Queen's Park Plaza in 2010 - a testament to the regular turnover of Nitespots.
We had the above headline prepared for last month's issue, but we didn't anticipate that there would be a few Venues holding on for a few days into the next (this) month. And as MIDNITE HOUR is an 'historical' journal, we held off until this month so we could, with a level of confidence, lay down the 'final word' on Queen's Park Plaza Night Entertainment Area. This month, by way of an historical review, we will cover the 'QPP' from its inchoate days until the final close-out of the last Nitespots.
If you are looking for your old stomping grounds @ Queen's Park Plaza, don't. As of mid-February it was just another construction-site-to-be. We received different "last day" reports (somewhat similar to that 'last chopper out of Viet Nam'). The earliest was 4 February, when the pirated electricity in Rumours finally gave out, and the latest was the 15th, which coincided with Moonshine Pub's official opening at Soi 7 Plaza - (they had relocated, and had opened softly long before that...). For our historical records, we will err on the conservative side, and say 4 February as the 'recorded-for-posterity' closing date.
QUEEN's PARK PLAZA (Sukhumvit Soi 22)
The large property that would become the Queen's Park Plaza, located 250 meters inside Soi 22 Sukhumvit Road, had been cleared of its old structures in 1997 for ‘renewal'. However, this property, like many others of that time, was left undeveloped because of the global economic crash. Nevertheless, it would not remain unutilized.
This was the most recent time of full occupancy prior to start of phase-down.
Scarcely a year later, at the end of 1998, a small bar beer opened on the north corner of that otherwise vacant property. The young ladies from the bar would be out kerbside in the late afternoons, dancing and bouncing around, enticing foot and other traffic in for a drink. The bar beer's name was the 'No ! Bra’ - a name most obviously derived from viewing the young ladies' kerbside performances. The No ! Bra confirmed the economic viability of the outdoor-type bar beer at that location, and set the standard for all that would follow. As such, it was given the MIDNITE HOUR label, 'Seminal Bar'. (Surprisingly, by early 1999 it was grossing about 10,000 baht per day.)
The No ! Bra had been in operation there for about a year before being joined by a second bar beer, the ‘Ngan Hang’. The Ngan Hang was also a modest financial success. These two beer bars formed the nucleus of what would quickly become the Queen's Park Plaza, one of Bangkok's major Night Entertainment Areas.
At the end of 2000, a major construction effort began in the compound - adjacent to, and around the No ! Bra and the Ngan Hang. Unlike other bar beer areas in Bangkok which grew haphazardly, this was a comprehensive and coordinated undertaking, providing an un-congested and well-ordered complex of permanent and semi-permanent structures. Construction was completed in mid 2001, and it was given the name: "Queen's Park Plaza - Best Quality Entertainment Center". In those early years, its customer base was primarily guests from the nearby Queen's Park Hotel (now the Marriott Marquis).
Leasing of the units within the QPP began in earnest (even prior to the finalization of construction), and by early 2001, enough beer bars were in operation to reach "Critical Mass " - the Night Entertainment Area was already big enough and growing quickly enough to be a self-sufficient, crowd-drawing Night Entertainment entity on its own. Other shops were opening in the compound, complimenting the bar beer trade: a traditional massage, a foot massage and a beauty parlor opened within a few months of each other. During this timeframe, the first of many bars installed air-conditioning. At that juncture, the 'originals', the No ! Bra and the Ngan Hang undertook to renovate their premises to match their new ‘high class’ neighbors.
By mid-2002 the Queen's Park Plaza time had come. Non-hotel 'regular customers' were becoming more prevalent. Beer bars whose origins were in Clinton Plaza, Soi Cowboy and Cowboy Annex were hedging their bets by either moving to, or opening branches in Queen's Park Plaza - (Popeye 2, Moonshine and Oraphin for example). It didn't hurt business that the local Men-In-Too-Tight-Uniforms were allowing a number of the Queen's Park Plaza bars to stay open virtually as late as they had customers (something the larger, long-established Night Entertainment Areas weren't able to get away with).
