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Opinion

Why Are There No “Fun Pubs” In Bangkok?

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It’s been almost nine years since I first came to Bangkok and in that time not a lot has really changed in the “format” of bars and pubs around this massive city. And when I say bars I’m talking about venues geared towards foreigners. We will leave Thai orientated bars out of the equation. I’m also not including nightclubs as they don’t fit in with where this is going.

Having been around most of what Bangkok has to offer I find the majority of bars can be considered one the following with plenty of combinations:

– sports
– food
– girly / freelance
– pool
– coyote
– trendy (who is looking at me poser joints)
– street
– rooftop
– live band
– theme (Irish, Aussie etc)

Now from that list there are plenty of bars where the owners have spent a fair bit of money making them look good and a little different – even some girly bars. Expensive sound and lighting systems, high quality decor and elaborate toilets are just a few ways they have made an attempt to stand out from the crowd.

But the format they have went with remains pretty much the same in similar themed venues whether they have spent 10,000 or 10 million baht on doing the place up. The promotions and happy hours, the parties, the marketing – it all looks and sounds the same. No one is really doing anything special or different from the competition. For me those that rise to the top are the ones with the best marketing teams or those who have been in business a good number of years and built a loyal customer base.

One type of “format” that I find hard to believe that nobody has opened in Bangkok is a “fun pub”. The closest I’ve seen but not quite was a Thai bar I visited a couple of years back on the outskirts of town. This place ticked about half the boxes of what I’d describe as a “fun pub” and was packed to the rafters on a weeknight.

fun pub bangkok

So what exactly is a “fun pub”?

– They are predominantly pre-club bars that close around 1am (ish).

– Continuously changing drinks promos throughout the night all of which are at rock bottom prices. And when I say changing all night I’m talking about hourly. 50 baht beers and shooters sounds about right.

– Entertainment from a DJ with a personality and mic skills playing party / mainstream music that people actually know and like.

– Traditional self-service with no waiting staff unless you come with a decent sized party when your first round will be served by a waitress. Beyond that you are hitting the bar yourself.

– Adult themed games plus giveaways and freebies. Drink a yard of ale in one go and win 5k etc. There are hundreds of games and no need for the same old night after night.

Off the top of my head a “fun pub” in Bangkok would be ideally be located somewhere like Sukhumvit Soi 11 or Khao San Road. Both have a good mix of younger male and female Westerners, freelance working girls with a reasonable helping of so called good girls. In other words, plenty of party people who are willing to let their hair down and have a good time without worrying who is looking at them.

Khao San Road Fun Pub

Having had this discussion with a few friends and work mates many have said to me that a bar like this wouldn’t work in Bangkok and the most common reasons were:

– Customers want to be waited on hand and foot by service staff. I beg to differ. Sure for the Thai girls it will all seem a bit unusual at first but with a busy pub selling cheap booze and full of potential “boyfriends” it is my thought that they will soon get over it. Westerners won’t bat an eyelid at having to hit the bar and get a round in.

– You’ll have problems with bar staff stealing money as they will be serving customers in a more traditional Western way. Well there are several ways round this. Pocketless uniforms, security cameras, a trusted bar supervisor are just a few.

– People won’t stay in a bar with just a DJ is another one that often cropped up. Now I’m not talking Mr DJ mixing a bunch of songs nobody knows with a laptop and screaming here we go every now and then. Anything but. So let me ask you, when was the last time in Bangkok you seen a DJ with a radio mic walking round mixing and chatting with the customers? Never, right? When was the last time you heard a DJ who could speak in both Thai and English and be understood clearly? Never, right? The only time I’ve seen a DJ do anything even remotely like what I’m talking about was in the Thai place I mentioned earlier that ticked some of the boxes for a “fun pub”.

For every reason anyone has given me as to why a “fun pub” wouldn’t work here I have given them good, solid and lengthy explanations and solutions.

It goes without say that everything I have spoken about here are just the basics of a “fun pub”. Of course there is a fair bit more to it all but I’m obviously not going to go into details and hand a free business plan to every Tom, Dick And Harry reading this.

The bottomline is this. Bangkok is missing out on a clearly different style and format for a bar that works well in cities around the world. Why has no one tried it?

At this point you might be asking yourself, well Stickboy BKK if you are so damn sure it would work then why don’t you open it yourself? A very good question and one that requires a lengthy answer which I will save for “Running A Busy Bar In Bangkok” which will be coming in the not too distant future.

