MIDNITE HOUR has been 'tracking' Sukhumvit's Soi 24 for the last 15 years. As it has never reached 'critical mass' entertainment-wise, our spot checks have been, more or less, every other year. This time around, we delayed longer than we should have - a number of changes have taken place since those early surveys.
SOI 24 Sukhumvit Rd.
We note that the big news on that Soi is the number of high-rise buildings that have gone up over the last decade. This translates to property values skyrocketing. This, in turn, translates to no more affordable space for the likes of a full-blown 'Night Entertainment Area' - the surviving Nitespots are located, for the most part, in the big hotels and commercial buildings. These structures do not normally lease out to the gamut 'Nitespot' type entertainment concerns - and will have at most, perhaps a Restaurant - Bar or a massage parlor.
Fifteen Years Ago...
And this is precisely what has happened to Soi 24 - virtually every Nitespot on the entire 1.3 kilometer-long Soi is a Massage Parlor. Even the big Venues like the old Paulainer have moved elsewhere. Compare this to our August 2003 map (above), where there were the beginnings of at least one Night Entertainment Area, possibly two. In short, Sukhumvit Soi 24 is in retrograde, not edging, even slowly, toward becoming a Nitespot Area.
SOI 24 Sukhumvit Rd.
We suspect there is no likelihood that this trend will change in the near future. There will likely be no buildup of Night Entertainment again until such time as all the high-rise construction is completed. We see nothing positive for the next 5 to 10 years in this regard. We will, however, continue to check back periodically - hopefully proving ourselves wrong....
SOI 24 Sukhumvit Rd.
See below for a few photos of the massage parlors / spas on Soi 24. Their location can be determined from the top map, above.
Reader : Hi, a long time returning to Bangkok, I found that Soi 7/1 - your "Soi Eden" had gotten much bigger. I can't recall if any of the original bars are still there. Which were the early bars there, and the first place? Thanks this.
Midnite Hour:Of course, the first Night Entertainment Venue was the Eden Massage, but we did make a preliminary survey of Soi Eden in November of 2003, only to find it was quite far from reaching the critical mass necessary to be called a "Night Entertainment Area" in its own right. We did note the following five Nitespots: Dreams, Night Flight, Boo Sa Bar, Eden Massage and Bill Massage. In May of 2005, Soi Eden 'went critical', becoming a self-sustaining Entertainment Area, with both Dreams and Night Flight claiming to be the first actual 'bar' on the Soi. With no way to determine the accuracy of either claim, we gave both the 'seminal bar' label.Today, none of the original bars remain, the Night Flight closing this last February - becoming a boutique hotel which has on its premises both the BR Spa and the Bangkok Beer Cafe.
Reader : Thanks for this. This rocked my gray matter. I was introduced to Bobby by Charlie (Thai), Getz's transportation subcontractor. Maybe I'd heard from Charlie he was Macau born, an obvious fit with his Portuguese heritage. The place was called Bobby's Aroy Dee, I think! I ate many, many of those chili dogs, sometimes several a day. It seemed that any bar on Pat Pong would take your order, then send a girl to Bobby's. It worked well for everyone, you got something to eat, the girl got a tip for delivering the dogs, the customer stayed in the bar drinking, buying drinks for the girls, but a negative for the customer, the bar continued stuffing extra chits into the cup. There were some days my only food intake was Bobby's chili dogs.
Midnite Hour:We continue to be surprised at the feedback on our 'Bobby' article. You were correct - his first place started out as Bobby's Hotdogs, and quickly became Bobby's Aroy Dee - the 'Dee' being a bilingual take-off of his surname initial (De Cozier).
Reader : Returning to Bangkok Eyes after a 'break', I see you are still promoting graffiti. Isn't it self-evident that this is a scourge on society, and that your moral support is just making it worse?
Midnite Hour:We get a lot of comment on our graffiti page, much for - and much against. Had you been reading our graffiti column closely, you would have seen that we are reporting on the controversy that is graffiti, neither pro nor con - we remain the clear glass window through which the controversy rages. We also pose the question, is it, or is it not, 'art'. I challenge you to find one article where we support graffiti or graffiti artists (or for that matter, where we condemn same). You, obviously are in the 'anti' camp, but do understand, you are only one vote amongst the masses. Thanks for reading, and for writing in.
