Stickman's Weekly Column April 9th, 2023

Catching Up With Dave The Rave

Dave the Rave, the self-proclaimed “gogo guru” and “Mr. Nana” who was a fixture in Nana Plaza for more than 20 years, left Thailand in April 2020 and is now living in England. But Dave has never lost his love for Thailand. Towards the end of his time in Thailand, Dave largely abandoned his website, which he started way back in 2006. But like a phoenix, has risen again, rebuilt from the ground up by Digital-a-Go-Go, the marketing and photography agency that supplies the photos of ladies included in this column. The plan is to revive Dave’s site as a hub for nightlife and general entertainment coverage with a bit of a harder, newsier edge. Dave retains ownership of his website, although the physical database and content has been transferred to Digital-a-Go-Go. He is a partner in the project, although his role is to maintain his activity on social media, and build his audience. The site hasn’t been a priority for Dave for the best part of a decade but he is now active again, helping the new, rebuilt site regain its popularity.

It’s almost 3 years to the day since Dave left Thailand to return to England and now seems like a good time to catch up with Dave and find out how life has been treating him. I put a bunch of questions to Dave this week.

He Clinic Bangkok


You left Thailand almost exactly 3 years ago. Covid came along and a few friends strongly recommended retreating to England. You took that advice and returned to your country of birth. I know it’s been a bit of a mixed bag since you got back. While I don’t want your health issues to define this Q & A, you suffered a life-changing disability. Can you tell readers a bit about it? What led to it, what happened, and how are you coping today?

The Covid Crisis hit Thailand extremely hard and spread like a wild bushfire. The advertisers on my website cancelled their payments and I had zero income. The entire entertainment industry seemingly shut down overnight. My family and friends were screaming for me to leave Bangkok. You emailed me in capital letters, “GET OUT NOW, DAVE, WHILE YOU STILL CAN!” My family feared what might happen to me if I was trapped in Thailand with very little money. My head was spinning, but luckily my family sent me money to get the next available flight back to England. My friend Toby got me an ideal direct flight to London with Eva Air and I flew ‘home’ to England.

When we boarded the plane, the Eva Air flight attendants appeared to be dressed in Hazmat suits! There were just 30 people on the flight, strategically spread throughout the aircraft. As the giant metal bird soared through the air, I wondered how much the place that is my homeland had changed.

CBD bangkok

As I was settling back into life in the East Midlands, it was like I had landed on a strange planet because so much had changed. My fellow countrymen were trapped in a rat race and political correctness was in overdrive. The streets were deserted like I had landed in a zombie apocalypse.

In April 2021, I had a severe adverse reaction to the Astra Zeneca jab and was bedridden for weeks.

You were not the only one, unfortunately. It’s only now that there is a greater awareness that these vaccines were not just rushed and their safety and efficacy totally over-blown, detrimental side effects were simply not known.

My left foot swelled up like a big, red balloon. My sister went ballistic when she saw the state of my foot, called for an ambulance, and I was rushed to the hospital. I did not realise I was about to enter hell!

wonderland clinic

Peterborough City Hospital tried twice to save my leg with two failed operations. I was then admitted to Addenbrookes Hospital for a below-knee amputation. Unfortunately, due to necrosis, my knee and stump turned black. I had to have an above-knee amputation, and on the fourth attempt, surgery was successful.

The cause of my leg infection was Osteomyelitis, which is deadly if not stopped. I was sober for at least two years before contracting the disease, despite what some people may think. It was due to diabetes and not boozing!

I can’t imagine how your life has changed. It was particularly sad that after the initial lower leg amputation doctors needed to amputate again, above the knee. My understanding is that in terms of prosthetics and mobility, an above-knee amputation means much less mobility and makes life considerably more challenging. How do you manage to get around these days? Do you have a full prosthetic? A mobility scooter?

I am now learning to walk with physiotherapy specialists with a high-tech prosthetic limb. My new leg is operated by a weight-activated hydraulic system. My sister Jane says, “David is a cyborg!” Due to my stump being short, it is physically and mentally demanding. My family and close friends are very supportive. As one friend said, “You are a tough nut you can do this mate.”


Dave maintains a positive attitude despite all he has been through.


I was unlucky to have suffered four operations, but I am still alive. Sadly, some people are not fortunate enough to survive life-threatening diseases, but I did. For this I am very grateful and determined to enjoy the rest of this journey. I have had a fantastic life up until my leg amputation, so I don’t feel sorry for myself. I was a warrior – formerly a British Army Paratrooper, World Kickboxing Champion, and a Nightclub Bouncer. I just battle on like warriors always do. Fortunately, I am extremely strong mentally and therefore, I was able to overcome this. My martial arts fight name was Dave “Machine Gun” Mears, and I am still firing on all cylinders.

