'Rachada' for short, Rachadapisek Road Night Entertainment Area is a giant. This is a 'thumbnail' history of that giant - a giant in more than one sense. But a decade ago, it was yet an even bigger giant. Then again, three decades ago it was known more for a few restaurants, while Night Entertainment there was almost unheard of.
Back in the 1980's there was talk of developing Rachada into a super-sized Night Entertainment Area. Some said it was primed and ready for exploitation - land was relatively inexpensive, and access -such things as parking- would be no problem. They said it could be even bigger than Petchburi's Golden Mile of the 1960's -70's era. Others said, 'Where are you going to get staff for all this?' The industry (Patpong, Cowboy, Nana) was already stretched to the limit for decent looking, attractive staff - there was just not that much talent around. SuperStar Frank said it would be no problem, the girls could be found - Trink said, "From where, Frank?"
Notes:Rachadapisek Road Nightlife is covered from it's origin at the Rama IX junction to Sutthisan Road only; no Nitespots currently exist north of Sutthisarn up to the Laad Prao area. Both Healthy Massage and Lemongrass appear twice - this is not an error, the venues are identically named.
The question of course is no longer moot - Rachada's build-up started slowly, and gained momentum. They were building up, not only in the Night Entertainment realm, but generally. The Nitescene was, however, abuilding like the Winchester Castle. -But, there was a catch. Virtually all the entertainment development was geared for the local Thais, and later started catering to the Japanese and Taiwanese as well. Western expats, while welcome, were not catered to - it was not an extension of the A Go-Go scene by any means.
Door Art Of The Month
The Ocean frontage is not only easy on the eye, it has an element of 'strange', as in : "strangely fascinating". The best-on-the-block this month.
SOI KATOEY - (SILOM SOI 4)
The development on Rachada in the 80's and 90's initially was more a continuation of the Steam-Job / Blow-Bath Massage Parlor which, as noted, did start in the Sukhumvit / Petchburi areas in the 60's, to include the requisite coffee shop and barber shop. But it didn't stop there. There was a Thai 'entertainment revolution' afoot.....
Let's hit the 'Rewind' button. In the early pre-A Go-Go days, Expat entertainment was mostly lounges and bars, and hotel coffee shops. On the other hand, Thai Night Entertainment in those ancient times consisted of corner coffee and/ or tea shops, often with additional entertainment upstairs, barber shops (also with additional entertainment available) and dance halls, like the Prasithipol on Charoen Krung Rd where you would buy dance tickets, and a bottle of Mehkong. There were also the shady places in Yao Warat like the Texas Cafe (& Massage) and a few small waterfont bars in Khlong Toey. Other than that, a Thai might elect to drink with friends on a street corner.
With the rise of the Golden Mile, the Expat-oriented Steam & Creams and A Go-Go on the Patpongs, all that changed. Expat Night Entertainment was suddenly far superior, far more attractive than it's Thai counterpart. Most Western expats found themselves bored with the 'inferior' Thai Night Entertainment Scene.
- But that was then, that was before the rise of the giant, the rise of Rachada. At first, the Rachada Steam & Cream massage parlors were mirrors of their predecessors on Sukhumvit, Sri Ayuthaya and Petchburi Roads, but soon "bigger" became "better" - and additional services were added to attract and keep customers. Often these new, ever larger structures would incorporate Karaoke bars and lounge bars, should one not want to rush right in for a 'massage'. The Thai Steam & Cream massage parlors of old were evolving, morphing into super-sized Night Entertainment Complexes. Today, one might find Steam & Cream massage, a Thai traditional massage, a coffee shop, a karaoke, a lounge bar, a men's club replete with 'Coyotes', a barber shop, and 'suites' (ST rooms by any other name) all in one mega-Entertainment complex. We don't mention 'gaming rooms' here... ahennnh... Today a Thai on a binge could enter one of these establishments, and not leave for days. Two examples of this style of mega-multi entertainment complex found on Rachada are The Lord Palace and the Casablanca.