As noted, the Night Entertainment Complex was built on property originally destined for redevelopment (an 'opportunistic' development of indeterminate, but finite duration), so the occasional rumor of impending redevelopment into yet another highrise wasn't surprising. But those early rumors, entirely unheeded, didn't slow the QPP Scene, which continued to grow - some bars lasting the duration, others turning over at a precarious rate.
But as of December of 2019, we saw the beginning of the end : this time the rumor had teeth. Some of the bars were closing, others were preparing to move to Soi 7 - a new Night Entertainment Area, at that time still under construction (Soi 7 Plaza). By January the exodus from Queen's Park Plaza had gathered momentum, and by 1 February only four venues remained - two by candlelight, and the other two by pirated electricity. The last bar beer, the Rumours Beer Bar, 'closed its doors' on 4 February 2020.
In addition to those bars which moved to Soi 7, others moved to other locations on Soi 22 (B52 and Hang Out for example), while others were not heard from again. All in (counting those early 'pioneer' bar beers), the QPP had just over a twenty year run. We include herein a sampling of photos of bars over these last two decades.
A rare old ad for a long-gone massage parlor - don't bother trying to call the phone number...
Reading in your profuse Archives, I saw a reference to a Miami R&R hotel on Sukhumvit Road, and I was even able to Google a Miami there on Sukhumvit. Which perplexes me no end - I recall, or think so, that the Miami was on New Petchburi Road for many years, starting way back in the R&R days. Is this senility-creep, or am I correct?
You are not going senile, at least as far as the 'Miami' is concerned. 'New' Petchburi Road had a Miami Massage parlor going back at least as far as 1966 (the photo ad above is from a January 1967 publication. (You may also note that it was right across the street from the Crown Bowl, which was, in its own right, a great after-hours Venue.) The Miami Hotel (not massage) was in fact an R&R hotel from the same period, and as you note, still there today. At this juncture, we have no confirmation that the two Miami's were related.
Just got around (Yes I'm a little slow…OK a lot slow) to reading your February edition. I remember my first and only trip to Soi Dead Artists. I was with Tom Penn, a Yank that was a military advisor to the Thai Army (CIA). He took me there one night. I was shocked at how classy the place was. The girls were all in evening gowns and they had free peanuts on the bar. The ladies were lovely. That was at the time when many of the bar girls were lovely but the Soi Dead Artists were especially lovely. We had one drink then returned to our natural habitat which was Ned’s Moonshine in Soi Cowboy.
I was told, incorrectly (by another Bangkok blogger), that Queen’s Park wasn't going to close. Horse on him. I also see that a “New” Moonshine opened. There will always be only one Moonshine and that’s Ned and Ott's. Yes... I miss Pattaya and Thailand...
We have received various responses to the closure of the Impressionist Bars on "Soi Dead Artists". Many thought the place "too snooty", not like what they saw as the 'friendlier bars' they encountered in the other Night Entertainment Areas. However, many were in agreement with you. Regardless, Soi Dead Artists, and its Impressionist Artist clubs, was the first Night Entertainment Area of any significance to offer us, we nightcrawlers, something 'upscale', something other than the usual lounges, A Go-Go bars and Coffee Shops.
Yo, I just read on Dave The Rave a great article on How To Play The Go Go Game. This sort of stuff is really useful - Bangkok Eyes should do articles like this. He had a great line that stuck in my head and should be engraved in stone somewhere. "Any go-go bar is either busy or empty for a reason." What about it? Keep up yr good works tho.
Thanks for writing in. Dave of Dave The Rave Bangkok has had his hand in "the game" for at least 20 years ...that we know of... and we consider him a totally reliable source. Bangkok Eyes, as a Nightlife news journal, generally sticks with news-reporting on the comings and goings of the bars themselves, rather than the intricacies of games people play in the barrooms. Dave is recommended reading (something we don't often do), and Bangkok's nightcrawlers can find him at DaveThe Rave<link>.
The Twilo is where the live music is. While many decry this 'new' entertainment format, preferring the PatpongA Go-Go glut of the past (and to a lesser extent, the present), it is worth remembering that live music was part and parcel of the Night Entertainment Scene in Patpong and surrounds even in the very early '60's..
