Thailand Night Fever

Bangkok skyline by Ralf Winkler

HOW LOW CAN IT GO!

Many a bar boss in Thailand is singing the low season blues this June.  Similar to a scary rollercoaster ride, bar trade suddenly took a steep drop.  There are several factors contributing to this quiet period.  In fact, some people are labelling it, “The lowest of low seasons.”  Firstly, many people outside of the bar business in Thailand, are unaware that June ranks as one the worst months of the whole year.  As per usual, the low season arrives promptly every year.  It’s not called “low season” for nothing folks!  Secondly, we have had some very heavy rain.  In Bangkok on Monday and Tuesday, the rain came hammering down for several hours.  It’s a fact that some bargirls are not easy to motivate at the best of times.  Give them an excuse like heavy rain, and they won’t bother to leave their apartments.  However, this time around it was a valid excuse, because the rain was so heavy.  The sky wept intensely and those residing in remote areas were literally left stranded.  The timing of the rain was not at all favourable.  Well blow me!  Just as I’m writing this, silvery bullets hammer onto the ground.  Bangkok suffers torrential rainfall for a second consecutive day.  A loud clap of thunder from an angry sky makes my dog jump.  Parts of Bangkok are now flooded by several inches…

EURO BLOW

The Euro 2008 Football Tournament is a great event for football fans, but it’s not for certain venues in Thailand.  In particular, the beer bars, go-go bars and discos lose out.  Furthermore, the closing times in Bangkok make it difficult to see the late matches.  According to news reports, this is how the Thai authorities want it, because they are trying to prevent illegal gambling.  That’s rather strange logic don’t you think?     

THE PRICE OF OIL REACHES A RECORD HIGH

An additional problem this low season is the oil crisis, which is starting to take its toll.  This week the price of a barrel of oil reached an all-time high of fractionally under $140 US Dollars.  Some analysts believe that the soaring cost might reach an astronomical $200 per barrel within the next six months.  Let’s hope not.  Meanwhile, airlines are forced to review their prices. 

EVE - X ZONE GO-GO BAR - PATTAYAGO-GO OR NO-GO 

Recently, I have been pondering this question.  What go-go bars endeavour to attract customers?  One factor that is sometimes overlooked is the go-go bar management.  Year after year, some go-go bars do nothing to improve their business.  This just adds to the deterioration process.  The vicious circle keeps getting bigger – fewer girls leads to fewer customers, which leads to fewer girls, etc.  The problem with some go-go bars is they do zero to improve their bar.  In saying, “improve” I mean more than just touch up the paintwork, and/or install a fancy lighting system.  And, in extreme cases keep raising the prices with little or no justification.

Years ago, it was essential to have a large number of very attractive go-go girls.  This is still true today, but I find nowadays that Westerners expect more.  You have to ensure that your go-go bar operates with an effective system.  This system needs to be operated by an efficient team.  Although the go-go girls are (normally) the most important element, good entertainment has also become a top priority.  Good entertainment combined with efficient service is an ideal formula.  Because some ex-pats have visited the go-go bars for years, they appreciate a go-go bar that is managed well.

I have known customers to leave go-go bars, because the DJ plays VERY LOUD techno music.  Also, customers can walk out when service is very poor, because too many unnecessary errors occurred.  One underestimated aspect is the atmosphere.  After a long period of intense work, people want to relax and enjoy themselves.  It’s no good walking into a graveyard!  If you create a party atmosphere and the place is pumping, it can rejuvenate even the most Jaded John.  Angelwitch Go-Go Bar, which operates to a “Show Go-Go” format, is a perfect example.  On a nightly basis, come rain or shine, the atmosphere during Angelwitch Showtime is unique.  A highly successful go-go bar owner said to me, “Some go-go bars have no management and no concept.”  I think that accurately sums up the root of the problem.  Although we are suffering the low season blues, some go-go bars are adding to their own demise.  In some cases, problems are beyond the control of the management.  But, in other cases it is the managent who are at fault.

ANGELWITCH GO-GO BARS - BANGKOK & PATTAYA - THAILAND   

LOW SEASON SUMMARY

All this conspires to create an extremely quiet June for some, (but not all) of the nightlife venues.  Regarding this less than positive news, I will not “dress it up” because this is the truth of the matter.  Sorry to have to give you the bad news sometimes, but this is the way it is.

NO SMOKE NO JOKE

The Thai authorities in Bangkok are starting to take the “NO SMOKING” law more seriously.  The Thais say, “NO SMOKE NO JOKE” and Dave The Rave replies, “You’re a poet and you don’t even know it!”  Warnings were issued during the so-called, “Grace period.”  Grace?  Grace?  Who the funk is Grace?  And, why do I care if Grace is on her period?  I’m in a state of confusion!

In Angelwitch Go-Go Bar, I kept thinking either my mates are avoiding me, or they have VERY weak bladders.  Fortunately, I’m wrong on both assumptions, because they simply step outside Angelwitch to have a cigarette. 

AFTER DARK ASIA MAGAZINEPardon the pun, but this smoking ban is blown right out of proportion!  Some smokers get very upset about it, but Thailand is only following the Western countries.  You cannot smoke in bars in the West, so what’s the big deal?  In Nana Plaza and Soi Cowboy, smoking areas are provided outside with seating.  In the long run, it will help to prevent chain smoking and that is a good thing for everybody.

Oh my lord!  Enforcing a smoking ban will kill Lolitas Bar.  Think about it…

HE, SHE, OR WANNABE

Kampang School in Northeast Thailand has installed (are you ready for this) transvestite toilets.  This is a major breakthrough for the “TV” characters.  Toilet facilities are now provided for he, she, or wannabe!