The Expat Nitescene has by no means, been standing still. However, the "Day Of The A Go-Go" is on the wane. On the other hand, expat Pubs and Clubs have become more popular. Discotheques are still with us, but not in any big way. The smaller multi-service massage parlors, found on virtually every soi, are the answer to many Expat Nighttime requirements. But there is nothing in the Expat Nightscene, or even on the horizon, that compares to the once-inferior, now far-superior Thai Night Entertainment Scene. (It is interesting to note that a great number of Expats we meet are unaware, or unwilling to admit that Expat Entertainment now plays second-fiddle, or perhaps third-fiddle to Thai Entertainment.)
In a parallel development during the same period, on Rachada Sois 4, 6, and 8, the Thai Nitescene developed in yet another direction. By early 2000's there were dozens of clubs, music bars, Thai-style pubs and discos. Again, Expats were welcome, but unless accompanied by their Thai counterpart, found that 'the scene' was not all that interesting.
This 'Rachada Model' of Thai Entertainment, the large-scale Entertainment Emporium, has spread like wildfire throughout Bangkok - RCA and Sri Nakarin Road are two prime examples among the many. Rachada itself, in recent years has diminished in activity to a degree, and there are much fewer Nitespots than earlier, but it is still a major player on the Bangkok scene. Yes, Rachada is still a giant, it is just not the giant it once was - it once boasted over one hundred Night Entertainment Venues (confirmed estimates), but is now down to less than half that. The relatively diminutive Sois 4, 6, and 8 once hosted 33 Venues alone (now down to four). Still a giant, if somewhat diminished, but it is the giant that spawned the mega-giant of Thai Night Entertainment that is found in Bangkok today.
You guys did an excellent job on the Pattaya Walking Street map (last month -ed). One correction I'd like to mention is that where you have Smile on Soi 15, it is actually the Sapphire Club.
Guilty as charged. Sapphire Club it is. Our apologies (we hope it is our only mistake, but somehow we doubt it). We shall be updating our Walking Street map next year, and hope to correct any discrepancies and to include all updates. Next year should be a lot easier, as we now have the basic map in hand. Thanks for writing in.
The Den has opened it's doors as scheduled, and is now open afternoons and evenings (as with the Soi 12 branch). Modus operandi : 'lounge bar'. They are busy acquiring additional staff and more sharks. It will be interesting to see if they provide any serious competition to Cosmos on PPII. Welcome The Den to partytown.
A tiny little bar beer, tentatively called, "Dragon Beer Bar" (no sign yet), has opened up on "The Island" just next door to The Pink bar beer. It is hard to see how they are going to make ends meet - (we hope we are wrong about this). May the nightwinds blow kindly.
Up on The Ramp, the Rig One Pub has gone United Nations karaoke. May there always be a chinchoke in their corner.
The Lighthouse welcome for the 2015 Hockey Classic on Halloween night didn't seem to slow down the non-stop partying out in the Soi. This year we have to give the nod to Soi Cowboy for best-of-the-best Halloween enthusiasm and originality. A very big year for spiders... say no more.
Recently a small number of bars in the Plaza have been busted for having outraged the modesty of the morality police. The most common sin is employing underaged dancers. Shake it, don't break it, gang.... The A Go-Go bar currently battened-and-shuttered is the Rainbow 4. Fortunately, the Men In Too-Tight Uniforms (not from Lumpini, by the way) are only levying short closures. We expect they will be reopening soon; we'll keep them on the vigil.
On the other side of the Plaza (also on the 2nd floor), the Rainbow 3 has nailed up some first-class neon. Got themselves a brand-new look. Same good service within, however - do what you do, do well.
Hooters has stated their clear intention to open what will be their 4th Hooters in Thailand. It will be occupying the area in the Nana Hotel previously belonging to Golden Bar Beer and almost all of the Nana Hotel Coffee Shop. It will probably open around New Years - we'll be keeping tabs.... (The first Hooters was opened last year in Phu Ket, the second in Soi 15 Sukhumvit, and the 3rd will be, with any luck, sometime this month on Beach Road, Pattaya.)
