01 March 2015
William R.  Morledge

March's Nightlife News
Traces of 'The Tiger'
Bangkok's Bars - 20 Years Ago  
A Smile in the Land of Smiles.
Ask Us:   Bars by Any Other Name
Graffiti  -BKK's Midnite Vandals - #108

         The Thermae around 1980, that is to say, the original Thermae, was much the same as today's, and also much not the same.   It had it's share of hangers - a more diverse mix of humanity would have been hard to find.

   And the Thermae's hangers were from the extreme category of 'diverse'.   There was 'Policeman's Corner' at the back on the right where the cops occasionally hung around for a free coffee, offering in exchange some implied 'security'.   There was Nok Lek Corner where the 'Prime Minister' herself usually held court just adjacent to Policeman's corner.   A well known restaurateur (The Cock 'N Bull) hung right at the rear doorway, at the foot of the steps going up to the kitchen/ toilet.   And then there were the jukebox hangers.   And there was the old crone with the beehive hair spray hairdo who hung most nights just downstairs (the front entrance stairs).   But all these hangers were on the periphery, lurking at the edges of the main Coffee Shop area.   That area, or at least a part of it, was reserved every night, subtly, firmly, by the waiters themselves for Bad Company.

      Bad Company was a group of young ladies who garnered one, or sometimes two center tables (depending on how many showed up that night).   They would straggle in throughout the evening, one or two at a time, and if no center table were free, they would wait on the sidelines until one became vacant - whereupon the waiters came to clean, and then hold the table for them.   But then Bad Company didn't hog the tables, you were welcome to join them, whether you knew them or not.   They would usually order Singh or a couple ban of Mehkong, a bucket of ice and Cokes.   Their intent was to kick back and relax, and relate the recent gossip going around, and tales of men they had met.

      While the Bad Company ladies were freelancers by strictest definition, their object -while holding down their Thermae table- was not searching out customers.   They were there to smoke, drink and enjoy whoever's company.   Until whatever time.   Remembering, of course, that the Thermae closed when all the customers went home, or 06:00 hours, whichever came first.   We recall many an early morning having sat at the Bad Company table for hours, chatting with Bad Company and whoever else joined us.   (Looking back, I honestly don't know how we stood the cigarette smoke.)   Periodically someone would buy a round of iced coffees or beer, or whatever; Bad Company rarely ran out of anything to drink, usually only paying the first round themselves.

      At some point in the wee hours the Bad Company girls would stray up the Thermae stairs and out - either with someone or alone.   If they were with someone, they would either go with that person for the night, or for that matter, for the week, or invite their new found friend to stay with them at their room.   Or if they were with a long-time acquaintance, perhaps take them home on the back of their motorbike to the family home in the suburbs to stay the night - or for what remained of it.....

       However, the only constant is change, and as they say, 'times have changed'.   For one thing, Bangkok does not any longer have an all-night freelancer Nitespot, where any properly deported girl can come in off the street and either buy a drink, or not, while she 'shops'.

      But the greater change, the sea-change, is that of the attitude of the ladies of the evening.   The above account, the brief thumbnail of the Bad Company, is but one illustrative story of the endless accounts we hear regularly from other long term residents and frequent returnee expats.   Today's missing element is the friendship, the deciding to head out as a group, farang and Thai together, to go bowling on Petchburi Road, or to go to a temple the following day together.   Or maybe just go play cards back at someone's room, etc, etc.   Today, the ladies will go to your hotel with you for an hour, provided your hotel is next door or just around the corner.   Otherwise, they will take you to the short-time hotel nearest their Nitespot.   Only those expats who have experienced those earlier decades of Bangkok's Nightlife will know with certainty that it was not the same as today's "Scene".   Whether or not you think yesteryear was "better" is entirely up to you.

- Above photos taken at Thermae Coffee Shop - 1980.  

Traces of 'The Tiger'

         The waterfront district of Fell's Point in Baltimore, Maryland in the US of A was established in 1763, prior to America's War of Independence from England.   Soon after the turn of the century (the War of 1812), Fell's Point was labeled by the British as "a nest of pirates" (quite correctly).    However now, in more peaceful times, it has become a U.S. Historic District.   -And coincidentally, home to more than 120 pubs, bars and taverns - having early on become Baltimore's largest Night Entertainment Area.   One of those taverns, going back to the 1800's, and still kicking lively, is Bertha's.

