On Wednesday afternoon a large number of local business people involved in the entertainment industry gathered both outside and inside Pattaya City Hall for the third time in recent weeks to talk with officials regarding the clampdown by the new national
government on closing times for entertainment venues.
The official closing time for all places of entertainment has been long enshrined in legislation as 2:00am, but for many years the law has been relaxed to allow bars and clubs to remain open
until 3:00 and 4:00 am and sometimes beyond.
The business owners said foreign tourists came to places like Pattaya because of its vibrant nightlife not because of its temples and beaches.
The entertainment venue operators would like to
see 4:00am as the preferred closing time. Government officials agreed to put the request in writing and forward this on to the Chonburi Governor who would then stamp, sign and seal this and send it on to the relevant government boffins in Bangkok.
Update: Election Promises!
30th March 2008
Khun Sontaya, the former member of parliament for Chonburi and currently engaged in helping the campaign of Khun Itipon to run
for Pattaya Mayor, told assembled media on Friday that he would like to help keep the city’s places of entertainment open as long as feasible.
He said he supports the idea of giving Pattaya bars the option of staying open until at least 4:00am
but said at present owners and tourists had to understand that 2:00am closing might be here for a little while longer.
At a prime time visit, the bar was very lively. Plenty of whooping and holloring as the guys were lining up to throw ping pong balls and cash at the girls.
It was clear that most of the high spirits were down to holiday fun and the novelty value
of a gogo.
From an expat point of view I don't really see why it should be so popular. The girls were distinctly average (that's not to say that there aren't pretty girls, the Walking Street average is pretty good). The drinks prices are on the
high side too.
My only theory as to why the bar attracts holiday makers is simply down to the rather good name, particularly as Thee Dollhouse is a well known chain of lap dancing bars in USA.
The girls were not being friendly to me though.
They probably spotted the micro gesture of disdain towards the frequent attempts to sell me ping pong balls.
Still you can't knock a bar where everyone is laughing and having fun...you just have to quietly go somewhere else.
Freelancer venue to appear behind The Pier Complex
People have always wondered why Pattaya doesn't have a venue for freelancers along the lines of Bangkok's Beer Garden on Soi 7.
Well bar owner Pattaya Pete (previously of FLB) has bought a venue that he hopes will emulate the success of the
Beer Garden. The venue is hardly a garden though, as it is at the back of the Pier Complex overlooking the sea.
It is a large venue and will feature reasonable prices so as to encourage customers and girls to hang around and buy a few drinks.
There will be no bar fines.
The workmen are currently busy so further news soon. The bar will be named Pattaya Beer Garden.
It seems that the Cinderella police are still on patrol and once they have closed the GoGos starting at around 2am, they move on to the clubs. So by 2:30 or 3am, Marine, Tony's, Lucifer, Insomnia are closed. Tony's 2 or Europa seems to avoid the
police though, perhaps something to do with its fitness centre other half. It has also been reported that Marine 2 stays open late too.
Club Insomnia have announced that they are opening an hour earlier at 10pm. Presumably they need to find a way
to get things started earlier so there is a buy one drink, get one free offer until 1am.
I've always had a soft spot for this bar because it always seemed like they were trying, even when it wasn't working too well, and I quite liked the original layout of theatre stage and runway, which was unique and suited some of the shows very well.
It now has a center island stage just like nearly every other go-go.
The supposed aim of the remodeling is to get the girls closer to the customers, pity no one has explained this to the dancers, because you're more likely to be entertained by a
service girl. When I suggested a ladydrink to a dancer sitting near me I pretty much had to explain the concept. She then sipped the drink while staying a demure six inches away from me. Not my idea of getting closer to a customer.
At least the
bar now has service girls, which is an improvement, but instead of replacing the service boys they seem to be supplementing them. Curiously, the manager was formerly of Carousel, which also has service boys. Perhaps he likes them. Anyway, I'm pretty sure
customers don't because there is always the suspicion that they are the boyfriends of the girls, which is inhibiting.