The Patpong Museum's 'other half' (the Gallery / Studio) recently hosted its second successful showing - this time around, it was Tawan Wattayu's "Paradise GoGo" exhibition. (The Gallery / Studio is located above the Bar Bar 'fetish bar' - you can't miss the signs). The exhibition runs for one week - from 17:00 - 21:00 hours- wrapping up March 7th. The Patpong Museum and associated Nitespot outlets are proving that Patpong 2 is not only not dying, but beginning a new and diverse 'Renaissance'. More power to them...
The hatches were battened-down on the long-running Horse Shoes Bar bar beer when we passed by last evening. The signage was still out, so perhaps they will be reopening in the near future. Located on 'the Island'. We'll check back and come-back atcha.
So what's with the 'Iranian Bars' being closed at 9:15 p.m. last Monday evening? (The Deja Vu, the Midnite, the Kiss Sahara, the Rio). A crack-down? A 'No-mask-No-dance' rule? A Contract-Coyote strike? the Company Annual party? The rest of the 'Boy was busy, in spite of a dearth of Chinese customers and oglers... (Causing one local Nitelife Vet to comment that because of the Coronavirus the white-faces outnumbered the Orientals on Soi Cowboy for the first time in a decade).
Here we go again with the musical chairs. Last month we noted that the back portion of Twister BKK had finally settled in as the "Twister". Now it remains nameless, and has become home for the now-homeless transgenders that formerly worked at the London Calling. No one, including the transgenders lined-up outside, seems to know the current name of the Venue. A wait-and-see item....
The downstairs London Calling looked darker than a poisoned well when we passed by the other evening. 'Rumor-control' in the Plaza has it that London Calling was not able to pony up the annual nut on the lease. Their staff of transgenders have migrated across the compound to what once was the Twister (see above).
The massage parlor formerly calling itself the Secret Garden Massage changed its name to Sirin Massage.... and promptly closed. (!) It was located deep in Soi Nana - the last establishment with lights on... It appears renovations, or perhaps restoration, is in progress. Better luck next time....
The Hang Out, formerly of Queen's Park Plaza, has ended up in the least likely of places - right in the middle of Soi Lemongrass surrounded by 'specialty massage' parlors. Soi Lemongrass (our name) is the first sub-soi past the Marriott Marquis hotel. We don't yet know what the Hang Out's modus operandi will be. Keep on keeping on, ladies...
The ridiculously named Som Tam VIP Club doused the lights after 2 months, and slunk off into the shadows. Like, what did they expect? Located in the Park 22 Compound opposite the Marriott.
The Iyashi Barber & Massage opened on schedule, as we noted they might last month. They seem to be more keen on the 'massage' than on the 'barber'.... They replaced the Foot Joy.
The Clear Massage & Spa opened newly in the sub-soi Soi 11/1 near the Sukhumvit Road entrance. That small sub-soi is now home to 5Night Entertainment Venues. May the Clear Massage continue to slip and slide.
(Sukhumvit Soi 11)
One of Soi Ambassador's longest standing massage parlors, the Raintree Spa was the latest to fall behind the corrugated construction-site fencing, never to be heard from again... If the construction ever begins on that Soi (and that instant night market is torn down), it will be one of Bangkok's larger construction sites. Woe be unto the remaining Nitespots along that stretch...
(Sukhumvit Soi 11)
The Koreana now wishes to be known as Club Koreana. And that is perfectly OK by us.... May they continue to rock 'n roll, or Gangnam Style, or whatever it is they do in Korean discos...
SOI AMBASSADOR (Sukhumvit Soi 11)
The Sabai Massage has reopened right where it always has been - now sandwiched in between the Apoteka and the One For The Road. May they never run out of Tiger Balm or KY, and may the two never be confused...
Last month we covered the soft opening of this yet-to-be-labeled bar, and the bartender solemnly, and with a straight face, told us it was the Nice 'N Easy, just over from Queen's Park Plaza. Nope - it was, and is the relocated Meaw Meaw Bar (not coincidentally also over from the Queen's Park Plaza). Welcome them back to machine.
SOI 7 PLAZA
For the last two months we have been carrying an otherwise unnamed bar in Soi 7 Plaza by the handle, "Welcome Open" - which was their most prominent neon. But if the signage discreetly stashed next to their rear wall is any indication, it looks like that is about to change... We'll keep an ear to the ground and get back atcha.