Reader : I see you occasionally get out of town to other places like Pattaya and Hua Hin, but I haven't seen you do any exploring closer to home - and I'm referring here to Samut Prakan / Prapradang, just south of here. I suspect there is a lot going on there that you are not aware of. Just saying.
Midnite Hour:Well, first of all, you are correct, there is a lot going on there. But were you one of our older readers, you would have seen our two articles on Night Entertainment in that province attached to our southern border. First, there was Sri Nakarin South <link>, September 2011, of which the lower two thirds of that stretch of road are in Samut Prakan. The second was STATE - The Cinema, Soi & Area <link> in July 2011, which, up until that time, was our most widely read, most controversial article. But we do thank you for a timely heads-up - we definitely need to get back down and continue explorations of The Scene...
On Soi Bookstore, the The Club Kings has (last month) sent the King's Castle 1 staff back to their newly revamped digs out on the avenue, leaving their upstairs cupboards virtually bare. Further, they have changed the format of the downstairs from indoor-outdoor lounge to 'pool bar'. Maybe they ought to go ahead and leave it the way it was? Since the closing of the Bat Boat and the upstairs Cleopatra, it appears that the King's Group have not been able to make up their collective minds as to what they want those digs to be....
It's becoming harder and harder not to notice the number of empty counterfeit-goods stalls going unrented. Of course, many of the long-time residents and returnees blame this tent-city blight on Patpong 1's downward spiral, and wouldn't lose sleep if the entire night market, like some runaway train, cascaded into the Abyss.
Steakhouse Co., having replaced Electric Blue, has opened in style, and appears to have had a decent trade from the get-go. They do have an attractive bar within, but it is not a 'Night Entertainment' type bar. As such, we will not be carrying it on our roster. May they long endure.
After running on empty for the better part of the last year, Thai Smile Bar has rolled to a complete stop. (A file photo below.) A forlorn Magic-Marker 'For Sale' sign adorns the front door. After opening and closing more than a couple of times, it has now relegated itself to an historical footnote...
This month's Nightlife shocker is the closing of the Country Road. Heavy-duty renovations ongoing. Other than a tiny, obligatory, and meaningless 'For Hire' notice, no signage indicating they are renovating or moving... The Country Road opened its Soi Cowboy branch in December 1993, and has grown from a single-shophouse to a 3-shophouse bar over the years. We will be keeping an ear to the ground, and should it be reopening, we will get back atcha. Note: The other two branches, Soi Nana and Queen's Park Plaza are still open.
...ARE COMING BACK
The recent National and Municipal juggernaut to rid Bangkok of street sellers in general, and Street Bars in particular (and make Bangkok into another sterile 'Singapore'), seems to be losing the battle. Vendors, to include Street Bars, are creeping back into the side-sois and crowding into spaces between shop fronts and the actual outer property lines (the inner edge of the sidewalks). However, the Street Bars have innovated even further - they have constructed push-cart bars on wheels which they are parking on the streets and placing only the folding tables and chairs on the sidewalks. What hasn't changed is the Tesaban Men in Too-Tight Uniforms are continuing to impose their nightly extra-judicial fines.... Oh, well....
For no outwardly apparent reason, the Rainbow Bar has replaced their facade with a full-width neon (real neon) sign. We suspect others in the Plaza will soon be following suit. Real neon always gets our nod - the Rainbow Bar is this month's uncontested Door Art Of The Month awardee.
The Nana Beer Garden reopened more-or-less on schedule, and the new renovations are a big improvement (mostly because of the new freedom afforded by the Plaza's new tent-top). Welcome them back to the machine.
P's Thai Massage, already well established, bought over their next door neighbor's recently opened Princess Massage. They renmed the Princess the P's Thai Massage Delux. May they continue to slip and slide...
The Secret Garden Massage is a small single-shophouse massage parlor deep in Soi Nana. It is right next door to a 7-Eleven in a less than attractive neighborhood. We mention it only because, historically, it exists...
No Photo Available
The upstairs (Rajah Hotel Compound) TamAsha Club & Lounge was closed when we passed by last night. What does it all mean? We will keep an ear to the ground and should it reopen, we shall so note next round.
The Nana Hotel'sEQ Late Night Club has rolled down the shutters, and padlocked everything in sight. Their sign says they will be reopening in 45 days. What they didn't mention was, 45 days from when... Considering the high rate of Nitespot turnovers that has plagued this property over the last decade, this is a definite wait-and-see item...