While the remodel does make room for an extra row of bench seating, which is a definite plus, this bar has always had seating
layout problems. The benches seem to have been made for a different bar, being shorter than the wall they are up against, and apparently nobody can figure out what to do with the corners.
The bar has always had a cold feel with its stone floor
and glass tables, and the remodeling seems to be trying to take the edge off this with some artificial plants, including hanging some plastic pot plants from the ceiling. It looks as ridiculous as it sounds.
The shows seem to me to be not quite
as good as they were, but they are pulling in the customers. Perhaps Roxy is The Future Of Entertainment as it claims.
The 2 Donna Bar is located in the centre of the Jomtien Complex on Thappraya Road.
The two partners are Joy and Dow who are at the bar every day and night, they will sit down and introduce themselves to all new customers and are not shy about buying a
drink (or accepting one!!). Both are pretty well known in Jomtien and seem to know everyone that comes in or passes the bar.
No pool table but all the live English Premier League games are shown.
Prices are lower than most bars, (except next
door where drinks are almost given away) beer 50-70 baht, shorts pretty cheap and lady drinks are the standard 90 baht.
Loads of girls, 15 at the moment, nothing too stunning, but a few are pretty cute all can talk English, some young some not so
young and one Katoey, all the girls are pretty good crack and up for a laugh, especially if you go inside the bar and close the doors.....
The younger cute ones disappear most night before 10.00 so get there early for a better choice
are the standard 300 baht, no ST rooms but the girls will take you round the corner if you want,
Verdict, nice atmosphere good reasonable priced drinks and a good bunch of girls with two owners who will make you very welcome.
Disgruntled owners of bars and other entertainment venues led by their association, complained to representatives of Pattaya City Council at City Hall on 20th March about the current uncertainty about opening hours.
They were told that Thailand‘s
new government is concerned to strictly regulate entertainment zones throughout the country and Pattaya had no option but to follow suit.
Approximately 3000 owners had gathered outside Pattaya City hall to voice their concerns to Ittipol
Khunpleum, the President of the Pattaya Mayoral Advisory Team. The owners of the entertainment venues, including restaurants, and the operators of motorbike and songtaew taxis etc. want to extend their operating hours, but they were informed that the new
minister of the interior's policy is to restrict the hours that these places and support services may function.
Ittipol has recognized that this is a special case and all concerned should be allowed to extend their operation times. The old
government had allowed entertainment venues to stay open until 4 am, but currently those venues in the entertainment zone may only stay open until 2.00 am, with out-of-zone venues being allowed to stay open till 1.00 am.
The owners made the case
that Pattaya is a tourist city, capable of bringing in over Bt 60,000 million each year. With the shortening by 2 hours every night, their industry and takings will be radically affected.
Catz is a well presented bar at the smaller end of the scale although not as small as some. It is set out as a classic "shoebox" go-go with comfortable bench seating down both sides and a narrow island stage in the middle. The bench on the
right is sub-divided into three booths but they are too large to be considered private having two tables each.
There are about fifteen average girls, a couple eye-catching, a couple less so. The dance roster is one-on one-off with over half the
girls on stage at a time. There are no shows.
My first visit was initially off-putting, the girls weren't showing at all and they all seemed to be wearing Morality Ministry issue customerproof knickers. However the girl that volunteered to take
care of me was willing to show me anything I liked once the ladydrink was ordered so the on-stage modesty was probably just because the police were on the prowl.
My second visit went completely the other way. This time the girls were showing and
the customerproof knickers were gone but so, apparently, was the warm welcome. I bought a girl a ladydrink but when the girl I had spoken to previously came off stage and came over, the first girl just walked off. The girl who had entertained me before
knocked back a couple of ladydrinks and went back on stage without making much of an effort, and I got the distinct impression I wasn't supposed to come back.
I could have just been unlucky in my choice of girls but they didn't seem to want to
entertain or be bar-fined, although they were happy to take the ladydrinks. I felt my money was welcome but I wasn't. Tellingly, on neither visit did the bar have more than a handful of customers, none of whom were being particularly well entertained.
