Get Laid Or Die Tryin’

Published on 6th December 2015 by Stickboy BKK

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.

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