Currently, I am learning to walk with an artificial leg with the help of physiotherapy specialists at the local hospital. I was kindly donated a mobility scooter from SSAFA British Armed Forces Charity. This helps me go to football games in my hometown, where I am a volunteer photographer. I’m proud to say my photos are often featured in the local newspapers. I joke about news reports of a ‘boy racer’ spotted in town. I have an electric chair, which I whiz around my brand-new house where the British government kindly placed me. The British government takes care of us disabled citizens and the numerous British charities are wonderful.


Don’t mess with Dave The Rave!


Let’s not dwell too much on what you’ve been through and instead look at your life today. Tell us about Dave The Rave’s life these days.

How I see it is that I have been forced into early retirement. I always had the ability to turn negatives into positives, so I see it as an opportunity to enjoy my life. I do not have the pressures that a lot of people have such as a demanding job, a tyrannical boss, financial worries, and I definitely enjoy being out of the rat race. This leaves me free to do what I want, when I want. It’s much better than slogging my guts out to make ends meet. I am not wealthy, but I get enough Disability Allowance and Work Incapacity Allowance to live a reasonably comfortable life. I enjoy taking photos as a volunteer at local events like HM Queen Elizabeth’s Jubilee, my local town football club and shooting live bands in pubs.

I decided to keep my Dave The Rave Bangkok Twitter and Facebook going, as a hobby. Thailand has been such a big part of my life that I cannot ignore it. I do look forward to travelling and I will return to Thailand for a holiday. However, I am still learning to walk with my artificial leg, so this plan is on hold for now. Life is extremely precious, we only get one chance at it, so we must enjoy this wonderful journey. You never know when you’re gonna go!

What have been some of the big positives about moving back to England? Conversely, what have been some of the negatives? Have there been any major surprises?

The big positive of moving back to England was safely escaping the Covid crisis in Bangkok. My sister kindly let me live in her second house in Yorkshire for a while. I soon got registered with a doctor and the unemployment benefit followed soon after. There are far worse countries to live when you are unemployed and homeless. Even though I had lived outside England for 22 years, I still got unemployment benefits and a great doctor almost straight away. Although Great Britain has lost some popularity, how many countries look after their citizens so well? In saying that, I am shocked at the level of political correctness; you just can’t even joke anymore. Sadly, Britain has lost its sense of humour. One shocking thing is the gigantic size of some people, especially the women. They have become enormous but deny it is their fault, as though they are being force fed! Heart disease is a high-risk factor but they just seem to do nothing about being enormously overweight. Certain British women age so fast and turn butt ugly, it’s like a horror show. You see men out with their wives and could be mistaken that they are out with their mother! If you try to say anything, even with their best health in mind, it is considered nasty. All in all, Britain has been good to me. The world-class National Health Service surgeons and specialists saved my life. For this I will always be very thankful. My way of showing my gratitude is taking photos of community events in my local town.


Dave The Rave, World Kickboxing Champion.


I remember not long after you got back to England when you were sharing photos of some scrumptious-looking real English breakfasts that were ridiculously good value for money and you were thrilled that they were cheaper than you’d pay for an inferior version in Bangkok. Do you still enjoy a good fry up regularly?

Those proper cooked English breakfasts were great but sadly, the pub stopped selling them due to a sharp downturn in trade. The pub trade in Britain is really struggling in some areas. The economic crisis is killing off a number of pubs. A lot of people do not seem to have the money to be going out drinking and partying. I never regularly have fried food, as it is bad for diabetics. I eat and drink more sensibly these days. Eating out and food deliveries are a special treat. It is better for my health and better for my bank balance. There is an excellent Thai restaurant in my town, which I much prefer, or alternatively Chinese food. I eat more fruit and vegetables these days, with whole foods, vitamins, minerals and superfood powders. I am steering clear of the Doctor’s Delight Fry Ups!

Like me, you’re a keen photographer. You obviously don’t shoot ladies in gogo bars these days. What do you see when you look through the lens these days?

Although I do not shoot gorgeous Thai women, I do photograph a few attractive young farang women in pubs. Karaoke Night attracts some attractive young farang women, but they are very much in the minority. On Karaoke Night I am more likely to photograph a wailing whale! You get some frisky old birds having a sing-song but I am not into Grab-A-Granny! There is some beautiful countryside where I live, historic stone buildings, magnificent stately houses and woodlands with wildlife. I will enjoy taking photos at the public park near my house during the summer months. I would like to take photos of fighter jets, but I’ve not had the opportunity yet. I do enjoy taking photos of the local city team Peterborough United Women’s Football Club. A number of the girls are really lovely. I owe you a thank you for introducing me to Canon cameras. All your photographic encouragement and advice has been much appreciated over the years we have known each other.