Taboo Club was padlocked as of 17th March 2007. It seems that the March lull is shadowing that of the US banking sector.
Maybe good news at Magic Palace A-GoGo though as there are plans for some sort of rescue attempt. But for the moment
Pattaya is down to 77 girl gogos operating.
Ray visited Taboo just before its closure his comments turned out to be more of a post mortem than a review
Review by Ray: Don't Go There
The last time
I visited this bar it had been packed for a dance competition so I was quite unprepared for the scene of desolation that greeted me when I swept the curtain aside and stepped in. Peering into the gloom I found one, two, yes two other customers. Not
terribly popular then.
This is a medium to large square bar with a center stage and a couple of satellite stages. There is bench seating around the walls, tables and stools scattered about and a sofa in the corner. The decor is industrial
basement and the lighting is Saturday Night Fever.
Which is this bar's main problem, it clearly thinks it's a disco. Spotlights seem to be aimed haphazardly and motorised lights sweep around the room straight across customer's eyelines. I noticed
the other two customers were carefully sitting in the corners where the search lights didn't reach. Does the management need pictures?
The girls are average, which is to say a couple are eye catching, but were not showing on either of my two
visits. They are arbitrarily divided into dancers and showgirls, dancers wear bikinis, "show" girls wear considerably more. The dancers I treated to a ladydrink were friendly enough but because of the bizarre dance roster, the showgirls do a
number and then the dancers do one, they were popping up to go dance every three minutes. More yo-yo than go-go and not conducive to more than a single drink.
This bar gives every impression of being owned by an absentee falang, maybe he'll come
back soon and sort it out. Until then, Taboo means "don't go there".
Changes are afoot in Soi 8. The owner of the old Prince Hotel (Mr Mike Shopping Mall) recently informed the beer bar owners of hid plans.
He wishes to expand the current bar complex and to finish renovating the old Prince hotel. The new hotel
will have approx 200 rooms and be known as the Baron Hotel. It's main entrance will be via Soi 9, however there will be a walkway via Soi 8 past Cherry Bar to the hotel.
The beer bar complex (to be known as Baron Beer Bar Complex) will have a
total of 20 new beer bars and 2 disco / gogo bars.
The good news is will there will one DJ sound system for the whole complex, security to keep out vendors and brand new sexy bars.
The bad news is that to have a new bar, means the old one
has to be knocked and a new one built. The date for this to happen is the 1st May. He is saying this will take only one month to do, but living in Thailand and being pessimistic, it will probably be two!
As was reported here, X-Zone has acquired a mamasan and a few showgirls from the more popular Windmill Club. On my first visit it seemed that importing a couple of dirty girls and their sexy show into an otherwise ordinary go-go was a bit of a
gimmick, unlikely to last, but it was early, both in the week and in the evening, and so I decided to check it out again at weekend peak time.
It's often occurred to me that the larger bars could try a little harder to provide secluded corners
for private play. I'm not particularly shy myself but I do sometimes resent providing a free show for tightwads. The three booths on the right as you enter X-Zone are just what I have in mind.
On my second visit most of the girls were busy taking
care of customers but the rear corner booth was occupied by a couple of dejected girls apparently too plain and small breasted to attract any custom. On the principle that if there's one thing a girl hates more that being pulled about by an unattractive
customer it's not being pulled about at all, I ordered up a couple of ladydrinks and set about getting them out of their bikinis, which took about five seconds.
In the privacy of out little corner we soon had some very uninhibited play going on
and the Windmill girls were quickly matched and surpassed. All it cost me was a couple of ladydrinks and red notes, good value in my book. Ironically, they ask you to go outside if you want to smoke a cigarette.
X-Zone is finally starting to live
up to its name.
The thrust of 2 meetings at Alcazaar this week is that the Government is keen on early closing of bars and has threatened some more severe enforcement measures to get what they want.
It seems that the closing time for Pattaya's entertainment zone
is 2am. This zone covers most of Pattaya bars between 3rd Road and the beach from Walking Street to Pattaya North Road (maybe the Naklua bars are in the Naklua entertainment zone).
