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Bangkok's Night Scene In Review


Not Fade Away

01 January 2013
William R.  Morledge

January's Nightlife News
Bangkok's Bars - 10 Years Ago  
A Smile in the Land of Smiles.
Ask Us ! - Patpong 2 Changes ?
Graffiti  -BKK's Midnite Vandals - #87

         e've recently been inundated with email expressing concern over the possibility of one, or the other, of Bangkok's Night Entertainment Areas disappearing.   And a fair question, all things considered - the recent closure of Washington Square coupled with the closure of several popular Nitespots around the town certainly give pause for thought.

         Most numerous among the concerns of our readers over the last 6 months have been the possible disappearance of Nitespot Areas as diverse as Nana Plaza , Soi Twilight (Surawong's gay soi), Soi Dead Artists (Soi 33) and Patpong 1 (see our November 2012 issue <link> ).   We at Midnight Hour, however, see no cause for concern - and you might be surprised at the reason.

         A review of the Expat Night Entertainment Areas of Bangkok going all the way back to the 1960's reveals some reassuring data.   Over the last half century, NO Expat Night Entertainment Area has ever died out, or 'gone out of business' - excepting for a single reason: "major redevelopment".   Below is an historical review of those Bangkok Expat Night Entertainment Areas that are no longer in existence :

Bangkok's Extinct Bar Areas (Expat)
Khlong Toey
- redeveloped
- Closed -early 90's by Port Authority
Sukhumvit Square
- redeveloped
- Closed - destroyed 26 January 2003
Clinton Plaza
- redeveloped
- Closed 7 June 2003
Asoke Plaza/ Asoke Corner
- redeveloped
- Closed February 2005
13 Night Market (Near Soi 13)
- redeveloped
- Closed 28 February 2005
Easy Square (Soi 22)
- redeveloped
- Closed 30 April 2005
Buckskin Joe Village - Soi Zero
- redeveloped
- Closed 9 June 2006
Sukhumvit 1 Plaza (Soi 1)
- redeveloped
- Closed 30 November 2007
Washington Square
- redeveloped
- Closing down - 3 bars remain

         You may notice the conspicuous absence of the 'New' Petchburi Road's "Golden Mile" which does not appear on this list of defunct Night Entertainment Areas.   This is because (and it may surprise you yet again) it never disappeared - having reduced considerably in size, it has become predominantly a local Night Entertainment Area, but nevertheless, it has remained a real physical presence.   See our separate article, immediately below.

         So, with this statistical evidence in hand, we would want to see which of the currently active Expat Night Entertainment Areas might likely, or possibly, be subject to a general redevelopment.   There are four candidates which fit the bill; each discussed briefly below:

The Patpongs
The Patpongs (I & II) are in a tight contiguous area, and are owned by a single group (increasing the likelihood of a major redevelopment).   However, as discussed in our earlier article on Patpong, the Patpong family have spent tens of millions of Baht systematically upgrading and modernizing both their restaurants and their string of bars in Patpong I & II over the last four or five years.   Further, the nightly tent-city market is a cash cow for the family.   Both of these considerations can lead only to the conclusion that they, as owners, have no intention of redeveloping in the near future.

Nana Plaza
Nana Plaza meets the same criteria as the Patpongs with regards being a specifically definable area and under single ownership, and is therefore technically a candidate for redevelopment.   However recent events have seen new long term leasing (and subleasing) of the premises, together with a general upgrade of the facilities.   Considering the absurd rentals currently in place, the owners would be hard-pressed to come up with a business plan that would provide them with a superior income stream to the one they currently enjoy.

Queen's Park Plaza
Queen's Park Plaza is yet the third Night Entertainment Area under sole ownership, and forms a usable piece of real estate when considered as a whole.   This area is the most likely of the four to undergo a major redevelopment, however, we have heard that the Indian owners are currently asking an extremely high price for the land alone, and reportedly do not want to develop it themselves.   It is so high (in 9 figures) that it is apparent that they do not need to, or want to sell.   We do not know of any active prospects for the purchase of the land.   It is however, the Nitespot Area to watch, as the numbers could change at any time.

