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Pattaya Part 3 :: Article 10

    

Pattaya Travel Guide - Drink

Pattaya is internationally known for its nightlife. Although it's infamous as a sex tourist destination, there are ample opportunities to dance, drink, and observe humanity even if paid sex is not of interest. Steer clear of the staid hotel bars and head into the warrens of central Pattaya, where discotheques, transvestite cabarets, nightclubs, coffee shop, karaoke bars, open-air bars and restaurants with live music and entertainment compete for attention. Most of these establishments are located along the Pattaya Beach Road., Pattaya 2 Road., and in South Pattaya, which is also the resort’s major shopping area.

prices - a very rough guide: small Heineken (330ml) / Bacardi Breezer (275ml)

  • 7-11 (open 24/7 but alcohol only sold 11:00-14:00 + 17:00-00:00): 38 baht / 55 baht
  • small restaurants: ~50~55 baht / ~120 baht
  • beer bars: ~70~75 baht / ~120~130 baht
  • go-go bars: ~90~99 baht / ~150 baht
  • discos: ~150 baht / ~200 baht

In beer bars and go-go bars, drinks bought for employees - "lady drinks" - are (very roughly 50%) more expensive; the actual price is often posted on the wall and/or in the drinks menu.

Beer bars

Open-air beer bars on Beach Road Open-air beer bars on Beach Road

Pattaya is especially famous for its beer bars (also called bar-beer), staffed by "bar girls" who are "for hire" to the tourists and ex-pats who drink there. Popular beer bar pastimes include pool, connect-four and shut-the-box.

Open-air beer bars can be found all over Pattaya, with the biggest and best known concentrations being along and around Soi 7 / Soi 8 and Walking Street, at numerous points on Second Road, Beach Road, Soi Buakhao, and in smaller numbers just about everywhere else, including along the southern end of Naklua Road and at Jomtien. Although the staff of a typical beer bar will usually all be prostitutes, customers who have no intention of paying a "bar fine" (money paid to the bar so that the girl can leave with the customer) are generally very welcome and indeed make up the majority of the clientele.

Indoor beer bars can also be found all over Pattaya, the most notorious areas being Soi Yodsak (Soi 6) and parts of Soi Post Office (Soi 13/2). While some of these bars are much more "bar fine" oriented, in most cases customers who simply want to buy drinks are still welcome.

The official closing time in "entertainment zones" is 1AM (in practice usually somewhere between 1AM and 3AM, depending on the location) and 12AM elsewhere - however "closing" is defined as switching off the music and non-essential lighting, and numerous beer bars remain open 24/7.

Go-go bars

Also called a-go-go bars, the main concentrations are along Walking Street and the three Pattayaland streets, with more dotted around the most popular beer bar areas; most come to life at around 20:00 and close between 01:00 and 02:00.

Sight-seeing tourists are welcome in go-go bars, however cameras are not. Signs prohibiting photography are widespread, and a minority of venues require patrons to deposit their cameras with security staff as they enter. This rule is enforced: if caught snapping shots, you'll be lucky if you're only thrown out and not beaten up.

Popular bar venues

So, you're passing through Pattaya and you've set aside a few hours to check out the bar scene - but where to go? The most popular (and generally the most densely concentrated) beer bar and go-go bar locations (listed south to north) are:

  • Walking Street

Should have been named "Walking, Shopping, Eating, Drinking, Dancing and Ogling Street" as there's plenty of almost everything here - including around 100 beer bars and at least 30 go-go bars, plus many more in the side-sois that lead east towards Pratamnak Road. Worth a look in the daytime, but best visited in the evening, and has loads of restaurants if you're bridging the gap between the two. Gets really packed in places when the discos empty, so watch your pockets.

  • Pattayaland

Soi Pattayaland 2 (Soi 13/4) features on many a Pattaya postcard - when lit up at night, the go-go bar signs are a memorable and photogenic sight, although there are only eight go-go bars here (two of which feature guys, not girls), plus a half-dozen bars and the Penthouse Hotel. Worth a look in the evening (it's almost a ghost town the rest of the time), but get there before 01:00 as that's when the lights go out.

Soi Pattayaland 3 ("Boyz Town" - no direct access from Beach Road, runs from the middle of Soi 13/4 to Second Road) features only male dancers and bars that cater for the gay crowd; Soi Pattayaland 1 (Soi 13/3) has even more all-male go-gos (eight), but does have a couple of girlie-go-gos too. There is also a small lesbian scene in Pattaya, with local butch girls called "tom" girls and femme girls called "dee".

  • Soi L.K. Metro

Between Second Road and Soi Buakhao lies this relatively new complex. Connecting Soi Diana with Soi Buakhao, Soi L.K., as it is called (not to be confused with Soi Leng Kee) is a pedestrianised street for the most part. Cars are parked willy nilly, but that actually serves as a traffic calming system so it is safe to walk down. There are lots of outdoor bars and cafes spilling out onto the street, giving it a "bit" of a European feel. The Metropole Hotel and the Areca Lodge are here.