We haven’t spoken much on the phone the past few months but when we were chatting more regularly last year we were both quite happy with our respective decisions to be back living in our homelands. With this in mind, why have you turned the clock back and resumed the Dave The Rave website?

Although I know living in England is best for me now, I do miss my connection to Thailand. Living in Bangkok for over 20 years was a third of my life. I always kept my Facebook and Twitter ticking over, but often wondered what to do with my website. Good fortune came knocking yet again when a friend offered to revamp and relaunch my website. My new webmaster owns the dynamic Digital A-Go-Go Company, where many photos are featured here in your weekly column. Digital A-Go-Go publish superb quality photos of gorgeous gogo dancers. I describe my partner as the Media Mogul, because he is a top professional in the media business. I joke that I am a web dummy, as I was never a technical guy. This is why Digital A-Go-Go and Dave The Rave will be a great Yin Yang team. I ran three of the most popular gogo bars in Thailand, became an established blogger, photographer and social media influencer. Now that I am over the worst of my traumatic surgeries, I’m well into my disability recovery. I feel the time is right to start a new chapter in my life. We are already off to a flying start, and the new adventure is well underway. We have received a lot of positive feedback.

Anyone who knows Nana Plaza well knows you. You’re far and away the longest-serving Nana Plaza bar manager. Thailand went through much change in the 20+ years you lived in Bangkok. When you think back over all that time, are there any memories that stand out, be they personal, happenings in the plaza or events across wider Thailand?

So much happened in and around Nana Plaza during my magical era, that I could write a book about all my encounters and escapades. However, my book idea is shelved, as I’m now focusing on my new, funky website. You wrote a touching tribute called Bye Bye Mr Nana that I will always treasure. Now that perfectly summed up my life in Bangkok, as Dave The Rave. The most memorable moments were too numerous to mention, but the famous celebrities coming to visit us at the gogo bars I managed are among my fondest memories.

My good friend Dave Walker (an avid fan of mine), was a connected international journalist and whenever famous people were in Bangkok, he would always bring them to meet me in Nana Plaza. I was stunned when one night at Hollywood Carousel in walked Hollywood action movie star Steven Seagal. He walked straight up to me and shook my hand. Dave Walker was smiling, as he could see I was stunned. Dave introduced me as a World Martial Arts Champion, but Steven Seagal was eager to look at the lovely dancing damsels on Hollywood Carousel’s merry gogo round.

Another night Dave introduced me to the legendary Hollywood film producer Oliver Stone, which again surprised me. I remember seeing the famous footballer Ian Rush, laughing his head off to the infamous Nun Show in Angelwitch.

One night, the stars of the Bangkok Hangover movie enjoyed the Angelwitch Showtime. I joked to them that they were only here for market research for the Hangover movie. I managed to chat outside Angelwitch with the lovely actress who played the hooker in the first Hangover movie. Now that was a memorable moment!

I was proud to have done several photoshoots with Jimmy “Whirlwind” White, the legendary snooker and pool star. This year Jimmy White is doing an exhibition in Bourne Town in Lincolnshire in September. I look forward to meeting him again and I can’t believe what a small world it can be.


Snooker legend Jimmy White was thrilled to meet Nana Plaza legend Dave The Rave!


Another regular at Angelwitch was Former World Boxing Champion Gary Stretch, who remains a friend to this day. Early one night Gary surprised Matt and me by showing us his World Championship Belt. He even let me put it around my waist. Gary is a great guy and I am honoured to be his friend.

The best celebrity moment was when I invited Steven Tyler from Aerosmith to watch Dream On (Steven Tyler’s hit song) stage show at Angelwitch Rock Dancers. I instigated and arranged it all myself, even persuading the lovely Nudee to do the show. Nudee was thrilled when Steven Tyler invited her to sit and have a drink with him. It was surreal, as I watched the Dream On Show in Angelwitch sat next to one of the greatest rock singers in the world. I swear, real life is much stranger than fiction!

For the first few years of your website, you almost exclusively wrote weekly columns and it wasn’t until 2009 that you composed shorter news-byte style posts. Funnily enough, you never did settle on a name for the column. Any reason for that?

Being a gogo boss alone is a challenging job, but running your own website and running a very busy gogo bar leads to a hectic workload. I decided to post more during the week, which was much easier in individual bite-sized chunks. A few people suggested that I start a Dave The Rave Weekly Column. I considered it but I knew it would put me under tremendous pressure to churn out a column every week. Also, people might think I was just copying Stickman Weekly. The purpose of a blog is to have numerous regular blog posts and so we are posting daily on my website. I never decided on a title for my column, as I scrapped the whole thing. I will leave the weekly column concept to the past master columnist Stickman!

