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Bangkok's Night Scene In Review


Patpong Unbroken

01 November 2012
William R.  Morledge

November's Nightlife News
Bangkok's Bars - 10 Years Ago  
A Smile in the Land of Smiles.
Ask Us ! - Bangkok Sci-Fi
Graffiti  -BKK's Midnite Vandals - #85

The recent limited release of Dirk Claus' excellent video Patpong - Transition of an Entertainment District has stirred renewed interest in Patpong's history - and it's future.   And the consensus, unchanged over the years, (and occasionally noted in the video) is that Patpong, having long ago peaked, is in it's death throes.   However, a look at the facts does not support such a contention.

Since the last half of 1989, when the Patpong family began renting out the Patpong I roadway each evening to vendors of tourist items, self-professed pundits have been telling us that the turning point had come, and that 'Patpong as a Night Entertainment Area was dead'.   Unquestioningly, this turn of events took a cumulative toll on the Patpong I Nightscene, and for many years, the number of Patpong I bars diminished, but in the last 24 years since these doomsday scenarios were first espoused, it has, somehow, not yet died.
- File photo           

An interesting bit of 'statistical analysis' might be enlightening - although there was a small handful of bars on Patpong I in 1965, it wasn't until 1967 that there were enough bars to warrant calling it a "Night Entertainment Area" - per se.   And from 1967 Patpong grew over the next 22 years to reach it's absolute peak in numbers of bars and variety of entertainment in 1988-1989.   So, if we were, and are to take literal note of what the prophets of doom have been telling us, Patpong has been dying for more years than it had been 'alive'.

"... If we were ... to take literal note of what the prophets of doom have been telling us, Patpong has been dying for more years than it had been 'alive'...."

So why is it not dead yet?   If we are to take into account bars merging into other bars, and take further note that the mix of bars has changed, we will see that the total number of all types of Night Entertainment Venues has bottomed out in the low twenties - and has remained there for the last few years.   While there are indeed fewer A Go-Go bars, fewer Show bars bars, more massage parlors, and more music bars, the number of actual Nitespots has, as noted, remained about the same, so it is therefore quite impossible to view these facts in any meaningful, analytical way and say Patpong I is dying.   And if we are to take into accounting the sister Soi, Patpong 2, we would have to say from the actual survey statistics that there are still approximately 50 active Night Entertainment Venues of all types there.

Granted, the remaining Nitespots on the Patpongs do not generate the same electrified atmosphere they did in the '80's, where A Go-Go bars and Show-Bars prevailed, but the 1989 inundation of street vendors was not, and is not the 'death knell' for Patpong I; either for it's Night Entertainment Industry, or for business in general, or, especially, for the Patpong family.

"When in doubt, follow the money ... the Patpong family makes ... 100,000 baht per night ... just from the brick-a-brak stalls"

"When in doubt, follow the money."    There are hundreds of stalls on Patpong Road paying 500 baht a night per tiny cubicle, every night, 365 nights a year to the Patpong family.   Doing the maths - the Patpong family makes, conservatively, 100,000 baht per night doing nothing - "The Tiger Sleeps And Eats".   And this is just from the brick-a-brak stalls.

And virtually all the remaining successful bars on PP I and some on PP II are owned by them - all the Kings Group bars are theirs - as well as the Tip Top restaurant.   Not to mention that virtually all the properties that used to be bars are still rented out; still paying rent to the Patpong family just as before (less a couple of upstairs properties).   So the Patpong family are having their cake and eating it too.   (And by way of note, have you noted the multi-million baht upgrades the King's Group has put into their Nitespots redevelopment program over the last two years?   They quite obviously are not planning to go anywhere soon.)

No, 'Patpong' is not dying - but it continues to evolve - and those who knew it 'in the day' lament endlessly over the changes.   And you can include amongst the lamenters those of us here at the Midnight Hour.


A Thai Smile from the suburbs.....

