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Update 7 May 2006 : A reversal of fortune for Nana Plaza and Soi Cowboy?
It has been an almost unacceptable while since we last added an update. The main reason is likely that we do not consider that any major changes have happened. However, it may give the impression that this site is not up-to-date.
From our observation, we can assert that both Nana Plaza and Soi Cowboy are busy as ever.
On the ground floor at Nana Plaza, Pretty Girl has closed for unclear reasons. The bar had somewhat lost most appeal to us, since most of the attractive girls had found other pastures. It will be difficult to restart the bar now anyway.
The Rainbow bars are still attracting big crowds. Rainbow 4 (second floor), the last Rainbow bar that opened, is not the largest but seems to have the most attractive and younger girls. Rainbow 2 (on the ground floor, far right corner), the bar that used to be the flagship, still has huge number of girls, but the last time we visited we were a bit disappointed with the quality on display.
We recommend a visit to Angel Witch (on the second floor, left in the middle). The bar features shows from around 10 P.M. till 1 A.M. or later. You may recall there is no nudity on Nana Plaza, but this bar nevertheless has good quality entertainment, with well choreographed shows of a wide variety.
As for the bars, good shows are to be seen at both Long Gun (Lucky Star) and Rawhide. Both bars close to the entrance from Asoke road. We nowadays recommend Rawhide as a bar to hang out. The shows are good (except for some balloon shooting, candle blowing shows) and the girls dancing in between the shows are attractive and younger than at Long Gun.
The price levels of beers and lady drinks now basically is the same at Nana Plaza and Soi Cowboy. Shows with nudity, which used to be common fare at Nana Plaza a few years ago, have disappeared at Nana Plaza, but are almost the standard now at Soi Cowboy. Soi Cowboy has also taken away quite a few customers from the Plaza also. So to some extent, the bars have somewhat changed their position. It is difficult to call Soi Cowboy more sedate nowadays, with all the shows going on. Nana Plaza still has a better location though. And with the bigger bars there, there are still more girls working there.
Update 9 November : Back to the old days?
It has been a while since we updated this webpage. Maybe the reason is that nothing dramatic has happened in the mean time. Things are as they were, only slightly better if you consider viewing undressed female bodies a good thing.
The action at Soi Cowboy does not seem different from how it was a few years ago. Whatever crack-down there was seems to have run its course (fingers crossed). Some recent observations :
If you are looking for naked girls and shows, another place to go are Suzie Wong and Shebas, in the middle of Soi Cowboy, having the same owner, and located on opposite sides of the road. Here we have mostly variations of the good old 'lesbian shows'. These bars have now also posted 'Members Only' signs on their sliding doors. This kind of means that they reserve the rights to exclude certain ethnic groups mainly. No problem if you are Caucasian, we assume, other people will have to give it a try. I guess if the bar is somewhat empty they will let you in anyway. We noticed on one of our visits that when exiting the bar, the door was kind of padlocked, to prevent abrupt entries into the premises by 'control units' we assume.
Deja Vu bar has been closed once more. This bar should have potential as soon as the owner gets his act together.
For a smaller bar with a good share of attractive girls and some nudity on occasion, we recommend Spice Girls also located about in the middle of the soi. This is also one of the bars where you can get draught beer at a good price of 70 baht. There are some other bars at Soi Cowboy that offer discounted beer prices, just check the signs outside the bars.
Black and White, closer to the Asoke road entrance to Soi Cowboy, has a somewhat relaxed atmosphere, and some better looking girls than before. The very good thing about this bar is that there are 3 or even 4 shifts of girls dancing in turns.(most bars have only 2). This makes for a lot of girls walking around freely in between dancing on stage. They have amble time to spend with the customers, and won't run away just after getting a drink from you.
Midnite bar (some owners as Deja Vu and Spice Girls) has been refurbished. Even the second floor has been redone. It looks better than before, especially the entrance fronting. On the other hand, the bar still maintains its 'dark' appearance. It is one of the few bars that still are not flooding with light, as seems to be the custom nowadays. This always created a somewhat seedier atmosphere. The girls dancing there still are the most raunchy in the soi, and like to show their stuff.
Nothing really changed at Baccara at the soi 23 end of Soi Cowboy, and it remains one of our favored bars.
While we think Soi Cowboy has the edge nowadays, we still go the Nana Plaza, mainly during the weekend. Over there, the Rainbow bars are still going like crazy. If you want to see lots of girls (and little space to move around) you certainly should visit any of the Rainbow bars. Our most favored bar is still Pretty Girl (left on the ground level), though we noticed that the most attractive girls there tend to disappear after a few months (to be replaced by other ones, of course). G-spot in the right far corner on the second floor, nowadays is also worth a visit. If you go a bit late though, they tend to run out of girls, since only about 30-35 girls seem to be working in this rather large bar. However, the atmosphere and the action seems to be always OK, and at least you have some room to move around, contrary to Rainbow 4 next door.
Erotica, hidden in the corner between second and third floor when taking the stairs on the left, is the only bar we know that offers girls dancing in birthday suit. The bar has now completely been split into two levels. The girls on the upper floor dance in schoolgirl outfits. You have to take a separate entrance to get to the second floor, which is called VIP bar. If you enter Erotica proper, you will not be allowed to take your beer with you, and walk upstairs. It seems to be an elaborate scheme to make people longer time in the bar.