Soi Katoey
Soi Katoey (Silom Soi 4) is another private roadway similar to the Patpongs, but the owner's dwelling is at the deep end of the Soi.   The rear side of the residence faces out onto Soi Wall Street which exits on Surawong Road.   According to our investigations, term leases are still being let on these properties, with no evidence of a redevelopment - primarily because the owners (reportedly) want to continue to be able to access both Silom and Surawong from their 'stuck-in-the-middle' digs.

In summation, looking at what is statistically most likely, we will not see the disappearance of any of the existing Night Entertainment Areas (to include those 4 above, in the higher risk category) within the next few years.   

The 'Golden Mile' Revisited

         Most long term residents and returning visitors to Bangkok have heard of, or even visited the New Petchburi Road "Golden Mile" Night Entertainment Area.   It was Bangkok's largest Nitespot Area ever, sporting more bars and massage parlors than any area before or since.   It came into being at, or around 1965, and lasted through the end of the R&R era in 1973 up until about 1976.

A view of Petchburi Road today. In it's heyday, this section was referred to as 'New Petchburi Road', or 'Petchburi Tat Mai'.   A few of the ancient taxi drivers will still refer to it by this old handle.   The La Belle can be seen at the left.

         Or so the popular legend goes.   In fact, the Petchburi Road's Golden Mile did contract severely after 1976, however, contrary to the consensus, it did not disappear.   The type of Nitespots changed, to be sure (to mostly fishbowl steam & cream massage parlors), and the clientele were either Thai or taxied-in Asian and South Asian tourists.

         Our recent survey of Petchburi Road (resulting in the map above) reveals that there are over 20 Nitespots still in business there - the number having bottomed out at around that number several years ago.   The format, however, has not changed back to one encouraging Expat patronage.   Most places, even those without English language signs, will welcome farang.   However, there are a few venues which do discourage farang from entering - a carryover from the height of the HIV threat.   Below is a brief point-in-time pictorial of several of the main Night Entertainment Venues to be found on what remains of the old "Golden Mile ".

The Avita (formerly the Evita) is a full service massage emporium at the far end of Petchburi Road, complete with parking.

The Bangkok Cozy - Super Model is a large complex set slightly back off the main drag, but the signage can't be missed.   Parking available.

The Angara Massage is at the back of the 'loop' formed by Petchburi Soi's 39 & 41 near the now defunct Prince Hotel. (refer to map).   It is primarily a place that encourages taxi drivers to bring customers - usually of the 'Third World" - on a commission basis.

The Hawaii is a full service 'steam & cream' massage parlor of the old school.   What remains a mystery to us is whether or not this is the same "Hawaii" from the 'Golden Mile' era.   We knew of a 'Hawaii' located in that approximate area during the late 60's but we have been unable to confirm one way or another with the current management.   If anyone has solid confirmation, please let us know.

La Belle is a newer version of the old full-service 'steam & cream' massage parlor.   Plenty of parking in the compound.

Meree (or Mary) is a night entertainment multiplex - the main course being the Op-Ap-Nuat style massage.   Parking in the compound - you won't be able to miss it - it has it's own billboard.

The Petch Siam is a large full service 'steam & cream' spa, complete with parking.   Geared mostly to Thai clientele.

The Petch Porn (no English sign) is yet another of the old style Op-Ap-Nuat style massage parlors.   Parking in the rear.

The Riviera is a full service 'fishbowl' massage parlor mostly catering to Thais, but not only so.

Massage Parlor 'Happy Hour'

         There is no reason we should be surprised that massage parlors (in this case, the Riviera) have 'happy hour'. And there is no reason we should be surprised the sign is only in Thai.   It reads :

Special Reduced (price)

Before 6:00 p.m.

Starting from 1,100 Baht


The Ruen Petch is the only certifiable venue on Petchburi Road that goes all the way back to the 'Golden Age'. We remember it from the late 60's - still serving good food - just less tom yam koong to G.I.s and their escorts.