? Old

Any old PHOTOS of
Bangkok's Nightlife ?

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Many Thanks,
William R Morledge

 Historical Minutiae Dept.

Bangkok Sci-Fi

Mssrs @ Eyes,

I have heard from a friend in New York about a short video that was supposed to be on YouTube which shows a preview of a science fiction film made in Bangkok.   It is going to be, maybe picked up by some movie producer.   My friend suggested I contact you, as you might know something about this, or how to find it on the Internet.

Thanks in advance,
T for Texas
Greetings, T.,

There is such a short video, produced by an independent, Stephan Zlotescu, and he, and his short film have reportedly been picked up by a major movie company.

The video, TRUE SKIN can be viewed at - <link> - at least for the time being....

Be prepared for weird.


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    Historical Research
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    Let the November 2012 Follies  begin...
    BANKOK EYES' Expat Night Scene.

      PATPONG  I  
                The King's Castle II has closed down for renovations.   Meanwhile, the King's Castle 3 across the street (which in times past was the original King's Castle of international fame), has reopened after completing two months of renovation, and is now called the King's Castle II (yes, we know, now there are two King's Castle II's).   The King's Castle 3 (now King's Castle II), used to be a transgenderite bar but is now a bar with real ladies; the transgenderites having moved to the King's Corner 2, which was, at first, called King's Corner, even though there was already another King's Corner (the original one) not fifty feet away.   The King's Corner 2 used to be the part of the King's Garden on Patpong II.   The original King's Garden is still in existence, but is a much smaller bar beer only.   Got that?   If not, wait another month until the original King's Castle II finishes renovations - after which we can expect some more name-games.

      PATPONG  I  

      PATPONG  II  
                The Electric Blue A Go-Go has tied with Shark as the most Sanuk Halloween party bar in Bangkok this year.   Although there were not too many ghouls and witches out on the street beckoning customers inside, the crew up on stage were having an awesome Halloween orgy.   And they became entirely out of control when the DJ played Gangnam Style.   (What is it about that stupid song, anyway... like, gangnam me with a spoon......)   By the way, if you haven't seen the lineup at Electric Blue for a while, it's time you got back for another look.   Below is the Electric Blue's lovely door-witch.
      PATPONG  II  

                The above-mentioned King's Garden is still in existence - as a narrow bar beer; the major part of it's real estate being taken over by the King's Corner 2, which exits on Soi Bookstore.   May they keep on keeping on.

      PATPONG  II  

                Last weekend, the Black Pagoda (third floor suspended above Patpong II) was selling "cover charge" entry tickets for a little more than Baht 200 each, which included a 'free drink".   We guess that all depends on how you want to define "free".   Let's wait and see how that works out for them - although it looked as though business was brisk on Saturday..........   The rock still rocks.
      PATPONG  II  

                The Matador House was battened down for the duration when we passed by a couple days back.   Originally the Matador, it changed to Matador House a couple of years back.   Chattel still remain within - let's see if there might be a resurrection any time soon.........
      PATPONG  II  

      SOI  COWBOY  
                Shark A Go-Go bar has tied for first place this year with Electric Blue on PPII as the most "Sanuk" Halloween party bar in Bangkok.   Their assortment of witches and vampires - to include those out on the Soi - were tops in Krung Thep, as was their party spirit.
      SOI   COWBOY  

                We tend to forget the sub-economy of Soi Cowboy, even when we are weaving our way down the Soi, dodging around it and stepping over it.   Food vendors, child flower sellers, Indian copy-watch sellers, Indian nut vendors, stuffed animal sellers, etc.   In the below photo, we see a mobile dress shop, complete with mannequins and self contained electrical power for lighting.   Motivation, however, is still one mamasan-power.
      SOI   COWBOY  

     NANA  PLAZA  
                In spite of guarantees from the MIC (Mamasan In Charge ?) that there would not be a name change after the Pretty Lady renovations, there was, in fact, the biggest (at least in terms of physical size) name change in Nana Plaza history.   The photos of Nana Main Station, below, speak for themselves.   Note also that there are two 'Pretty Lady' entrances - both, however, serve the new, combined Red Lips / Pretty Lady configuration.   There's good rockin' tonight.