Unfortunately the bars on the Darkside are outside the zone and
hence should close at 1am (although midnight was mentioned in one report)
There were also worrying mentions of 18:00 as an opening time. Also it is not clear how strict these closing times will be for beer bars which have rarely being forced to
close early (although they have sometimes had to turn out the lights and music).
The discos and nightclubs also seem to be under the same cosh and as soon as the police have finished ensuring that the gogos close at 2am then the police have then
been closing the discos such that most are closed by 2:30 or 3am.
There have also been mentions of bikini requirements but these seemed sporadic in a tour of gogos last night with plenty of bars still showing but some covered up.
Local Police are currently enforcing a 2am closure of bars in accordance with instructions from Central Government in Bangkok who would like to see all late night entertainment venues around Thailand close at this time.
The Policy appears not to
affect the closure of open air bars such as beer bars which are not being closed and remain open sometimes around the clock. How long this closure policy will remain in force is unknown.
Over the weekend, Police Lieutenant General Jeatanagorn, the
Commander of Region 2 Police conducted a brief inspection of bars along the entire stretch of Walking Street to ensure that bars were closing at 2am and patrons were aged over 20 in accordance with the law.
He was happy that bars were complying
with the Law and the current closure policy.
Bit tricky to find, this bar, it's tucked under the Polo Entertainment Centre and its entrance is permanently obstructed by the crowd of rubberneckers gawking up at the gyrating Natasha in the Galaxy Cabaret window.
Once you do manage to
locate it you will find a bar that's deeper than it's wide with the front section set up as a standard go-go and the rear section fitted out with a jacuzzi and a sexy show table.
I've visited this bar a few times now and I think I'm getting the
hang of it. I picked out a dancer that caught my eye on the way through and went back to check out the show. To my surprise the showgirl and my dancer seemed to hit it off and as there weren't too many other customers around we soon had a nice three way
When the show was over the showgirl leant over and whispered to me that she was really pleased I had brought that particular dancer over as she fancied her herself but hadn't had an excuse to get her hands on her before!
is rapidly moving up my personal league table.
Three Baby Dolls have moved to this bar and I popped in to see how they were doing. I'd never been in here before and found it perfectly OK. However, I was being taken care of by girls I already knew, so on my second visit I tried to look at the bar
The first thing I noticed was that most customers were sitting in groups chatting to each other and I started to get a TQ2 vibe. The girls confirmed to me that there was little hands-on going on because the customers didn't want
it, not because the girls didn't, and that lady drinks were hard to come by.
The mother of all jacuzzis is a also bit of a disappointment, being set low in the floor right at the back of the bar, and as the doormen will inevitably show you to a
stool at the front you could visit the bar several times and not realise it was there.
The stage is unusually large, having eleven poles in 3-2-4-2 formation. I found myself thinking of them as defenders, midfield, front line and wingers. On
several occasions the poles were not all occupied. There is a glass floor above the stage and occasionally a couple of girls would go up there and lark about.
The girls are a pretty ordinary bunch, a few outstanding but mostly pretty average. On
my first visit three or four girls were dancing naked, on my second they were all bikinied up. I heard a rumour in the previous bar I visited that the police were on the prowl and maybe that was why, but on neither visit did the bar look remotely like
the photo on the web site.
With its average girls, mostly voyeuristic customers and superfluous "security", Club Boesche is what a Walking Street go-go would look like if you transplanted it to the US.
In the many opportunities for contemplation offered by bars where the girls seem to regard me as The Wrong Sort Of Customer, I have formed my own view of what makes a great bar. It's fairly simple really: lots of attractive, uninhibited girls wearing
as little as possible in a space big enough to hold lots of them but small enough to keep them in close proximity to the customers.
This is just such a bar. Sure, there are experiments with the usual gimmicks, the jacuzzi show, the corner coyote
dancers, but nobody pays much attention to them and I doubt they add a single baht to the bottom line. For all practical purposes a bar is the girls, and you won't find a friendlier, sexier bunch than this anywhere.
New Living Dolls One
implements a winning formula perfectly. Long may it prosper.
