Although I don’t like sounding negative, it has been yet another quiet month for many bar bosses around Bangkok and from what I have seen myself and heard from my “ravers” things haven’t been much better in Pattaya either. To add fuel to the fire, there is more heat on the gogo bars from the MIB (Men In Brown), this is especially the case down in Sin City.
Where did all the big spenders go? This seems to be a question many bar owners are asking themselves. Do we sing Simply Red’s “Money’s Too Tight To Mention” as an appropriate phrase?! The clot plot thickens, as a number of folks find themselves with less and less disposable income.
When I ran Angelwitch GoGo Bar several years ago, we regularly had customers running up chunky bills, without even batting a eyelid. These days it seems people are much more careful about spending their money and are also looking for better bang-for-baht. Which begs the question; are gogo bars still offering good value for money? The dreaded coyote curse (agency dancers) has upset many a sexpat, with a number of bars and especially, bar girls pricing themselves out of the market. In fact, as an example of this, the Stumble Inn Group have already steered themselves in the direction of the more profitable beer bars.
However, as a former bar manager, I have witnessed a considerable drop in the “spender gender” with the cash-constipated clan, trying to make you believe they are down to their last dollar. I say this in defense of the bars. The times I have seen a major debate (as though it’s a life, or death decision), whether they should order a drink, or not. These frugal folks need to be reminded that these are bars and not museums. There are a number of time-wasters out there. Another point is you can’t blame the bars for everything, which includes certain piss poor foreign currencies that struggle against a strong Thai baht.
My mate Toby was at a Bangkok gogo bar the other night and it was very quiet. There was just a few girls doing the skytrain shuffle on stage, staring into oblivion. Toby had a couple of Johnnie Walker Black’s and bought one gogo girl a lady drink — the bill was already 1,000 baht. I would advise you to ask what the drink prices are before you get stung!
Besides Thailand, is this becoming a universal problem? Back in Britain, the pubs and clubs are closing at an alarming rate, because people just can’t afford to drink in pubs and clubs anymore. If they want to sink some amber nectar, they often buy cheap booze from Supermarkets and drink at home. All of the nightclubs in my home town are closed down and people are forced to travel miles to enjoy clubland.
Meanwhile, back in Bangkok! There’s another part of this vast, sprawling metropolis that is booming. Welcome to clubland! I mention this, because this week the mega popular Insanity Nightclub is moving to Sukhumvit, Soi 11, which has become clubbers central. This “Insanity Gravity” will only strengthen Soi 11 as the main club hub in this inimitable city.
I have not seen the inside of Insanity Nightclub yet (located next to the former Q Bar), but I do know a ton of money has been spent on making it state of the art. Before I forget, the Opening Night this Thursday, June 29th.
It seems money is definitely rolling into the clubs and this seems to be a BIG shift from many moons ago, when clubs were very limited in Bangkok. I remember Thailand in the 1980’s with two of the most famous being Marine Disco in Pattaya and Angels Disco (Nana Hotel), which is now EQ Late Night Club. Things have really come a long way and this is indeed a very positive aspect of Bangkok’s nightlife.
The Castle Fetish Club in Pattaya opens a men only fetish club on July 1st. It is located next door and it is called Sodom. When you go there just make sure you go through the right door, or you might be in for a bit of surprise. Sounds like a good prank for a stag night to me :-)
Mercury GoGo Bar (Middle Floor Nana Plaza) is undergoing renovations. It turns a shade of pink on July 1st, as it reopens as Mercury Ladyboy Bar.
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