      NANA   PLAZA  

                The Temptations is now, with the aid of new signage, calling itself Temptations Ladyboy Bar.   Which is not really a change - in that it always was.
      NANA   PLAZA  

                The Morning Night, ostensibly to keep up with the competition, has nailed up some significant new neon.   Most impressive - let the sanuk continue unabated.
      NANA   PLAZA  

     SOI  NANA  
                A for-the-archives pic of Annie's Massage, one of the 'old hands' on Soi 4, located in the Rajah Hotel Compound.   Rock on....
      SOI   NANA   

                Another "for-the-archives" shot - this time of the Nana Condo Massage (noted last issue, but without photo).
      SOI   NANA   

                Missed on our original survey of the Soi two months ago , the Apsara Day Massage, is located almost immediately across the street from Strikers.   

    (No photo available)

      SOI   NANA   

      SOI  KATOEY  

    Suds Galore - But at what price?

    Above are "drink" signs for the For Fun and the One Night Only, respectively.   Drinking can get expensive, or it can remain inexpensive, depending on the imbibers.
    SOI  KATOEY  - (SILOM  SOI  4)

                Shock news of the month is the sudden (almost) unexpected closure of Renoir Club 1841 (... just say, 'Renoir').   The Renoir was the seminal bar - the very first bar to move into Soi 33 back in 1987 - it 'set the tone' for what was to come.   And with the bar named after an impressionist painter, many of the bars to come afterward followed suit - thus the nickname for the soi : 'Soi Dead Artists'.      The Renoir does now have an interesting sign out front, however - they say they will be moving into the old Santana digs deeper in the Soi.   As of the beginning of the month that hasn't happened yet, so we will have another look and get back atcha.....


                What last month was Phoenix 33 Karaoke is now Number One @ 33 Japanese Karaoke Club.   Still, a Nipponese venue.   Welcome to the neon circus.

                The Naree Massage absolutely forbids taking photos of their establishment, however they do not mind if we publish their 'business card' which shows a bevy of lovely testicle masseuses.   Go figure.   They are located in the old Supalak Massage digs.   Welcome them to the neon jungle.

                The Sabai Sabai Massage - located all the way at the end of Soi Pan Pan has some new, brighter, larger neon.   At last they have signage that can be seen from the street.   Wish them the best on these slippery slopes.

                The Tuk Tuk Bar & Restaurant - has resurrected itself after a three month lay-off - which included an extensive renovation.   May they persevere.

                   The Onnanoko Japanese lounge has closed it's doors yet again   We hear they will not be coming out for the next round.....   
    - File photo            

                Washington Square has been slowly closing down as a Night Entertainment Area for the last several months due to a major land redevelopment by the owners.   Most of the Nitespots have already either closed or relocated; the Area has dropped below the "critical mass" required to sustain customer interest.   Midnight Hour will no longer report on this Night Entertainment Area on a monthly basis.   However we will continue to track that area and report any additional closures of existing bars as they occur.

    Door Art Of The Month

              Bright, in your face, to the point.   The Boom Boom Pub is the amalgamation of the two bars; IQ Karaoke and the Q-Tee Bar (they removed the center wall dividing the two).   No change in management - let the good times roll.


                   Rumor's bar beer has changed it's name to Rumor's Bar (almost not worthy of note) - however the good times have not changed, at all....

                   The Tuk Tuk Bar bar beer has closed it's doors after only opening in June of this year.   Of course it is always difficult to say if a bar has really closed when they put a "For Hire" sign up, promising high salaries, etc.   Oftentimes these signs are displayed to put-off the people to whom they owe money, so one can not be sure if their intent is to reopen at some time in the future, or not.

