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Thumbnail History
Queen's Park Plaza

A large property located 250 meters inside Soi 22, Sukhumvit Road, near the Queen’s Park Hotel was cleared of its old structures in 1997 for ‘renewal'.   However, this property, like many others of that time, was left undeveloped because of the economic crash.  Nevertheless, it would not remain unutilized.

Scarcely a year later, at the end of 1998, a small, ramshackle beer bar opened on the north corner of that otherwise vacant property.  The beer bar’s name was the ‘No Bra’.   It is still in operation today. but with a slight modification to its name; the ‘No ! Bra’.   Although no one knew it at the time, the No ! Bra would be the seminal bar in that future Night Entertainment Area, as it was the first to confirm the economic viability of the outdoor-type beer bar plying the Queen’s Park Hotel passer-by trade.  (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, also rather seedy beer bar, named ‘Ngan Hang’.   The Ngan Hang was also a modest financial success.   The ‘defining feature’ of these two beer bars was lively groups of hostesses out on the sidewalk’s edge each evening encouraging foreign passers-by to come in for a drink.   These two beer bars formed the nucleus of what would eventually become one of Bangkok's major Night Entertainment Areas.  

At the end of 2000, a major construction effort began in 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".  

Leasing of the units began in earnest, and by August 2001, enough beer bars were in operation to reach "critical mass " - they were already big enough and growing quickly enough to be a Night Entertainment entity on their 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.   The No ! Bra and the Ngan Hang undertook to renovate their premises to match their new ‘high class’ surroundings; - In March 2002 the Ngan Hang adopted a ‘Western’ motif and expanded into an open bar with tables, suited more for couples drinking Campari-sodas than single men drinking beer.   (Footote: It recently sold out to The Maxx sports bar, which did extensive renovations, only to go out of business after a couple months.   As at this writing, the venue remains unoccupied.)

By mid-2002 the QUEEN'S PARK PLAZA’s time had come.   Regular non-hotel customers were also starting to come from outside the Soi 22 area.   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).   Over this last year, most of the venues in QUEEN'S PARK PLAZA, whether inside or outside, have gone over to the "Pool Bar" format, where the staff will gladly engage customers in a game of pool - loser buys the drinks.

Even though the complex is built on property originally destined for redevelopment, the economic climate is not yet such that new, permanent construction will likely usurp this land.   This belief is at least partially reinforced by the fact that its construction was an owner-planned undertaking - rather than a spontaneous ad-hoc growth typical of other beer bar complexes in the Bangkok area.   Its chances of long-term survival are seen to be relatively good as long as occupancy of the units remains high, lessees continue to pay their rent - and are not seen to be too ‘non-Purachaiian’ in their conduct.

As an "historical" point-in-time reference, there were already 21 Night Entertainment Venues "in the landscape" at QUEEN'S PARK PLAZA by March 2002.   For reference, a listing of these venues follows:

Popeye 2
No ! Bra
Ngan Hang
Rumours Bar
Monkey Bizness
Queen’s Arms Sports Bar (a/c)
Long Island Club (a/c)
New Friends
Why Not
Moonshine (a/c)
Cristina Bar
Players Bar
Sugar Shak (a/c)
Banana Bar
Baan Beer
Nice Easy (a/c)
Take Care
Happiness (a/c)
Buddy Bar

As at this juncture, there are 30 such venues. Details can be seen on the map herein.

Updated May 2003
- Richard D. Hartman


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© 2001, 2003, Bangkok Eyes / bangkokeyes.com
* With grateful acknowledgement to N.& the staff of the N!B for your corroborative input, and Zootramp Publications for exclusive use of their historical database.