The extant Kiss Bangkok Massage has done two things - first, they changed their sign to read Kiss Bangkok Massage 1 (to differentiate from their Kiss Bangkok 2 Massage - also on Soi Lemongrass). Then they put a second Kiss Bangkok Massage 1 sign on their back door (which exits on Soi Hana). Now you can enter from either soi. Get down tonight.
SOI 22 (Sukhumvit)
Gone, but not gone, the Liola Massage on Soi Hana has reopened its doors. Welcome them back to the trough...
SOI 22 (Sukhumvit)
Truffles Bar & Ristorante didn't make it out for the next round. May Fate deal them a better hand next time around...
SOI 22 (Sukhumvit)
Yet another single-shophouse bar has opened on Soi Titanium. Calling itself "Double Chill", they haven't quite got round to nailing up the sign. May there always be a chinchoke in their corner...
Last month we included a brief video clip of Score, and were wondering if it was a new alcoholic drink sponsor, a new disco... etc. Perhaps we got there too early to see the rest of the signs at the entranceway. Score is an upstairs sports bar, and very comfortable, indeed. Upbeat, upmarket, uptown...
SOI AMBASSADOR (Sukhumvit Soi 11)
And while we are on 'upstairs' The Australian has given up their second level to Spice Bar & Restaurant. May the force be with them...
SOI AMBASSADOR (Sukhumvit Soi 11)
Wax Late Nite signs indicate they are open 7 days a week.... Not. Let's just see if this temporary closure the other even ing might be due to the extension of a national holiday. A wait-and-see item....
The Time Out 129, having opened for just over a month, decided, or had someone decide for them, that, indeed, the night is a harsh mistress. The Happy Time 129 has taken over the reins, and will take their turn at casting their dice against the pitted wall of Fate....
The Fortune Club Girls Bar & Massage has a sign posted which says it is closed until early June. Trust and verify. We will keep an eyeball peeled, and let you know should they reopen those doors. They are located in Sub-soi 3.
SOI DEAD ARTISTS (Sukhumvit 33)
Likewise, the Fortune 17 Karaoke is closed - also saying they are going to reopen... right about now. We believe them, but we will check back just the same, to see that they are indeed reopening. We will let you know.
The Victoria Bar Restaurant has splintered off of the already established Carribean (2). Currently not much in the way of 'Night Entertainment', more of a soccer bar, but then no one thought the original Rainbow Bar would amount to anything either. Welcome them as they grab at the brass ring...
The long-surviving Dick's Cafe Bangkok has gone the way of the Megalapteryx. It looks like the digs are up for lease, but with its next door neighbor, the long extinct The Zeus, going un-rented for many a month, no one should be holding his breath for an early replacement. It appears Dick's has boogied off to Jom Tien?
FIFA in conjunction with the Russian government are heavily promoting the upcoming World Cup soccer in that country. One of their most visible efforts, at least for Moscow, has been a large number of wall murals depicting current pop superhero icons, etc.
It is interesting that they are referring to these murals as "graffiti". One has to wonder why. These murals are not only sanctioned by the Russian government and FIFA, the artists have been retained by these bodies to create the murals. Lest we forget, "Graffiti" is defined as unauthorized markings on other's property.
Perhaps there is a growing perception that if it is called 'graffiti', it will be more relevant, more in touch with the times, edgier? Like, being part of the 'Graffiti Generation' is now, suddenly, a desirable thing? One can only surmise....
An article in the Russian publication Sputnik News was the source for this piece and the photo extracts herein. To read the original article, CLICK HERE''' <link>.
Graphic excerpts above are from Internet sources, and are, under current legal precedents and prevailing interpretations considered 'Fair Use' under Copyright Law. Copyright of all original artwork resides exclusively with the artists.
8 ft high x 25 ft
8 ft high x 9 ft
Life's A Bunch
16 ft high x 32 ft (wrapped)
6 ft high x 29 ft
16 ft high x 24 ft (wrapped)
Some Say 'Steve'
16 ft high x 8 ft
Bangkok Eyes is an historically based news outlet, and as such, all graphic excerpts herein are considered, under current legal precedents and
prevailing interpretations, 'Fair Use' under Copyright Law. Copyright of any original artwork resides exclusively with the artists.
Bangkok's original site !
The MIDNITE HOUR Graffiti Page is prepared by Staff Contributor "Boge" Hartman .
(Boge's photo, above, is not a graffitiper-se, although there are those who have insinuated....