Thailand Tonight – 22/11/2006

Cheers For The Beers

After Dark Asia Volume 3We continue to witness a surge of suds as even more new beers flow in fast. For once, I find myself praising the Crown Group who own around a dozen bars in Nana Plaza. Promotional banners have been put up outside beer bars such as Road House and Pharaohs (located on floor 1 as you enter Nana Plaza). Two popular British brews have now arrived in Nana Plaza, with Newcastle Brown Ale and John Smith’s Bitter currently available in Road House and Pharaohs. Please note though, that with these being imported beers you will have to be prepared to pay a bit more. Here, the asking price is either 120 baht, or 140 baht depending on the brand of imported beer. Like I have mentioned before, imported beers are not cheap to buy in, so this is not a bad price considering. We need a wider range of beers in Thailand and this is promising news.

REMINDER – Free samples of John Smith’s Extra Smooth Bitter will be available at Coyotees on Sunday, November 26, 2006.

In addition to these new brews, Budweiser beer is also on sale in a few of the Nana Plaza beer bars. Budweiser is not only very popular with Americans but it was also at one time the most popular beer in many UK nightclubs. Budweiser advertising banners are on display outside a few bars in Nana Plaza. Road House and Pharaohs charge 140 baht for both Budweiser and John Smith’s Bitter.

I very much doubt if this assortment of beers will all sell that well, but it is very encouraging to see a much wider selection available. There is one downside to stocking all these different beers though, and that is storage space. Small beer bars that are stacked together like housing estates, do have a limited amount of storage space. Larger premises have the opportunity to afford their customers a broader variety of beers. Bars should provide a broader variety of beers, especially if they do not have the entertainment that a good go-go bar can provide.

Another fairly recent arrival is San Miguel which is selling reasonably well across Thailand. A light version called “Mig Lite” is even more popular than the regular San Miguel in some bars. Please note that Mig Lite is low in calories and not low in alcohol content. Of course these beers are available right across the tourist areas in the land of sanuk.

Beer Lao - BangkokIf you are in the area anyone interested in stocking Beer Lao can visit Jersey Pub (located on Sukhumvit Soi 6 near Swan Bar). They deliver within two hours if orders are received before 5:00pm. Western bar owners are very welcome.

Taxi Tricks

There has definitely been an increase in the amount of tricks that Bangkok taxi drivers get up to. I know it can be easy to get distracted but please check that the driver turns the meter on. More and more taxi drivers are trying it on by asking for an inflated price and no meter. I have plenty of conversations with taxi drivers as I do speak Thai to a reasonably good conversational level. Times are very hard for them, so this sends out warning signs that they need to make money somehow. I just wanted you all to be aware of this and be street smart when dealing with Bangkok taxi drivers.

Try to act like you fit in and the taxi driver might not be tempted to take you all around the houses to go to the front door. Taxi drivers the world over are quite notorious and nowhere more so than London. Imagine that poor foreign tourist going around in circles, probably passing Buckingham Palace three times. Make sure if you know the route that the taxi driver is not taking you the long way to increase the meter fare. Also, never leave anything valuable in a taxi – you probably have more chance of winning the lottery than recovering your valuables.

I do feel sorry for the genuinely poorer hard working taxi drivers, who have hungry mouths to feed. Basically there are too many metered taxis and they do have to compete with all the other modes of transportation. However, there are also plenty of conmen lurking to rip off a farang.

One other top tip I have is to always have enough small change. It is worth investing a bit of time in breaking larger Thai bank notes, even if you just buy some chewing gum with a large bank note. So many times the taxi driver will give a devious smile and say, “No have”. Thinking the farang is stupid, he hopes you will give a 100 baht note (or higher) for a 35 baht taxi ride. The small change advice also applies as a general rule in Thailand. As well as cash it saves you time too and that means more time to spend with your teerak.

TAXI TIP SUMMARY – Be street smart, be switched on, do make sure you have the correct change and do insist that the driver turns the meter on. Chok Dee Kap!