Can you imagine what happens when the sales representative from Sony arrives?  “Do you need any new TVs?”  Then a teacher who is very light on his loafers replies, “No thanks, we have plenty of our own!”  This is clearly a case of TIT or “Transvestites In Thailand.”

Kampang School are pioneers of the “PC WC” (Politically Correct Water Closet).  I suppose they should be referred to as “katoeylets.” 

You can read the full story on this LINK HERE

STICKMAN BANGKOK

NOTE THE QUOTE – MEN AND WOMEN

Men play the game; women know the score.  (Roger Woddis)

I like two kinds of men:  domestic and foreign.  (Mae West)                    

Email Dave The Rave – davetheravebangkok@gmail.com

Thanks for visiting.  Reporting live from the heart of Thailand…

Dave The Rave – Go-Go Guru



 

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8 Responses to “Thailand Night Fever”

  1. Ian Entwistle says:

    What is this assumption that the EURO 2008 affects the nightlife? Most games start just before 2 A.M., when the bars are already closed.
    Regarding a so-called low season : The tourists are gone, but the long-term residents are still there. They have no reason to avoid the bars at certain parts of the year. I would suggest that during the low season bars could benefit by attracting the long-term residents, and the way to do it is by lowering the prices for drinks.
    Sorry about that, I know it annoys you to receive this kind of message from so-called cheap charlies.

  2. Ian Entwistle, there is no assumption here, because quite a lot of bars in Bangkok do not close until 2:00-3:00am. Those of us who live here know that – Patpong, Soi Nana, Soi Cowboy, etc. Also, many resident ex-pats have left Thailand – again we know this. Lowering drink prices is no good if the bar still has no management and no concept. Parts of Pattaya are DEAD yet the prices are rock bottom. Have a think about that.

  3. Lee says:

    Thanks for the update Dave. You are spot on when you say that many of the gogo bars are leading to their own demise. It certainly is a “vicious circle” with fewer customers leading to fewer ladies leading to fewer customers and so on. Bangkok is fortunate in that being the capital city, it is not completely dead during low season like Pattaya is. However as Ian pointed out, very few bars seem to cater to locals in BKK. It is a HUGE opportunity missed. Tilac in Soi Cowboy has always had steady business inspite of often having a less than stellar lineup of gals because they sponsor a softball team, host local events, have a good happy hour and do many other things to be a “locals hangout.” It has always been assumed that (except for Tilac) beer bars were the hangout for local guys and gogo bars were for tourists. Again you were accurate when you stated that very few gogos do anything to improve themselves. I would add also that they do little to justify their prices . In Nana Plaza, the Rainbow bars are worth visiting for their incredible assortment of hot gals, Angelwitch for their professionally run shows, and 80% of the remaining bars have done nothing to improve, or justify the steep price increases. This week I was in Big Dogs and Golden Beer Bars and had to fight for a decent seat both nights, and also was in Gullivers twice and it was jumping. Can anything be done to curtail this “vicious spiral” in the gogos or wil the cream (Rainbow, Angelwithch etc.) keep doing well and the others just die on the vine? I guess only time will tell. Personally I always enjoyed the gogos so I hope they can return to their former glory.

  4. Ian Entwistle says:

    Just one more thought. This morning I went to check the airline fare to Europe. The ‘fuel surcharge’ added to the regular fare went up about 15,000 baht (more than 400 US Dollars). I think, according to the local statistics, that the number of arrivals this year is still OK. However, possibly the number of visitors to Thailand (and not only for nightlife entertainment) will reduce dramatically starting this year. Maybe the next high season will turn out to be a prolongation of the present low season.

  5. Hi Lee, I can’t understand why the bars that are struggling don’t do something about it. I agree that not many bars in Nana Plaza offer a Happy Hour and/or any real entertainment. However, (as you pointed out) at least Angelwitch Go-Go Bar invest a lot of time, money and effort into professionally choreographed shows. The Rainbow Go-Go Bars in Nana Plaza might not suit everybodies taste, but they do invest time and money into hiring a large number of attractive go-go dancers. But, in saying that it is a fact that a number of things are contributing to create a bad low season this year. Regarding the “locals in BKK” quote, I think it’s true to a degree. Unfortunately, a lot of ex-pat residents have had to relocate. For various reasons, a lot of companies have moved to other countries. For example, many guys that Matt and I have known for years, are no longer in Thailand. The big picture is more than just the price of a drink. Like you said Lee, let’s hope that things improve. In the meantime, this means more girls and less guys. Happy hunting!

  6. Hi Ian, I think you are right about the fuel surcharges, this could well be a problem. Let’s hope that the situation settles down.

  7. martin99z says:

    I have to say that in the last two years I have never ever barfined a girl from NEP, in fact I can’t even remember the last time I went into a bar there

    If I have visitors who want a night out I will go to Cowboy, but otherwise I don’t even go there

    Patpong? fargeddabartit

    Plenty of very goodlooking girls are available in beer bars, bars, pool halls, clubs, discos all over Bangkok at a fraction of the price and – frankly – offering twice as much fun

  8. drinkfukkd says:

    Well done Dave on this weeks blog.
    EURO 08 IS CRAP BECAUSE NO ENGLAND.
    If you want more happy hours,i say visit a Mom&Pop store,stock up on all kinds of alcohol,my happy hour is 24/7,playing good music,Clapton,Floyd,Pistols,Clash,REM,Olivers Army,XTC.
    When ive had my fill,i dont have to worry about ataxi driver pulling a gun or knife on me,its happened b4,yip sam,he was parked up,i allways get taxi thats moving now.
    Got 2 go bars open