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Bangkok's Night Scene In Review


Where to next?

01 May 2013
William R.  Morledge

May's Nightlife News
Bangkok's Bars - 10 Years Ago  
A Smile in the Land of Smiles.
Ask Us ! - Laid on a Layover
Graffiti  -BKK's Midnite  Vandals - #91

         Of the "Big Three" ( Soi Cowboy, Nana Plaza and the Patpongs) the consensus is that Soi Cowboy was the last hold-out - the last of the major Bangkok Night Entertainment Areas to be of any real interest or comfort to the Bangkok resident expat community.
SOI  Cowboy  

         Soi Cowboy, that last remaining 'comfort zone', of course, is long behind us - having gone the way of the Patpongs, and then Nana Plaza.   Long is the roster of those complaining about how things used to be, what the prices used to be, what the 'attitude' used to be, and what the ambience used to be.   The gamut of regrets, the bitches & moans and a thousand wistful recollections can be found at any of the remaining 'old guy' bars, or by reading any of the current Nightlife blogs on the Internet.    The quick and ready reply of many is that things seemed better in the old days; that they seemed better in retrospect, and that it has just been the 'nostalgia factor' kicking in hard -along with the beers.

Talking Money

      If you are wondering why the prices of drinks have gone up by one order of magnitude since you first came to these shores, they are putting the answer up there for all to see - provided you read Thai.   BTW, this Doll House sign looks more like a hiring sign for the bar soon to open in the old Shebas digs to us.....   What do you think?

SOI  Cowboy

         And to be fair, the 'nostalgia factor' does weigh in significantly on the collective memory of The Scene as it once was.   Nevertheless - there have been changes, significant changes, in each of these categories, and more.   The old timers remember when lady drinks on Cowboy and the Soi 16 bars were 30 to 35 Baht, and the A Go-Go dancer would sit with you after she finished her drink, until she had to be back up on the floor - or you bought her out for all night at 250 or 300 baht.   Today the common plaint is the Coyote dancer asks you for a drink, you say, 'Yes', and if you don't ask her the price, she will choose the most expensive - which can easily run 300-350 Baht.   Without being too pedantic - that's a ten-fold increase in drink prices - an order of magnitude.   She may then say something you don't understand clearly, and if you don't get immediate clarification, she assumes you said, "Yes," again, and she orders the mamasan a drink too.   This you will discover when you go to pay your bill.    After sitting with you for less than a minute, she advises you that she has to go dance again, and is back up on the floor for another 25 minutes, or goes off to another bar (owned by the same person) to dance.   In the parlance, you have been 'dinked'.   And, you want to buy her out?   Fergeddaboudit - she doesn't go out with customers, something she doesn't tell you until after you have bought her and the mamasan a drink.   In this example, you might have had a couple of drinks at non-happy-hour prices, you have bought the Coyote dancer and the mamasan a drink, watched twenty minutes of A Go-Go, then walked out the door just about a thousand baht lighter - with nothing to show for it.   ....And, understandably, the wizened expat is asking, 'Is all the black-light & neon & chrome & mirrors really worth it?'

         So obviously there are some things we can't just write off to the 'nostalgia factor'.   Nor is it news that Bangkok's long-time resident expats and frequent visitors have been seeking other venues, leaving Cowboy and Nana to the unknowing tourists.   There are, for example, still a couple of 'comfort zone' single-shophouses on Soi Cowboy, and a number of comfortable lounges on Soi Dead Artists (which are now NOT more expensive than Soi Cowboy), and many all-in-one massage parlors scattered around the city providing a variety of new Nitespot entertainment alternatives.

         But lately, the collective expat thinking is more at: 'Where will the next Oasis be?'   'The next 'Cowboy'?'   Where will the next Night Entertainment Area with that familiar old 'comfort zone' be, where the dancers are friendly and attentive, and a soul can sit back and not have to worry about the mamasan stuffing mysterious chits into his cup?   Where, indeed.   And many of these questions have been coming to us at the Midnight Hour, in hopes we might, perhaps, have some advance info on such an idyll, some best-kept-secret where one might walk around some corner and stumble upon a Nightscene Valhalla yet undiscovered by the sullied masses......

         Unfortunately, our crystal ball is still broken, and even more unfortunately, we are aware of not just the above changes in the bars over the last 20 or 30 years, but of the dynamics which now drive the Bangkok Night Entertainment Game.   If one is talking about a "Next Place" in Bangkok, one might as well be searching for El Dorado while one is at it - and smart money is on finding El Dorado first.   True, there is the Ban Chang Strip (LINK) just outside the old U-Tapao airbase (and a stone's throw from the old Kilo Sip).   True there is Soi 6 in Pattaya Klang which also emulates this 'comfort zone' (and a very few others not mentioned here), but other than those exceptions, you are going to be SOL.