- Copyright G.B.  -  Used with permission        

         After nearly freezing his socks off, contributor G.B. happened into Bertha's a couple weeks back, and once his eyes became accustomed to the dark interior, he found himself looking upon "a wall full of stickers" - from almost everywhere.   But the one that caught his eye was one from Lucy's Tiger Den.   Good to see Lucy's still keeping such esteemed company in such far-flung corners of the globe.....   He kindly clicked off a couple of phone-camera photos and forwarded them to us.

- Copyright G.B.  -  Used with permission        

         We couldn't think of a more fitting historical footnote to append to the already voluminous Tiger Rydberg - Lucy's Tiger Den story.   Many thanks to G.B. for sharing this serendipitous find with us.


March's smile is having a 'Medusa-hair day'.....

? 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.

Bars By Any Other Name


      Last month your blog mentioned the closing of the Velvet on Soi 33, and also mentioned it was the Christy's.   But wasn't Christy's closed over a year ago?

      Don't you feel this might create more questions than answers for your readers, perhaps?


Greetings, K,

You are correct, Christies Club actually closed on October of 2012, Velvet opening in April of 2013.   How time flies.   But....   The Midnight Hour has found it prudent to keep tabs on the actual name (found on the required-by-law Thai language sign).   The signage reads, "Velvet" & "Christy".   The above pic shows both names.   Thanks for writing in and giving us a chance to clarify.


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 March 2015 Follies begin...
BANKOK EYES' Expat Night Scene.
            When Kiss A Go-Go opened originally in May of 1994 (in the old Lips 2 digs), they put up some new neon (-of course).   When they closed early last year, the old neon stayed up, and when they reopened in August, the original neon was still intact.   The sign (as tattered as it has become over time) is, however, almost entirely hidden from view due to the contraband & brik-a-brak stalls clogging the middle of Patpong I.

            One has to hand it to The Strip - they always have something interesting on the menu.   This month, a "Beer Bust Hoedown".   (Keep your puns to yourself, please...)
  PATPONG  2  

What's yer sign, man?

       Soi Cowboy's best restaurant, the Old Dutch Corner advertises it's sister Venues.....


             It looks like the 3rd floor Jail Birdz didn't make bail.   Absolutely no discernable change in the renovations from the previous month.   This long a delay - the omens are not good....

            A 'for the archives' pic of Candy Land 2, which seems to be picking up a bit.   Roll with the tide.

             Golden Bar Beer was either a good idea or a bad idea.   The Nana Hotel used it to remove the freelancers from the Coffee Shop, allowing them to populate the bar beer out front facing the street.   (Thereby making the Coffee Shop a more 'family-friendly' outlet.)   This pleased many old Nana Hotel returnees, and displeased many others.   What is not in question is that Golden has been a money-spinner since it opened.   Rock on.
  SOI   NANA   

             The One Night Only is closed for renovations - very little of which have been accomplished over the last month.   They didn't give an estimated date for reopening - the signs are not good.   We'll keep an ear to the ground, and get back atcha.

   SOI  22
             The Mekkhala Massage has opened in the old Sofa Thai Massage (which closed two months ago).   May they be dealt all aces and faces.
SOI  22 - (Sukhumvit)

              It's knowing when to hold 'em, when to fold 'em - Marlene massage has cashed it in, having passed the mantle to the new Nice Massage.   Welcome Nice Massage to partytown.
SOI  22 - (Sukhumvit)

             The soi we tentatively have been calling 'Soi Lemongrass' has experienced a number of name-changes recently.   We thought the inclusion of a small map would be helpful.   If you are looking for a massage, you will find every conceivable variation on this small sub-soi.   Located just past the now closed Imperial Queen's Park Hotel.
SOI  22 - (Sukhumvit)

               It looks like Shimai are going to take another galloping run at the proverbial windmill.   Extensive renovations nearly complete, we can expect an opening later this month.   Location unchanged.

Door Art Of The Month

             The Kazbar is an open faced sandwich of a lounge - for that enjoyable outdoor-in-the-evening experience, - most tastefully decorated.   Well worth a place in the Door Art Of The Month pantheon.


                What started out as the Wax quickly became the Wax Late.   Then, after a brief renovation, it became the Wax Sugar Club.   Then it quickly became just Sugar Club.   Now it is back to Wax Sugar Club again - but be not concerned, all is status quo ante.

                Last month we featured the Vault Speakeasy Club as our Door Art of the Month entry, but we failed to call your attention as to why it was called the Vault.   -A picture is worth a thou....

