What’s Killing Or Administering Slow Lingering Death To The Great Bars Of Bangkok
The dirty nightlife secret here is . . . . .
Punters go to bars to have a few drinks and some laughs, and to directly experience Thailand's version of Niagara Falls, the Eiffel Tower, Buckingham Palace, the Champs Élysées, Africa's big-game parks and Santorini.
And . . . . . to connect with party girls.
For most men, this experience would be a sense-addling spectacle of a wall of mostly fit, sometimes raunchy and the often dreamlike friskiness afforded by a mini-mob of about 75 scantily-clad, casually naked women flirting, joking, cavorting and generally carrying on throughout their evening in your go-go bar du jour.
Some Thai gals do like to be naughty.
And us ? Well, for better or worse . . . . . we're there for them.
Over the years, "the experience", the exact ambience in a bar, that collective amalgam of the girls (rascalettes), the management and the bar's theme have coalesced in one form or another to create both memorable evenings for bar patrons and whopping payouts for the bar owners and sometimes even for the rascals.
My first encounters in the Pong were in places like Camelot, Safari, Pink Panther and Kings Castle. These were wild evenings of performance, partying and naughtiness and . . . . . . . . the very occasional (cough) barfine.
Then there was Nana Plaza. It had its own style.
Venues like Playschule, VooDoo, Hollywood, hollywood Strip, the various Rainbow Bars, Angelwitch and the third floor bars of Eric the Clock aka Johnny the Car all had their day.
And what a scene it was.
Cowboy venues like Long Gun, Rawhide, Midnite, the Tilac Bar and Crazy House, Shark, Sheba each had their day as well. These were recognized operating periods where they raked in legendary wads of cash that defied every owner-expectation.
The formula for a bar's success, that illusive, ever-changing sweet-spot, from which all blessings flowed to all concerned: punters, owners and (yes) posse after posse of those rascal-gals that Bernard Trink used to refer to as Bkk's demimondaines has, over the years has remained more or less the same.
However these days, more than a few punters have made a comment that those good old sweet spots, the salad days of raunchy fun and entertainment are occurring much less frequently and they are fewer and farther between.
I won't attempt to deconstruct the entire spectrum of necessary conditions that need fall into place to make a good bar but let me just say that after the obvious ones (girls, the girls, The Girls, THE GIRLS and more girls) . . . there is one necessary condition that stands out over all others.
While its always been illusive, successful bars can effectively be reduced to a bar's collective attitude. Good managers know very well what punters came back for and like good chefs they do everything they can to keep making it happen.
Veteran Punters could sense the bar's collective attitude toward its customers. . . . . It was a bar's collective culture if I can say that. In fact, I have never seen a bar with a good attitude and squads and squads of tarts that failed to hit the sweet spot.
Why is it that good things can't last forever ?
Well, this brings me to the point of this offering.
What in spite of management's best efforts eventually and inevitably knocks virtually every bar in the industry from that sweet spot position and on to twist slowly in the doldrums of go-go bar purgatory ?
It's a bar's collective attitude.
Punters can sense scam and attitude from a mile off.
Let's look at what happens in a typical bar.
Punters/customers enter the venue.
Girls immediately size up this evening's pack of louts. (Let's be honest 😉 In a nano-second these louts are weeded through and categorized according to each girl's "spec". This grading and sorting exercise should come as no surprise to punters who've done exactly the same thing to the Tarts seconds before their slightly over-padded butts hit the upholstery.
Bar tarts then flirt from the stage, grin from their perches or from past encounters just seem to know when they have a shot at a hit. Once they sense a connection that might end successfully, the rascal then approaches punter and goes into her particular schtick.
Contrary to what punters would like to believe for most girls (and if you get to know them they will tell you) this is NOT pleasant work. Some hate it. Just take a look around the room next time you're in your favorite rockin' stompin' crazy bar. Just reflect for a moment upon what's probably be in store for any of these gals when they get a customer.
These girls are all working.
Except for the money they can earn, this bar is the last place most Tarts would ever really want to spend their time.
It's a job. And the money the average bargirl can make can easily out-multiply what she can earn anywhere else doing anything else.
So, while the bar might afford these erstwhile farm girls a little identity and an excuse to get themselves pampered and gussied up the girls are here for the money. . . . . What a surprise.