In recent times you’d been relatively quiet online, at least in terms of your Dave The Rave persona. I gather you plan to do daily updates. Posting everyday sounds like hard work and strikes me as very ambitious! 

With the support of my website partner based in Bangkok, we are off to a flying start. The Twitter and Facebook Page figures are increasing rapidly. Considering my website was dead for 3 years, this is a fantastic resurrection. This is the rebirth of Dave The Rave Bangkok! Fortunately, I was wise to keep the Dave The Rave social media going regularly. My partner and me have several decades of professional experience at the top level of the Thailand nightlife industry and this is invaluable. I am already used to publishing daily online with Twitter and Facebook, so I have already got my gogo mojo!

You have a partner involved on the ground in Bangkok to help you. Can you tell me a bit about how it will work. Also, how are you going to make sure he pulls his weight and doesn’t just cash in on the good Dave The Rave reputation?

To be honest, the revamp and relaunch of my website came as a very pleasant surprise. My partner at Digital A-Go-Go pitched me the idea to revamp and relaunch my website, and I immediately agreed. The revamp is excellent, as everybody will see. Thankfully, long gone are the days when my website was an archaic eyesore. My partner has done an amazing job, with a brand new, slick look and it’s user-friendly, as well as aesthetically appealing. We are both experienced professionals, albeit with differing expertise, but this makes us an even stronger team. Hold tight, riders, here we go!

Where is your mind at with regards to Thailand these days? The bar scene? Old friends? Thailand in general?

I have stayed in touch with several people that I was close to in Bangkok. This includes Matt, from Angelwitch Rock Dancers, Paul from Panthera Group, Digital A-Go-Go and you, of course. This has greatly helped me stay updated with what is happening in the Thailand nightlife scene. My heart would love to live in Thailand again, but my head knows that England is the best place for me, especially with me having such a challenging disability. It would be stupid to give up the new house I was given, plus all the disability benefits the British government gives me. Also, the British National Health Service is most probably the best free health service in the world.

I was privileged to have managed what many class as the very best gogo bars in Thailand, namely the Hollywood Gogo Bars, Angelwitch Rock Dancers and Billboard Gogo Bar. I firmly believe this was the golden era of Bangkok’s gogo bars and not much nowadays matches the standards of this fantastic period in Bangkok’s nightlife history. I will utilise all of my escapades and experience to guide you all through the neon jungles of the Big Mango and Soho-On-Sea.

I remember your 50th which really wasn’t that long ago, and you wrote about turning 50.  As if we need proof that time flies, you will hit 60 later this month. What’s the plan for the next few years? Any idea roughly when you will make it back to Thailand for a visit?

Thanks for reminding me I will be 60 years old this month! Time does indeed fly, and this is why we must make the most of our lives. I never want to be one of those sad old folks full of regrets, reflecting on their disappointing life. I am lucky to be turning 60 because I could have been dead several times. Our family car was hit by a lorry, bouncers I worked with were murdered, I had a lucky escape in Pattaya when my friend’s motorbike crashed with me on the back, the enormous amount of booze I consumed at Angelwitch Rock Dancers, I was followed home by an armed gang of Thai thugs, but my wife Ann spotted them, and the deadly disease I contracted via diabetes. You can say I have been an extremely lucky lad. The relaunch of my website has given me a new lease of life. I plan to thoroughly enjoy this renewed cyberspace adventure.

I would love to return to Thailand for a holiday, but it is not possible yet. Thailand is not a particularly disabled-friendly country and besides, I need to be more proficient with my artificial leg. I can’t even think about going to Thailand until I can walk safely. Those that know me can be confident that given time, I will visit Thailand again. Nothing can keep me away from my home for over two decades. As the Terminator said, “I’ll be back!”

Is there anything you would like to add, any closing thoughts?

April is an extraordinary month for me. In April 2020, Covid-19 forced me to leave Bangkok after over two decades. In April 2021, I had to have my leg chopped off due to a deadly disease. In April 2022, I was given a brand new house to live in and now in April 2023, I have been given a new mobility scooter by SSAFA Armed Forces Charity, and I am interviewed by you. Thanks for doing this! It has been two decades in the making, but now is the right time. I have known you for over 20 years, and we have both followed each other closely throughout the highs and lows of a thrilling rollercoaster ride. I am proud to say we have never fallen out and have always remained friends. It is my pleasure to have answered your questions. Even after all these years, I remain an avid Stickman fan.



Dave’s website is :

Dave’s email is :



Dave The Rave, Nana Plaza legend.





Mystery Photo

Where is it?