The Sai Fon (Falling Rain) is another spacious traditional Thai 'Steam & Cream' massage parlor, complete with the usual 'fishbowl' selections.

The Shock 39 is in fact on Petchburi Soi 39, and is a newer-generation Thai night club.

A Bangkok Novel -
The new Vincent Calvino novel is now out in Bangkok bookstores, and on line (click here to check it out).    
- Copyright Christopher G. Moore                          


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A bright Thai Smile for the Holidays....

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William R Morledge

 Historical Minutiae Dept.

Patpong 2 Changes

Hey guys,

Work pulled me away from BKK for the last few months.   Just reading December issue and found that 2 of my go-to places have changed.

First I see that Mikes Place Patpong 2 shut down?   Is it still closed?   There was a Craigslist add to sell the lease that popped up in Jan of this year.   I guess they didn't find any the place still closed?   Any idea where the girls went to?

Second was that Kob's has been taken over by Linda's up on The Ramp.   Any idea if prices/girls changed with the takeover?

Greetings, Tube,

Thanks for reading, and for writing in.   Firstly, Mike's Place reopened after a very brief closure.   All remains the same.

Secondly, Kob's Place (Linda's Place) was taken over by The World (Linda's Place) (see photo this issue).   In that the words, "Linda's Place" remain in the name indicates that neither the old owners nor the new wanted to spend the money to have the name changed officially from 'Linda's Place'.   The price structure there (and on the rest of The Ramp) has remained the same - by all reports.   We do not know if the girls stayed on or not.   Raising prices there, in that out of the way location, would likely prove disastrous - most of those bars are just hanging in - and that's a pity, as those upstairs lounges are, as you already know, great out-of-the-way quiet spots for the occasional change-of-pace.


  • Email and "ASK US" - -   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 January 2013 Follies  begin...
    BANKOK EYES' Expat Night Scene.

      PATPONG  I  
                The rainy season extended itself an additional month in the Bangkok Area, however, it didn't stop the influx of tourists, to include those heading to Patpong 1.
      PATPONG  I  

      PATPONG  II  
                Last month we noted the opening G's Restaurant (which is also a lounge) - and also goes by the moniker G's Bangkok.   May they persevere.
      PATPONG  II  

                Last month also saw the opening of The World (Linda's Place) up on The Ramp - however at that juncture, they were neonless.   This month they have nailed up some rather too-transparent signage, however, they are clearly who they say they are.   May the beat go on.....
      PATPONG  II  

                Mike's Place has (as they had stated) reopened. Status quo ante.
    - File photo           
      PATPONG  II  

      SOI  COWBOY  
    Door Art Of The Month

              The Cocktail Club surprised the gossiping rumor-mongers by reopening using it's old name.   (Tends to confirm that word-of-mouth rumors aren't worth the paper they are written on, doesn't it?)   They also surprised a few people with their new neon - and may have surprised even themselves.....   The reflective mirror backing to the sign catches the various bits of neon in the neighborhood and reflects it right back atcha - giving a kaleidoscopic effect we found to be most impressive.   We would not be surprised to see copycats in the near future.    Welcome back, and - let the good times roll.

      NANA   PLAZA  

                Shebas has stuffed it's last chit into the cup.   In the photo below, we see the welders cutting the last steel bracing on the Shebas sign.   Renovations are nearing completion, and will, obviously, be reopening under a new name.   Fare-thee-well to an old Soi Cowboy 'standard' - may they find things a little more to their liking a little further on down the road a piece.
      SOI   COWBOY  

     NANA  PLAZA  
                The new Nana Plaza sign is a magnet for photographers, it seems, now that they have finally turned on the lights.   And we were no less drawn to take a few.    Once we have selected our favorite, we will certainly make it the recipient of our 'Door Art Of the Month Award'.   We presume we are reading the signs correctly - they do mean that Nana Plaza is our "second home", and not the Lumpini Police Station?   The NEP makeover appears to be largely complete now.
      NANA   PLAZA  