We record the closure of the Christie's Club - Napoleon entirely without remorse. A classic case of "If it ain't broken, don't fix it." It is also a classic bit of instant Karma, and instant "What Goes Around, Comes Around". It closed because of an abject inability to attract even a single customer on some nights. Had the landlord (who is also owner of Christie's Club & Napoleon) kept in place the original set-up with the always popular Check Inn 99, all would yet be well with the world... "'Nuff said..."
ARTISTS (Sukhumvit 33)
Closed last month, again, and finally, is the Suay Health Care massage. Cause: no business - it is pretty much a dead Soi - now that approximately half of it is a construction site. It remains to be seen if, after construction completion, it gets a new lese on life. (Now Soi Dead Artists is primarily a Japanese 'specialist-massage' soi.)
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 ?
**No changes that month / year.
(Total Nitespots that month: 33 )
* The Bua Luang Swing added "Pub" to their sign and to their activities. They were located on the 2nd level of the Patpong Museum stairway, directly opposite Foodland. No Nitespot occupies that real estate today.
(Total Nitespots that month: 57 )
* The New Agogo Duck dropped "Jukes" (the original name) from their neon. Those digs are currently occupied by Shark.
*The Barbie Bar - NEW * The "Moonlight Bar" - NEW * The Siam Smile Bar - NEW * The Je Taime - NEW
(Total Nitespots that month: 4 )
*On the ground level the Saloon Bar - Air Conditioned VIP Rooms opened in what is today the Witchcraft.
*On the 3rd level the tiny Mai's Bar reopened on the balcony.
*On the 2nd level Welcome To Millennium got its neon up (opened last month). Those digs now home to Straps. (We bet no one remembers this one....).
(Total Nitespots that month: 42 )
Soi Katoey ( Silom Soi 4 )
*The 2nd level Pharaoh's Karaoke closed its doors (again). Today, those digs are the upstairs half of the Fork & Cork.
(Total Nitespots that month: 13 )
Soi Dead Artists ( Sukhumvit Soi 33 )
* The Leo Club Bangkok 1994 closed its doors for the last time. Those digs now occupied by the Demonia.
* The Japanese Club - Japanese Karaoke Club reopened after a brief closure. That real estate now occupied by the Love Teen massage.
(Total Nitespots that month: 23 )
Buckskin Joe Village (~ December 1988 to 9 June 2006)
(Also called Tobacco Road, Soi Rot Fai, 'The Tracks' , Machim [Thai] & Soi Zero)
* No changes that month / year.
(Total Nitespots that month: 18)
Washington Square (~ April 1999 to April 2014)
* No changes that month / year.
(Total Nitespots that month: 18)
(Originally ''Entertainment Plaza'')
[ ~February 1999to June 2003 ]
*Tivoli Bar & Grill - OPENED - In the Main Building.
*The Last Money - CLOSED - On the Island. - *Wind Mill - REOPENED - - Outside, against main building. *White House - - CLOSED - Outside just behind Main Building.
*Nuch Snack Bar - REOPENED - - Outside, against outer walls.
(Total Nitespots that month: 23)
''13 Night Market'' Entertainment Area"
(Originally 'Old Thermae Compound')
[ April 2000 - March 2005 ]
Appearing -just in time for Valentine's Day- on the wall of Mr Edwin Simons' home in Bristol, England, was a graffito of a young girl using a slingshot to project a bouquet of flowers high into the air. Naturally, it was assumed this was a Valentine tribute.
Further, in that it had all the appearances in style of a 'Banksy', it was attributed to him. (The secretive Banksy later confirmed it was his piece on his Instagram account.)
Quick to spread on social media, it wasn't long before yet another street 'artist' oversprayed part of the 'Banksy' with his (or her) own "BCC wankers". Then, of course, came the myriad regrets on social media - 'How could someone vandalize this Banksy graffito?'
One quick question, if we may be so intrepid.... how does one vandalize vandalism? Jus' sayin'...
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 and photographs resides exclusively with the creators.
7 ft high x 7 ft (main panel)
6 ft high x 12 ft
7 ft high x 5 ft
6 ft high x 10 ft (main panel)
6 ft high x 17 ft
8 ft high x 11 ft
6 ft high x 16 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....