The story of Sin City’s nightlife scene can be broken into chapters, each devoted to go-go bars that rose to otherworldly popularity, only to crash to earth and, often, disappear. Is the book finally closing on Pin-Up Pattaya?
Pin-Up Pattaya skyrocketed to popularity before the coronavirus pandemic, packing in 150 girls and full seats of punters every night, nearly from the moment the doors opened. But Pin-Up’s French owner blundered during the Covid-19 shutdowns, giving back one of three shophouses, shrinking the width of the club and expanding it bizarrely to make it long, narrow and suffocating.
That didn’t seem to dent it’s popularity much, though. But Pin-Up Pattaya became too big for its britches and inept foreign management allowed the Thai security thugs to take over the place.
As documented numerous times by Stickman Bangkok, Thai male security guys took over seating customers, literally pushing customers and waving lasers in their faces. The place became tense, hostile and, finally, noticeably less popular.
On a Friday night earlier this month, Pin-Up Pattaya still had plenty of empty seats well after 9 p.m. And the talent on stage was an order of magnitude below the five-star standards the bar had set in better times. Many of the girls who once flashed their wares on the Pin-Up stage have fled for sister bar XS instead, saying Pin-Up was “very quiet now” and “no good”.
It’s notable that XS also has suffered some of the poor foreign management and security overreach as Pin-Up Pattaya, but the French ownership finally appears to have finally noticed as word gets around about the hostile and money-sucking environment prevalent in both bars.
“Sorry to say we won’t be coming anymore,” Ken Jones wrote in an October Google review. “My lady and I were turned away at the door (doorman said ladies aren’t welcome 🤬). Very poor when we helped keep you afloat during the Covid period and we are both paying customers.”
“It’s an horrible place staffed with rude people lacking manners,” wrote Eric Jacquinot in another one-star Google review from October. “Better you avoid it as there are much better options in Pattaya.”
“Too much security around. It’s too in your face and was never like this before. Just not needed and wouldn’t recommend it to anyone,” added Mark Upton in yet another one-star Google review from October.
The management obviously is feeling the pinch because both Pin-Up and XS have now bribing customers for good press: Leave a positive Google review and get a free drink. Sorry, write the truth or something less than glowing and you not only don’t get a free beverage, you might be shown the door!
It’s notable that paying customers, even in kind, for good reviews violates the Google Business platforms terms and conditions. The listings for both bars could be removed and the businesses banned if Google had proof.
Proof wouldn’t be hard to find. There are posters on the restroom walls and flyers on the tables.
Pin-Up Pattaya’s Demise an Old Story
Of course, Pin-Up Pattaya hardly would be the first king of the go-go bars to be dethroned. Just the opposite, it’s one in a decades-long string of them.
Recall these once-great go-go bars: Happy, Airport, Club Boesche, Heaven Above, Living Dolls One, Coyotee’s, Carousel, Misty’s, Diamond, What’s Up, and Club Electric Blue? At one point, all of them were the hottest go-go bar in town. And all of them are now bankrupt and gone. Peppermint, Sensations and Iron Club, three others that once ruled the roost, are still open, but mere shadows of their prime-time selves.
It’s not necessarily the fault of the owners of those failed bars that their bars failed. Hit go-go bars are much like a hit song: You can’t get enough of it for a while and then you get tired of it. Covid did in a number of the bars on that list. Deaths of owners finished off a couple more. Pure ineptitude and greed, though, were driving forces in a lot of them.
In the case of Pin-Up Pattaya (and, maybe soon, XS?), there’s no denying it was the best go-go bar by a mile in Pattaya, but the bloom is finally off the rose and quite a few people aren’t crying any tears over it.