The Only Open “Gogo” in Bangkok

Happy Sunday, everyone. Bangkok Seven here. Well, ‘twas announced last week that Prayut will keep the gogos closed until after January 15, and he had the gall to tell everyone working in that industry to “not be selfish.” How dare you selfishly want to feed yourselves and your families. What’s that you say? You’re homeless because you can’t afford rent, and you want the gogos to reopen so you can survive? Well—that’s just selfish. I mean, sure we’ve reopened schools, malls, massage parlors, gyms, parks, theaters, and restaurants, but come on—we can’t reopen everything. That would be crazy. You’ll just have to find a way to not starve until Valentine’s Day. You selfish little piggies.

In my day, one might’ve referred to that as horrifically cuntish.

In spite of this mandate, beer bars and hostess bars along several parts of Sukhumvit continue to do gangbuster business in blatant spite of the ban. It’s almost as if certain people in authority are in a mutually beneficial situation there, and don’t really give a shit about who’s supposed to close and who isn’t. Unfortunately, areas like Cowboy, Nana, and Patpong are too visible to quietly reopen under the radar. In fact, the cops in Patpong are so vehement about catching someone going against the mandates that, every night, they barge in to every SHA-approved restaurant within the confines of their sway to swing their tiny bits around because they literally have nothing else to do. Falling within the realm they survey is The XXX Lounge—a “former” gogo bar that is “currently” open and operating under their very authentic restaurant license. They are, technically speaking, the only open “gogo” in Bangkok, though they’re presently not a “gogo” in the strictest definition.  They’re a restaurant.

In order to meet the dictionary definition of “restaurant” to the satisfaction of the cucks in charge, the folks at XXX have had to jump through a series of inane hoops. First, they had to wrap the stage in a tent-like canvas blanket. Second, they had to create plastic barriers every meter or so, because Covid. Third, they had to adorn their female staff in lederhosen so they wouldn’t be confused with nightlife employees. Fourth, they’re forbidden to allow more than four girls to work on a night. Fifth, the girls are not permitted to sit down anywhere where customers are located. In spite of all these hinderances, XXX has prevailed, providing a bearable if not authentic location for we nostalgic few who are suffering withdrawals in the waning weeks of the fun-ban. For a local like me, it’s a blessed mercy to be able to plop down in XXX and have a beer and maybe some chicken strips surrounded by the old gogo dancer crew that have haunted that joint since it was Electric Blue. Poo, Nan, Earn, Bee, Sai, Joy, and Beer trade shifts weekly, and on Wednesday, Best made an appearance, fresh from her stint in Phuket. She was a sight for sore eyes, and we greeted each other in the fashion of gogo dancer and monger. She affectionately grabbed my junk and I checked the firmness of one ass cheek, the way a rancher might check a thoroughbred’s hind quarters. “Still fit?” she asked. I nodded approvingly.

The teeming busy-ness of the Sukhumvit beer bars are an opposite extreme from the current XXX Lounge restaurant, which is a quiet venue on the quietest soi in the quietest part of the city, and the beers aren’t budget priced. But happily, the dudes don’t outnumber the chicks 10 to 1 like they do on Suk. Maybe I’m biased, because I’m friends with all the girls, and because XXX is a block from my house, and because I loathe expat farang. But now, it’s the closest I can come to feeling like I’m in the kind of nightlife environment that I’ve been missing since April.

Speaking of Sukhumvit and missing nightlife environments, this weary whoremonger finally made it over to the super-secret beer bar bastion near Soi 7. It was pleasantly reminiscent (“pleasaniscent for short, copyright BKK7) of the kind of antics one might’ve gotten up to in Lamai on Koh Samui, or the old RCA (aka Disappointment Street) in Ao Nang. There were throngs of punters mixed in with clusters of dolled-up girls shouting “Welcaaaaam!” and tugging on the arms of every passerby. Most were on the chunky side and pushing 40, but in the absence of any other choice for nightlife, it was like a tiny oasis in a desert. As I wobbled down the soi, a trio of young lasses shouted my name. They were dancers from Nana Plaza. I propped myself up on a stool and they promptly accosted me, taking turns sitting in my lap in exchange for a couple of tequilas, and for an evening, all was right with the world—until 9 pm rolled around and the bars had to shutter.

After that I sauntered back to Nana for a lovely roast dinner at The Blarney Stone and margarita at the Taco Taxi. The Plaza is still shut but 95% of the joints on Soi Nana were open and bumping. As the night wore on I retreaded back to Silom, which was also bustling. G’s German restaurant has some new beers on tap, and I imbibed of that elixir until my eyes were crossed. Even so, I was exhausted by 10 and asleep before 10:30.

In Patpong, the announcement of a possible Jan 16 reopen has been taken as gospel, and the pool halls, bars, and gogos there have already begun a fall cleaning. Something momentous is happening at the old Safari Bar, though whether it’s a venue change or just a facelift, I couldn’t determine. The Bangkok Beatles were back at Shenanigan’s on Friday. I guess the takeaway is, things are slowly getting back to normal in the entertainment zones, and while a complete reopening won’t come to fruition until next year, we’re on the road to recovery. Thank Buddha.

So between now and normalcy, raise a glass, gents. Here’s to another week above ground, another step toward being back inside a gogo bar, and a life less ordinary in the greatest country on Earth—Thailand. Cheers, everyone.

(Some photos are courtesy of my friend Lucky)