Last week’s photo was taken of the destruction of Players Pool Bar and row of shophouses, including Jim Man Tailor shop, which is adjacent to one of the exits for the Asoke skytrain station. This week’s photo was taken outside of Bangkok. I’m not going to say exactly where…but it’s a place very popular with foreigners….and if you have read the last few columns you should be able to work out where it is!



Meet her at Red Dragon, Nana Plaza.



Stick’s Inbox – The Best Emails From The Past Week

Nana Plaza history.

Nana Plaza had a very nice short-time hotel when I first arrived in Thailand in 1985. The hotel occupied one entire side of the 3rd floor, above where Angel Witch and Sexy Night are today. It lasted well into the 1990s, and it was almost like a regular hotel. The rooms were a good size, and I remember thinking at the time I wouldn’t mind staying there for real in a pinch. The other side of the 3rd floor was completely occupied by a large snooker hall, and that place was fun. The little snooker girls were always on hand to rack the balls and even teach this American how to play.

Booming Soi Nana.

I am back in Bangkok for first time in 4 years. Before hitting the hay to sleep off the long travel day, I had a good perch at Big Dogs to observe the comings and goings. Soi Nana is a concentrated area but wow, for a Monday it was jammed with people up and down the soi. The girls showing up for work were mostly slim and good-looking. Not a big girl to be seen. Many ladyboys heading into the plaza so, yes, there must be a few ladyboys bars now. No shortage of them coming out after being barfined by Asian men who were about in numbers.

The Biergarten’s blues.

The Biergarten has no idea how to promote itself. When the Soi 7 bars were closed it did absolutely nothing to draw in the ‘homeless’ punters who instead would drink in the street outside the closed bars. The Biergarten is doing nothing to adjust to a changing market.

Lady drink prices should be posted prominently.

Signs displaying lady drink prices would a real win. I saw one bloke with 4 ladies sat around him. It looked like he was having a good time! Was it as he knew where he was financially? Who knows? Take this scenario, for example: you’ve split up from your Western wife and come to Thailand to let your hair down. Drinking with 4 girls with lady drinks at 150 baht each means each round is 4 x 150 baht = 600 baht. Clearly marked prices. £15 a round. Cool, 4 rounds, had a good time, left the bar. Will be back next time. But what about some tw*t doing you for double drinks? Or some axxxhole mamasan in your face? Similar bill, walk out and never go back, bad mouthing the bar to anyone who’ll listen.

Where to smoke?

I have a trip to Thailand coming up and would like to know where it’s permitted to smoke weed. My intention is to use dispensary smoke rooms but I’ve heard from some that the smoke rooms have been outlawed. Others are saying they’re still there, so I’m not sure of the situation. Are there still dispensary smoke rooms customers can smoke on site or have they really been banned? I appreciate any info you may have on this. <I honestly don’t know. But I put this question to readers and will run responses in next week’s editionStick>


Meet them at Mandarin, Nana Plaza.


More Readers’ Emails

Iron Club thumbs down.

On Tuesday at about 11:00 PM, I walked into Iron Club on Walking Street as I have been doing for the past few months. Usually, it’s pretty good. But on this Tuesday I walked into a bar full of dope smoke! I didn’t even have to enter the bar proper as the end of the entrance / bartender area it was as the saying  goes, “The smoke was so thick you could cut it with a knife”. Not just a faint odour like you can experience on Walking Street, but full on reeking. Needless to say, I turned around and walked out. As I was leaving, I came across the katoey boss and told him the reason I was leaving. He could care less and said, “Yes, it’s them” and pointed to a group of customers. This was the first time for me when a Walking Street bar allowed dope smoking inside. A few months back a customer lit up in Dollhouse and was quickly told by staff to put it out or go outside. So for me Iron is now on my never go in again list.

Iron Club thumbs up.

Came down to Fahrenheit at 11 PM tonight (Sunday) after reading your column. It was quite busy. Reasonably ok but nothing great IMO. Afterwards we came to Iron Club. Much, much better line-up. Better sound system, light show and infinitely more fun. No Issan shuffle here. The clientele was Asians (Koreans) and us Whiteys. A real party vibe. More akin to Billboard. Would come back here but not Fahrenheit. Just saying.

Oldies but goodies.

In response to your question, I’m definitely in the camp of preferring the earlier versions of Thai women featured in your column. The escorts much more so than the bargirls. They were all gorgeous in that group shot! My favorite, though, was the innocent-looking one in the blue jeans. I’m also in the camp that finds tattoos a turn-off. I can tolerate a small butterfly or whatnot, but those which cover the whole back and / or thigh thing is a no-go for me.

Classy vs. ragged.

