What price a winner? On these the lay: Australians and New Zealanders, and increasingly over the years those who just love great horse racing, will be tuning in to the running of the Melbourne Cup on Tuesday 6 November.
One of the places to be to soak up the atmosphere of the world’s most prestigious two-mile (3200 metres) handicap will be the Boxing Roo beer boozer (Third Road, opposite So Lengkee).
The Boxing Roo will open for business at 9:00am on race day, with the Melbourne Cup scheduled to go at around 11:00am. Apart from free food and Sambucca’s, anyone who wants to have a little flutter on the outcome of the event can ‘get set’ with Uncle Kenny. The satchel swingers will be ready to accommodate with a quotation taken direct from the Flemington ring; just look for the man in the pork pie hat.
Cherry forever: ‘Would the last one out of Soi 8 please turn out the lights’. That seems to be the growing feeling of many bar owners down in the Soi 8 and Soi 7 areas as they’ve watched a gradual but definite decline in recent years in the area.
One of those who decided to jump before he could be pushed is Adam, the long-running operator of the popular Cherry Bar. As he noted in a message to me recently, his bar had been operating in Soi 8 for more than seven years but ‘over the last few years there has been a heavy decline in foot traffic on Sois 7 and 8.’
Adam said he considered most bar owners are paying far too much in rent in Sois 7 and 8, although I think this is a common problem throughout much of Pattaya.
This is something many people never seem to get their heads around when deciding whether to open or buy a bar, especially of the outside beer bar variety.
Just to digress, it often surprises me when someone says ‘I’m only paying 30,000 baht a month rent,’ then goes on to say he’s got to pay key money of, say, 150,000 baht for his next three year lease in a few months. So, in reality, his rent is more like 34,166 baht a month.
It might not sound like that much extra, but if the bar is selling bottled beer at, say, 90 baht a throw then it equates to an extra 46 drinks a month, every month, they need to sell.
In some ways it’s a little surprising that Soi 8 is not doing better. After all, the new hotels that have sprung up along the street provide a ready market for those beer bars that are left.
Perhaps the numbers of punters just aren’t enough to provide the turnover the operators need to stay solvent, or at least reasonably profitable for the hours involved.
Whatever the underlying reasons, Cherry Bar has now moved into Soi Diana Inn, next to the Papagayo coyotes-r-us den. Adam held an opening party on 15 September and naturally expects to be able to keep his regulars and pick up plenty more new imbibers.
Showgirls aren’t showing much: After what seemed a long wait, the Showgirls upmarket boozer finally opened its doors in Soi LK Metro on 4 October. From the outside it looks plush, almost too upmarket for this area of town.
Yet it doesn’t seem to know what it wants to be. A glossy flyer was being handed around prior to the opening which noted ‘If you want a gogo – go to sleep…’ So, OK we’ve been warned it won’t be a go-go bar; so what will it be? Maybe a really over-the-top Sierra Tango den. Again, referring to the flyer: ‘Also visit our relexed [yes, it’s misspelt] Lucky Shag Bar on the 2nd Floor or Sit with a lady of your choice in our First Shag Lounge.’
The general feedback from those who have bothered to visit the joint in the first few weeks has been less than stellar. It seems Showgirls wanted to be a coyote dance bar, but then realised punters have enough of these places nearby (Sugar, Sugar; Club Blu; Papagayo) and prefer to see more skin to go with their sin. So, a few damsels have been employed to lose as much apparel as possible to draw the oglers through the door.
Over the years I’ve watched as so many people open bars with the aim of trying to be all things to all people, and charging extra for the privilege. They usually fail to achieve the numbers they had hoped for and struggle to garner a following.
Run, run shaw: After a gap of 15 months the Hooty’s go-go (Walking Street) re-opened for business at the start of October. The joint had closed in June 2011 and it looked as though it would never again see the UV light reflected off a chrome pole. It appears to have been taken over by Nui, she of the ever-growing ‘empire’ centred on Walking Street with dens such as New Star, Airport, Playgirls, Hot Girls, and Nui’s 2.
As an aside, if you’re wondering where the original Nui’s has gone, it was originally one of those narrow go-go’s on Soi 15, off Walking Street, when that laneway was more a shortcut to Walking Street and not a go-go centre in its own right.
The new Hooty’s has a cover charge, which allows a punter his/her first drink and is clearly aimed at the ill-informed tourist market (mainly Russians and other East Europeans) who want to see ‘pussy shoot dart’ type shows.
The sign at the front is misspelt, although that’s hardly unusual in Thailand. It reads ‘Hooty’s shaw girls’. Extras moonlighting from the movies of Run Run Shaw perhaps?