September 22, 2019 By bangkok7
When the owner of the world famous Club Electric Blue told me he was closing his gogo bar and reopening as a high end steakhouse in Patpong, I was crestfallen. EB was, and still is, my favorite gogo bar of all time. I cut my teeth in EB, found all my favorite girls in EB, learned to keep a harem with girls from EB. The thought that this beacon of debauchery, this icon of carnality, this haven of hedonism would cease to exist almost made me question my own reason for existing.
But then, The Steakhouse Co. opened, and I along with all the other Patpong regulars quickly assimilated to the new dynamic. Instead of smacking asses and squeezing tits, I sipped Beaujolais and consumed exquisite food. The terrace became the place to start and end every gogo-hopping evening. As it turned out, most of my favorite EB girls retired from the pole around that time anyway, or dispersed to the surrounding bars. That combined with the exceptionally good menu and wine list at TSC made the change not only tolerable, but dare I say it—preferable. Patpong was long overdue for a ritzy, respectable joint that vanilla folks could patronize without shame. And so, for the last year and two months, The Steakhouse Co. has been my favorite thing about Patpong and the place where I spent most of my free time.
Which is why, when the owner announced last weekend that he’d be shuttering the restaurant at the end of the month, I was again aggrieved and chagrined. But then my ears pricked up, as he went on to explain that after a remodel, it would be opening again as a gogo bar. Ahh, bittersweet symphony of life! To lose the oasis of ingestion, the sanctuary of succulence that is The Steakhouse in order to create another bootie buffet. How can I possibly protest?
I’ll miss TSC. Their Sunday carvery was par excellence. The Wagyu burger was pure delight. I had their charcuterie and sampler platters every week, and glasses of Primitivo, Malbec, and Prosecco almost daily. If pressed to name a menu favorite, I could maybe narrow it down to a top 5: lamb chops, porterhouse, nachos, fajitas, and bbq ribs. Or maybe the Cuban pork sandwich, or the meatloaf…or the calamari–no wait! the Gambas. But hands down the best meals were their buffets. The surf n’ turf nights were heavenly, with king prawn, rock lobster, prime rib, babyback ribs, and lamb, the experience was an epicurean indulgence.
The Steakhouse became our clubhouse, where a small circle of expats felt at home. Alex, the restaurant manager, is a great conversationalist and became a casual friend. We had long talks on the terrace covering a wide range of topics from wine to rock music to world politics. When the subject turned to food and wine pairings, Alex helped me build a series of unique burgers to match the different wines on their menu. I even wrote a blog about these Seven-only burgers and posted it to PPNL last year. Later, when I adopted a keto diet, the good folks at TSC were happy to modify the dishes, substituting mushrooms and spinach for fries and bread.
What materialized was a culinary odyssey of pure delight, and a really good time. And that’s what every visit to TSC ended up being—a really good time. Which begs the question: why is it closing? The fact is, The Steakhouse was ahead of its time. Patpong is slowly gentrifying, with the emphasis on slowly. In a couple of years, a handful of gogos will stand shoulder to shoulder with mainstream attractions like coffee houses, martini bars, and ice cream parlors. Had TSC opened two years from now, it would likely thrive. But 2019 hasn’t seen enough change from the red-light-related to the average tourist trap. TSC just couldn’t muster up enough of a customer base. Their loyal following just wasn’t big enough to keep them in the black.
And so, as we bid a sad farewell to this amazing eatery and mentally and spiritually prepare to fill that empty space in our hearts with a gogo bar, let us break down the steps of the transition:
Step 1: From a full belly to a handful of skin. A day after the news of TSC’s impending closure, I sent a hopeful Line message to the owner. “Bro, any chance you’ll keep the kitchen and serve snacks in the new gogo?” The idea of bouncing a stripper on one knee while munching on jalapeno poppers was a sweet, scrumptious dream. Imagine that: a Bangkok gogo bar with pole dancers AND buffalo wings, oh man, what else could a man ask for? “Zero chance,” was his reply. Dream. Shattered.
Step 2: From an exquisite French red to a dyed-redhead. When I moved to Thailand, I experienced a reversal of vice, trading in an addiction to great wine to a harem of hot chicks. I have a blog of the same name waiting to be posted, maybe next week. And here’s that same switch in a smaller form. I grew to really love TSC’s wine list, and losing it will leave a hole in my life. I’m just hoping a punky, funky-haired stripper will appear in the gogo and attempt to fill that hole, by, y’know…letting me fill hers. Rimshot!
Step 3: Readjusting my usual seat from the terrace to pole-side. When the place was Electric Blue, I sat in the same seat night after night, year after year. My girls knew to commandeer it and wait for me there, keeping it warm as it were. My usual drink found its way there before I even sat down. Then when the steakhouse conversion took place, I relocated to one of the outdoor high-tops where I could smoke a Cuban cigar and watch the dancers roll in for work every evening. Now it’ll be a matter of waiting to see the new layout and choosing the most advantageous—actually, maybe I’ll ask the owner to stick in a VIP section. That way I won’t have to sit near other customers. Might take some convincing…
Step 4: Find a new place to chow down. There are quite a few to choose from. The Pong already had great eateries even before the Steakhouse, and while it’ll be impossible to duplicate the exact menu and ambiance, there are some close runners-up, eg Shenanigans, The Paddy Field, Le Bouchon, Madrid, and French Kiss. In truth, I’ll probably split my time between all of them. Shagginz and Paddy for daytime relaxation, burgers, and Chinese food, and Bouchon and French Kiss for wine and steak. Madrid for pizza.
The only question that remains is, what will the new gogo be called? I’d be lying if I said it wouldn’t warm the cockles of my cold dead heart to see the neon Electric Blue sign above the door once again. The triumphant return of a beloved red-light icon. But if I were a betting man, I’d put all my money on a new name: Beavers. Beavers is the owner’s latest wildly successful gogo down in Pattaya, and I’d be very surprised if he didn’t plant that same moniker in Patpong. New era, new name, new vigor. But we’ll have to wait and see. In the meantime, I’ve already messaged all my old gogo favorites letting them know that their used-to-be home away from home, that gogo of legends past, will in some way reincarnate in two months’ time and they should start planning to come back for that comeback. I can almost sense the glory days returning…
And so, we bid farewell to The Steakhouse–an excellent restaurant that emerged too early for its target customer base. You will be missed…thank Buddha for the consolation prize: a new gogo bar where Electric Blue once stood.
If you’ve never been to The Steakhouse Co., you have one week to get in there and experience this foodgasm paradise before it’s gone. I’m going to stuff my face with as much of their menu that’ll fit in my gut.
Cheers to all the whoremongers who, like me, will be holding their breath for the next several weeks waiting for the grand opening of this sure-to-be red-light marvel. Swing by on Friday for another Delirium Days frowback, and between now and then keep your balls warm, your beer cold, and here’s to another week above ground in the playground called Bangkok, Thailand.