                The sometimes-open, sometimes-closed Banana Club was open on the night of our survey.

               The half-shophouse-wide VL Internet Bar Beer-lounge is back on it's feet after having been closed last month.   Welcome them back to the fray.

   SOI  EDEN  
            The Bangkok Beat, at the top of the Soi, has live music every night.   They also have a "Ladies Night" every week - 'Ladies Night', of course, is new-speak for "Freelancers Welcome"....   Let the good times roll....
SOI  EDEN -  Soi  7/1 Sukhumvit

            At the far end (Rama IV end) of the Twilight Zone are two unnamed bar beers.   Well-appointed, but don't seem to be doing that much in trade, with only an occasional busy night....



 20 YEARS AGO  :


With thanks to Cool Text -

Bangkok Eyes goes back in time to see
Who was new - And who was through
in the Expat Night Entertainment world.
How many of these old 'oases'
do you remember ?

Patpong I

    *  The Butterfly (the one that opened in part of Gold Fingers a month previously) closed, revealing the then-brand-new Butterfinger.   No Nitespot currently occupies those digs.

    *  The Camelot Castle opened it's doors for the first time.   Located in the old Butterfly Bar Videotheque digs.   It is still there today, however is now a bar beer, and no longer an A Go-Go bar.

    *  The Sexy Bar closed after a very short run at it.   There is currently no Nitespot at that location - it was located upstairs above today's Muzzik Cafe.

Patpong 2

    *  The Elixir reopened as Elixir - The Condom Club.   Located on the 2nd floor of the stairwell opposite Foodland.   No Nitespot currently occupies those digs.

    *  The Mask Go Go Boy opened newly in the old Bravo digs, also located up on the 2nd floor of the stairwell opposite Foodland.   No Nitespot currently occupies those digs.

    *  The Body Talk Cafe Bar re-opened on the 4th floor of the stairwell opposite Foodland.

    *  The Kassai, accessed from the 2nd floor of the carpark, closed.   There currently are no Nitespot Venues accessed from the carpark.

    *  Both the Spanish Eyes and the Counter Patpong located up on The Ramp closed.   The Spanish Eyes would reopen, but the Counter Patpong would not.   The Counter Patpong digs are not currently occupied.

Soi Cowboy

    *  The Pink Pussycat closed (again) - currently these digs are occupied by Cockatoo.

Nana Plaza

    *  The X.T.C. closed.   Currently home to Rainbow II.

Soi Katoey (Silom Soi 4)

    *  The Hyper opened in the original Deep digs (the Deep having moved across the soi).   That real estate now occupied by The Stranger.

    *  The The Genesis Pub closed.   It would eventually become home to Tapas Room Club, which is still there today.

Buckskin Joe Village (~ March 1988 - 9 June 2006)
(Also known - originally- as Tobacco Road or Soi Rot Fai, and later as Machim [Thai] and Soi Zero)

    *  The Arnold Bar bar beer closed.


A Film

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Bangkok Nightlife





King Robbo Down

      This month Midnight Hour pays a slightly belated homage to graffiti artist King Robbo, (who passed away last year in London).   Some of his pieces are shown here.

- Copyright LDN Graffiti - This excerpted photo covered by Copyright Fair Use clauses.  

      King Robbo was well known by his peers for many years - one of England's pioneer graffiti artists.   However he became a celebrity, or perhaps anti-celebrity, when he and Banksy were featured on London's Channel 4 show 'Graffiti Wars' in 2011.

- Copyright LDN Graffiti - This excerpted photo covered by Copyright Fair Use clauses.  

      King Robbo and Banksy began feuding several years ago, starting with a chance meeting in a pub.   King Robbo was reportedly miffed at Banksy's put-down remark, saying he had never heard of him.   He reportedly slapped Banksy, and commented that he would remember him from here on.   Whereupon Banksy was said to have run off.   We might want to take that as 'one side of the story', however.   

- Copyright LDN Graffiti - Excerpted photo in accordance with Copyright Fair Use clauses.  

      Their feud accelerated when Banksy - a Bristol-based artist, painted over one of King Robbo's 1985 pieces in Camden in 2009.   This led to a tit-for-tat retaliation by both parties that continued for years.   

- Copyright LDN Graffiti - Excerpted photo in accordance with Copyright Fair Use clauses.  

