he improbably successful Night Entertainment Area at Soi 7 Sukhumvit Road commenced operations on 27 November 2019 with the soft opening of the original Long Shots Bar. Most of a small handful of bars were still under construction or being fitted out. The Nightspot Area didn't even have a name - rumors were floated that it would be called, "Nana Plaza & 7" - which no one took too seriously. Eventually, perhaps by consensus (due to the number of bars coming in from the closing Queen's Park Plaza), it was referred to by most as Soi 7 Plaza (still no sign...). Today, after a number of fits and starts, it is officially the 7 Center Point.
By New Years 2020
, it had reached critical mass with 14
. The area, still unnamed, was not yet well-known - precipitating predictions from the local pundits
that it would die a quick and unceremonious death (we were one among those those prophets-of-doom). As if to confirm our predictions of annhilation, less than three months later, all Bangkok Nitespot Venues
were closed down on implementation of the first Covid-19 closure decree
. Virtually no one expected the Soi 7 Plaza / 7 Center Point
to survive the Pandemic
The Soi 7 Plaza / 7 Center Point has the highest turn-over of bars, and bars relocating within the Bar Area. Additionally, the Bar Area itself is continuously being physically rearranged (literally shapeshifting) to maximize the utilization of the limited area set aside for bars. The only method of keeping track of which bars are active - and where they are in the Night Entertainment Area is to update their map on a regular basis.
In the last half of the approximately 2 1/2 years of the Pandemic there were some partial, short-lived reopenings of the Night Entertainment Areas in Bangkok (outside serving only, no dancing, masks, etc). There were also several bars surreptitiously opening ŕ la 'speakeasy', which could be found city-wide, to include at the Soi 7 Plaza / 7 Center Point, so there were the telltale signs that it was far from 'dead'. But the Soi 7 Nitespot Area's woes were not over - even after Thailand had allowed the other Bangkok Night Entertainment Areas to reopen. Jiggery-pokery of the highest order at the Soi 7 Plaza / 7 Center Point was rampant - by either the land owner or the Men-In-Too-Tight-Uniforms, or "Those with Military Connections", or all three, - as they continued to keep it in lockdown (see photo below). During this period, the Venues at the back of the Soi 7 Plaza / 7 Center Point compound on the South side were demolished, ostensibly for a 'carpark' (the carpark never materialized). Recently, what remained of the Soi 7 Plaza / 7 Center Point (after the partial demolition) has fully reopened, and it is once again one of the busier Nitespot Areas in Bangkok.
During the Pandemic closures the street bars continued to remain open, virtually without a break, frequently populated by freelancing former bargirls from the closed Venues. This photo taken at the front of Soi 7 Plaza / 7 Center Point during the lockdown.
For convenience in reporting, in that the Soi 7 Bier Garten is contiguous to 7 Center Point we have been including them in our 7 Center Point Night Entertainment Area surveys. We note in passing that the beer garden was busy for the first time since prior to the Covid-19 Pandemic. We further note that the late night food court (see map) was also crowded - perhaps for the first time ever...
Dave is BACK...
Let the Follies begin-
Vol. XXXII No. 07
| Bangkok, 01 July 2023
| Free Distribution
Patpong 1 Road A Go-Go dancers
on a break between 'floors' shopping apparel at a popular Nightlife
They no longer keep up the pretense that Patpong 1
is a Night Entertainment Area
, the sign now reading, 'Night Market'.
A sad turn of historical significance
The Tanoshii Bar has moved in lock, stock and barstool to the tiny bar that was (pre-Covid) Dragon Beer Bar. Primarily (but not exclusively) aimed at Nippon clientele, several of the staff were previously employed in Soi Thaniya. Welcome them to the bright lights, big city...
A quick look through the window at the Delaney's bar. It looks like a lot has been removed from within, but it is still showing signs of activity. We're just going to wait and see if Delaney's will reopen...
The stairwell going up to the Patpong Museum and the Black Pagoda is still brightly decorated... Hopefully, these venues will resume operation in the near future...
The long-promised new neon
for the The Dollhouse A Go-Go Bar
has finally been nailed up - and looking spectacular. Let the good times roll...
There was no change in the inventory of Nitespots
within and along Nana Plaza
, so we thought we would put up a classic pic of the original Nana Entertainment Plaza
(literally translated as Nana Plaza Entertainment Center
). The pic is nusual in that it is one of the few surviving which shows the sign with 100%
illumination (virtually all pics show one or more of the letters on the sign burned out).