High Season Hiking

Whenever high season begins to emerge there are always those telltale signs. Dolly birds begin migrating back to the multitude of bars and nightspots in Bangkok and Pattaya, more and more foreigners arrive, and almost inevitably some nightspot owners see this as their right to an annual price increase. This is fine if the venue in question offers value for money and not just an opportunity for high season hiking.

For all concerned let us hope that most of the nightspot owners and the dolly birds will be sensible with their pricing strategies. With most decent people that I know they do not mind the actual cost but it is the principle that matters most.

Recently my friend Khun Soon Bai (Mr. Too Tall) was telling me that he is getting disheartened with the Crown Group in Nana Plaza, as he feels they are taking liberties. Khun Soon Bai took a particular disliking to the Crown Group for yet again raising their drinks prices to a hefty 135 baht. I see it as personal choice and for individuals to decide if an establishment justifies the price increase or not. Hopefully other bars will either be more sensible with their pricing policy, or provide good value for money entertainment.

For those wishing to drown their sorrows there is always The Big Mango Bar’s excellent Happy Hour. From 5:00pm until 8:00pm all well drinks are only 60 baht. Now that is a real deal.

Big Dogs Bar at the entrance to Nana Plaza serves a lovely cold San Miguel (among several other beers) for a very reasonable price of 95 baht.

Real Meal Deal

The Big Mango (above Lucky Lukes in Nana Plaza) has introduced a “meal deal” that will take some beating. The blue plate specials will change regularly too. This week’s delightful dish is two tacos and they are not tacky tacos. They do actually taste like real tacos. Club Hombre’s Isawal can confirm this too as we were eating together at the time. It costs 140 baht and is downright delicious. Check it out!

On The Top

Fairly recently the two Hollywood Show Bars on the top floor have raised their salaries for their pole performers. Hollywood now pay more than the Rainbows and the Crown Group and now match Play Skool. These are the highest go-go salaries in Nana Plaza. In some ways the move is paying off as Hollywood

Carousel is starting to attract larger crowds at the weekends. The cage above the bar is an interesting “creature feature” and a few very cute dolly birds can be found there. It would appear that the plan is to concentrate on building up the trade in the big bar, as the smaller of the two Hollywood bars is currently as dead as an extinct thing.

Pretty Predicament

Unfortunately for Pretty Lady fans this pleasure palace (floor one Nana Plaza) still remains closed do to an unresolved legal battle between the owners. We have no idea when or how the dispute will be resolved. It is rumored that the best solution would be for the conflicting parties to sell the bar. In the meantime other bars like Play Skool, Angelwitch and the Rainbow bars continue to benefit from their predicament.

Have You Been Bewitched?

Matt and Pim, the owners of Angelwitch in Nana Plaza are very pleased with a considerable increase in the number of very attractive pole performers. This past few months has seen a major migration of dolly birds to the Angelwitch nest. Most of the numerable influx are absolutely angelic, but be warned because they still have Angelwitches’ who could put their spell on you. Have you been bewitched?

Angelwitch Go Go Bar Logo

Join The Q

For those that wish to seek a very classy and trendy scene, then look no further than Q Bar. Located in Sukhumvit Soi 11 this club has a New York flavor to it and Q Bar is known internationally too. There is a cover charge – Mondays-Thursdays 400 baht and Fridays-Sundays 600 baht. However, this does include 2 drinks upon paying the entrance fee. Different DJ’s play various styles of music each night, which gives variety to this trendy if not eccentric club. Previously two top Ministry Of Sound DJ’s from London played at Q Bar. LTJ Bukem and MC Conrad, were the guest DJ’s with the former DJ being very well known on the international club scene.

Really hot babes are known to frequent this venue, but you need to be careful who they may be in toe with because Thai couples do also visit. A newcomer to Bangkok accosted a young dolly bird who was inside Q Bar with her Thai boyfriend. The naïve, young Englishman inadvertently caused a small riot. Only mad dogs and Englishmen!