I think the selection of women you’ve chosen are some of the best I’ve ever seen. They’re all far superior to many I’ve seen in the last year. The absence of tattoos for the most part is refreshing. They look a lot more classy and elegant. The ones I’ve seen lately look a little more rugged for want of a better word.

Past vs. present.

Regarding the photos of ladies past and present, my vote goes solidly with both the girls from 5 – 7 years ago and the way they are photographed. In this case, the limited isolating power of the f/2.8 lens worked better than an f/1.4 would have. The onboard flash produced a slightly warmer look, owing perhaps to my personal preference for Canon’s skin tones and colors in general. The one thing that can’t be quantified, though, is that in almost all of the photos you shot, it looks as though there was a connection between photographer and subject.


Looking good at Red Dragon, Nana Plaza.


This Week’s News, Views & Gossip

This coming Thursday, Friday and Saturday are the official Songkran holiday. It’s a good time to give the bar areas a miss. Some bars will close their doors and give staff a break, while most bars which do open will have but a skeleton crew as nationwide, people return home to spend time with family. Many ladies of the night don’t rush back to work following the official holiday period so the week that follows might be quieter than usual. Tourism patterns have become messed up in recent years, but prior to Covid, late April marked the start of the low season with May traditionally the quietest month of the year. That said, Covid has changed everything and I wouldn’t make too many predictions about how things will be this year.

Some bar owners are trying to offset the anticipated slowdown by throwing Songkran parties. There will be no water in Nana Plaza itself (thankfully) and the water antics on Soi 4 should stop shortly after sundown (hopefully), so the parties should be dry. Note I said “should” – nothing is guaranteed at Songkran!

Lollipop, which in pre-Covid years led that group’s Songkran celebration by opening in the afternoon for a water-soaked day-time bash, will restrict its festivities to the evening hours. The party will be hard to miss, as Lollipop is the first bar on the left as you enter the Plaza.

Red Dragon on the middle floor of Nana Plaza actually will begin celebrating Songkran a day early on April 12 and continue for four nights (April 12-15). The parties will look similar to this week’s successful Full Moon Party, with vibrantly colored decorations, special costumes for the girls and some sexy “traditional” Thai dancing shows. Each night also will feature a different drink at 95 baht all night.


Nana Plaza’s newest bar, Bunny 2.


Nana Plaza got a new bar this week in Bunny 2. It is, of course, the old Blondie, now renamed with the new owners keen to rebrand the bar and stamp their mark on it.

Getting back to Red Dragon, the bar’s line-up has been getting a lot of very positive feedback with many readers commenting on how many attractive ladies are found in the bar. Their recruitment manager deserves a Songkran bonus. At the same time, I cannot remember a bar which has generated so much negative comment about its service staff and the mamasans. Comments from readers who have had bad experiences with service staff and bill-padding keep coming in. I guess the message is this: Do drop by Red Dragon and enjoy your time in the bar but keep a very close eye on your bill. Management of the bar has been made aware of the issues with bill-padding so let’s hope they crack down on the errant mamasans.

Turn back the clock more than a decade and Nana Plaza was very different to the complex it is today. Back in the day, Nana was full of stray cats, giant rats, home to a morbidly obese dog, and piles of garbage sat for days in dark corners. Rough-looking Thai men, sometimes shirtless, usually drunk, gambled under the stairways. And under the plaza’s previous owners and management, a man was thrown off the top floor to his death. The transformation has been huge. Today, Nana Plaza is kept tidy and is professionally run. Violent episodes are very few and very far between – which makes what happened this past Monday so jarring. A drunk foreigner, described as “massive”, injured two ladies of the night in a moment of rage-fueled madness. Outside a middle-floor bar, the foreigner picked up a metal bar stool and swung it like a cricket bat, hitting two girls sitting nearby who were minding their own business. The bar’s own security pounced on the man and disarmed him as Nana Plaza’s security squad was on the scene in no time. He was hauled out of the Plaza and banned from future visits.

Despite some people telling me that trade has come off its highs, the official head count of visitors to Nana Plaza is in for the month of March and it is an astonishing 157,000! That’s the number of people who visited the plaza in one calendar month. Incredible.


Center Point, Sukhumvit soi 7’s beer bar complex.


I have not heard a lot in recent weeks about Center Point on Sukhumvit soi 7. I am reliably told that nothing much of note has happened there recently. Some days are busy, other days not so much. One bit of good news from the area is that the soi 7 beer bar complex can now stay open until 3 AM. In practice, not all bars are doing so (yet), but at least they have the option.

Other than the prime spots at the top of Soi Nana, beer bars along Sukhumvit and its sois tend to be the domain of middle-aged white guys, particularly expats on a budget. I had expected that a lot of the punters at the soi 7 bar complex would be expats minding their pennies, but that’s not the case at all. I am told there is a small percentage of regular expats but at this time, the biggest groups are – and this was a real surprise to me – Asian visitors, including those from east Asia, as well as Indians. Centre Point is attracting a much more diverse customer base than beer bars have traditionally.