As for their customers ?
The Tarts that most Punters can party with in Bangkok's "Entertainment Venues" easily out-class the clapped out boilers crack-whores, Internet hosebags, gold diggers, sickos and runaways available to them back home. (Or, at least because the exotismo factor can fool punters into believing that this is the case.)
Now, for a closer look at what could possibly go wrong let's have a look at our flirty bargirl as she launches herself into tonight's punter herd.
Tart approaches the playing field. Hopefully solo. At these prices who wants to buy drinks for her crew . . . . .
If she's new, at first she'll try to get by without speaking English (the Mr. Bean routine) so you'll get that raised brow, finger-pointing "me and you" routine. OR if she's been around a while she does her version of the Isaan Interview, OR if she's a true-assed tart (with great appeal) she'll actually play it well and be entertaining, conversational and fun.
Be polite. This is hard for her. She's risking outright rejection while buck naked. It's hard. If she's got any brains she won't just jump in with a drink request right off the bat. . . . . . she'll play around a few minutes. And the punter ? IF HE HAS A fxxxING CLUE (that for her, this is work), the punter will smile and invite her to "sit with."
(If you don't like her close up and personal ?? . . . . . just tell her you're an ENGLISH TEACHER . . . . . for some reason that seems to do the trick.)
After a few minutes, (a smart punter knows just when) in expectation of some kind of rapport, in hopes of getting off to a good start the Punter will offer a drink. . . . . . , (mindful that it's inevitable anyway so it's BETTER that he offer)
ME? I LIKE TO OFFER THE FIRST ONE.
She's come over at great risk to her self-esteem so if I like her I OFFER . . . . . (It's only fair, I think) and this offer sets a tone that I want to set . . . . . I am your customer, I am your focus, I am the go-to guy here.
Hopefully and for the next little while it's NOT going to be these waitresses, these fxxxing Toms, these predatory mamasans, or this parasitic Service Thingie. The Tart's focus will be ME. I AM her GO-TO guy.
Service Thing is summoned. (or has likely been trailing the potentially productive Tarts around the bar in anticipation of a feed).
Depending on the Tart's working experience in bars, at that moment, under the guise of "take care" most Service Thingies will then go straight into a predatory routine.
Why is this such an intrusion ?
They (IT?) . . . . . . those service Thingsters ? In anticipation of future rewards . . . . Gradually at first, they will immediately seek to insinuate THEMSELVES as intermediary between tart and punter. This is no fun, is it ?
This is a HUGE problem.
This kills rapport. This kills bars.
I repeat. Whether he knows it or not, this HORN-IN routine syndrome is a huge problem for the punter, the girl and the bar.
In various degrees and manifestations with which I am sure everyone is familiar this intrusion problem will then gradually roll out to destroy your conversation.
After 3 to 5 minutes this Service girl/Tom/Skank/poofter will likely begin to ignore the Punter altogether. IT will assign ITSELF the role of translator, mamasan, stand-up commedien, satirist, social commentator,as IT now speaks directly to the tart. IT'll even start a completely different conversation in gutter Thai thereby hijacking diminishing rapport between punter and tart.
Word of advice ? Get rid of this parasite ASAP.
Even if you don't speak a word of Thai. Cut this scene-stealing, fun-draining annoyance out of the transaction.
The girls are unsophisticated. (In spite of appearances)
In fact, they may be quite new to all this. They may have been conditioned to believe that foreigners can't speak Thai, or that the girl needs this service barnacle to make money or that there are many benefits to engaging the Service thing as an entertainer (really ? no shit ? a drinking partner, a commercial intermediary for a barfine (for which IT will exact a commission from the girl)
Sure some girls are in need of work-friends. Just make sure, that for the next hour or so or the next few hours that YOU are her new "work friend".
In any case they need not worry, if the Punter allows it, the SERVICE THING is only too happy to suck ANY rapport IT can out of what should be a transaction between punter and tart.
And this rapport, this interaction, this play ? . . . It just happens to be the major reason a lot of guys go to bars.
Service Thing sometimes attempts to do all this by impressing the Tart with a pitifully low level of FAKE ENGLISH.
Hot tip here?
