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Get Laid Or Die Tryin’

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Sitting in Club Electric Blue in Patpong Friday night, the talk at the bar was “where is everyone”?

Friday night, December 4th, six weeks into the supposed “high season” and there was a full stage of dancing dollies at 2am. Could it be that expats, who make up the bulk of the trade at Patpong go-go bars, really were spooked by that day’s news that 10 Syrians with ties to the Islamic State group had entered the country in October on a mission to create havoc?

Hoisting our glasses of 50-baht draft, we agreed you stood more of a chance of getting hit by a truck crossing Silom Road than getting killed in a terrorist attack in Bangkok’s oldest red-light district.

Nana

It has been eerily quiet out and about on the Sukhumvit strip and beyond this past week with popular chrome pole palaces that are normally rammed on weekends showing lots of empty seats with stages full of dancers come closing time on both Friday and Saturday night.

Not wanting to sound like the Prophet Of Doom like many who take the easy route of bashing what or where isn’t doing well over telling readers what is good around town, I can’t skip just how bad business has looked this week.

For one reason and another I have been out almost every night for the past ten days and despite a few friends telling me they have broken records and one saying they had their best Friday ever last weekend, my overall feeling is that just isn’t the case for many bars and even the venue with the record breaking Friday, that is usually busy most nights, hasn’t been as lively as you’d expect in the past few days.

tilac soi cowboy

Now I’m not saying all the bars I stopped in were quiet as there were exceptions like Bada Bing and Tilac on Friday night and Mandarin on Saturday. All three were doing good trade but I should point out there were lots of Japanese faces in the crowd, which for me, was the difference between these bars being like the many others who looked like they were struggling.

No doubt the likes of Baccara, Crazy House and R&B Bar were all showing decent balance sheets because they are among Bangkok’s most popular go-go’s and no matter what, they always seem to do well. On Saturday even the patio area at Baccara was packed and Crazy House still half full at 2.30am with plenty more making their way inside.

baccara soi cowboy

You often read online that Nana and Patpong were dead and Soi Cowboy was packed but this is a little misleading.

Whilst the neon alley may have more boots on the ground that doesn’t always equate to bums on seats and barfines on the books. Soi Cowboy is high on the tourist checklist of places to see on their whirlwind tour of the capital which makes the soi look busy but stick you head inside some of the bars and they are dead.

Yes I said some. Around midnight on Saturday night I stuck my head in Afterskool, Toy, Moonshine and Jungle Jims with all four at least half full or more.

bada bing

So where is everyone hiding? Why are so many chrome pole palaces quiet?

Midweek my guess was the locals were stashing their cash for a 10 day party over Xmas and New year so babes and beers on a school night had been knocked on the head. But what of the tourists?

It is after all supposed to be high season which should mean brisk business and lots of bodies or should it? Bar owners who have been around a few years will tell you the weeks leading up to Xmas usually see a dip in business with a complete bottoming-out the week directly before the holiday.

The syndrome might be particularly acute this year due the calendar: With Christmas coming on a Friday, people traveling overseas for the holiday likely won’t depart until as late as the 23rd or, worse, leave on the weekend following Santa’s arrival.

Bar owners are looking longingly at the after-Christmas calendar for hope. With New Year’s Day on Friday, many tourists likely will stay in the Land of Smiles, Booze & Birds until at least Monday 4th January.

I have a feeling a lot of prayers by bar bosses will be made every night before bed between now and New Year.

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

EMAIL OF THE DAY: Hey Dickboy

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Hey Dickboy, why aren’t you talking about what’s going on in America right now instead of sharing pictures of ugly women?

hey dickboy

Stick Says: I have no interest in what’s going on in my own country let alone yours.

Keep em coming… your feedback, thoughts and abuse make it all worthwhile.

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Opinion

A #GammonSteakMoment – What The Hell Is That?

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In the most basic terms, a #GammonSteakMoment is a simple and silly event that can occur anywhere at any time that is guaranteed to ruin my whole day and comes from a hilarious conversation over a few beers with J & J who were taking the piss out of old Stick for spitting the dummy at insignificant shite.

It all started out with me ordering a Gammon Steak for my lunch one day that despite telling the waitress twice what I wanted as we confirmed the order the food failed to appear on the table in front of me.

I was bloody starving and my entire day was ruined.

I sat buggering about on my phone while the other half fed her face as often the Thai dish will arrive first. My belly was rumbling and my mouth watering as I sat thinking about my food. I’d not eaten gammon steak with pineapple, a fried egg and chips for about 4 years and this was all I wanted.

Fat face had already licked her plate clean and there was no sign of mine. I even sat there making excuses like the kitchen must be busy.

GammonSteakMoment

“Do you want me to ask the waitress will it be long?”
“Nah, it will be here in two tics”.

Two tics my arse. The gammon steak never made it out the fucking fridge.

Bastards.

The silly service lass couldn’t even get a two meal order right and there were only about six people in the bloody place.

My day was ruined. And no, I’d waited 30 minutes already and I wasn’t waiting for another 30 so don’t even think about suggesting such a sensible idea.

And so, it began.

Now any time something trivial gets on my goat it is referred to as a #GammonSteakMoment and yes, it is always something that doesn’t really matter but for some reason, I let myself get wound up by it.

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Opinion

More Bust Than Boom Coming For Bangkok Bars: Part 1

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Over and over I keep reading and hearing how the good times will roll again soon for Bangkok bars when the government ease measures under Phase 4 of their plan to allow life to return to normal that will see entertainment venues allowed to reopen having been shuttered since March 18.

This leaves me to think that owners, managers and customers haven’t thought things through and are being blinded by the light at the end of the tunnel to the reality of what is potentially coming.

If bar and business owners think that when borders reopen and inbound passenger flights are permitted again that it’s going to be boom time they’re going to be gravely disappointed.

In my opinion, it will be more bust and very little boom.

boom or bust bangkok bars

Of course, there is a large expat community here in Bangkok but their disposable income only goes so far and the majority of venues require tourists to stay in the black.

Even when flights are allowed to land again how many tourists from the USA, UK, Europe and Australia will be booking a ticket?

The first question I ask myself is, can they afford to?

So many people have been hit hard in the pocket over the coronavirus situation, paid off, laid off, hours cut and you all know the rest, meaning as much as they would like to return to Thailand, do they have cash to come?

Prices for flights are going to be sky-high. The good old days of discount deals are done. The airline industry is on its knees right now and a cheap two-week return ticket to Thailand isn’t going to be splashed all over their landing pages.

We also don’t know at this point what each country is going to require upon entry. To visit Thailand you might need a medical certificate and a decent insurance policy to cover you for COVID and a lengthy stay in hospital should you catch it.

Then there is the possibility of being required to undergo quarantine, not just in Thailand but upon returning to your home country. 14 days when you arrive, two weeks partying and soaking up the sun followed by another two weeks when you return home – if you’re allowed to re-enter.

morning night

Sure, I’m giving worst-case scenarios but as I said to start with, not many in the bar business seem to have considered any of these points.

All I hear is expectations of thousands flying in and cash registers going cha-ching.

And what I’ve mentioned above is just to get through the exit doors at Suvarnabhumi. But what about when they are free to do as they wish with some cash in their pocket looking for a good time?

I for one don’t believe for a single second that there won’t be a new mindset and believing you can just give customers what they had before and charging funny money for it isn’t going to cut it any more.

Unless there are some big changes by bars, in my opinion, they are doomed.

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