Mobile Menace

I often wonder if the modern technology of the mobile phone is a help or a hindrance. Have you noticed that there is still that one moron who has to answer his cell phone in a movie theatre. Also, there is the loud-mouth who has to shout out in public, so they are heard by everybody. And, only in “Amazing Thailand” there are bargirls who answer their mobile phones while they are supposed to be having sex with a client. The mind boggles!

Happy Thanksgiving Day

REMINDER – Thursday, November 23 it is Thanksgiving Day. Bully’s Pub (just down from the Gas Station near the corner of Soi Nana) are offering an all you can eat buffet for only 490 Baht. This fine fair runs from 2.00pm until 10.00pm. To all my American friends I would like to wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving Day. A good Thanksgiving dinner will be available at Bourbon Street (Washington Square, Soi 22).

Consistent Closing Times

I am pleased to say for Thailand Tonight fans that closing times across the realm remain consistent. Pattaya has the biggest advantage, but pleasure playground is all about nightlife. You can party 24 hours in pleasure playground if you so wish and this is how it should be. We all know that if we take the bars and the nightspots away Pattaya would have nothing. The go-go bars have the option to open until 3:00am and then party people can move to the late clubs and discos.

In Bangkok the go-go bars are open in Patpong, Soi Cowboy and Nana Plaza until at least 2:00am. I just wanted to dispel the myth that the Bangkok bars are forced to close at 1:00am. They were previously as part of the social order, or should I rephrase that “social disorder” campaign by the powers that be. There are far less late night options in Bangkok than Pattaya, but they do exist.

A new late night disco has emerged on Sukhumvit, Soi 1 and it is located 400 meters inside the Soi. I must say that “Tata Innana” seems a strange name to me, but more importantly will this develope into a popular late night disco? Hopefully loads of dolly birds will be hopping and bopping into the early hours. Only time will tell. The owner is Peter from the Eastern Bloc, who is also the new owner of the two Hollywood Bars on the top floor of Nana Plaza.

Pattaya – Pleasure Playground

Located on Walking Street is Beavers, which is owned by Andy from Mistys. It is a tiny bar that features table-top dancing, which does reasonable trade for a bar of its size. I went in to visit Andy one night and he introduced me to Absolute Vodka Cranberry. It is a good drop of fruity nectar and for those seeking something different to drink, simply ask Andy for an Absolute Cranberry.

One of the newer venues that is now getting very positive praise is Angelwitch. Even the enigmatic Stickman referred to Angelwitch in Soi 15 (just off Walking Street), as the best go-go bar in Thailand. I think the jury is still out on that one but everyone agrees that Angelwitch is an extremely spectacular venue. With a unique choreographed style they undisputedly have the most professional shows in Thailand. This last weekend saw Angelwitch will a full house on both Friday and Saturday. This huge establishment with two floors can house as many as 280 people.

It is so impressively designed that some people say it is the most impressive pleasure palace they have ever seen. Angelwitch did not open until January this year, yet it has already climbed the ladder of popularity. It is predominantly a show bar and therefore if you are into shows this is the ideal venue.

Go-Go Dance Contest – November 26

Coyotees Show Bar in Soi Marina Plaza are linking up with Long Gun bar in Soi Cowboy to present some Go-Go Dance Competitions. This is an excellent idea by TJ and following the success of these Dance Contests perhaps other go-go bars may join the chain. The first in a whole series of these special Pole Performer Competitions will be hosted by Coyotees on Sunday, November 26 and is billed as Bangkok VS Pattaya. Pole Performers from Long Gun and Raw Hide will battle it out with Coyotees finest. The event is sponsored by Insomnia Disco and John Smith’s Extra Smooth Bitter. Free John Smith’s Beer samples will be available on the night. Also, there will be a Special Showtime presented by Long Gun, which starts at 9.30pm. Do not forget – Sunday, November 26 in Coyotees and go early to ensure you get a good seat.

Acknowledgements

My sincere thanks go out to John, Stickman, Khun Soon Bai, The Nutty Professor, TJ, and last but by no means least Dean Barrett (acclaimed author). Until we meet again if you cannot be good be careful.

Please send your feedback to davetheravebangkok@gmail.com

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DTR BANNER - Thailand Tonight - 22/11/2006

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