      SOI  EDEN  
                Dr BJ's has done it again - after opening Dr BJ's Salon and Dr BJ's Nuru within a couple of months of each other, they have now opened a third venue, Dr BJ's Budget Bangers.   They are offering all-inclusive one-hour massages for Baht 2,000, and Baht 3,000 if you want their two-hour massage.   I guess "budget" is all relative.   Welcome them to the shark pool.

    SOI  EDEN  -  Soi  7/1 Sukhumvit

                The Sip Song will be opening within the next couple of weeks.   They will be occupying the previous P.P. Beer digs.   We hope to have more pix next month.
    SOI  EDEN  -  Soi  7/1 Sukhumvit

                The Bangkok Beat is gearing up for a big Halloween party this evening.   If the sign is anything to go by.......
    SOI  EDEN  -  Soi  7/1 Sukhumvit

                The Scorpion's Khun Chai says that if you are interested in his book, Bangkok Boy, contact him at Facebook Chai2510.   (What is 'Facebook', does anyone have any idea?)



    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 2nd floor New Queen's Castle (near Madrid) -having used that name for only a month, has again changed it's name to Show Girls, however nothing else changed.   It is still at that location, and still a pay-for-show bar.
    PATPONG   1 -  November 2002

          The decades-old La Costa Massage & Bath closed for good.   It was located next to today's Bada Bing.
    PATPONG   2 -  November 2002

          The landmark Thai Room restaurant closed, and immediately began renovating.   It would eventually reopen half the size in the same location as a Pool Bar - and is still there today.
    PATPONG   2 -  November 2002

          The Wun Pub (and another venue under construction at that juncture) opened in one half of what was the Thai Room.   The Tavern Three now occupies those digs.
    PATPONG   2 -  November 2002

          The upstairs The Pink Piano Bar & Lounge has gone back to calling itself the Pink Panther.   No entertainment venue now occupies that location (above today's The Pink.)
    PATPONG   2 -  November 2002

          The fourth floor (up the Cosmo's Stairwell) Bua Luang closed up shop for good.   No entertainment venue now occupies that location.
    PATPONG   2 -  November 2002

          Both the LasVegas and the next door WetLips closed and started renovating.   They would eventually combine to become the Cowboy 2 , which is still there today.
    SOI   COWBOY -  November 2002

          Nice Bar, next door to today's Sunshine After Skool Bar, closed down.   It would eventually reopen in Easy Square on Sukhumvit Soi 22.   Easy Square Night Entertainment Area no longer exists, making way for a construction project.
    SOI   COWBOY -  November 2002

          The second floor Silver Dragon, having completed renovations (which included absorbing the Nancy) were completed, and the Silver Dragon reopened.   Those premises are now occupied by the Mercury Bar.
    NANA   PLAZA -  November 2002

          The co-joined Speed and Hip Hop closed their doors.   They were located downstairs and upstairs at the current Bearbie Bar Karaoke digs.
    SOI   KATOEY -  November 2002

          The Maxx Sports Bar opened new in what was the Ngan Hang, and is today's Lek Massage.
    QUEEN'S   PARK   PLAZA  -  November 2002

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

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

    Ten years ago this month, the following bars transitioned in Asoke Plaza / Asoke Corner (formerly Cowboy Annex).

                *  Request (in the 'Corner' on the left) - CLOSED
                *  Siam Smile in the 'Annex' at the back - CLOSED
                *  Oasis II (in the 8-Pak) - CLOSED
                *  Princess Bar (in the 'Corner' on Soi 23) - REOPENED
                *  Isisdur (in the 4-Pak) - REOPENED

    ASOKE  PLAZA  /  ASOKE  CORNER  PLAZA   - November 2002

    CLINTON  PLAZA   - 2002

    Clinton Plaza
    Night Entertainment Area
    ( November 1998 - 7 June 2003 )
    Ten years ago this month, the following bars transitioned in Clinton Plaza.