Make your own way.Would you allow a waiter to flirt with your date back home in the World ? Don't let Service Thingster create a symbiotic connection between Itself and the tart.
Mr. Bean never worked as a translator as far as I can remember.
An intrusive Service Thing may even attempt take control (complete with eye contact and "giving Punter the back") of LD ticket distribution. A sulky drink-begging service thing will even cockblock between you and your Tart.
The Tart will never confront the Service IT. Just eliminate that Service Person as soon as they drop the drinks.
THE PAYING CUSTOMER, (THE DRINK-OFFERING PUNTER) SHOULD TAKE THE BLUDDY lady drink TICKET from the Service Thing, SMILE and bestow it on the tart. THEY ARE fxxxING SERVANTS not benefactors.
Why allow the SERVICE THING to establish a benefactor role in this transaction ?
Before after or during HORNING IN on any rapport the Punter has established, the Service Thing may attempt to BEG (blackmail) a drink for Itself from the Punter. How about this? . . . . . . JUST SAY NO.
(Hey, here's another tip.)
I RARELY GIVE DRINKS TO THESE PARASITES.
If they behave themselves I tip.
Why ? Well, if you socialize with this serving persons they'll see you as a soft touch, and there will soon be be no end to their annoying requests for drinks, money, tips, barfines etc.
Service Things may hang around, try to insert other girls into your experience, joke with the Tart (always to some degree at the expense of the Punter)
Finally, the Service thing will become a real pest, an annoyance who sulks and complains if you don't buy her drinks . . . . . and in the case of a pushy Tom she may even become a competitor for the Tart's focus.
Punter may be left feeling scammed. (If he has any brains, that is)
Remember . . . . . The job of a Server Thing is to take the order and bring the fxxxing drinks.
Some try to expand their role to that of an entertainer, they'll even try various comedy routines and tried and true jokes about sex, money and YOU.
In no way do Punters want these intrusive Service Things butting in and spoiling everybody's fun.
As soon as they drop the drinks, thank them and get them the fxxx away.
The Tart (usually a simple Pii in the Pii/Nong relationship or worse a self-effaced idiot in a Tom/Nong dynamic or a Gayboy/Nong dynamic . . . . . can be quickly convinced by an experienced SERVICE THINGIE that she needs the Service Thing to cut her deal.. . . . . more drinks, drinks for friends and maybe a bar fine.
(They'll joke about THAT too)
Well: fxxx THAT !
Here's an alternative.
Why not establish rapport with your Tart du Soirée by establishing that the drinks, the tips, the money and maybe a barfine are ALL FOR HER and her alone. Establish early on that this Service Thingster has fxxx ALL to do with how much money the Fleshette will get out of you. . . . . Capice ????
If your Thai is half decent you might even go on to explain that she is ALONE in this bar. ALONE. . . . . . working for herself.
I am not interested in engaging with any of them. If the tart tries to get a drink for her friend . . . . . . I flush 'em BOTH.
I speak enough Thai and have enough money to troll my own tarts.
I do not need nor do I allow some Service Thing to hang around as my negotiator , interlocutor, mediator or translator.
(That's four times now, OKAY ????
Lately, the moment a Service Thing starts to,HORN IN I have taken to saying NO for a begged drink, and NO for ITS magnanimous sweeping arm gesture offering onstage pussy as if every girl in the place were at ITS command, or their vulgar finger-banger suggestion that the Tart I have wrangled and I might go somewhere and screw.
If they start engaging with my Tart du Soirée I smile warmly and lean into them for an intimate sotto voce: "Hey . . . . you . . . . . Go serve some customers. Beat it . . . . . fxxx OFF" . . . . .
Drinks are expensive now (soon to be 200, I predict.)
I am paying for this experience and this rapport.
It should go like this.
Service Thing takes the order.
Service Thing brings the drinks.
Service Thing gives ME the LD chit.
Then . . . . .
They can fxxx OFF while I give the Tart her LD chit and she thanks (or doesn't thank me)
Bar owners who fail to check this intrusive and CORROSIVE behaviour among their staff will, over a few months, experience an increasingly sluggish ambience, a drop in attendance and ultimately the inevitable "
One final thing. . . . . If the Service Thing does It's job properly I TIP about 100