Last month we noted that the Blackout
appeared to have closed, and an unnamed bar was having their soft opening / welcoming party (see photo below). As it happens, the new bar is the Red Hog Bar
, but we were just a day or two too early to catch the new neon signage. We shall endeavor to have photos next issue, but in the meantime, welcome them to the nightcircus...
SOI NANA - (SOI 4 SUKHUMVIT)
Has the upstairs Hugs Bar - Disco
turned over a new leaf? They have been open for two months without a closure. May they persevere...
SOI KATOEY (Silom Soi 4)
The now defunct Narnia Bar
was located deep in the Soi
opposite the B52 Cowboy Bar
. It was killed off quickly by both the Covid lockdowns
and location, location, location
. So it was a surprise to us to see it reopen as the brand-new Bebop Bar-Cafe
. Their specialty of the house is not just real Kentucky bourbon
, but tequila
straight from Mexico
(yes, really). By the time you read this their new neon should be nailed up firmly in place. May they be dealt only aces and faces...
Deep in Subsoi Titanium
gave up the ghost, only to be replaced by the new Moon Smile
. Modus operandi
same-same. Welcome them to the sharkpool.
After a long run (one of the oldest bars on Soi 22
), and a temporary closedown, The Connection
slid into the abyss. Quick to step into the breach was the Together 22 bar
. Welcome them as they step into the line of fire...
The Orange Bangkok
is springing up like mushrooms after the rains. Two months ago they opened up a double-sized pool bar by that name on Soi Eden (Soi 7\1)
- and it is now doing a passable trade. This month they have opened newly in the just-closed Rock & Legend
blues-rock bar on Soi 11/1
. The Orange
started out as a VW van mobile bar
parked on Soi Ambassador (Soi 11)
just before the Pandemic
, later moving off the roadway becoming part of the Tewley Cocktail
group of bar beers. It then moved down Soi Ambassador
meters opening its own expanded pool bar. When the landowners closed down all the opportunistic bars and restaurants opposite the Ambassador
, we took it for granted that would be the end of Orange Bangkok
. It was, apparently, just the beginning... Let the nightgames begin...
(Sukhumvit Soi 11)
The Moon Bar & Bistro
opened brand-spanking-new in Subsoi Havana Social
. Welcome them to these streets of shame. We note: It's getting to be a popular Subsoi
, what with a number of relatively new Nitespots
(Sukhumvit Soi 11)
A few years ago, the small lane in the Ambassador Hotel
going from Soi Ambassador
deep into the hotel was home to a row of massage parlors
, geared mainly to hotel guests and South Asian toursts
. During a renovation by the hotel, those massage parlors disappeared. Today the Borno Salon & Massage
has opened in that lane. Welcome to the briar patch...
(Sukhumvit Soi 11)
For whatever reason the massively popular Havana Social
has closed. Those on the Subsoi
say the closure will be for two weeks, perhaps for a 'renovation'. A big wait-and-see
item. We'll get back atcha next round.
(Sukhumvit Soi 11)
7 CENTER POINT -
(SOI 7 PLAZA)
(And the Soi 7 Bier Garten)
Suddenly, the "island
" at the back of the 7 Center Point
has been remodeled, making way for additional bar beers. One of those is yet another Nitespot
by Big B
. This one named, somewhat peculiarly, Piss Stop Bar
. A mini pool bar
with friendly hostesses, it is the 3rd
such Big B Venue
in this relatively small compound. Shake it, don't break it, ladies...
7 CENTER POINT
The second new bar beer
to open in the Center Point 'island'
is the 69 Bar
. Welcome them to the machine...
7 CENTER POINT
seminal bar, Long Shots
(after having disappeared off the 'Island
' a couple of months ago) reappeared on the North wall, and it seems the beat continues as if it had never stopped. This is their third location within the Entertainment Area
7 CENTER POINT
, also located on the 'Island' was darker than a poisoned well when we passed by the other evening. It doesn't look like a permanent closing, so we will withhold judgement on it's passing until our next survey...
7 CENTER POINT
This month we update our photo record for the new (last month) Tibet Gate
, which has added some new signage. May they continue to provide culture, live music, meditation, food
SOI DEAD ARTIST (Sukhumvit Soi 33)
Last month we announced the name of the heretofore unnamed poolbar as Orange Bangkok
. This month we see they have continued to add interior and exterior decorations, creating (presumably) a more comfortable environment for the customer, and certainly as more attractive appearance to the passerby... Gotta let the train roll on...