Speaking of beer bars on Sukhumvit Road between the Nana and Asoke intersections, the rumour mill has it that the rickety beer bar complex on soi 11 has a very limited future. The contractor accommodation huts next to the bar complex have been taken down, fueling those rumours.

Rounding out this week’s beer bar news, Hillary 2 on Soi Nana is celebrating its 20-year anniversary tonight (Sunday, April 9). More details at


Celebrate 20 years of Hillary bar!


Down at Patpong, the soi 2 bars closed some weeks back remain closed. There have been murmurings from the manager of one of the closed bars claiming that much of what has been reported is wrong. Who knows, when that is all that he is saying and choosing not to engage with those who are keen to update punters. Claims are being made that things are happening behind the scene and at least one of the bars will reopen soon. At this stage, Black Pagoda, Bar Bar, The Strip and XXX Lounge remain in darkness.

There is some good news from Patpong. Readers and friends alike are raving about King’s Castle 1. On Friday and Saturday nights, close to 100 dancers squeeze in to the small, long-running Patpong soi 1 gogo bar. It was the one and only Patpong bar that anyone had been talking about until this past week when I started hearing good things about King’s Castle 2 which reopened recently.

Back to the bust in Phuket which resulted in those Patpong bars being closed, a couple of readers commented that the 109 bargoers identified by police and alleged to have utilised the services of the underage ladies were identified by CCTV cameras. I seriously doubt that. While Thailand loves surveillance cameras, I very much doubt it is hooked up to a system with facial recognition software which in turn is connected to the Immigration system – allowing foreigners to be identified. That strikes me as very unlikely. To identify foreigners from CCTV in bars, the police would have to track suspects leaving the bar, follow them on multiple cameras all the way back to their hotel or place of residence, which police would have to visit, show the footage to hotel staff and request the foreigner’s identity from their passport when they checked in. Quite doable when tracking a single suspect but for 109 suspects as in the Phuket bar raid? I think not.


Someone had a great time at Erotica in Nana Plaza.


Trade has been described as slower than it had been the past few weeks but even when it’s slow, there’s always someone making it a party for the ages. Witness this bar bin at Erotica in Nana Plaza this week. You can’t see the total on the long tape, but, as they say, if you have to ask, you couldn’t have afforded it anyway!

Very little news from Soi Cowboy this week. A friend who has stopped by Cowboy most weeks for the best part of 20 years says business remains good, although not as busy as it was a few weeks back.

Sick of contractors working on Thai time, owners of the Dollhouse on Soi Cowboy dispatched its manager to Pattaya this week to sit on the company making its long-delayed new sign. Manager Dennis wasn’t taking no for an answer so expect to see the fancy LED sign that harkens back to the millennium-era original soon.

Further up Sukhumvit Road, the African drug dealers appear to misunderstand the new drug laws. Marijuana can be sold legally for medicinal purposes. However, many African men misunderstand the situation and believe that the sale of any drugs is legal. Readers report record numbers of friendly, smiling African men concentrated along Sukhumvit between sois 7 and 13 peddling their warez. For the umpteenth time, do not engage with them!


Meet her at Red Dragon, Nana Plaza.


Down in Pattaya, Soi LK Metro’s much hyped new bar, Las Vegas A Gogo Club opened this week. I always think it is fair to give a new bar a few weeks before commenting and will refrain from relaying thoughts from those who love to be first to comment on the vibe and line-up from opening night. New bars need time to work through any issues. Drinks prices are similar to other bars on the soi with Chang draft 89 baht while bottled beers are 145 baht up. Jack Daniels, Johnnie Black and the like are 160 baht.

Is Walking Street changing direction? Could Pattaya’s nightlife ground zero become a nightlife area targeting Asian men? Once very much the domain of middle-aged white guys, word is that single white guys now make up a small percentage of the Walking Street crowd. And as has been written in this column, ladies in the most popular gogo bars on Walking Street increasingly prefer Asian men. Are white guys now the poor cousins (to Asian men)? Certainly, Soi LK Metro would appear to be the preferred playground of white men these days. What effect this is having on Walking Street gogo bars long been popular with white guys, I don’t know. The one comment I will make is that these days I hardly hear anyone mention many of the big Walking Street gogo bar names of yesteryear that are still in business.

Sapphire Club on Soi 15 off Walking Street in Pattaya will throw a birthday party on Tuesday, April 11th, for Jason, who will celebrate his big day. Jason has been a meeter and greeter at Sapphire for many years. At a party for Jason a few years ago, things got out of hand and the girls covered him in cake. Do stop by if you find yourself in town.


