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Thread: History of Soi Twilight

  1. #11
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    Re: History of Soi Twilight

    Some notes on the prologue to the rise of Soi Twilight.

    The question of what the oldest gay bar in Thailand was has been raised several times on the fora. We know that the original Twilight Bar was founded as early as 1966, but several members have also mentioned an even older bar, the Sea Hag.

    In every post, however, the Sea Hag appears as a sort of ghost, with no clear dates on when it opened and when it shut, and certainly nothing clear about its history. Even the earliest, members who arrived in Bangkok mention that it had already closed by the time they arrived in Thailand.

    The Sea Hag had actually been founded as a sailors’ bar in the 1950s. It might have been gay-friendly, but it did not become a full-on gay bar until July 4th 1967. The bar shut-down in 1969 but would give rise to the legendary Rome on Soi 4.

    The dates for the Sea Hag can be established from two old posts. The critical one appeared on ThaiVisa back on December 3rd 2004 by the owner of the Sea Hag, who only ever made two posts, explaining the lineage of the Sea Hag and then never posted again. I quote the relevant portions of his posts.

    The first gay bar in Thailand was the Sea Hag. It was an old seamans bar from the '50s converted to a gay bar and opened on July 4, 1967. Reason I know is that I opened it together with my then BF. Prior to that, there was Club 99 on Silom opposite where Narai Hotel now is and several other 'mixed' bars on Oriental ave. and a bit later the Balcony on Charoen Krung (New Road) which was also mixed.

    I left Thailand for Japan in '69 and my then BF went on to open Siamese on the newly-built Silom Soi 4 (71 or 72). Siamese later expanded and became the Rome club of past international fame.


    Just another add-in to the information previously provided: The oldest continuing gay bar presently in existence is Twilight, now in the bar row off Suriwongse. It used to be where Dreamboy is -- or next door -- can't remember which.


    His reference to “where Dreamboy is” would refer to Soi Thaniya 2, rather than to Soi Pratuchai.

    Another post that is relevant appeared on Stickman back in 2003. It was the reminiscences of a G.I. about his time hitting the girlie bars in Patpong with his mates in 1967. He mentions ending-up in a gay bar called the Sea Hag by mistake, finishing their drinks and then leaving. I quote:

    Bangkok was a little expensive compared to Ubon but it had a whole lot more to offer too. The girls were the prettiest and most all could speak English. We did the bars and the bath houses and at one point even stumbled into a gay bar called "The Old Sea Hag". It was by accident but we had our beer and slipped out without any incidents. We had a good laugh over it later.


    As to which bar really was the first gay bar, if the Sea Hag is only counted as a gay bar from July 4th 1967, then Twilight would be the older, original boy bar. But, of course, the Sea Hag had already been there since the 1950s in its earlier incarnation, so the argument could be made for its claim to that title. That, however, brings us on to the shadowy origins of Twilight itself. For that, a recent article in Nikkei about Patpong mentions that the katoey who set-up Twilight in 1966 had previously been running a male brothel. It seems reasonable that some of the boys in the original Twilight line-up would have been drawn from said brothel. I quote the Nikkei article

    Although the entertainment was geared toward straight men in search of hostess bars, massage parlors and go-go clubs, Patpong also challenged taboos about homosexuality. Bangkok's first gay bar, Sea Hag, opened there in the late 1950s, and in 1966 the Twilight Bar was launched by a drag queen who had earlier opened a male brothel.


    What is particularly interesting is how each of these two contenders for the title of oldest gay bar gave birth to one of the major gay sois in Bangkok. Twilight’s was the catalyst for Soi Twilight, and the current Twilight Zone on Patpong 2. The Sea Hag through its indirect descendants, Siamese and Rome, helped bring Soi 4 to prominence, although its role is less direct.

    Take your pick as to who deserves the title of the oldest gay bar in Thailand. Both the contenders have a decent claim. Let those with deeper knowledge chip-in.

    Note: The Sea Hag gay restaurant in Patong, Phuket, does not appear to be a lineal descendant of the original Sea Hag, despite such claims on some fora.

  2. 3 Users gave Like to post:

    a447 (July 10th, 2020), christianpfc (July 22nd, 2020), Oliver2 (July 10th, 2020)

  3. #12
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    Re: History of Soi Twilight

    Is there any connection between the Sea Hag Bar and the old-established restaurant of the same name in Patong?

  4. #13
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    Re: History of Soi Twilight

    Hi Brad,

    I am almost certain that you could have written a much better history of Soi Twilight than the stub that I did, given that you were actually there before almost anyone else was. With regard to your earlier question, "Is it just the history of Soi Twilight bars that is of interest? The busiest street for Gay bars was in Soi Four Silom before Soi Twilight become known for more than the Twilight Bar", the answer is that facts and stories about the early bar scene are certainly welcome, given that all that has come before played its part in bringing us to where we are now, i.e. post-Soi Twilight and now into the Twilight Zone.

