As Bangkok matures, it’s surely inevitable that the “nightlife” will be pushed further out from the city centre. Nana really is prime real estate – if you look past the bargirls, the drug dealers, the extremely rickety pavements, the beggars, the African prostitutes and pimps, the pushy street vendors, the suddenly ubiquitous roadside dildo boutiques, the traffic and the smell. Because despite all that, it’s a mere 3 stops from Siam on the BTS, a stone’s throw from a major expressway, and will surely be as soulless as Singapore in a decade’s time – all concrete, steel, glass and money.
Nana Plaza’s lease expires at the end of next year, but the trend of recent times is that old bar areas close down – Clinton Plaza, Sukhumvit Square, Asok Plaza/Corner, Soi Zero, Sukhumvit 1 Plaza, Washington Square – with no new bar areas appearing to replace them.
Recently though, two new establishments have bucked the trend, becoming the first venues of their kind in hitherto unexplored areas. Is there life outside Soi 4? Daywalker didn’t know. So I dragged him along to find out (and to pay for the drinks).
After starter drinks at the Mango and a toilet stop at Nana Plaza, we eventually found ourselves a whopping three whole blocks further down Sukhumvit Road, at the mouth of Soi 10. Yes Virginia, there is a soi 10.
Suck It And See
The cunningly-named Lollipop #1 lies in an alcove to the left, a short walk up Soi 10. There was a gaudy advertising board perched on the corner of Thanon Sukhumvit itself, and another at the corner of the alcove, so it’s easy enough to find. There was also a less-than-subtle fellatrix sat outside the bar bellowing at us to “come inside”, who would almost certainly have cleared up any remaining confusion.
Lollipop #1 will be providing direct competition to the likes of Lolita’s, a block over on soi 8. In other words, this establishment is brought to you by the letters B and J.
DW and I dithered for a moment as we approached the threshold – there was outdoor seating, but is it worse to be caught sat outside such an establishment, or inside it? Was this the kind of bar where you can just have a beer and chat without being interfered with, or were we going to walk in on a grisly scene of Caligulan excesses?
There was only one way to find out.
We weren’t the first customers – a couple of older chaps were already sat at the bar, with a girl each in attendance. Thankfully, they hadn’t started yet. The action, such as it is, apparently all occurs upstairs. That said, there was a suspicious number of boxes of Kleenex dotted around the bar area. Further investigation may be required…
We parked ourselves upon a pair of sofas, where I was joined by a fairly attractive girl, and DW was joined by a girl who looked like a Transit van. We bought them drinks, which seemed to surprise them.
The two other customers soon took their girls upstairs, leaving DW and I with our “dates” and an amused-looking cashier. No other staff were around, but then this was a Wednesday night, and according to other sources this is still a soft opening (so to speak) – the grand opening will be this Friday, August 5.
We wanted to be alert and receptive at the next venue, so just finished our drinks and left without availing ourselves of the specialist facilities, but this will certainly one to come back to once the paint has dried.
The Other White Meat
Having successfully avoided being eaten, we sauntered a block further to Soi 12 (yes), where the most unlikely of venues has been in business for about three months now – White Lioness. It’s a go-go bar with a difference – the dancers are all Russian girls, and if you think 150 baht is a bit steep for a drink in a go-go, you may as well stop reading now.
I’d heard about the place a few times, from a few people. They all said it was outrageously expensive, that the women were old and ugly, and that the entire enterprise was doomed to failure. None of them had actually been in, though. It’s outrageously expensive, you see…
The Thai door girl who greeted us spoke great English, and invited us to take a look inside before we decided whether we wanted to commit, which was another nice touch. She told us that all the dancers are from Russia, but I’ve no idea how true that is. Certainly in similar bars in Pattaya, the dancers can come from any number of former Soviet states whose names all seem to end in “-stan”.
She then explained that our 500 baht entrance fees would include our first drink, and showed us the drinks prices in advance to make sure there’d be no unpleasant surprises later – all spirits were priced at 420 baht, while Singha, Heineken and San Miguel were around 350-380, with Corona at 420.
She went on – the dancers appear one or two at a time on the main stage, but will also dance at your table for tips. The minimum tip, she told us with a stern look on her face, is 100 baht. Lady drinks are 600 baht.
We could see the stage and a few of the dancers from inside the door, and they were certainly a lot more attractive than I’d been expecting. A look and a nod from DW, and we took our seats by the stage.
Before I go on, an aside. There is a much-loved myth amongst Bangkok’s bitterer ex-pats which states that “all white women are fat and ugly”. This is, I hope we can all agree, not true. When these chaps say that “all white women are fat and ugly”, they actually mean “the only white women who are willing to talk to me are fat and ugly”. There is a difference.
Most of these women are white. Very few of them are fat or ugly. Okay? Good. Glad we cleared that up.
Of course, the dancers at White Lioness will probably not make the FHM Top 100 list. If they looked like supermodels, they wouldn’t be pole-dancing down soi 12. They’d be working as supermodels. It pays better.
However, they’re not too shabby either. I’d guess we saw about ten dancers working there, all of whom seemed to be in their 20s. There was already a girl on stage as we took our seats, and the first thing I noticed was the dancing. These girls can actually pole dance.
The club itself looks like money. Lots of money. Very nicely decked out, with more leather sofas than the DFS sale (ends Sunday). We guessed it could seat around 120 people, but on our visit there were perhaps five other punters, if that. This was mid-week though – it would be interesting to return on a Saturday night.
According to the staff, most customers are Indian, with a few Japanese and some Thais.
As Svetlana swang around the pole, upside-down, her stripper shoes whizzing through my field of vision over and over again, I wondered whether they’re still technically stripper shoes if the wearer never actually strips.
Sadly, there seemed to be a no nudity policy in the main bar area. Although clothes come off, the underwear stays on.
DW and I had a couple of girls in our laps soon enough, and we were able to make further enquiries. There are VIP rooms, to which I was invited for a “private dance”. I asked how much this would cost – two thousand baht. I asked what a private dance involves – she told me she would take off her clothes and dance naked.
Another stern look.
I had to decline.
Like most things in Bangkok, a takeaway may be available to the right person for the right price, but if naked dancing costs two thousand baht, I don’t think I want to think how much horizontal jogging is valued at.
Still, decent looking girls, a complete change from the usual venues, and not quite as hideously expensive as I’d feared – especially if you can get DW to pay.