The pre-Songkran “lull” has arrived in Bangkok’s naughty bars in Nana Plaza and Soi Cowboy. There’s only one last hurrah left for high season – Songkran in mid-April – and then low season will kick in hard.

Dollhouse early this week had only a smattering of customers during the 10-11 o’clock hours. Across the street at Suzie Wong, all the inside seats were empty just before midnight.

On Wednesday, Mandarin was quiet with only a few customers during prime time. There were plenty of seats around the Jacuzzi at Billboard and Butterflies and Erotica was erased of patrons. For Bangkok’s two main red-light areas – Patpong is not a major area anymore – it’s back to the old model of Fridays and Saturdays being the big nights.

A large bill at Erotica Nana Plaza Bangkok
A big night at Erotica for one man.

And, sure enough, Saturday night was big on Cowboy. With no Premier League on, people headed out to the Neon Alley, which really kicked into gear after 11 p.m.

At Suzie Wong, where all the chairs had been empty at that time four days earlier, all the seats were full with only stage seating to be had. Long Gun was packed with tourists, Crazy House was heaving and Dollhouse was banging.

Billboard and Butterflies in Nana Plaza are among the two best-run bars in the country. There can be, at peak times, 170 girls between them. The drink prices are below industry average yet the music, the lights, the air conditioning, the air quality and the entire design of both bars is far above average.

The owner is on-site and hands and a great host. So, it’s no wonder Billboard, in particular, continues to draw monster-sized crowds from nearly the moment the doors open. And those customers spend.

On Tuesday night, when nearly every bar in Nana Plaza and Cowboy had a very down night, Billboard was rocking. It was so “crazy” that one expat customer finally left and went for a “quiet drink” in Dollhouse. It was just that nuts.

Why? A couple of high rollers were having the time of their life. Between them, they bought more than 100,000 baht in 20-baht and 100-baht bills and made it rain. Every girl and service staffer got rich that night, but the scramble for flying bills was pandemonium. 120,000 baht in a night? That’s actually nothing new in Billboard. It “rains” there a lot, even in dry season!

Billboard is not alone, of course, in attracting big spenders. Among bar operators, there’s a widely followed economic maxim called the 80-20 Theory: 80% of your revenue comes from 20% of your customers. And you take care of your “whales” above the one-Leo-and-out guy.

So, even on a “slow” night this week, Erotica in Nana made its night this week with one customer who dropped 30,000, mostly on lady drinks.