      King Robbo, a giant (6 ft 8 inch) with an infectious personality, died as a result of a mysterious fall down a flight of stairs in 2011.   He remained in a vegetative state until his death in 2014.   Banksy paid tribute to his former rival on his website, saying, "ROBBO WRH WD PFB - R.I.P.".   The seemingly cryptic message was not understood by most, but fellow graffers recognized the acronyms immediately as the initials of the crews King Robbo tagged with in his lifetime.

Graffiti #778
Sweet Vita
6 ft high x 15 ft

Graffiti #779
The Old Watcher-Woman
7 ft high x 16 ft

Graffiti #780
8 ft high x 16 ft

Graffiti #781
8 ft high x 65 ft

Graffiti #782
Blue Mondays
5 ft high x 3 ft

Graffiti #783
Redeye Express
9 ft high x 13 ft

Graffiti #784
9 ft high x 18 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


"The Archives" - All Our Back Issues Here

- 2015 -
01 JAN -    A Go-Go Bar Ratings
01 FEB -    Are Cops Gouging Nitelifers?
01 MAR -   Bad Company

- 2014 -
01 JAN -   Bangkok's Got The Blues
01 FEB -   Soi 26 - Stayin' Alive
01 MAR -    Nightscene rues Mob
01 APR -    My Friend owns a Bar...
01 MAY -    Soi's 3, 5 and 7
01 JUN -    Curfew's Costly Cut
01 JUL -    Soi 13 Makes It's Move
01 AUG -    Pattaya Does The Twist
01 SEP -    Soi's 18 & 20 - Quieter is Better
01 OCT -    Soi's 10 & 14 - Lesser known Sois
01 NOV -    A Good Old Boy...
01 DEC -    Lang Suan & Sarasin

- 2013 -
01 JAN -    Not Fade Away - The Survivors
01 FEB -    Rare Old Photos
01 MAR -   Copa Reprise
01 APR -    Arise, Soi 22
01 MAY -    Where to Next ?
01 JUN -    Bangkok Noir
01 JUL -    MAPS - The Major Update
01 AUG -    Lamai Lamai Lamai
01 SEP -    Tim 'Wanchai' Young
01 OCT -    Soi Wall Street
01 NOV -    Little Thonglor - Soi 11
01 DEC -    Mississippi Queen

- 2012 -
01 JAN -    Mama-San
01 FEB -    Our 10th Anniversary Issue !
01 MAR -    How Gay Nana ?
01 APR -    Sukhumvit' Soi 23 - The Big Picture
01 MAY -    Khao San Road - Unique Bazaar
01 JUN -    Ekamai - It Used To Be Too Far
01 JUL -    Nightlife Pioneers
01 AUG -    The New Puritans
01 SEP -    Nana - On It's Own
01 OCT -    FAIL - War on Nitespot Drugs
01 NOV -    Patpong Unbroken
01 DEC -    Drugs & the Nightscene in History

- 2011 -
01 JAN -    Patpong's 'Glory Days'
01 FEB -    Nightlife In A Digital Age
01 MAR -    Co-Co Walk Plaza
01 APR -    Soi 33 Marches On
01 MAY -    Nightlife Permissiveness
01 JUN -    Ghosts of Nitelife Past
01 JUL -    STATE - The Cinema, Soi & Area
01 AUG -    Soi Darling
01 SEP -    Sri Nakarin South
01 OCT -    Soi 8 Reprise
01 NOV -    Floodless in Bangkok
01 DEC -    Soi Udomsuk

- 2010 -
01 JAN -    Street Bars II - The Triple-Dip
01 FEB -    Our Kind Of Art - II    - Chris Coles
01 MAR -    The Dead Artist Bars - Soi 33
01 APR -    "Soi Ginza" - Thaniya Road
01 MAY -    Night Scene Blues (Red Shirts 1)
01 JUN -    Nitespots Recover Slowly (Reds 2)
01 JUL -    World Cup Special
01 AUG -    Those Old Photos
01 SEP -    The German Invasion
01 OCT -    Racism & Prejudice
01 NOV -    Soi 11 Revisited
01 DEC -    Soi 22 Updater

- 2009 -
01 JAN -    The Santika Fire
01 FEB -    Salt & Pepper
01 MAR -    Nana Plaza - Update & Maps
01 APR -    Soi Nana Update
01 MAY -    The Nightscene & The Riots
01 JUN -    "19" Re-Focus
01 JUL -    Rain Dogs - The Underground
01 AUG -    Soi Thonglor - A bridge-too-far
01 SEP -    Ban Chang - Our Little Secret
01 OCT -    The "Ginza Effect'
01 NOV -    Royal City Avenue (RCA)
01 DEC -    Sutthisan & The Inthamara's

