NANA PLAZA – NEON JUNGLE NEWS
Well guys, for you Night Fever fans, I have heard from the “bamboo bugle” that the strict 1:00am closing times should loosen up in the not too distant future. I want to add that this has not been confirmed yet, but this is what we are hearing from the boys in brown. You know, those guys in too tight uniforms who according to Bernard Trink (formerly the Nite Owl columnist for the Bangkok Post), are apparently Lumpini’s finest. Unlike the old Nite Owl, I don’t think “finest” is quite the definition that many of us would use. Currently the early bar closing times of 1:00am-1:30am still remains in Nana Plaza. But, there was a reprieve last Saturday night when Nana Plaza remained open until 2:00am. Let’s all hope that this is a promising sign.
If you take a stroll deeper into Soi 4 after the police have closed Nana Plaza, there are a couple of bars in Rajah Hotel car park where you can get a night cap. The two bars inside Rajah Hotel car park include one that admires a famous Mexican drink and the other takes its pool tables and equipment very seriously. OK guys, if you cannot follow those clues then you had better email me!
The two main Rainbow Bars, namely Rainbow 1 and Rainbow 4 are still doing a roaring trade. Unlike almost all of the other go-go bars their trade remains consistent. It is a VERY prosperous business when you take into account the incredible volume of bar fines that the Rainbow Bars achieve. Even the relatively tiny Rainbow 1 has recently achieved over 100 bar fines on some nights. This is a tremendous amount when you consider just how quiet many of the go-go bars have been. One highly successful bar owner predicted at the start of 2007, that this would be an extremely tough year for the Bangkok go-go bars. Rainbow 1 and Rainbow 4 still remain very much the exception to the norm. For those who are just catching up on the latest Night Fever news, Rainbow 4 will remain open. I will add that it cost the owner Khun Ming a small fortune, but that’s OK because Rainbow 4 makes a fortune!
HIT OR MISS
Whenever you decide to visit such establishments like go-go bars in these unpredictable times, it can often be a case of hit or miss. There is one significant difference between the best run go-go bars and the go-go bars that only have sporadic periods of success. The acid test is how consistent they maintain their trade throughout the whole week. On numerous occasions you can visit a go-go bar on a Friday night and think it is the best bar in Thailand. Then you return one night during the week and you think it is the worst bar in Thailand. The fact of the matter is that the most successful and therefore best run bars, remain consistently busy on a nightly basis. The most successful and popular bars also suffer far less in terms of seasonality. Even though right now is an exceptionally quiet period for most of the Bangkok bars, the two most popular Rainbow Bars keep packing the customers in night after night.
One other prime example of consistency is Long Gun in Soi Cowboy, which has been drawing a busy crowd for decades. I have enjoyed watching the shows in Long Gun since the 1980’s, and right up to present day I cannot remember Long Gun ever suffering a drought of customers. Whether you happen to be a fan of Long Gun or not, this is a remarkable achievement and a perfect example.
Some go-go bars tend to have a lot of dolly birds on Fridays and Saturdays and then there appears to be an exodus of go-go dancers throughout the week. Many of you guys will have noticed this. Most go-go bars have very strict rules about working on Fridays and Saturdays for all staff. They are the main nights and therefore bargirls can be cut double the cost of the bar fine. So, if a go-go dancer misses a Friday night or a Saturday night she will be cut 1,200 Baht in most of the Bangkok go-go bars. Coupled with the fact that more customers are out on those nights, bargirls are motivated to work on Fridays and Saturdays. Throughout the week quite a few bargirls disappear faster than the world famous illusionist David Copperfield. Unless the go-go bar offers something very special they will never fill the bar up throughout the week. The art of consistency takes a lot of achieving, but that is another story for another day.
A STROLL DOWN COUNTRY ROAD
If you want a stroll down to Country Road on the corner of Sukhumvit, Soi 19 you had better be quick. The whole area is to be demolished to make way for land developers. Stick Mark II said that there will be a hotel built in its place. However, that whole area of land has been cleared, and that’s a whole lot of land. Perhaps behind yet another hotel, there will be yet another shopping center? This seems to be a sign of the times for Bangkok with even more hotels and shopping malls being built. How many does one city need?