         And if you are old enough to remember 30 Baht 'lady dinks' and 250 Baht barfines, while you are out looking for your El Dorado, you might as well look for the Fountain Of Youth as well.   And keep us in the loop on both......


May's Thai Smile could also be a "Sign Of The Times" with streaky-died hair, wild fingernails, Blythe Doll contact lenses and decorative braces.

? 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.

Laid on a Layover


I loved the blog!   Keep it up..

I wanted to ask a question, I'm going to be in Bangkok just for a few hours after midnight, do you know where could I go to have some late fun?   Are all the soapy massage parlors closed at 12?   Please note that I won't have a hotel so if soapies are not an option I would rather go to a spa of some sort.

Thanks in advance!!

Greetings, C,

Your question is becoming one of a 'genre' of similar questions (FAQs).

As you noted, most of the Fishbowl steam & creams close at 24:00 hrs to 01:00 hrs. (last customer in the door).   Many of the smaller massage parlors which also provide full service (massage all the way on up) will also stay open later provided they have customers.   There are also a few in the Soapy category that will stay open longer provided they have customers.

The problem here, is, of course, is it would be irresponsible of me to recommend any of these to you - in the event that they would not have any customers, and be closed by the time you got there (you didn't mention your arrival time).

One of the massage parlors that stays open ALMOST every night, and virtually always on weekends, is the ASIA Massage on Soi 22 Sukhumvit Road.   This massage parlor requires your negotiation with the girl, however, and not at the desk, so there are no absolute guarantees of services provided, let alone satisfaction.   I have often gone there for a late massage.

Although it doesn't take that long late at night, you should allow one hour to Sukhumvit Rd, and one hour to Suwannaphum Airport by taxi, and a reasonable amount of time to check in again.   Also, stating the obvious, you will need to go through Immigration (for international flights), so you will need a visa, or be able to make a visa-on-arrival.   And unless you have a working ATM card, you will also need to change money at the airport.

Good luck.


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    Let the May 2013 Follies   begin...
    BANKOK EYES' Expat Night Scene.

       PATPONG  I  
                The second of two Nice Massage venues has also closed down - again.   Before we close the books on them, we will take a look back again next time, as they have a habit (a bad habit, at that) of closing temporarily.
    - File photo        
      PATPONG  I  

      PATPONG  II  
                The King Corner Net (belonging to guess who...) has reopened once again upstairs in it's old digs on the Foodland side of The Ramp.   Some of you may remember that this is an Internet gambling and gaming parlor. Welcome them back to the sharkpool.
       PATPONG  II  

       SOI  COWBOY  
                Our lens sees red in this 'for-the-archives' shot of The Boy's "neon jumble".

                This month, the venerable old The Ship Inn has foundered on the black rocks of time and progress.   To be missed by many who shall remember it's toothsome English Breakfasts....
    - File photo        

     NANA   PLAZA   
                Legend has it that Nana Plaza's Spirit House bar beer was named after the Christopher G. Moore novel of that same name.   Not only has it closed down, the owners have posted a notice requesting items not be removed from the premises during the demolotion.   It appears that it, and the (mostly) unused area immediately behind it are destined for redevelopment into yet another Nitespot.   No news yet on any change of name or function.   Opening originally in October of 1996, it had a good run for the money, but the neon jungle eventually, relentlessly, claims back it's own.

    NANA  PLAZA - (Sukhumvit  SOI  4)

                Mystery of mysteries, the 3rd floor Las Vegas A Go-Go has closed it's doors, and slipped quietly away into the night.   And it doesn't look like anyone is commencing renovations.   Having only opened in June 2011, they tend to perpetuate the 'tradition' of Nitespots not being able to last in that location.   Perhaps it's time to call in the monks....
    - File photo        
    NANA  PLAZA - (Sukhumvit  SOI  4)

     SOI  NANA  
                 A 'for-the-archives' pic of the Hillary 2 and it's unique neon.   May they persevere.
      SOI   NANA   

      SOI   KATOEY  
                 Yet another capture of the "community" sign located high above Soi Katoey.   For the archives, of course.
    SOI  KATOEY  - (SILOM  SOI  4)

      SOI  22  
                 Located deep in the Soi next to the New Cowboy Bar, the Akaya Massage has taken over the reins from last month's Elite Massage, which is nowhere to be found.   Wish the Akaya the best as they cast their dice against the pitted wall of Fate.
    SOI  22 - (Sukhumvit)

                 As we only started surveying Soi 22 on a regular basis last month, we only had to look to the Shag Bar's well-weathered neon to realize that we somehow omitted them from our initial survey and map.   May the Shag fare well in Bangkok's neon circus.
    SOI  22 - (Sukhumvit)

