Christmas Eve was quite tame this year in Bangkok, due partly to the earlier closing times for the farang nightlife areas in the capital. However, Khun Oh the co-owner of Play Skool, which is located next to Rainbow 1 on floor one of Nana Plaza did hire a Thai band. The beer bar outside Play Skool kept the party going until the early hours, but it was mostly supported by Thais. I did attend and managed to buy Khun Oh a drink for generously providing some entertainment. The authorities did not allow any of the go-go bars to open late, but it did not appear that much of a loss as Christmas Eve in Bangkok was not celebrated by the massive crowds of previous years. Christmas Day in some places looked a far cry from a Merry Christmas celebration, but the locals in Jools Bar down opposite Raja Hotel car park on Soi 4 were (almost) in fine tune as they sung a few Christmas songs.
A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS
On Christmas morning The Mad Stockbroker was on his way to work when he spotted an early Christmas Day party at the Winking Frog on Sukhumvit, Soi 7. It was 8:00am in the morning and some family members were enjoying a little party. The Mad Stockbroker noticed a load of beers all lined up, so the lads had started swilling down the beer at 8:00am in the morning. Hey, my kind of people!
This year I had the turkey dinner in Jools Bar and it was superb value for money. Big Dave, the owner of Jools puts on what I think is the best value for money English meals. They are not only extremely generous portions, but also authentic English style dinners. The turkey dinner with all the trimmings came to only 335 Baht and Big Dave kindly gave everybody who ordered a dinner a free Christmas pudding with custard. I thought that was marvelous because very few bar owners in Bangkok give their customers anything at all really. In stark contrast some establishments were charging several times that amount and obviously trying to cash in. Chequers, the expat bar and restaurant next to Hillary 2, did offer an extensive set Christmas meal for 680 Baht, which is quite reasonable for the quantity and quality of food offered. Currently, in quite a few expat residents minds, both Jools and Chequers offer the best choice of farang food in the Nana area. If you are looking for a good roast dinner, then look no further than Jools Bar. The roast pork with crackling and apple sauce is particularly good. Along with Big Dave’s monster breakfast no other venue offers such enormous portions and so, make sure you are famished before you take on one of Big Dave’s mighty meals. Chequers provide an upstairs dining area and offer tasty Thai food as well as a variety of Western dishes. Believe me guys, you could do far worse than visit Chequers or Jools for a decent meal in the Nana area.
Just a bit further down from Jools Bar is the fairly recently opened small Irish Bar called Finnegan’s. Finnegan’s are now gaining a good reputation for offering good meals and so this is yet another option in Soi Nana.
WHEN IRISH EYES ARE SMILING
After a lovely Christmas Day meal in Jools Bar, which was spent with Dangerous Dave and his girlfriend I went to visit the new Irish Pub that is directly opposite Hillary 2 Bar. In actual fact, Hanrahans rises up above Hillary 2 to dwarf it like a huge green monster. This place is enormous! I spent a very pleasant afternoon chatting to the very amicable and highly qualified manager. I found Paul to be a very friendly host who generously gave me loads of his time in explaining Hanrahans concept and showed me around the very plush and stylish establishment. Paul, who recently came up from Phuket to join the team in Bangkok, has a detailed Hotel and food and beverage management background.
There are three levels to Hanrahans which comprise of the Pub on the ground level, the Jameson lounge on the second level and a third level rooftop area that has wooden tables and chairs. The main downstairs area is a very spacious Pub, but I enjoyed sitting in the Jameson lounge which has luxurious green leather sofas. There are numerous plasma screens all around Hanrahans and in certain areas you can even request different channels if you so wish. This is a particularly good idea for those who perhaps want to watch other sports events. So often nobody will cater for American sports fans who want to watch American football, baseball and sports other than football (soccer). So guys, just ask your friendly Hanrahans host Paul and you can enjoy your choice of sport.
I think Hanrahans have established themselves very well in only two weeks and I predict that they will soon draw more customers as time goes by. I would go as far as to say that Hanrahans will be doing a brisk trade in considerably less time in comparison to other venues in the area. Originating from the same chain group as The Robin Hood (Sukhumvit, Soi 33/1) and O’Reillys (62 Silom Road), this little sample of Ireland will follow suit with a proven track record. As a local guy I applaud the arrival of such a classy establishment and it will definitely be a very positive addition to the Nana area.
Hanrahans offer various draught beers at special promotional prices, which for avid beer fans should not be missed. They are all full pints of draught beer. From 7:00pm until closing time take note of these promotion nights:-
Monday – Tiger (lager beer) 95 Baht, Tuesday – Heineken (lager beer) 95 Baht, Wednesday – Guiness (Irish stout) 120 Baht, Thursday – Kilkenny (Irish Bitter) 130 Baht. Hanrahans also boast a cutting edge cooling system to keep the beers at a consistently cold temperature. At these superb prices it will not just be Irish eyes that are smiling.
A survey was conducted to assess why men get up in the middle of the night. The survey discovered that a small percentage got out of bed with Insomnia. A slightly higher percentage got out of bed to use the rest room. But, the overwhelming majority got out of bed to go home.
PATTAYA – PLEASURE PLAYGROUND
Pattaya is now teeming with people. The long awaited visitors are now flooding Pleasure Playground and it is becoming increasingly more and more difficult to get a Hotel near the centre of the action. If you are intending to visit Pattaya any time soon, you should bear this in mind. At long last everyone can smile in Pleasure Playground as high season starts to take effect, but the bars in remote areas will not be celebrating like the nightspots in and around Walking Street. The popular Walking Street area is simply buzzing as the build up to New Years Eve draws ever closer. The popular host Ricky, can be found in FLB Bar on Walking Street and ole Ricky is always a good source of local information, as well as a welcoming host.