  • Champagne , Soi L.K. (towards Soi Diana ). Go-go bar run by a friendly Aussie called Jason. Newly redecorated in Jan.'09, features racy shows even by Pattaya standards.  edit
  • The Golf Club , Soi L.K. . Lively and loyal sports bar and grill, the place to go for hassle free food and drink on this soi.  edit
  • Club Blu , Soi L.K. (on the corner of Soi Buakhao ). One of the busiest coyote (bartop dancing) bars in town, but the setup is like a goldfish bowl.  edit
  • Soi 7 & Soi 8

There's always something going on here - in the evening and early hours, there are about 120 well-staffed beer bars to choose from, plus a handful of go-go bars; in the morning there are several places that serve breakfast; in the afternoon it's a popular place for those who like to get started early; and at Songkran (New Year) it's unmitigated mayhem. There are several large hotels (light sleepers beware), and Soi 8 also has a few travel agencies, convenience stores, etc.

  • Soi Yodsak (Soi 6)

Imagine a kerb-crawlers paradise - and then pedestrianise it. Arguably Pattaya's most colourful street (as well as most notorious), Soi 6 has about 50 bars (mostly "short time" bars, with names such as "Butterfly", "Love Club", "Route 69" and "The Eager Beaver") which all get going at 13:00 and close pretty much on the dot at 01:00. It's not really a pedestrian-only street (but it is one-way), however walking - preferably in broad daylight - is undoubtedly the best and most popular way to experience it. Go in the middle of the afternoon and just wander from one end to the other (if coming from the south, walk from the Second Road end down to the Beach Road end if you want to get there and back by songthaew). It's much, much more "sex-tourist" than "tourism" oriented, but anyone and everyone is welcome everywhere provided they're buying a drink or three. The curiously named "Hi Boss! 2002 Pub" is where the ladyboys hang out, there's one go-go - "Mandarin" (dancing from 5PM-1AM), plus a couple of "pub" food possibilities; and neighbouring Soi 6/1 has a handful of "ordinary" outdoor beer bars.

  • Second Road - around the Soi 2 & Soi 3 junctions

On the west side of Second Road opposite the Central Festival Centre is a collection of about 35 very popular beer bars, which start to fill up from about 16:00, and several of which remain open long after the lights go out around 1AM-2AM. "Atlantic Bar", at the far end of the five-bar strip to the south of Soi 2, always draws a substantial crowd. The only go-go ("Classroom 2", 7:30PM-2AM) is a lively one, and while there's not much in the way of food in amongst the bars themselves, there are numerous eating options extremely close nearby (including outlets for most of the major fast-food chains directly opposite on the other side of Second Road).

10 assorted "same-same but different" bar styles

  • Casino Club at the Pratamnak Road end of Soi Diamond is an a-go-go with a difference - not only do the girls dance with their clothes on, but there are no chrome poles! - whatever will they think of next? Despite the name, it's not a casino; maybe it's a disc-o-go-go? The atmosphere is lively, the music is techno, the dancing is energetic, the hours are 9PM-4AM (apparently able to close later than most due to the non-conformist format).
  • Boyz Town (the whole of Soi Pattayaland 3) is the place to head for to see the male go-go dancers, likewise Soi Pattayaland 1 (Soi 13/3). Same applies for girls who want to ogle (exactly the same) guys. Pattayaland 1 is relatively dead in the daytime, but Pattayaland 3 has a handful of places to eat and drink that keep it ticking over in the afternoon.
  • Jenny Star Bar in Walking Street (below Peppermint Palace) is wall-to-wall transvestites - seeing is believing, especially late in the evening and in the small hours. It's an open-air bar that spills out onto the pavement, and there's often quite a crowd gawking intently from a safe distance - so mind your pockets.
  • Peppermint Palace on Walking Steet (go up the escalator next to Jenny Star Bar) is probably the largest go-go in Pattaya. Several stages with young women in various different states of attire. Always full of energy, and always packed (you may be turned away if it's full). Good value drinks-wise.
  • Club Boesché in Soi 16 (connects Walking Street to Pratamnak Road) is a brand new split-level lesbian go-go with a large Jacuzzi-style tub sunk into the floor in front of the bar, occupied in shifts by pairs of uninhibited young ladies non-stop from 10PM until 1AM (or later). "Normal" (for a go-go) priced drinks and no cover charge.
  • Tim Bar Beer on Second Road (opposite Soi 12) is an otherwise relatively run-off-the-mill go-go that plays nothing but DVDs, with a very strong bias towards live performances of rock'n'roll classics. Requests welcome - if in doubt, ask for Meatloaf's "Paradise By The Dashboard Light". Stage and screen come to life at 6PM and keep going until at least 2AM (closing hours not so strictly enforced here as it's not in amongst a bunch of other bars), but get there early as it's a popular place and their army of dancers thins out with prodigious speed.
  • Beach Inn Beer Garden on Walking Street (opposite the FLB Bar) can usually be found blindfold. Head through to the back and out into the bars that target visitors from the Middle-East, and feel the sound - some of the speaker systems here are bigger than a budget hotel room, and it's not difficult to position yourself so that you're being deafened by three or four of them (each one playing something different) all at the same time. (At the other extreme, there used to be a "Quiet Bar" on Second Road - but it closed not long after it opened, apparently due to lack of demand...)
  • Carousel Beer Bar is a pair of circular outdoor bars in the centre of Soi Diamond (directly off Walking Street) which spin from 5PM until 3AM. A couple of drinks here and the world really will start to revolve around you.
  • Siren Bar Complex (Beach Road, just before the Walking Street entrance archway) is a crush of about 25 ancient open-air beer bars (open 4PM-3AM) surrounding a boxing ring (exhibition matches at various intervals between 10PM and 1AM). Get there early in the evening and it looks like there must be a prize on offer for whoever is able to squeeze the greatest number of bar girls into the smallest beer bar. If you sit down here, don't forget to shake the cockroaches out of your clothes as you leave.
  • Beach Club (towards the Walking Street end of Soi 15) is not the only "table dance" format a-go-go in Pattaya, but it's probably the most popular. Patrons are seated around industrial-strength tables which have mirror tops, upward facing spotlights, and of course the obligatory chrome pole; the girls dance on each table in turn, wearing short skirts and...   - well if you can't guess the rest then you should probably steer well clear of any Pattaya establishment that mentions the words "table dancing" alongside its name.