                 The Boogie Bar & Cafe, located in the Honey Plaza has plummeted headlong into the abyss - a rough marker-pen 'for sale' sign tacked up at the stairwell....
    - File photo           

    SOI  22 - (Sukhumvit)

                 The long-running Tina has got some brand-new streetside neon up for all to see.   Soi 22's only (and very low-key) A Go-Go.   Also located in the Honey Plaza.   Let the good times roll.
    SOI  22 - (Sukhumvit)

                 Only darkness shined out from within as we passed by the Ampa mini-spa on Soi Starlight the other evening.   Let's see if they are going to maintain a 'day shift'.....    But for the time being, we have removed them from the roster.
    (no photo available)
    SOI  22 - (Sukhumvit)

    Door Art Of The Month

              Formerly Christie's Club, the new Velvet has, with the help of some well chosen neon, taken best advantage of existing architecture to come up with a striking new Nitespot.   - And a solid Door Art Of The Month' award.   Welcome them to the nightcircus.


                   It looks like the XXXX Bar beer bar has succumbed to Darwin's harsh call.   Greener pastures, gents....
    - File photo         

      SOI  EDEN  
                It looks like the Crazy Hot (I've always liked that name) has failed to come out for the next round.   We remain suspicious, however, as they have left a lot of chattel in place - we'll go back and get back atcha if there are any further developments.
    SOI  EDEN -  Soi  7/1 Sukhumvit

                The Bai Fern Massage has called it a night, having quietly removed their sign and the bevy of 'masseuses' they had standing by soi-side beckoning passers-by in for a ride.
    - File photo         
    SOI  EDEN -  Soi  7/1 Sukhumvit

                A quick snapshot of the signage at the Surawong entrance to the Twilight Zone.



    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  :

    Patpong I
       *    Pussy Collection closed briefly (and would open 3 months later).

    Patpong 2
       *    Up on the 'Cosmo's Stairwell' (across from Foodland) the Bua Luang Thai karaoke closed it's doors on the fifth floor, and reopened them on the 3rd.   No Nitespot now exists at either location.

    Soi Cowboy
    No changes that month / year.

    Nana Plaza
       *   The Morning Night had opened softly slightly before then but had it's formal initiation ten years ago.

       *   The Fantasia up on the second floor closed it's doors (for a couple of months).

       *   Up on the 2nd floor, Temptations reopened after one month's closure.

    Soi Katoey (Silom Soi 4)

        *   Both the Speed and the Hip Hop closed.   Bearbie Bar-Karaoke now occupies those digs.

    Washington Square
    No changes that month / year.

    Soi Dead Artists    (Soi 33)
       *   The Athena Massage on the ground floor of the Peep In Park closed.    The Peep Inn is now the S22 Hotel.

       *   The 33 Barber / Oil Massage / Drink opened new.   The Akane Fashion Massage is now at that location.

       *   The Po Massage reopened after a brief closure.

    Queen's Park Plaza     (Soi 22)
       *   The Popeye 2 reopened after a brief shut-down.   It is still at that location.

       *   The Morenice opened new in what are now the Olive Oyl digs.

    Clinton Plaza   (Closed down on June 2003)
       *   Both Monica's and the Meeting House closed, leaving only one venue remaining at Clinton Plaza.

    Tobacco Road     (Soi Zero) -   (Closed down on June 2006 )
    No changes that month / year.

    Cowboy Annex   (Asoke Corner/Asoke Plaza)
            (Closed down on Feb 2005)

       *   The Marigold Bar opened new in the old New Lady Bar digs.

    13 Night Market    (Atop the original Thermae digs)
    (April 2003 - March 2005   - Now closed down.


       *   Chemo 04
       *   B.B. Beer Bar
       *   Monica's Bar & Pool
       *   Sexy Bar
       *   Walker's Bar Pub & Pool
       *   (an unnamed bar beer)
       *   13 Thai Traditional Massage
       *   Beautiful Bar
       *   Blossom Bar
       *   Thai Tattoo Bar
       *   Tequila Bar
       *   New Bar

    Historically Speaking May 2003



    But is it .... ART ?

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


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

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

    Graffiti #631
    6 ft high x 13 ft

    Graffiti #632
    6 ft high x 6 ft

    Graffiti #633
    8 ft high x 21 ft

    Graffiti #634
    The Purducs
    6 ft high x 16 ft

    Graffiti #635
    Socal Sand
    6 ft high x 15 ft

    Graffiti #636
    8 ft high x 26 ft

    Graffiti #637
    8 ft high x 27 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 - 2013,   BANGKOK EYES /

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