TRAGEDY IN THAILAND
From Pattaya comes some very tragic news because a popular bar owner has recently passed away. I am very sorry to report that Steve Blumenthal died on December 14 and this is a big loss to the Pattaya community. Steve was the main owner of TQ 2 which was a popular meeting place for many Westerners. Steve was also a partner in Bob’s Barbeque, Mermaid’s X’Treme Scuba Diving and Mermaid’s Dive Shop in Jomtien. Steve has been laid to rest in the Jewish section of the Protestant Cemetery near the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok. Steve was 41 years old and he leaves a Thai wife and two young children. I deliberately did not write about Steve until now out of respect to Steve’s family and close friends. Along with many others my deepest sympathy goes out to Steve’s family and friends.
IN SICKNESS AND IN HEALTH
One night Jip, the DJ in Angelwitch came over to me, he was eager to show me the front page of a Thai newspaper. In Malaysia a 33 year old man got married to a Malaysian woman. OK, nothing special except the woman is 104 years old. The real motives behind his marriage proposal seem rather dubious. Do you think he is on the job every night? Yuk! And, quickly moving along…
SOI COWBOY – LITTLE LAS VEGAS
Upon entering Soi Cowboy you are immediately hit by a kaleidoscope of bright colors. The vast amount of neon on display per square meter is like being in a small corner of Las Vegas. These days I think Soi Cowboy proudly displays the most impressive array of colorful neon signs in the entire Big Mango (city of angels), with the only exception being Ratchadapisek. There are so many neon lights making this little street glow so predominantly, that it could almost be a tourist attraction in itself. As you take a leisurely stroll down Cowboy Street, you cannot help but get a buzz from the visual carnival. I like the way the bars are conveniently situated on a single level along one narrow lane. It makes a pleasant change to see that the bars are not on several levels like in Nana Plaza and Patpong.
For some considerable time now Soi Cowboy has raised in stature with a distinct difference in the way the bargirls, or should I say bare-girls treat their customers. Soi Cowboy is a fun and friendly place to hang out with more fun loving dolly birds (hot babes for non-Brits) becoming evident in the top go-go bars. This historic little Soi still maintains a reputation of being friendlier and less aggressive than the other go-go bar areas. As well as being kind to the visitors personally, in general it is reasonably kind on the bank balance too. However, some bars have raised their prices and it remains to be seen what affect if any this will have. I guess time will tell. Time to step inside Cowboy Country.
It is a pleasurable stroll down Cowboy Street as you are greeted by “hello” girls located at the various bars, because they are neither aggressive, nor too pushy at all. The relaxed atmosphere of Little Las Vegas is certainly to my liking. Our first stop was Shark Bar which I must say impressed me. There was a pleasant ambience and atmosphere to this place, which defies the name Shark. Why on earth was it named Shark Bar? The only Shark attack that I can think of is when the resident farangs have a savage feeding frenzy over the Happy Hour! The generous Happy Hour runs from 4.30pm until 8.30pm, where regular beers and spirits are incredibly priced at only 60 baht. This also included a Sunday Special which comprises of tequila shots at only 50 baht for the whole duration of the evening. Outstanding! The normal prices are very much farang friendly too with Heineken draft at 95 baht and Lady Drinks at 90 baht. Reasonable drink prices is one good thing that I hope remains in Soi Cowboy. The go-go bars in Cowboy really make an effort to bring in some early trade with excellent super specials.
On top of this, Shark Go-Go Bar is a very good bar in its own right. The music selection and sound level was decent music to my ears, unlike certain other establishments who insist on deafening you. They played neither ridiculously heavy metal, nor any trashy techno, and the music was played at a reasonable level where one could comfortably have a conversation. So many go-go bars overlook the importance of good music selection and comfortable sound levels. I was pleased to see that this was not the case here. I really like the lighting and the stage design has that French elegance about it, which reflects the fact that it is French owned of course – Bonjour Frankie!
The mini carousel is a very different touch that is more creative than so many other run-of-the-mill go-go bars. The dancers are generally very attractive, with some unusually tall and leggy girls. And before you ask, yes they are female. Most of the go-go dancers sported pretty faces with terrific bodies that showed no signs of stretch marks and horrendous scars. If we exclude Showgirls these go-go dancers were certainly among the most attractive collection of dolly birds that we saw in Soi Cowboy. The dancers are tastefully dressed in transparent lace tops with matching white lace mini skirts. The dolly birds here were certainly farang friendly and it was a pleasurable experience. Check it out!
EARTHQUAKE IN ASIA
I am just receiving reports of an earthquake in the region that has put many Internet servers out of action. Sorry but due to circumstances beyond our control this edition of Night Fever was late. As the Thais say, “What can I do?”
NEW YEARS EVE CELEBRATIONS
For those wishing to celebrate New Years Eve in the nightspots all across Thailand, I am pleased to announce that you will be able to do so until 6:00am on New Years Day. This has been approved by the Thai authorities, so there is no need to hit the town too early on New Years Eve. Whether a bar or nightspot wishes to stay open until 6:00am is another matter, but the option is available.
WISHING YOU A HAPPY NEW YEAR
Wherever you will be celebrating I want to take this opportunity to wish you all the very best of luck for 2007. Let us all hope and pray that 2007 will be a more peaceful and prosperous year for everybody concerned. I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to all of my friends – there are far too many to name but you know who you are. My good friends have been there for me throughout what has been for the most part a very good year for Dave The Rave.
Happy New Year! See you in 2007…