Y.U? Club in Jomtien has locked its doors. It had seemed to be struggling for a long time. It is always tough trying to run a small gogo bar. Not big enough when there is an influx of customers and goes desperately short of dancers after a couple of
Maybe advertising karaoke is not a good way to get farangs in either.
The bar opened in June 2006 as a bar/disco but converted to gogo in Jan 2007.
Phuket bar, discotheque and pub owners will be given a 90-day grace period before police begin to strictly enforce a 2 am closing time at all nightlife venues on the island, authorities have announced.
Nightlife venue owners will be given 90
days, from February 28, before police will begin arresting bar owners who fail to comply, Col Grissak told the Gazette a few days later.
The new initiative follows an order by newly-installed Interior Minister Chalerm Yoobumrung.
that pubs and nightclubs were supposedly used by youths as a place to experiment with and trade in narcotics, he said better compliance with existing closing times would be a key part of his campaign against drug abuse.
threatened to punish police officers, district chiefs and other officials who failed to strictly enforce anti-drug measures at entertainment venues, Phuket Governor Niran Kalyanamit said at the monthly meeting of provincial government officers, which he
chaired at Phuket Provincial Hall on the morning of February 27.
The strict enforcement of closing times had slackened considerably while the country was under post-coup martial law and remained slack after the National Legislative Assembly was
appointed as the interim government.
While there were reports of some unlicensed beer bars being closed down in Kathu after Minister Chalerm’s order, Kathu District Chief Khantee denied that either officials or police had been distributing yellow
warning cards to venues found in violation, as reported by one Thai language newspaper.
Now we are forcing all bars to send their guests home at 2 am, but we are not charging them. We also found some venues employing girls under 18 and closed
them down, Chief Khantee told the Gazette.
The 2 am closing time would cost local businesses money, but both the laws and goals of the anti-drug campaign need to be respected, he said: I believe that if nightlife venues close up at 2 am,
tourists will begin their night out on the town earlier. This is also a good opportunity to let tourists know about the anti-drug campaign .
Sompetch Moosophon, President of the Patong Entertainment Business Association (PEBA), said he plans
to meet Chief Khantee soon and push for Patong to be exempted from the 2 am closing time, which he sees as incongruous with the needs of most visiting tourists: In my opinion, the 2 am closing time is not appropriate because many tourists who visit
Patong like to stay out drinking and partying all night long…This is the special appeal of Soi Bangla as far as tourists are concerned.
The PEBA has already begun distributing an English-language questionnaire to visiting tourists to see how
they feel about enforcement of the 2 am closing time. The results will be presented to both Chief Khantee and Gov Niran, he said.
A closing time of 3 am, extended to 4 am or 5 am during the high season, would be appropriate, he said.
Betty Boup always seems to have a fair few customers so it must be doing something right.
The bar is basically a short time bar. But the method of selecting a girl is far superior to the Soi 6 norm of momentary glance as you walk past. At
Betty Boup you can relax a little before making up your mind. You can have a drink and a look around with out committing. And even watch the dancing.
The girls are generally fun on your lap, but of course are pretty quick to suggest retiring
There's a wide range of girls in the bar, both in looks and outlook.
I've had a very mixed bag of good times and not so good in the bar but it is always worth a return visit.
Maybe I hit that bar at a bad time but it was not a fun place to be. In fact it was very much like the rather dour Hooty's of a year ago.
There were plenty of girls in the bar huddled on one side without making much effort at mingling with the
customers. The gogo dancing was fully bikini clad and even the show girl got no further than taking her top off.
There were no girls dancing at the small podiums amongst the audience.
There were a fair few customers giving the bar the once
over though. Perhaps it was just me that considers this bar as poor value for its overpriced beer.
X Zone seems to have had a revival of fortune and has attracted a room full of pretty girls. The customers seem to have appeared from nowhere.
From a couple of enquiries, the improvement is down to the recruitment of a mamasang from Windmill who
had a following of pretty girls. And of course the girls are well trained in providing some good naughty shows which are now performed at various points around the bar.