Seven’s Red-Light Week

Well hey there, reader. How’s your life going? Omicron continues to be benign, giving the Thai government their “shit-or-get-off-the-pot” moment. Either go full tyrannical-fascist or abandon all Covid restrictions and get back to normal. We’re on pins and needles waiting to see what they choose.

Things in Thailand are leading toward freedom, which is as surprising as it is refreshing. And Thailand’s not alone. Boris Johnson announced an end to all medical fascism in the UK. Maybe this is a sign that authoritarianism is stalled, at least for now, and Thailand will land on the right side of history.

 

The status quo was maintained in Bangkok’s red-light districts this week. Soi Cowboy has 6 open gogo bars, and by open I mean their outdoor patios are open and sporadically populated with girls. Mandatory ATK test to enter. Nana is the busiest RLD thanks to the vast open space on the ground floor, a gaggle of hotties at Twister (and to a lesser degree, Lollipop) and an optional ATK test at the entrance. Patpong’s venues at the moment are King’s street seating on Soi 1, and on Soi 2: BarBar, Bada Bing, XXX Lounge, Patpong Café, Crystal Palace, Black Pagoda, Paddy Field, and Pink Panther, with all the outdoor/upstairs/gay bars open in between (some are closed on Sundays). King’s Castle has posted an announcement on their door—they plan to reopen on the 26th.

Soi 7 is expanding, with a handful of new joints on the actual soi. They’re out and proud lately. Inside the beer bar complex, several are currently closed, presumably due to omicron outbreaks. The area remains upbeat, though, with a cacophony of competing Thai live bands, enthusiastic hostesses shouting their welcomes, and clusters of demure chicks in jeans and tank tops. The last couple of times I visited, there were very few punters on the premises. This might be due to Covid fears, or the time of day. I didn’t walk down Soi 8 but it was raucous and festive when I passed by at 4 pm.

In all of these locations, mongering has morphed into a low-key undertaking. There are pros and cons to this new alien environment. Two pros: the girls often don sexy dresses and look outstanding, and in the absence of dance rotations they have a lot more free time to sit down and chat. Two cons: the girls are in dresses instead of hot cosplay outfits or bikinis, and in the absence of dance rotations there’s less eye candy and the girls have a lot more free time to have awkward, senseless conversations. It turns out they don’t have a lot of deep insightful thoughts with which to enrich a discussion.

The highlights of each of my mongoutings (mongering outings, copyright BKK7) have been food-related. When visiting Soi 7, it made sense to hit Red Lion, which I did twice–once for a smash burger and once for the weekend roast. Both were great. The burger is as close as you can come to the same experience in the US. Likewise, Red Lion’s roast always gives me flashbacks to sitting fireside in The George on Colchester’s high street.

It’s impossible for me to go a week without hitting G’s German on Silom Soi 4. Recently I had a 3-sausage skillet with sauerkraut. Fantastic. Speaking of G’s, if you’re in the XXX Lounge “restaurant” and you get to feeling peckish, their food menu is G’s menu. Last week I ordered in chicken wings and moo dat diyow, both great as a mid-beer-binge snack, and easily sharable with whatever collection of hungry girls might be lingering nearby.

 

With the announcement from the Thai govt that alcohol serving hours will be pushed back from 9 pm to 11 pm beginning tomorrow (January 24), there’s a renewed air of optimism among the bars, girls, and back alleys of BKK. And along with that comes possibly the best red-light related news in months: BangkokNites is reporting that The Strip–arguably the best gogo in Patpong–will reopen on the 29th. Like spotting a white buffalo, or Halley’s comet, this great news could be a portent of change in our futures. Dust off your Kool n the Gang record, friends. The time to celebrate is imminent.

And between now and next week, keep your balls shorn, your glass full, and here’s to another week above ground in what’s poised to be the freest, funnest, fascism-free frontier in the post-Covid world: Thailand. Cheers.