Cabaret

Famous Alkazar show in Pattaya, Bangkok Famous Alkazar show in Pattaya, Bangkok

Pattaya is well known for its katoey cabaret (aka ladyboy or transvestite) shows. Two of the best known (expect busloads of Asian tourists) are:

  • Alcazar, on Second Road (78/14 Moo 9 - across from Soi 5); tel. +66-38428746 / +66-38429212 fax. +66-38424939.
  • Tiffany's Show [115] on Second Road near signless Soi Srinakhom (one soi north of Soi 1) has performances at 7PM, 10:30AM and 10PM (plus 5:30PM high season) and in May hosts the annual Miss Tiffany's Universe Pageant [116] beauty queen competition, for contestants born as men. If you've got testosterone left over, visit the Shooting Range in the basement! Contact Tiffany directly for a complimentary pick-up from your hotel.

Clubs

Pattaya has various clubs, of which the "Pattaya City Expat Club" is the oldest ex-pat club in town. They meet 9:30AM-12PM on Sunday mornings at the Henry J. Beans pub at the beginning of Beach Road. Their motto is "Expats helping Expats" and that is what they do. There are various breakfasts to chose from ranging from 65 baht for coffee and toast and up 185 baht for a combination Western/Thai breakfast. All are welcome.

Discotheques

Pattaya has two types of disco - those that are on or near Walking Street, and those that are not.

Those on Walking Street are more popular with Westerners accompanied by bar girls, and with bar girls looking for customers. The best known are:

  • Hammer (on Walking Street - same owner and similar style as Lucifer) - more an open air bar with lots of live music. You can't miss it, it's very loud. It's also pretty expensive.
  • Club Insomnia - Now on Walking Street - House music, cheap drinks, late licence, European DJ's, as of mid 2007 "the place to go" after 2AM.
  • Lucifer - popular with young Thai people, although this is not a typical Thai discotheque. Only R'n'B, sometimes with special guest DJ's. A good place to go at about 2AM-3PM; extremely crowded after midnight. Free entry, expensive drinks.
  • Marine Disco (on Walking Street) - large dance floor and plays house music (it's the house music counterpart of Lucifer). Free entry, but drinks are expensive.
  • Marine 2 (just off Walking street) - the same music as Marine Disco; this was "the place to go" before Insomnia opened.
  • MIXX (at the end of Walking Street) - opened in late 2007 - has R'n'B and house rooms (two rooms in one disco). Drinks are expensive.
  • Tony's Entertainment Complex [117] (on Walking Street) has an attractive and stylish interior, great live music and service. Free entry, but incredibly expensive drinks - and a 5000 baht fine if you're caught bringing your own in!
  • Tony 2 - not as well known as Tony's Entertainment Complex, but also very pricey.

The ones further away from Walking Street are generally more typical Thai discotheques: no special area for dancing, but lots of shows and great atmosphere. Admission is usually around 300 baht and includes one free drink.

  • Chivas Palace (formerly Palladium, on Second Road)
  • Hollywood Disco (recently moved to a new location in North Pattaya)
  • Star Dice Entertainment on Naklua Road (not Star Dice Beach on Beach Road) - one of the few discos in Pattaya that doesn't dual-price foreigners.
  • Xzyte Entertainment, Third Road.

Live Music

Live music - especially popular rock oldies - can be heard at several open-air venues along Walking Street, and at various bars elsewhere.

  • Blues Factory on Soi Lucky Star (just off Walking Street) features the Lam Morrison Band.
  • Hard Rock Cafe [118] (in the grounds of the Hard Rock Hotel resort on Beach Road) has great live music and dancing in the evenings.
    


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