The Museum of Patpong, a unique and highly appreciated attraction in Bangkok, along with the Delaney’s music and comedy bar, have become the latest victims of the Phuket underage sex-trafficking scandal that left Patpong busted.
Patpong Soi 2 has been all but shut down in the fallout from the March raid in Phuket, in which it was rumored that 109 bar-goers were identified by the police using CCTV cameras as purchasing the sexual services of underage girls. Skeptics said that was highly unlikely given the logistical challenges of tracking and identifying such a large number of suspects.
The owner of those Phuket bars also owned XXX Lounge, The Strip 2.0, Black Pagoda and Bar Bar on Patpong Soi 2, all of which have been shut, padlocked and seemingly done forever, although Patpong fanboys and vested interests continue to spout rumors that XXX or even Bar Bar will reopen “soon” or “next month”. Until then, it’s “Patpong Busted”.
In the case of the Patpong Museum, the closure was not an official government order, and the future of the museum remains uncertain. Stickman Bangkok wrote this week that the loss of the museum would be a significant blow to the area, as it has been well-received by both locals and visitors alike.
In the case of Delaney’s – opened by the very popular Joe Delaney, who has no connection to the Phuket scandal or the Patpong bar group – it’s a case of being truly collateral damage. Delaney, a musician who continues to play many foreign-centric pubs in Bangkok, sunk his life savings into the unique and very smart pub before Patpong busted. His only mistake was subletting from the the bar group, which had leased the building and then jacked up the price to Delaney.
Michael Mesner, the Patong and Phuket bar boss who also is the creator and curator of the museum is currently behind bars, which raises doubts about the possibility of any of the businesses reopening.
Traditionally, bars caught up in underage scandals faced a two-month closure, but the severity of the situation and the ongoing imprisonment of the head of these venues make reopening highly unlikely.
Patpong Busted: Girls Scattered
Many of the former employees of the closed bars have dispersed to other establishments in the area, including Nana Plaza and Pink Panther in Patpong. Pink Panther has been benefiting from the closures, seeing an increase in girl numbers and trade, likely due to less direct competition on the Soi.
Despite the Patpong Busted situation, there is still some positivity in Patpong. Patrons have been praising King’s Castle 1 and the recently reopened King’s Castle 2. Both bars seem to be thriving and are drawing attention from locals and visitors.
The future of the Museum of Patpong and the closed bars in the area remains uncertain, leaving many to wonder whether they will ever reopen. In the meantime, the remaining bars in Patpong continue to operate, offering a taste of the area’s nightlife.