Update 29 June : Soi Cowboy dressing down, Rainbow 4 roaring.
Soi Cowboy seems to go further to the old ways. Even when visiting one of the smaller bars we noticed girls dancing completely naked on the upper floor, something we did not see in quite a while (and possibly it was just a one day affair, as things are in continuous flux). However generally speaking nudity has made a hesitant comeback at Soi Cowboy. Bars like Suzie Wong and Sheba's still have shows going on some days, depending let's say on favorable circumstances. Long Gun still has its shows, and we saw the classic candle drip show there for the first time since maybe two years. The shows at Long Gun are more classy, the girls don't go and dance naked really, but you occasionally get to see the 'whole thing' at the end of particular shows.
At Nana Plaza, the newly opened Rainbow 4 is doing a very good trade. The bar seems to have about 150 girls working there, it is really crowded with girls and customers even late at night, when maybe a 100 girls have already been bought out. Most girls are clearly in the 18-23 years age group. This has somewhat gone at the expense of Rainbow 2, the old flagship of the Rainbow bars. On our latest visit we noticed much less attractive and older girls there, and actually less customers than before. All in all, Rainbow 4 is a very welcome and successful addition to Nana Plaza. It can not confidently be said that about half of the girls at Nana Plaza work in one of the Rainbow bars. There business model is old but proven : have many girls, and you will have many customers. Not clear why the other bars have given up on this old wisdom. Of course, you need a little cash flow in the beginning to get it going. If you have no overhanging debt, making good money in the bars at the prices currently charged is easy in our opinion. However, it is a question of forgone even greater profits, if you keep the bars just running with minimal staff as a lot of the bars are doing. Of course, the bar girls do know where the action is, so they themselves tend to look for work in the bars that already busy and profitable for them. Who knows, maybe they are even willing to work for less money in those bars.
Update 20 May : Deja Vu bar at Soi Cowboy
We still have to confirm that Soi Cowboy seems to be back heading to its old ways. Many bars seem to offer girls dancing naked at times, and shows are on. In one of the long established bars, let's call it 'Short Bazooka', very old fashioned shows were performed again, like the 'open soda bottles', 'fill bottles with cola' and 'flowers escaping from an orifice'. You just have to imagine what part of their body the girls use for these performances.
8 May : Rainbow 4 opens at Nana Plaza
During this weekend Rainbow 4 bar opened at Nana Plaza. It is located on the second floor where Woodstock used to be. The old Rosemary's bar has also been incorporated, thus the bar is rather large, but in no way the largest on the Plaza. Very crowded indeed on its first weekend. Rainbow 1 has been closed temporarily for renovations, and the girls from that bar (which we think number between 100-150) were all at the new Rainbow 4. We will have to go back a few times before making a full assessment, however it certainly will be a welcome good addition to the Plaza. Interestingly, beer prices have been raised to 120 baht a drink, we did not check out yet whether this also applies to the other Rainbow bars. When you enter there are two L shaped dancing stages, and there is actually ample seating accommodation. Luckily, this Rainbow bar is the first that has proper lavatory facilities. In the other bars it is more like a disaster area. When visiting G-spot next door (which is bigger than Rainbow 4, but always has some big empty spaces), we noticed more 'traffic' than usual there, so they might also benefit from this new bar, and this corner may actually become one of the busy ones of Nana Plaza.
10 March : Just want to indicate that Spice Girls, Soi Cowboy, seems to have draught beer (Tiger beer) all night at 70 baht. Wish more of the bars would try to lure customers with cheaper drinks.
Begin April :
The Dollhouse A Go Go bars at Soi Cowboy, Bangkok and at Pattaya, are up for sale.
The Trink column seems to be death. The famous one time nighttime commentator does not seem to be able to get his copy timely on line, and is looking for help to do so. Really a sad story of not adapting. Learning how to type and edit html-text probably takes less than an hour. There is a lesson in there somewhere.
Update January 2005
It has been quite a while since we had an update and even now we have to say that nothing drastically has changes over the last few months. Well, it is clearly the high season now, with many foreigners roaming Sukhumvit Road, and at Nana Plaza and Soi Cowboy.
The busy places at Nana Plaza are still the Rainbow I and II, and Angelwitch, with most other bars coming a distant fourth. However, the place is busier than usual, and visitors are not deterred by the varying closing times. Let's just say : It closes at 1.00 A.M. Any minute later is bonus time.
A negative for Nana Plaza, is that it is becoming less and less accessible, soi 4 being packed on the footpath with vendors of all kinds of stuff. And where there is still some walking space, some lady boys have taken it, and will try to grab you when passing by. All kind of accidents are waiting to happen here, with visitors literally being forced to walk on the street, in between the taxis.
Soi Cowboy is also doing a good trade. Baccara has really become one of the busiest places there, together with old favorite Long Gun (Lucky Star).
The elephants are back doing there rounds, and they regularly appear at Soi Cowboy, adult ones and baby elephants. The way these poor beast are forced to perform, and beg for their food, is disheartening. We saw just the other night, a mahout really abusing a young elephant, and hurting it repeatedly. Please just neglect these thugs and never ever give them money so you can give some food to the animals. And we advice never to tease an adult elephant with food, you are playing with your life. (occasionally elephants kill people, one more reason for not letting them roam around on the pavements of Bangkok)
Update end September : Early closing times to stay