    I would particularly welcome tales of your first visit to the Twilight Bar or the other early bars and of the bars that went into the making of Soi Twilight. That picture of your birthday at Lonely Boy, really is a glimpse into an era long before most of us showed-up. Fab if you can share more. Quite a few members have shared tales of the past, including yourself, but they have always appeared as vignettes. The new or casual reader would never quite have known how those bars relate to the way things developed. What was lacking was a framework in which to view the changes in the bar scene. That was the purpose of my trying to put together a chronological history. Obviously, however, Soi Twilight was only one small part of that and you and the handful of genuine veterans of that era are much better-placed to do that.

    On BadaBing, I shall just say, as someone who enjoyed playing on both sides of Suriwong, BadaBing is fabulous from start to finish =) Not only can the girls there actually dance, but they actually smile. There are lessons that the managers of the boy bars could learn from a visit to that place.

    On AirAsia, it is the airline that everyone loves to hate. It was lauded for bring prices down, but hated for just about everything else. There are enough "I hate Air Asia" pages on the net for me not to recount the issues here; there is even one on TripAdvisor.

    On "Sweet Banana", that name isn't just scraping the bottom of the barrel, it's gone right through it...

  5. #14
    Forum's veteran Brad the Impala's Avatar
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    Re: History of Soi Twilight

    Quote Originally Posted by JayToff View Post

    On "Sweet Banana", that name isn't just scraping the bottom of the barrel, it's gone right through it...
    As opposed to say the subtle Golden Cock?!! I'm not sure if it was there or somewhere similar that the guys used to all have 3D underwear representing the head of an elephant, and the cocks were supposed to go into the representation of the elephant trunks. It might have seemed a good idea but the end result, as the elephant trunks on the trunks were quite large in dimension and length was to diminish the outline of the cocks making them seem shrivelled and unattractive. Like deflating balloons.

    I don't think that I've explained that very well, but hopefully I have given a sense of it.

    I will attach some links below to some entertaining threads that I found about the early days of gay Bangkok and first experiences in Thailand. I'm sure that my memory was better at the time of my posts in these threads than it is now! If there are any subsequent gaps I expect someone here, or possibly me, will be able to step forward to help.

    Memories were stimulated recently when I found an old letter addressed to me at my favourite Poste Restante address.

    C/o The Lonely Boy Bar, 102 Silom Road, Bangrak, Bangkok. The letter was dated 2/11/73! As you noted I had a birthday party there around that time.

    https://sawatdeenetwork.com/v4/showt...ghlight=apollo

    https://sawatdeenetwork.com/v4/showt...ghlight=apollo

    https://sawatdeenetwork.com/v4/showt...ghlight=apollo

    https://sawatdeenetwork.com/v4/showt...ghlight=apollo

  6. #15
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    Re: History of Soi Twilight

    No one has listed my two favorite Go Go Bars. Both off Silom Soi 6 and Soi Thantawan.
    Super Lex and Tomahawk...
    My first visit to Thailand was in 2003. And I meet a friend from Germany there. He was my Guide and my Shill! HAHAHA
    We enjoyed Super Lex and took off two guys from there. One was the STR8 Top and the other his willing Bottom!!
    And they had no problem making a Video for us...
    At Tomahawk I meet my first Thai Love!! It is a long story. He is now probably 40yo and last worked at Dream Boys in Soi Twilight.
    He has two handsome Sons, both STR8.
    AHHHH so many memories...

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    dinagam (August 11th, 2020)

  8. #16
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    Re: History of Soi Twilight

    I found a List from the "dreaded ned's" Web Site from 2003 that I saved to my PC.
    It lists many many Saunas, Massage, Go Go and Disco places in Bangkok.
    But it is more than 30 pages long!!! So I will not post it here.
    You might try a Google Search.
    Take care!!

  9. #17
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    Re: History of Soi Twilight

    A Description of the Bars of Soi Twilight and the Terrible Things that Happened Therein, Along with A Brief Chronology of its Demise

    The stub history of Soi Twilight posted above was necessarily constrained by the 15,000 character limit, so that while the reader is left with a decent chronology of the evolution of the soi, readers who did not personally experience Soi Twilgiht may also be left wondering about what distinguished one bar from another, how the scene on Soi Twilight evolved over time and how it all relates to the current, reconstituted, bar scene in the Twilight Zone in Patpong. While the skeleton of a decent history of Soi Twilight is to be found in the previous posts; this post aims to put some flesh onto the bones.

    Rather than writing a follow-up post on the different bars purely from memory, I shall instead guide the reader to a contemporary account by that most astute and amusing of bar scene chroniclers, the late and much-missed Rush.

    The additional benefit of doing that, of course, is to introduce the unfamiliar to Bangkokbois which, even five years after the final post, remains the gold standard for insight into the world of the Bangkok bar scene. For while Soi Twilight is no more, the majority of the old bars have simply reconstituted themselves across the road. Apart from that, it’s just a bloody funny read…

    For a description of the bars on Soi Twilight in 2011, the year it attained its peak, along with some good pictures of the bars, see:
    https://bangkokbois.sawatdeenetwork....gay-gogo-bars/

    For a raunchier description of what actually happened in those different bars, see:
    https://bangkokbois.sawatdeenetwork....-and-the-ugly/

    Each of those links is a five-minute read.