- 2008 -
01 JAN -    2007 - Looking Back
01 FEB -    Owning A Bar
01 MAR -    Expat's Bangkok
01 APR -    Nude Dancing
01 MAY -    After Midnite
01 JUN -    Night Scene In Flux
01 JUL -    Our Kind Of Art
01 AUG -    Trendy Plaza Reprise
01 SEP -    The Elephants Are ....Back
01 OCT -    Grand Prix Intro
01 NOV -    Grand Prix - Rick's Story
01 DEC -    "Old Bangkok Hand"

- 2007-
01 JAN -    Bombs Blast Bangkok
01 FEB -    Bangkok's Nightscene Websites
01 MAR -    Prasitipol Dance Bar To Fall
01 APR -    Soi 5 Neon Review
01 MAY -    A Go-Go Bangkok
01 JUN -    Arise ! Soi 11
01 JUL -    Anatomy Of A Bar Area
01 AUG -    Soi 26 - Too Far ?
01 SEP -    Chuwit Guilty
01 OCT -    Daytime Nana Plaza
01 NOV -    Cowboy - All Of It
01 DEC -    Another Nitespot Area Falls

- 2006 -
01 JAN -    Pattaya Ascending
01 FEB -    A Go-Go Then & Now
01 MAR -    ' Madrid '
01 APR -    White Heat
01 MAY -    Politics & Nightlife
01 JUN -    Fagin's Bratpack
01 JUL -    King Bhumipol's 60th Anniversary
01 AUG -    Soi 10 - The Final Shaft
01 SEP -    Pattaya's Soi Bua Khow
01 OCT -    Rachada's Other Face
01 NOV -    Soi 22s Other Bars
01 DEC -    Soi Eden Goes A Go-Go

- 2005 -
01 JAN -    Asoke Plaza Crushed
01 FEB -    The 'Nana Scene'
01 MAR -    Asoke Plaza Smashed Again
01 APR -    Sukhumvit 1 Plaza 'Arrives'
01 MAY -    Welcome 'Soi Eden'
01 JUN -    Bangkok's Bareback Riders
01 JUL -    Soi 22 - A Macro View
01 AUG -    Nana's Slide
01 SEP -    Cowboy Street Scene
01 OCT -    The Pattaya Run
01 NOV -    Soi 19 In Focus
01 DEC -    Bad Girls

- 2004 -
01 JAN -    Bangkok's Darkest Year
01 FEB -    Where Is Trink ?
01 MAR -    Soi 33 Just Won't Stop
01 APR -    Cracks In The Crackdown
01 MAY -    In The Zone
01 JUN -    "Night-Scene Jumbos
01 JUL -    Easy Square 'On The Map'
01 AUG -    Soi 1 Entertainment Plaza
01 SEP -    Khlong Toey Revisited
01 OCT -    Koh Samui's Night Scene
01 NOV -    Soi 1 Opens
01 DEC -    The Bangkok Pub Scene

- 2003 -
01 JAN -    Cowboy Crackdown
01 FEB -    Sukhumvit Square Smashed
01 MAR -    Soi 10 Survivors
01 APR -    War & The Night Scene
01 MAY -    Entertainment Blues
01 JUN -    '13 Night Market' Reborn
01 JUL -    Clinton Plaza Falls
01 AUG -    Soi 24 Nightscene Review
01 SEP -    Does Soi Nana Measure Up?
01 OCT -    Patpong - Legend & Myth
01 NOV -    Easy Square 'Launched'
01 DEC -    Soi Cowboy Urine-Swoop

- 2002 -
01 FEB -    January: Big Changes In Bar Scene
09 JUN -    Sukhumvit Square 'Explosion'

20 JUN -    Soi 22's Queen's Park Plaza
01 JUL -    Clinton Plaza - Already Dead?
01 AUG -    Bar Beers Now "Major Players"
16 AUG -    July: Bar Beers Gaining Ground
01 SEP -    A Go-Gos A-building
17 SEP -    Virtual Bars
01 OCT -    A History In The Making
01 NOV -    Pool Bars Come Of Age
01 DEC -    November's Night Follies
15 DEC -    Genesis: Sukhumvit's Night Scene
- 2001 -
20 NOV ( The Seminal Emails )

Copyright 2002 - 2014,   BANGKOK EYES /