals – and then be expected to pay for this privilege.   And, where’s the meat?   Where’s the unbridled, unrestrained social comment, where are the black comedic portrayals?   And with all the time in the world for these taggers to put up their pieces, where is the ‘art brut’?   Let me put it to you in the form of a question, would you rather be on an outback trip through Africa and happen across lions and crocodiles, or would you prefer to hire a guide, rent a bycicle and go to a petting zoo, assured that you will see lambs and ponys?

    Or, to distill the issue down to it's fundamentals: in essence, are you interested in viewing unsensored, original thought, or are you interested in viewing art?   No, I’m very sorry….. but regardless of artistic content, this concept of "graffiti" is sterile, it is a contradiction; it is a big FAIL.

    *** We would like to thank USA Today for placing the above two (2) Share Images in the Public Domain.

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

    Graffiti #526
    Delerium 2
    4 ft. high x 3 ft .

    Graffiti #527
    8 ft. high x 21 ft.

    Graffiti #528
    Keane's Kat
    6 ft. high x 4 ft.

    Graffiti #529
    Leggo Toy
    3 ft. high x 6 ft.

    Graffiti #530
    8 ft. high x 42 ft.

    Graffiti #531
    Pug Puncher
    8 ft. high x 13 ft.

    Graffiti #532
    8 ft. high x 174 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 /

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