     SOI  NANA  
                The Fortune Bar Restaurant deeper in the Soi now has it's sign back up....    but could they still do something in the way of sprucing up to make the place a little more inviting?   (Like moving the ATM machines to one side, or something?)
      SOI   NANA   

      SOI  KATOEY  
                Connections is the latest single shophouse lounge to open it's doors to the public.   It is located between the Adam Spa and The Stranger.   Wish them luck as they wade into the piranha pool.
    SOI  KATOEY  - (SILOM  SOI  4)

                Some new shared signage for Soi Katoey - suspended from above to greet all arrivals.
    SOI  KATOEY  - (SILOM  SOI  4)

                The For Fun is displaying some smart new signage.   We have reports from mixed sources that this is becoming a popular 'live music' venue for all persuasions.   The rock still rocks.
    SOI  KATOEY  - (SILOM  SOI  4)

                The Number One @ 33 has shortened it's name to just Number One, and in the process, has put up some new neon.   This is primarily a sign change - they continue to march.   This is a Nipponese club - located behind Tenderloins in the 33 Complex.


                The Tsudoi has taken over the reins from the Hanagoyomi, which has said it's final sayonara. The modus operandi (Japanese Izakaya) is unchanged.   Welcome them to the neon jungle.

                The Monet has some new neon up - much like the old neon, but this time out front, where passers-by will (presumably) take more notice.    Their operant descriptor remains unchanged -we wish them constancy.

                The New Yasurangee has taken up residence in the old Onna No Ko digs - a pleasant mamasan and friendly staff - welcoming both Western and Nippon custom.
    - File photo        

                The Joy is open - or at least it was the other evening.   We suspect it opens every other month.... but we are not sure.....   It is located upstairs in the S 33 Hotel compound.
    - 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.

                   It looks like the Away From Home has packed it in once and for all.   Potential customers were greeted with steel roller shutters bathed in shadow.   Let's hope this was a New Year's closure - we'll get back atcha if we hear anything.....
    - File photo  

                   The 3-Sister Bar was closed up, and the lights were off.   We guess that means it was 100% closed, but we saw two girls inside playing pool in the dark.   (Is playing pool in the dark something new in the Night Entertainment Scene we need to know more about?)   Should it come back to life, we shall duly report....
    - File photo  

      SOI  EDEN  
                An as-yet unnamed complex of four loc's - reported in this column last month - has progressed little since then.   But a few things have become more clear : the Tarntip Massage & Spa has moved across the street into these new digs (on the left in the below photo).   The open area in front of the Le Hanoi restaurant is to become a large bar beer area approximately three shophouses in width.   This new bar beer should be opening in about a month.   BTW, the owner of the Tarntip Massage is, for the time being, keeping both venues open, but will be putting the old place on the market for sale or long lease.   Interested parties contact her there.
    SOI  EDEN  -  Soi  7/1 Sukhumvit

                Gone, but not gone, the Banana bar beer facing Surawong Road has completed renovations and opened bigger and better than ever.   Business as usual.



    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 Lips on the 2nd floor closed for good.   No Night Entertainment Venue presently exists at that location, with the exception of the occasional rip-off bar that tries to quietly open there every few months.
    PATPONG   1 -  January 2003

          The seminal upstairs Show - A Go-Go bar Fire Cat on the 2nd floor reverted to it's old name, Wild Cat.   No Night Entertainment Venue presently exists at that location.
    PATPONG   1 -  January 2003

          Up on The Ramp, the Side Line Agogo, a pay-for-show bar, opened in between the Three Ladys and the Khun Bua Beauty Shop.   It is still at that location.
    PATPONG   2 -  January 2003

          Also, up on The Ramp, the Dome Juniority Club reopened after a one-month shut down.   The Friend (no sign yet) now occupies that real estate.
    PATPONG   2 -  January 2003