                *  You & Me (outside against the main bldg.) - REOPENED

    CLINTON  PLAZA   - November 2002

    SUKHUMVIT  SQUARE   - 2002

    Sukhumvit Square
    Night Entertainment Area
    ( January 2002 - 26 January 2003 )

    Ten years ago this month, the following bars transitioned in Sukhumvit Square.

                *  California Bar (In the 8-Pak) - REOPENED
                *  Caligula Pool & Pub (In the Center Section) - NEWLY OPENED
                *  Remember Pub (In the Center Section) - NEWLY OPENED
                *  The Winner (In the rear) - NEWLY OPENED
                *  Speto (In the Center Section) - REOPENED
                *  Rushour (Facing Sukhumvit Rd) - CLOSED

    SUKHUMVIT  SQUARE   - November 2002

    TOBACCO  ROAD   -  2002

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

                *  Turtle Bar (at the rear, right) - CLOSED

    TOBACCO  ROAD  - November 2002



    But is it .... ART ?

    New to the world of 'Graffiti'?   See our "INTRO"


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


    Cairo's Rebels

    A Cairo graffiti artist depicts the ongoing battle between the authorities and those protesting severe crackdowns of the recent past - will the spraycan prove mightier than the sword?

             After the bloody "Mohammed Mahmoud" riots of 2011, angry Egyptian graffiti writers took to the walls with a vengeance - lashing out at what they termed brutal governmental suppression.   The amount of graffiti produced was prodigious, and much of it deemed by the International community to be quality art.

             Shortly after that, Egyptian protesters, all of whom have been generally lumped together, rightly or wrongly, as 'Muslim Brotherhood', had their heads cracked again by the authorities in the infamous 'Port Said Riots'.   This was once again a catalyst to the already incensed graffiti-writers.   And the focus of the bulk of the new graffiti remained on Mohamed Mahmoud, the journalist shot earlier by alleged police snipers.   And yet again much of the new graffiti that began to sprout up in, and around the inner city was visually spectacular - even if one didn't read Arabic.

             Several of these graffitied walls around the city, such as those in Tahrir Square, became rallying points for Cairo's protesting masses, much to the chagrin of the Government.   The Egyptian Government would only stand for this direct affront to their authority for so long - but on the other hand, they knew timing would be all-important.   They would, or so they thought, give it some time, a 'decent interval', and when things had cooled down sufficiently, they would ease in, under cover of darkness, and whitewash the lot off the face of the earth, once and for all.

             To say the Cairo Government miscalculated the fervor - not to mention the attention-span - of the Cairo citizens would prove to be a primo misunderstatement.   As soon as the city's maintenance personnel started whitewashing the anti-government graffiti, citizens, to include journalists, photographed the event with enthusiasm - much of it ending up on YouTube.   But that was just the beginning of the backlash - almost immediately, the painted-over graffiti was replaced by brand-new, equally vitriolic graffiti, often times dishing out challenges to the Government like, ERASE IT AGAIN, YOU COWARDLY REGIME".

             A blog, The Lede, associated with the New York Times has provided a wealth of spectacular graffiti in the form of photos and video.   It is highly recommended all visit them at thelede.blogs  <link> .

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

    Part 1 of 2 - The Hopewell Exhibits
    Graffiti #589
    Ball Star
    6 ft high x 4 ft

    Graffiti #590
    Booboo Says
    8 ft high x 4 ft

    Graffiti #591
    Larry's Shirt
    7 ft high x 9 ft

    Graffiti #592
    Mackie's Cap
    5 ft high x 4 ft

    Graffiti #593
    Magic Carpet
    7 ft high x 4 ft

    Graffiti #594
    6 ft high x 4 ft

    Graffiti #595
    Primer Z
    6 ft high x 4 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 - 2012,   BANGKOK EYES /

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