Hey everybody, it’s Seven again, and today’s Frowback Friday covers a topic in flux. That topic is the question of the best gogo in Patpong. Now that Electric Blue is no more, and Bada Bing is seeing a dip in popularity, new gogos have risen from the pavement chewing gum. It’s perhaps poetic that Bing’s sister club—Glamour—is a current favorite. It might be a stroke of genius on the part of the owners that they always have at least one gogo doing well. But the point is, the popularity of gogos is always changing. The following op-ed was written several months ago. It’s still mostly accurate:
“The answer to this question—at least the 2nd part—changes periodically depending on management, talent, and the fragile deck of cards that is the global economic garbage disposal, but the first part is easy to answer, because it never changes. The worst gogo in Patpong is…
….one that I will not name, for fear of reprisals, but if you’re somewhat knowledgeable about this RLD, you can put the clues together and figure it out. It has two claims to fame. First, it was once rumored to be a secret CIA meeting point, where agents would confer on clandestinely-gotten information, whispering between long legs in high heels. Second, it’s the film location of one of David Bowie’s music videos. That’s all I’ll say about it. But it is hands-down the most terrible bar in the Pong—possibly all of Bangkok—and that’s saying a lot.
It’s the worst gogo for a singular reason with multiple facets. Each facet is a person. But they all embody a core problem that in totality ruins the bar. They are staffed with greedy, underhanded thieves. Over the course of 5 years, I went to this bar 5 times. Three out of those 5 times, a bar employee—either a dancer or the mamasan—ordered herself a drink without asking me and put the bill in my check-bin when she thought I wasn’t looking. The first time they tried and failed, the staff should’ve realized I wasn’t a rube and given up. But they seemed incapable of learning from their mistakes, and so they tried it another two times. I was equally as stupid, since I didn’t blackball the place after the first offense. But I had a couple friends who worked there who I wanted to support, and honestly I didn’t think they’d keep doing it. I was wrong.
So after the 3rd time, I swore off the place, and didn’t darken their door again until two weeks ago when a friend of mine insisted we check it out. I didn’t get more than 2 steps inside before being accosted by a gogo dancer, the bar manager, and a mamasan, all asking for a drink and a tip alternately. I had one sip of my beer and check-binned. The cashier tried to keep my change. The 3 beggars followed me out onto the soi, still shouting for a drink and a tip.
Now, I don’t mind aggressive sales practices in Thailand. I patiently, consistently tolerate the ping-pong show pushers, tailors, and nick-nack sellers, because that’s how they make their money. If they ask a hundred people, one might say yes, so they pitch to everyone. They’re simply playing the numbers. So I’m always polite, unlike most tourists who are invariably rude in these situations. But a gogo bar shouldn’t use these same tactics. A customer should feel relaxed, welcome, and appreciated. At most, a soft-sell method works. But for God’s sake, when your clientele physically flee your establishment, that’s a good indication that you’re doing something wrong.
On the flipside, the best gogo in Patpong is a pleasure to visit. The staff are friendly and accommodating. The thought of padding your bill or cheating you in any way never crosses their minds. The girls have hearts of solid gold and are a joy to be around. The drink prices are a little steep, but it’s directly proportional to how good of a time you will have while you’re in there. When you’re in this gogo, you feel at home. You never want to leave, and the only reason you do is because you’ve spent all your dough. It’s the Bangkok equivalent of “Cheers.” You wanna go where everybody knows your name, or at least where everybody acts like they know your name (in my case, they really do know my name). You feel like you belong. And isn’t that really what we’re all looking for?
Right now you’re probably skimming through this paragraph, looking for the name of the bar. “Shut up Seven, and just get to it—which bar is the best?” At the moment of this re-edit, the answer is King’s Castle 1. The vibe there is positively electric, due in most part to the optimism of the staff and the girls. They really treat their employees well, and it affects every aspect of the environment in a way you can see, hear, and feel. And to top it off, they have a ridiculously big stable of superhot girls. Another is Black Pagoda, though their number of girls fluctuates wildly—15 one day, 3 the next—but they also offer a nice happy hour, and the music is always really upbeat. There’s one I really want to name, the one that’s been my favorite bar onPong for the last 5 years, the one nearest and dearest to my heart is unfortunately no longer the best bar. But it used to be. That bar was The Strip.
Back when Randy had the helm and Toby was ramping up business, The Strip was a sight to behold. All the hottest girls on the Pong worked in this one tiny bar. The atmosphere was volcanic. The girls were wild. They offered a nice selection of Belgian beers, had VIP discount cards for regulars, played the best mix of new and classic songs, and even had a snake show or two. There were nights when I’d plop down at 7 pm and stay until midnight. There was no need to go anywhere else. But in recent years, as tourist spending has tightened up and the prettiest girls have sought greener pastures, my once-beloved bar of choice has fallen on hard times. The owners fear losing more revenue, so they’re hesitant to take risks, forgetting that you have to spend money to make money. In that instance, failure becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
But there’s always hope. There’s always a new day, a new dawn, a new girl from the country getting off the bus, wide-eyed and wet behind…….what was I saying? Oh yeah, wet behind the ears, ready to make a go of the gogo in the big city. And as long as that keeps happening, the potential for a bar’s fast about-face is always close at hand. I have my fingers crossed for The Strip, because she was my first gogo love, and she always will be. Maybe if there was a way to get Biw and Mai and Bow and Kik to come back, that would definitely liven up the place……..hold on, let me check my friends list on Line…..I’ll get back to you.”
So today, all these long months later, this account mostly stands up. I should mention that Pink Panther is going strong. Black Pagoda is almost always busy and packed with hotties. And happily, The Strip has fresh new management, so things might be turning around. Moe on that later. In the meantime, cheers to another day above ground in the greatest country in the world: Thailand. Peace out.