Soi Cowboy in Bangkok
Bangkok Hot Spots
Soi Cowboy was named after the cowboy hat-wearing African-American who opened the first bar here in the early 1970s, this red-light district has a more laid-back, carnival-like feel to it than Patpong or Nana Plaza. Flashing neon lights up a colourful streetscape comprised mainly of middle-aged expats, Japanese and western tourists, and of course a lot of sexily dressed girls. With cries of 'helloooa, welcome!' the latter try to lure you into one of the 20 or so A go-go bars that line its sides... don't be shy, it's pretty easy going and open-minded, entry is always free and drink prices are fixed.
Soi Cowboy is just next to Terminal 21, this very popular new shopping mall, so just cross the street and see it for yourself... or use Terminal 21 as an excuse to have some fun time! Remember, you might not see this again anywhere else in the world!
Inside Soi Cowboy Go Go Bars
Each is brightly lit and colourful, playing loud music, offering lines of seats typically arranged in tiers around a UV-lit central stage. If you like to be close to the action, another row of stools is available directly around the stage... first timers tend to sit in the back. The girls sway and shimmy, wearing little more than a tiny skirt and a bra... sometimes even less. It seems that the later you come, the less they'll wear. Girls rotate from pole to pole until a full round has been completed, or until a show starts. Bars usually close around 2.30 am but it's not unusual to see them open until 3am. Weekends can be really busy and you could very well end up drinking your beer all alone, especially in the most popular ones such as Tilac or Baccara. If you are looking for company while in the bar, better come during week days or before 10 pm.
Soi Cowboy is fairly straight forward, no traps or scams... so just sit and order a drink: expect to pay 100 to 150 baht, which is rather fair, some bars like Sahara and Kiss now charging up to 180 baht... ouch. A girl (or two) might sit next to you and ask for a drink, but never in a pushy way. If you want to enjoy your new friend's company, it's a nice gesture to buy her one and it is not too crazily expensive. Don't hesitate to offer another if you are having a good time, and you will feel good about yourself too. If you chose to sit next to the stage, you are welcome to tip the dancing girls if you feel like... and you will certainly get a bit more attention.
The A Go-Go Bars
Baccara maybe the last A go-go bar in the street, but it is also one of the most popular. Unfortunately because of its popularity, the place gets packed early and you probably won't get any company, and sometimes not even a seat. This recently refurbished bar is bright, clean and is even non smoking downstairs, a good improvement. But the way the girls are packed on the central stage is a bit disturbing, they barely have enough space to move and kind of stand there, waiting for something lucky to happen. No less than three elevated rows of sofas around the room add to that feel. The room upstairs is 'hotter' and more interesting, but is also the smoking area. Baccara is a favourite place for Japanese guests and this always leads to higher prices. Is it because Japanese traveller don't excel at the art of bargaining or are they less fussy about the price?
Deja Vu A Go-Go
Deja Vu A go-go is a fun place with a typical design - a long high stage with poles accommodating up to eight girls and a transparent ceiling above that doesn't seem to be used very often. Unfortunately, shows seem to take place only at the end of the week (Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays). Staff members are friendly, not pushy and rather more educated than average (that means that their English conversation goes beyond "what's your name?", "where you come from?" and "you buy me a drink?"). Drinks are around 100 baht.
Kiss A Go Go
A nice bar but among the most expensive in the soi, with local beers starting at 180 baht and draft beer available 'all night' at 110 baht as advertised outside. If you still can't afford this, you can take advantage of their happy hour from 7pm to 8.30pm which is a rather shorter happy hour. About eight girls perform on a multilevel stage surrounded by two rows of red sofas all in good condition. Girls are pretty and friendly and music isn't too loud.
Midnite Go Go Bar
A nice place but as pricey as its sisters bar 'Kiss' with local beers at 180 baht, but you can opt for the cheapest but very light draft beer at 110 baht. The place is actually nice and well maintained with a central stage an two rows of sofas around the room.
Sahara A Go Go
The large white room of Sahara a Go Go is brighter with a more creative design than average bars in Soi Cowboy. On the main floor 8 to 10 girls dance on a a multi level stage lit from underneath but the upper floor seems t be unused. Girls outside wear these very short yellow cab uniforms while the girls inside don't wear much. As this is a sister of Kiss a Go Go, prices are as high with a beer at 180 baht and ladies drinks up to 220 baht and staff are quite pushy, trying very hard to encourage you to offer them a drink (on which they of course get a commission. This bar also sell cheaper drink during happy hours.
Shark is a two-level A go-go with a classic layout downstairs, a central elongated stage with a small rotating platform and a transparent ceiling above. Well it probably used to be transparent. Girls are generally cuter than in other bars but seem to only come to life and move when the boss is around. Prices are normal, 145 baht for a beer but if you are an early bird you can take advantage of their Happy Hour from 4.30 PM to 8.00 PM and get your beer for only 80 baht (applies to lady drinks too!). If girls downstair don't appear to be dancing very enthusiactically, go upstairs where girls seem to be more in party mood and not a single customer around... all yours!
Sheba's A Go-Go
Another long stage with eight to ten shiny poles and... what a surprise! A transparent ceiling almost unused. Friendly staff, not pushy. Girls wear less than in other bars, but as usual, everything depends on the time and circumstances. Shows are usually performed at the end of the week when there are enough customers and sometimes include a four-girl lesbian show and a slightly acrobatic and nicely executed four-girl pole dance set to rock music. Girls seem to take it seriously, but with a fun attitude. Price for a beer is 100 to 150 baht.
Spice Girl A Go-Go
Not so spicy... Unless this was a bad night. This place offers nothing more than just few girls dancing on the usual stage without much conviction. Staff were too busy having fun in a corner to really say anything interesting about it. No show was available.
Suzie Wong is a familiar name with an exotic image and the facade of the bar reflects it pretty well with plenty of red hues, but It's not related to the famous Suzy Wong in Patong. The interior is not as Chinese as you would expect, but at least the girls are Asian. With a centre stage with 8 to 10 girls, dimmed light and loud music, Suzie Wong uses a very traditional layout and has seriously aging sofas around the room. The main feature is probably the naughty girls show playing together with lots and lots of soap. Drink prices are slightly higher than in other bars, 160 baht for a beer and 200 for a tequila shot. Lady drinks costs the same as customers drinks and a detailed bill is brought to you with each drink. The bar is not crowded, so you will get the girls' attention easily, which is not often the case in the bigger and newer clubs.
Bigger, brighter and newer are the first words that come to mind when stepping inside the very popular Tilac Bar. Obviously a great deal of effort was invested in the layout, room design and lighting, even featuring large screen set on sports channels. A bar counter surrounds the large main central stage and six smaller stages with a girl on each are distributed around the room, with an average of 15 to 20 girls dancing at any given time. Prices are fair at 120 baht for a beer. The venue is very popular and gets busy in the late hours.
Here is the list of Go Go bars on Soi Cowboy, on the left side:
- Country Road
- Five Star
- Deja Vu
- The Dollhouse
- Shadow Bar
On the opposite side:
- Cockatoo (Ladyboys)
- Moonshine Joint
- Jungle Jim's
- Suzie Wong
- Spice Girls
- Cowboy 2
- Toy Bar
- Lucky Star
- Cocktail Club
- Location: Located just opposite of Terminal 21 and less than 100 metres from Sukhumvit Road, between Asoke Road and Sukhumvit Soi 23 (the nearest Skytrain station is Asoke, or MRT station Sukhumvit).
- MRT: Sukhumvit Station
- BTS: Asoke