Party time at Sapphire.


Remember when Pattaya was so dead that hotels were giving away free rooms, locals were hanging banners welcoming foreigners back and authorities were bending over backwards to make overseas guests feel welcome? Apparently Pattaya police have very short memories, as that was not all that long ago. So what happened in Sin City this week leaves one scratching their head.

The Pattaya plod came down hard on Walking Street this week, shutting down nightclubs and detaining everyone inside, checking every foreigner’s passport and visa, looking for overstayers and “international fugitives”. Those who didn’t have their passports on them, or a photo of the photo page and visa stamp, got themselves a ride to Pattaya Police Station until such documents could be found. Police defended their move, saying it “gave tourists confidence” before Songkran. Confidence? More like unnecessary and unwarranted aggravation. No overstayers or fugitives were reported. The cops said the raids were no big deal, as “anyone who has their papers were only held for a couple of minutes”. Tourists whose buzz was killed might not agree.

But the fun didn’t stop there: After dark on Wednesday and Thursday, police hit Soi 6 looking for underage and trafficked women. On Thursday, bars emptied with all the women – and ladyboys – working in the bar rounded up out on to the street where they had to present their ID card to police.

A night earlier, however, things were more serious. William Reece, the British manager of Nightwish Group brothel Flirt, and his mamasan were both taken away in handcuffs on an arrest warrant issued on April 4 that alleged they had conspired to traffic women from Isaan to Pattaya. The Nightwish Group issued a statement claiming Reece was framed by a bargirl paid to make a false statement and that the company, which operates more than two dozen of Pattaya’s seediest bars, “maintains high standards”. You can read more details on the new Dave the Rave website.


Who has been naughty on Pattaya’s Soi 6?


From Tod Daniels, who has established himself as a very reliable source of information on current visa rules in Thailand, comes the following update: The 45 day visa exempt entry policy is over. You now get 30 days visa exempt or a visa waiver like before. For the 52 countries (pretty much all developed countries and a bunch of others) that get visa exempt entries, you are allowed one 30-day extension per entry at the Immigration office serving the area where you are staying for 1,900 baht. The limit of two visa exempt entries by land in a calendar year is still in effect.

There has been a minor issue with the site and by definition, the weekly column, for at least a couple of weeks. I was not aware of it for reasons I will explain. If you visit the site to check out the latest column, you might not see a link to it. Even though it has been published, the most recent column showing might be the previous week’s edition. This issue affects anyone using Chrome, Safari or seemingly any browser other than Firefox. I have no idea why this happens and the technical department has been looking at it. For anyone using Firefox, the latest column can be seen. I didn’t know about this because I am a long-time Firefox user and when I check the site after publishing the column, all appears fine. Since I first started writing this column 22 years ago, I have published the column by 6 PM Sunday, Thailand time. In reality, over the past year the column has been published before 9:00 AM, Thailand time. If you cannot see the latest column, either try accessing the site with Firefox or feel free to drop me an email and I will send you a direct link to the latest column (which works in any browser). Note: this week’s column was posted at 8:22 AM, Thailand time.


Meet her at Suzie Wong, Soi Cowboy.


Thailand-Related News Article Links

An Australian father has been killed in a bar in Krabi while celebrating his birthday with friends.

Thailand was expecting some insanely high temperatures this past week.

A young Brit goes bonkers in downtown Bangkok, throwing things around a 7 Eleven store as staff flee.

Chuwit’s giant erection, the new skyscraper at Sukhumvit soi 10, is in jeopardy after a plea deal-promise to give the land it sits on to the people of Bangkok.

From the Bangkok Post, the weed conundrum has polarised Thai society ahead of the general election.

The brilliant cartoonist Steppff whose work lampooning Thai culture as it relates to foreigners has a new book out.

Korean YouTubers trying to pick up Thai women have been warned by their embassy in Bangkok.

Thais are shocked when a bunch of scantily-clad dancers jiggle at a Thai shrine.


Meet her at Suzie Wong, Soi Cowboy.


Closing Comments

So much for my comments in previous weeks about producing a shorter column. This week’s edition isn’t far off 8,000 words. I’ll point the finger at Dave The Rave and blame him after the feature on Dave ran around 3,500 words. Next week’s edition will be much shorter, and perhaps the following week’s will too. Next weekend is the long Songkran weekend and the areas I chronicle will likely be quiet with little going on. And I can’t imagine many friends will be out and about in the bars as most people I know avoid them over Songkran. If you find yourself in Thailand, I hope you have a happy Songkran whether you’re out and about hurling water or locked inside, away from the madness!


Your Bangkok commentator,



Stick can be contacted at :

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