Country Road was never a favorite place of mine but it is a landmark in some ways. Stick Mark II said that he enjoyed Country Road in his earlier years – sounds like he is becoming a slipper and pipe man! But, joking apart I have to agree with Stick Mark II that Country Road will be missed. I won’t miss the venue personally, but nostalgically I think it will at least be missed by some people.
A WALK ON THE WILD WEST SIDE
In this Land Of Contradictions there never seems to be a dull moment. Even during these politically problematic Thai times, we can still be mildly amused by Thailand’s idiosyncrasies. I sometimes like the fact that the Land Of Sanuk is so unpredictable that it keeps me on my toes…
We were told by the police that ALL of the go-go bars would have to close for the Buddhist holiday on Thursday, May 31. However, for a change this time around it was Soi Cowboy that became the only go-go bar area out of Bangkok and Pattaya that was open. I was a bit surprised because I learned that this is one of the biggest Buddhist holidays, so much so that it is honored across parts of the globe. Even so, the boys in brown from Tonglor district decided to allow Soi Cowboy to open. I am often asked by many a bamboozled farang about police politics, but basically it is the decision of the Police Commander of that particular district. Thailand is slightly similar to America in that different districts (States) have different laws.
I found out too late to report that Soi Cowboy was indeed open, but I did manage to send an email out to the guys that I knew were here in Bangkok. And so, because everywhere else was closed Dave The Rave went to Cowboy Country to investigate…
It has been a while since I have spent a decent amount of time down in Cowboy Country, so a visit was overdue. Life has been hectic for me but excuses aside I’m sorry for being a bit slack on reporting about Soi Cowboy. Some people wrongly assume that I do not wish to write about Soi Cowboy, but this is not the reason. I explained to Special K who is a big Soi Cowboy fan, that it was more to do with the fact that I rarely ever receive news from Soi Cowboy. This was the perfect opportunity to take a walk on the Wild West side. With every intention of gaining pole position in the go-go bars my first pit stop was DÃ©jÃ Vu bar. Upon entering DÃ©jÃ Vu I was immediately greeted by Mamasan Pui who used to work in Hollywood Rock on floor one in Nana Plaza for Kevin and Anton. Pui looked well and gave me a warm welcome. She still has a cute smile and looks young for a Mamasan, even by today’s standards. In the meantime Pui efficiently went about her duties. One thing that I observed on my barman’s holiday (I can’t drive a bus) was the Mamasan addressing the staff with a cordless microphone. I thought to myself that modern technology seems to be taking over everything. Mamasans with cordless microphones, the mind boggles!
Trade was sluggish and Mamasan Pui told me that quite a few go-go girls did not realize that Soi Cowboy was open. The blatantly obvious lack of girls around the go-go bar reflected that, but I did spot a few cute little teeny boppers. At some other bars where you are usually packed like a sardine into a tin can, it was a pleasant change to have my own space. I soaked up the eye candy as I sipped on my Chang draught beer, which incidentally is only 70 Baht all night. The regular house beers in DÃ©jÃ Vu are 135 Baht. To me that is pretty much standard these days if you take the odd few Baht here and there. However, there is a big difference with the bar fines because a sign states that the bar fine is 600 Baht at Happy Hour. After Happy Hour it raises to 800 Baht. I discovered that the go-go dancers are paid very well in DÃ©jÃ Vu and receive 14,000 Baht if they achieve their bar fine quota. By any standards that is a damned good salary for a bargirl.
The decision to open on the Buddhist holiday came at the last moment and even took some Thais by surprise. Even so, almost every bar in Soi Cowboy was open except a few like Shark, Pam’s and Apache, but there are other reasons why some bars were closed.
Unfortunately Pam’s Bar will be closing her doors very soon as the owner has called it a day. I have occasionally drunk in Pam’s over the years and as rough and ready as Pam’s Bar is, it can be fun in a cozy kind of way. Yet another Bangkok institution bites the dust… OK DJ, cue Queen’s song, “Another One Bites The Dust!”
Don’t worry farang folks, the Red Indians have stopped doing a war dance because Apache is now back open again. You will not need your peace pipe after all. You will be pleased to know that the sex starved squaws are waiting for you. The squaws have gone coyote and now can be seen dancing on the bar counter that runs down the length of one side of Apache. It could be interesting having a coyote style bar. Swing by to check out Apache and don’t forget to say, “HOW!”
EMAIL DAVE THE RAVE
Please send your input and feedback to – [email protected]