Stickboy aka Sticky Boy aka Mike McKay aka Mike McKwai, Wild Mike, Magic Mike, Mr Mike, and a fair few more best forgotten, is a party animal with hollow legs who loves music, current affairs, beer, food, causing trouble on Twitter, and making the most of life without worrying too much about what people think or say about his antics. You can send him stuff here - stickboybkk@gmail.com

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Opinion

Tales From The Front: Sunday Dinner On A Saturday Night

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Stickboy, Fatface, and The Keeper are sat in a British pub on lower Sukhumvit on a Saturday night…

A gathering of the clan earlier in the evening for some birthday beers meant Stickboy’s belly needed filling before meeting back up with everyone who had gone in different directions ahead of the cake cutting ceremony at Lighthouse sometime around 10pm.

Somchai The Dog had popped in for a couple of shandies but was looking like a burst couch and was having none of it ordering takeout before disappearing into the dark Bang Na bound on the BTS.

The other half of the Dangerous Duo, Digiman, wasn’t ready for home just yet but had no interest in food.

The Keeper orders quesadillas while smooth-talking his missus, girlfriend or gik – maybe all three – and wasn’t paying attention to much as Fatface orders Chips & Curry sauce for Stickboy.

sunday roast on a saturday night

The food arrives, everyone digs in, more beer is ordered to wash down the grub as all four eat what’s sat on the table.

The Keeper is still on the phone like an old sweetie wife and starts making space on the table with his free hand when a waitress arrives over his shoulder with another plate of food.

He clears a space in front of Fatface and Stickboy who look at each other thinking that’s an odd place to put a roast dinner they both think The Keeper has ordered for himself.

He ends his call and tucks into the roast pork telling everyone to help themselves which they do.

Chips are in the gravy, potatoes are in the curry sauce and the plate is emptying at a fair pace as four mouths feast on the Sunday dinner.

More than halfway through the food a member of the service staff appears and starts talking to The Keeper with Fatface joining in.

Something is amiss.

“Hey Stickboy, did you order the pork roast?”, enquires The Keeper.

“No mate, I thought you did.”

In his best Shaggy voice, he fires back, “It wasn’t me”.

It turns out some poor bloke sat at the bar was sitting patiently waiting on his dinner the staff had wrongly delivered that the four scavengers had all but demolished each of them thinking someone else at the table fancied a Sunday dinner on a Saturday night.

sunday roast on a saturday night

The four grubbers thought this was hilarious and all just shrugged their shoulders laughing having told the service staff to take it away… until Stickboy’s bin arrived with a Roast Pork Loin at 295 baht on it.

He wasn’t laughing any more.

Had it not been for the fact his mates own the pub he’d likely have upset the waitresses with a few choice words having been billed for something he didn’t order with zero conversation between staff and customer over what was a genuine mistake on the part of everyone involved.

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Opinion

Trump, #Thighland And Dinesh The Dick

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Thighland

I don’t care much for America, its president or politics but when my Twitter timeline is drowning in Trump making a tit of himself by pronouncing Thailand as Thighland then I’m interested.

I’ve no idea what Don was waffling on about when he mentioned Thighland and Vietnam or how chummy he was with their leaders and it’s not that important.

Nor is Trump making a clown of himself anything new from what I recall of him from years back when he faced opposition to his golf course in Scotland, the man is an idiot.

Here’s Scottish radio presenter Robin Galloway pranking him on a call.



Anyway, back to #Thighland…



Okay, he did correct himself straight away but come on, this is the head honcho of Arm-erica. You’d think he could manage to pronounce Thailand properly, yeah?

Well, apparently he did according to some dick called Dinesh who made a complete fool of himself to his 1.2 million Twitter followers and everyone else who pointed out to him that he was wrong.

dinesh 1

Really?

dinesh 2

“Tai-land” is the crude lingo of people who have never been to “Thighland”… including generations of Thais?

Notice how he retweets himself – does he think the more he repeats himself and the more people read it that makes him correct?

Remember, this cockwomble has 1.2 million followers.

dinesh 3

Err, nope.

dinesh 4

dinesh 5

Oh, is Dinesh the dick doing a spot of back peddling here?

dinesh 6

Of course he isn’t

A guy like this could never admit he got it wrong. Even if he was arguing black was white.

Thousands of Thai people replied to his Tweets correcting him and he chose to ignore each and every one of them instead he decided to belittle others who pointed out his mistake.

Finally, here’s the man himself from 2002.


Dinish is now a fully-fledged member of the #TwitterTossers club.

Hat Tip to femalefaust who was behind unearthing Dinesh The Dick pronouncing “Thailand” as “Thailand” and not “#Thighland”.

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Opinion

Easy Does It This Weekend

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Puffed Out

This weekend is a 4-day holiday in Thailand and normally I’d work through it and take some time off afterwards but with things so quiet on all fronts I decided to join the masses and take a couple of days off.

Updates will resume once I have slept myself silly and recharged my batteries.

I don’t plan on doing much of anything or going anywhere so I will still add a few updates on social media to pass the time as they don’t require much brainpower or thinking.

Whatever you are doing, be it the beach or boozing, maybe both, enjoy yourself and have fun.

See you on the other side.

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