Three months after opening, Essence Nana Plaza has been sold, again.
The former Whiskey & Go-Go had been on the market for more than a year before a pair of thirtysomething Spaniards bought it for a reported 5 million baht in October. They quickly learned that you not only need a lot of money to buy a go-go bar, you need a lot more to refit, open and make it profitable.
After a few weeks, work to polish the bar’s interior all but halted due to Team Spain’s cash crunch. The stage was finished and mirrors went up on the walls, but the rest of the place, from the unfinished tables to the poor stage lighting were never completed.
The Spaniards threw in the towel in January, putting Essence Nana Plaza on the market for a crazy 12 million baht, which was almost immediately lowered to 8. Remarkably, it sold in the last week of January – for far less than 8 million baht – to a Russian national who has been in Thailand for less than three weeks.
Essence Nana Plaza Now Russian-Owned
The purchase marks the first known ownership of a Bangkok go-go bar by a Russian, although the 42-year-old spends little time in his home country, traveling to oversee his various businesses around the world that range from real estate to luxury car sales to retail. This is his first bar business, although he said Saturday that his father once owned a nightclub in New York City.
With his jet-set lifestyle, Essence Nana Plaza’s new boss did the smart thing and immediately hired an experienced hand, Greg, the former manager of Nana Plaza’s Red Dragon Club & Lounge and Soi Cowboy’s Shark Club, as the general manager. One of the first things he did was call and hire Digital a-Go-Go, who did photography and marketing for Whiskey, to get the new Essence social media up and running again. So look for some great new photos soon.
As for getting Essence Nana Plaza ready, Greg has quite a chore ahead of hm. A lighting engineer will come in this week to finally light the stage properly. A mamasan must be hired, dancers’ costumes purchased, the point-of-sale system fixed and all the corners that were cut by the former owners smoothed out. The new owners are discovered that beneath the glossy veneer, Essence was built on the cheap and the work to bring it up to standard will not be.
But new ownership and management is excited and motivated and, in very little time, Essence Nana Plaza should become a must-visit bar.
A Russian Walks Into a Go-Go Bar…
So how does someone who is basically a tourist buy a Bangkok go-go bar?
The new boss said he came to Thailand last month and first went to Pattaya, as Russians do. Unlike his fellow countrymen, however, Essence’s main man said he hated it. Smells like a sewer and filled with old men and women, was how he summed it up. Bangkok, on the other hand, he really liked.
He was making the rounds in Nana Plaza and pulled into Essence where, as is often the case, he was the only customer. He struck up a conversation with the mamasan who told him the bar was for sale. They arranged for the Russian to come back the next day and meet one of the Spanish partners. He did and the deal was done on the spot.
The swift sale shocked people in both the bar and property sectors. A broker who has sold numerous Nana Plaza bars was dumbfounded such a deal with done in days instead of months. But, as is always the case, money talks, and Essence Nana Plaza’s new owner apparently isn’t scared to spend it on a business he believes has only upside.
Time will tell…