The Bars of Patpong Soi 2 East: Episode 1

Hey folks, it’s me again. I’m Seven, and I live the Bangkok Red-Light dream so that, in case you can’t, you can do so vicariously through me. This week’s offering is a review of the bars of Patpong Soi 2, the east side. However, it doesn’t cover all the bars on that side, because there are actually two rows of “hidden” bars that are too numerous to be included in this article. So look for a sequel review of those bars in a later post. Today we’re just covering those bars that sit directly on the east side of the soi, from south to north. Here we go:

If you’re standing on Silom Road looking down Soi 2, after the discount luggage the first bar on your right is Bar Bar, a bondage (bdsm) bar. I’ve never been in, but the pictures on their website provide a glimpse of the wild stuff that goes on in there. It’s not for the vanilla tourist, that’s for sure. The price of admission is 1,000 baht but that includes your first drink. Once, when I was drinking in the bar next door, a dominatrix brought in a naked man on a leash. Apparently his fetish was humiliation and it got his rocks off to be exposed to strangers. Too bad my fetish is not seeing other men’s junk. The gogo dancers got a big kick out of it, though.

After Bar Bar comes one of my sentimental favorites—The Strip. It’s a cozy little gogo with a tight family of dancers and staff. The girls are fun and laid-back, and tend to get crazy in the later hours. And if you’re feeling frisky, they have private booths where you might coax a dancer into getting personal. Beers and cocktails are 160. Lady drinks are 200. The bartender pours strong drinks, so beware of getting drunk sooner than you thought. This place has had its ups and downs in the last year. Word is, they have a new manager as of this week. We’ll have to wait and see what’s in store.

As you leave The Strip, if you blink you’ll miss Noi Bar, a small outdoor area between The Strip and The Steakhouse Co. It’s really just a bar, a couple of high tops, and an awning. They have a staff of older bar maids, but they’re very friendly, speak English well, and are always up for a good conversation or a game of Connect Four.

Next is the illustrious The Steakhouse Co. No secret that this place is one of my faves, not just in Patpong but in all of Bangkok. Their beer list is varied and extensive. Their wine list is even better. There are too many to list here, so you’ll just have to check out the menu yourself. Just know that on Sundays, to go with the carvery, they offer a 2-hour free-flow wine special for 599 that includes carefully-selected red, white, and sparkling wines by the glass. It’s a rare, wonderful wine odyssey, and the only one in Patpong.



Next door is Crown Royal, owned by Khun Dan—the same Thai guy that runs Kiss Bar and Patpong Café. He’s amiable, friendly, and has a good sense for what his customers want. He’s promised to stock the fridge with my favorite Belgian beer from Kiss, which is Witte. This place is never crowded, and tourists don’t go in. But here’s what you’re in for if you do. The interior is old-time ornate, with a long wooden bar and a few half-circle shaped booths. The original decorator was a design professor from a local uni. He first did the layout 50 years ago. Then 30 years ago, one of his students redid it, and kept the same vibe. Beers are 120, and they’re open from about noon onward. The place is staffed with half a dozen Thai ladies of varying ages. When you come in, you likely won’t see anyone, but after a few moments they will emerge, decked out in cocktail dresses and heels. They’re not just there for conversation, though they’re happy enough to converse. Everyone is very sweet and friendly.

Past Crown Royal is Foodland. They have beers in the cooler. Then comes another favorite: The Paddy Field. It’s the lil’ Irish Bar that could. This instantly likable open-front bar is what kicked things off for the Shenanigans boys, who’s golden touch shows no sign of slowing. I won’t be surprised if they own half the Pong a year from now. Happy hour drafts, plus a comfort-food menu, plus great live music and awesome staff make Paddy’s a must on your bar hopping list.

Beyond Paddy is Zpanky, a small place with a small bar and a pool table in back. Beers are 110. There’s usually one or two staff inside. Sometimes one is a ladyboy. When I asked to take a photo of the front, the lady behind the bar shook her head. Thus, no photo. Nice one, Zpanky!

Just after Zpanky is Vinai’s Bar. It’s a daytime photo, I can’t remember why but I’m sure I had a good reason. Vina’s name also appears above the sign for Cosmos Bar (see last week’s review). This place marks the spot where Soi 2 splits and becomes 2 lines of bars—the ones directly on the soi and the ones hidden behind them. We’ll get to those hidden bars in the sequel to this review. Vina’s almost always has a sports match on and a handful of punters who always seem to be having a good time. It has no front walls, so technically it’s an open-air bar. 110b beers and 120b cocktails.

Next on the soi is French Kiss, a little French restaurant that serves up stupendous food, wine, and cocktails, as well as the usual beers. If a fantastic eatery seems to you out of place in Patpong, then you don’t understand Patpong. It’s much more than a red light district. It’s a lifestyle, and a microcosm of any great metropolis. Fine dining is just one of its many delights.

After French Kiss comes VL Gallery Bar Beer. They open around noon and have sports on the TV, and they’re a convenient stop if you’re lumbering along the soi and suddenly get thirsty. There’s almost always a small crowd here later in the evening. 110b beers.

Next comes Horseshoe Bar. Same general prices, layout, and vibe as VL Gallery, except they have a pool table, and immediately beyond Horseshoe is Dragon Bar, also nearly identical to the two previous bars. Same prices as well.  A bit further down is Red Dragon, a tiny bar with a big screen TV and not much else. Beers are 100 baht.

The final bar on the soi is the outdoor portion of Pink Panther. They’ve got big TVs with mostly football on, and a large lounge area with comfortable chairs. Drink prices are the same as inside the gogo, which I personally find weird because when you’re in the gogo, you’re forking over an extra 50b or so because, well, they have dancers in there. No dancers in the outdoor bar.

And that wraps it up for the bars that sit directly on the soi. Next time, I’ll cover the ones hidden in the covered walkway behind these bars (it’s an eclectic menagerie to say the least) as well as the even shadier bars that line the upper floor. Should be a hoot. In the meantime, here’s to another day above ground in the greatest country in the world. Cheers!