SOI EDEN (Sukhumvit 7 / 1)
What was The Cool Sports Bar
suddenly disappeared in May of 2022
. While a few pool tables remained active in those premises, it could hardly be called a Night Entertainment Venue
. But that was then, this is now... we welcome the new Crazy Bar
(no relation to Soi Cowboy's Crazy House
). The operative descriptor
SOI EDEN (Sukhumvit 7 / 1)
Traces of Bangkok's Early Years
On the opening of two all-night Venues, (the coffee shops at the Grace Hotel and the Thermae Turkish Bath), the pre-Soi Cowboy Sukhumvit Road era was born. Together with the then-recently opened Coffee Shop at the Nana Hotel, ladies-of-the-evening and expat nightcrawlers were within walking distance of what would become three notorious freelancer havens of Nighttime entertainment. From this point onward in Bangkok's Nightlife history, ever more bars would be opening in the 'lower Sukhumvit area'. Meanwhile, Bangkok's 'more respectable' Venues continued to bring in top-name Entertainment from abroad....
The above photo advertisement puts to rest the often mooted and regularly debated question of when the Thermae Coffee Shop actually opened. Completely by chance we found this clipping announcing their opening day in the 30 October 1966 edition of the Bangkok World newspaper. The Thermae was, like many such Venues, primarily a turkish bath massage parlor with add-on Coffee Shop and barber shop. It was the basement Coffee Shop, however, that became the notorious all-night 'underground' freelancer Venue of infamy. Touted as both the best and worst of Bangkok's Night Entertainment Venues, the Coffee Shop outlived (by a decade) the upstairs turkish bath and barbershop, finally closing down, and relocating two doors down to Ruamchit Mansion on 18 July 1996, where it continues to thrive. 30 October 1966
Opening just two days before the (aforementioned) Thermae Coffee Shop was the Grace Hotel. It's Coffee Shop (captured in the above historic photo) would become yet another notorious freelancer bar - taking advantage of its 'in-hotel' status to remain open 24 /7.
The Coffee Shops of the Grace Hotel, Nana Hotel and the Thermae Turkish Bath would regularly bear witness to streams of freelancers as well as farangs coursing on foot, taxi or samlor from one of the three venues to another, in an attempt to maximize their dusk-till-dawn 'opportunities'. Not uncommon was the sight of a farang sharing a samlor ride with freelancers going from the Grace to the Thermae. October 1966
The Keynote Club / Restaurant continued to be one of the more popular venues in the growing Patpong Road scene. .
The Sani Chateau in the Gaysorn Night Entertainment Area continued to outshine other Bangkok Nitespot Venues bringing in a number of first class international entertainers. American singing star Johnny Mathis was in town for a one-night gig in October of 1966. October 1966
The Cafe De Paris. located on Surawong Road immediately opposite Patpong 1 (and in front of the Montien Hotel) was popular, not only for its live entertainment, but its friendly hostesses.
The Honey Night Club had a very popular run in the late 1960's but it wasn't to last. Located on Suriwong Road between the New Road and Patpong Entertainment Areas, it relied heavily on the Manhora and Trokadero hotels. With the later rise of the Patpongs and the eventual downsizing of the New Road Night Entertainment Area, the Honey Night Club could not continue to stay in business.
The Heaven Turkish Bath on Surawong Rd. was close enough to New Road to be considered to be within the then-central business district of Bangkok. At that juncture, the nightlife in that part of town was it's own considerable, and quite popular 'Night Entertainment Area'. But the handwriting was already on the wall, what with the growing interest in the Patpong Road area, it was only a matter of time before New Road would lose its glamor and its status as "Business District"...
It wouldn't seem that a massage parlor on Sukhumvit Soi 21 (Soi Asoke) in the mid-1960's would be an advantageous location, but the Nikko Onsen was in fact near JUSMAGTHAI facilities on that soi, to include a youth center and a bowling alley.
Patpong 2's Plaza Hotel (today's Pavillion Hotel) was home to two Nitespots : the Thai Room and the Other Office (see clipping above). The Other Office survives today as the Old Other Office Bar and is the longest standing Nitespot on the Patpongs.
Located on Silom Road about half way from Patpong Road to Deja Road, the Nancy was outside of the mainstream Night Entertainment areas.