          Up on Cosmos stairwell - the Baan Bua Luang Cafe opened on the 4th floor.      No Night Entertainment Venue presently exists at that location.
    PATPONG   2 -  January 2003

          An unnamed pub which was occupying part of the real estate which had then recently been given up by the Thai Room reopened after a one-month hiatus.   That area is now occupied by the Tavern Three Saloon.
    PATPONG   2 -  January 2003

          Tony's reopened after a brief closure.   The Sahara occupies those premises today.
    SOI   COWBOY -  January 2003

          The Cocktail Club opened in the old Crazy Jack's Shadow.   It has just completed renovations and has reopened at that same location.
    SOI   COWBOY -  January 2003

          Joy's (Ngun in Thai) closed.   The Cockatoo is at that location today.
    SOI   COWBOY -  January 2003

          In a crackdown by authorities on use of real names on the Soi, the then-newly opened Shark still had to display the The New Agogo Duck name in Thai, while the After Skool had to start showing it's old Sunshine name to the public.   Likewise, the Long Gun had to display it's real name: Lucky Star.
    SOI   COWBOY -  January 2003

          The Crystal Bar closed.   No bar is at that location today - the Square is being demolished for redevelopment.
    WASHINGTON   SQUARE -  January 2003

          In the Peep Inn Park (now S33 Hotel) the Athena Massage closed.   It is currently the Nyan Nyan Massage.
    SOI   DEAD  ARTISTS -  January 2003

          The "33" closed.   It is currently the Akane Fashion Massage.
    SOI   DEAD  ARTISTS -  January 2003

          The following bars transitioned in QUEEN'S   PARK  PLAZA that month:

                *  One More Bar bar beer - CLOSED
                *  O.B. 1 Bar bar beer - CLOSED
                *  Divas bar beer - CLOSED
                *  Lee Lee Bar bar beer - OPENED NEW

    QUEEN'S   PARK  PLAZA -  January 2003

    ASOKE  PLAZA  /  ASOKE  CORNER - (previously Cowboy Annex) - 2003

    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).

                *  Siam Smile (in the 'Plaza' against the fence) - REOPENED
                *  Funny Bar (in the 'Plaza' against the fence) - OPENED NEW
                *  Titano Asoke Bar (in the Plaza   in front ) - OPENED
                *  Unit Bar (in the 8-Pak  - Ex: Oasis 1) - OPENED
                *  Fantasy Thailand (- in the 4-Pak) - CLOSED

    ASOKE  PLAZA  /  ASOKE  CORNER  PLAZA   - January 2003

    CLINTON  PLAZA   - 2003

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

                *  The Top Down Grill - CLOSED
                *   You & Me - CLOSED
                *  Happy Prosper Beer Bar - CLOSED
                *   Yahoo Bar - CLOSED
                *   Janny Bar Beer - CLOSED
                *   Lek's Boozer - CLOSED

    CLINTON  PLAZA   - January 2003

    SUKHUMVIT  SQUARE   - 2003

    Sukhumvit Square
    Night Entertainment Area
    ( January 2002 - 26 January 2003 )
    Ten years ago this month, the following bars transitioned in Sukhumvit Square.

                *  Titano Soi 10 Bar ( facing Soi 10) - NEWLY OPENED
                *  Studio 54 A Go-Go (In the center) - NEWLY OPENED
                *  Counter 7 (In the center) - NEWLY OPENED
                *  Little Shinjuku (In the center ) - REOPENED
                *  (unnamed bar beer) (in the center) - NEWLY OPENED
                *  Welcome Bar ( in the center ) - NEW
                *  Made In Heaven (In the 77 Sunset area) - NEWLY OPENED
                *  Loaded Dice (In the 77 Sunset area) - REOPENED
                *  Lucky Milk Bar (In the 77 Sunset area) - NEWLY OPENED
                *  Check In 99 (In the 77 Sunset area) - NEW
                *  Suzie Bar ( facing Sukhumvit Road ) - CLOSED

    SUKHUMVIT  SQUARE   - January 2003



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