    Rush died in 2015 and so never chronicled the end of Soi Twilight, nor was it obvious then that 2015 marked the year in which the decline of Soi Twilight began as rumours started to circulate that that the soi was going to be redeveloped, giving bar owners little incentive to make new investments.

    The years 2011 to 2014 marked the peak of Soi Twilight in terms of the number of venues. Then, in February 2015, The Zeus, which occupied the site of what had previously been Future Boys and then Ocean Boys, closed for good and no new bar opened in its place. This was followed by the closure of Mario Massage in mid-2015, with, yet again, no replacement venue taking-over the space. If things then seemed to stabilise, this was only a prelude to the flood.

    In late 2017, Chai Massage closed on Soi Twilight, with nothing taking its place. In April 2018, Fresh Boys jumped across to Patpong 2 and then the long-running Dick’s Café closed in mid-2018, announcing that they were leaving Soi Twilight for Pattaya’s Jomtien Complex. The impending demise of Soi Twilight was now visible to everyone, despite the heroic insistence that it was “business as usual” by the remaining bars.

    The upstairs X-Size A Go-Go bar closed in September 2018, followed by the closure of its downstairs pool bar at the beginning of 2019. The nameless pool bar with its stock of street urchins, located after Dream Boy, closed at about the same time and the Rama IV end of Soi Twilight began to be walled-off with sheet metal. With the not-quite iron curtain now falling, the stage was set for the final exodus.

    In April 2019, the remaining venues left Soi Twilight. These included the Soi Twilight stalwarts Dream Boy, Banana, Bangkok Massage and Hot Male. Fittingly, Hot Male was the last bar to leave Soi Twilight. As the original Twilight Bar had lit the spark that led to the rise of Soi Twilight almost 50 years before, it was only right that its reincarnation, Hot Male, should have been the one to finally switch-off the lights on that little soi of neon-lit fantasies.

  10. #18
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    Re: History of Soi Twilight

    Quote Originally Posted by JayToff View Post
    Then, in February 2015, The Zeus, which occupied the site of what had previously been Future Boys and then Ocean Boys, closed for good and no new bar opened in its place.
    They closed in December 2014. I went there on 28dec2014 (with vinapu, prolific poster on gayguides) and it was not in business any more. Door was open, lights on but nobody in, so I took pictures of inside and the Zeus statue outside.

    Quote Originally Posted by JayToff View Post
    This was followed by the closure of Mario Massage in mid-2015, with, yet again, no replacement venue taking-over the space.
    I remember Mario Massage. After Mario Massage there was a snooker hall and reception area for a massage related to X-Size on upper level. Here my one visit to this place:
    https://christianpfc.blogspot.com/20...-thailand.html
    Wed 13jun2018 X-Size massage
    The cute boy Lee the Analphabet (whom I first met years ago in Pradipat Karaoke, then he worked in X-Size on stage, then in Fresh boys as waiter) now works in X-Size massage, which is my chance to get him after years of fruitless chat (he cannot read or write Thai or English)!

  11. #19
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    Re: History of Soi Twilight

    Hi Christian,

    Additions and corrections to anything posted are certainly welcome, particularly since even the shortest pencil is longer than the best memory.

    For purposes of tracking the decline of Soi Twilight, however, February 2015 would probably be the correct date for the demise of Zeus. Shows at Zeus stopped at some point shortly before they began internal renovations in January 2015 ( Your visit on December 28th 2014 makes clear that the shows had ended by late December rather than in early January). By February, however, they had abandoned the internal renovations and Zeus never re-opened, nor did anything else take its place.

    Your additional details on the site of Mario are also welcome and re-affirm that 2015 marked the turning-point for Soi Twilight. After Mario's closure, the site was utilised as an adjunct to an ongoing operation of the X-Group, rather than anyone investing in setting-up anything new. It certainly wasn’t obvious in 2015 that Soi Twilight was about to begin contracting but, looking back, 2015 was the turning-point.

  12. #20
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    Re: History of Soi Twilight

    Quote Originally Posted by JayToff View Post
    [B]For a description of the bars on Soi Twilight in 2011, the year it attained its peak, along with some good pictures of the bars, see:
    https://bangkokbois.sawatdeenetwork....gay-gogo-bars/
    Whilst I appreciate the effort that you have gone through to put together this report, I have no idea where you get the idea that 2011 was the peak of Soi Twilight. If anything it had peaked ten years earlier and was already in its death throes by 2011.

    Of course if you look at the statistics it may seem that there were more venues in 2011 than in earlier/later years, but in this case quantity does not equal quality

    By 2011 Twilight was already a shadow of its former self and had been abandoned by both its farang and Thai customer base, in this case they were replaced by Chinese tour groups who in the main were there for the shows and not to off boys, party or consume alcohol
    Buffalo me die! Send Money!

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