State of the Red-Light: Omicron Edition

Happy Sunday, reader. How’s your scamdemic going? Apologies to my 10 loyal readers for not posting last week. I was overwhelmed with the depressing state of the Red-Light, the city, the country, and the world at large and a sense that the fun ban-will never end.

I’m much perkier this week. The good news is, we’re in the home stretch. Omicron is benign, and everyone will have had it and recovered from it by February. The bad news is, the red-lights are still ghost towns. Most of the places that’ve been shut since 2020 are still shut, and the few that did have the courage to open are sputtering on fumes. Last week in Patpong, the King’s Group’s outdoor/billiards hybrid bar had to shut for three days and do a deep clean thanks to several of their staff catching Omicron. Bada Bing and Pink Panther were forced to close for 10 days by the police who wanted to see stricter Covid measures in place. They’re set to reopen Monday.

 

XXX and Black Pagoda have almost completely replaced their rosters of girls with newcomers and coyotes. The veterans are staying away out of fear of the virus, or so some have told me. On Saturday, XXX held another kebab cookout, but it wasn’t enough to draw a crowd, even with nearly a dozen new girls in low-cut dresses.

Both Nana Plaza and Soi 7 have Covid ATK testing sites near their entrances but a test is not mandatory to enter either location. Not so in Cowboy, where a mandatory test for entry has slowed foot traffic there to a trickle. Right now, the liveliest locations seem to be Soi 7–though there were a lot less mongers and punters this week, ostensibly because of Omicron fears–and Soi Nana, which is busier than the Plaza and rife with freelancers. Speaking of freelancers, a few of them tried their luck in Patpong last week, but were gone by Saturday. Pong regulars simply aren’t used to that kind of thing.

   

After rumors of reopenings in Nana (Billboard) and Cowboy (Dollhouse), I started my Saturday by schlepping out to Sukhumvit. As I absolutely adore Dollhouse, I hit Soi Cowboy first, and was filled with dismay on arrival. The soi is blocked at both ends, and one may not monger there unless one submits to an ATK test (120b). After this 5-minute nonsensical hurdle, I ventured into Cowboy to find it in nearly the same condition as the previous week. A few new joints were open, though. Here’s the breakdown of open bars: Dollhouse (3girls), Suzy Wong’s (7 girls), Moon Shine & Jungle Jim’s (2 girls), Baccara (one girl), and Kazy Kozy (4 girls). Spritz, Oasis, and Country Road were also open and sparsely patronized. At the moment, Cowboy is brighter, louder, and livelier than Patpong. The irony is, there are more girls in the Pong. I had one beer in Dollhouse and bailed to Nana.

ATK tests at Nana Plaze remain optional for now. The number of open bars in Nana has increased by one. No, it wasn’t Billboard. The idiot who reported that rumor last week failed to realize that 2nd and 3rd floor bars can’t reopen beause they don’t have outdoor patios. The newly reopened bar is Erotica, with 7 or so girls putting the hard-sell on customers. I was immediately accosted by two plump lasses in their 30s whose awkward attempts at squeezing drinks from me filled all parties with a sense of shame and despair (shamespair for short, copyright BKK7). 100b SMLs there, and 100b Heineken pints in the beer garden. I didn’t go to Twister or Lollipop. I was content to stare into both bars, ogling the women from afar. Twister’s roster is arguably the hottest in BKK at the moment. Apologies for not providing photographic proof, but Nana Plaza are picture Nazis. I snapped only a few before getting a tut-tut and a finger-wag. The live music band has moved to a stage at the rear of Twister’s patio. They have two lead singers, whom I’ve nicknamed “Terrible” and “Terribler.” The Taco Taxi that I loved so well outside the Plaza has morphed into a smash burger truck. I got a bacon cheeseburger. ‘Twas adequate.

To be honest, while the Plaza arguably has the best-looking girls and the biggest crowds, Soi Nana itself seems to have a better vibe. There are more open bars on the soi, with more girls, more fun, and a growing crowd of freelancers.

 

Yet, as I’ve done after every other visit to Nana or Cowboy in the last decade, after about an hour on Suk I hightailed it back to Sweet Home Patpong. I had one beer in the King’s beer garden with galpals Sa and Kae (along with a chicken Caesar’s salad), then in a shocking turn, found Paddy Field open, and I’m not gonna lie, settling my ass into a seat there felt like a kind of homecoming. But by half-8, the cops were out in force, sniffing around and hassling bars like a shakedown gang, spoiling the atmosphere and giving everyone metaphorical hemorrhoids.

On a positive note, the gaggle of coyote agency girls at Black Pagoda gets hotter by the day. Mixed in are a couple of BP veterans, like Best, who rule the roost like Red-Light princesses. Her soft touch and firm ass are reminiscent of Patpong’s past glory, and a reminder of what it could be again.

On a side note, Soi 7 continues to be a fun alternative to the 3 main RLDs. ATK tests are still optional here, though people are queueing up in droves to get tested, likely more out of curiosity or required-for-staff testing than anything else.

On the night I went, monger levels were low while bar girl numbers were up, creating the ideal ratio for old punters like me to find a random hottie to bounce on my lap for a few minutes. My buddy Jack Nites also hit Soi 7 and later Nana on a different night, and described a similar experience. He donated a few photos to this blog (thanks Jack). For now, this is the state of the Red-Light. Call it “Omicron odd-numbered” because the girls outnumber the punters. It’s a monger’s market, so if you count yourself among that debauched crowd, you’d do well to get out there and mix it up. No need to fear Omicron. You will get it, and you will be fine. There’s no reason to avoid the red-lights. Besides, there’s no telling, week to week, what might change. My money’s on an end to this Covid nonsense by February. I just can’t see how they can keep locking down when the virus is 1–unstoppable, and 2–no longer deadly. Let’s stay positive, and keep on keepin’ on. Here’s to the bars that are open, and the girls who populate them. May they stay young, well-dressed, and up for fun. Cheers.