We didn't think it was possible, but Annie's Pub & Bar has actually found a new use for a blow-up doll..... The only good witch is a witch well hanged.... Let the Halloween festivities roll on. Located in the Rajah Hotel compound at the rear of the outbuilding.
The Amsa Massage And Spa opened last month - tentatively named "Elegance" (as reported our previous issue). Since then it has had a face-lift and a new bit of neon - reflecting the actual name. Lookin' good.... May they continue to slip and slide.
The Swan 4 Bar bar beer has been there since who-knows-when. It's time we included a snapshot for the archives. Located deep in Soi Nana on the right as you walk in. May they keep on keeping on....
The Chawang Massage wasn't dead when we passed by last month, it was only playing 'possum. Now back in the tussle, they can be found at their usual spot on the second floor of the Rajah Hotel outbuilding.
The slow transition looks to be complete. Two months ago the Sphinx opened a section of their renovated digs to dining, calling it Fork & Cork. Last month, they hung out some major signage and expanded the Fork & Cork area inside. This month it is no longer the Sphinx (with the Fork & Cork dining within) - it is now the Fork & Cork (by Sphinx). We have no idea how a restaurant this far into the Soi will work out (both Bobby and Frank tried it), so we'll hang onto this thread and keep you posted.
SOI KATOEY - (SILOM SOI 4)
Halloween for all SOFT TOYS JUST WANT TO HAVE FUN
This year you can buy a stuffed animal, - and while you are at it - buy some flashing Satan's horns for it at the same time. Talk about convenience..... is there no end to sanuk?
A photo for the archives. The long-staying Zak's Wine Pub continues to do a good business, what with the nearby hotel foot traffic... May they continue to rock 'n roll. They have a Kizomba Sunday. I didn't even know kizombas were in season......
The Baan Beer 22 is no more - ripped asunder by slow-motion carpenters; termites could have done it more quickly. The Baan Beer 22 was the oldest remaining Nitespot in the QPP. We'll be keeping an eye out for what they might be putting up in it's place.
Bangkok Eyes goes back in time to
Who was new - And who was through
in the Expat Night Entertainment world.
How many of these old 'oases'
do you remember ?
* No changes that month / year. -
* The PD closed. It was on the 5th floor of the stairway opposite Foodland. There is currently no Nitespot at that location.
* The Club Sawasdee closed down for renovations. It would eventually become Vinai's Cosmos Club, which is currently still at that location.
* The Princess Castle reopened after a brief one-month closure. They were located next door to the Pink Panther. Today those digs are occupied by Screw Boy.
* The Klymax II A Go Go opened in the previous upstairs digs of Disco Tack (sic). It was located above today's Lighthouse - there is currently no Nitespot at that location.
* No changes that month / year. -
Soi Katoey(Silom Soi 4)
*Within the previous two months, the originally named The Blue Castle changed from that name to just The Blue, and back to The Blue Castle again. It was located on the Silom Road side of Tapas Room Club. There is no Nitespot at that location today.
*Hyper - the Un Pub changed it's name to The Hype. It was located next door to today's Tapas Cafe.
*The Genysis opened upstairs - located between today's Tapas and Telephone Pub. There is no Nitespot at that location today.
Buckskin Joe Village(~ October 1988 to
(Also known -originally- as Tobacco Road or Soi Rot Fai or,
'The Tracks', and later as Machim [Thai] and Soi Zero)
Graffiti at the beach... SAMUI's HOTELS UP IN ARMS
It is not surprising that Koh Samui would be a 'natural' for graffiti artists -a magnet to the young backpacker crowd- however, when they started spraypainting scenic points around the island, one group (the hoteliers) cried, 'Enough is enough'. Enough IS enough.
These graphic excerpts from Internet are considered 'Fair Use' under copyright law.