Soi Eden comes of age
After the demise of several of Bangkok’s more intimate bar areas in recent years – Clinton Plaza, Soi Zero and Asoke Plaza spring to mind – it is pleasant to report on the emergence of Sukhumvit Soi 7/1 (also known as Soi Eden).
Four years ago, the world-famous Eden Club offered the only entertainment in this dead-end soi right next to the Nana Skytrain station. This club is still doing a brisk trade in making fantasies come true, but it has been joined by bars, massage parlours and even a table dancing club. This small soi is ideal for a bar crawl.
As you enter the soi at most times of the day, you will notice several unaccompanied females sitting outside the Subway/Coffee World branch on the left. Many are freelance working girls and will compliment you on your handsomeness as you walk by. While The Cheap Baron has never doubted his rugged charms, it is nice to have it confirmed by the opposite sex.
The first bar on the right is Absolute 7, a very popular spot with locals and visitors with its no-hassle mixture of reasonable drink prices, good food, pool and live music. If the music is not to your taste, it has a pleasant outdoor seating area.
Next along is the Star Inn, a hotel that also provides rooms at an hourly rate if you happen to meet the woman of your dreams at the nearby bars.
Mario’s Pizza is next door serving up Italian delicacies mainly, I am told, to Indian customers. Anywhere but Bangkok, this would seem odd.
Then come two massage parlours – Bill’s Massage, where customers can experience a very happy ending, and Tarntip Massage, where traditional Thai rubdowns are administered without any extras.
If neither of those appeals, there is something for every taste at the Eden Club. Customers are obliged to take two girls upstairs and it is recommended that the first girl chooses the second one on the basis that friends make a better team, especially when performing lesbian acts. The girls have a variety of uniforms (the nurse’s apparel is much in demand) and accessories. Eden regulars assure me satisfaction is guaranteed for Bt3,600 for a 90-minute session. If you are not satisfied, the club has a refund policy.
I popped into the next-door Ring Bar, an unusual establishment that offers far more than mere drinks and attentive female company. Its menu includes a 90-minute “fashion massage” at Bt1,500 with one lady and Bt2,500 with two ladies. A hostess informed me that this involves “licking with tongues” but it seemed impolite to venture further. A customer offering a reasonable tip will receive more than a licking, while the option is available to forget the massage and simply have a short-time encounter on the premises with your new friend.
Part of the same business is the adjacent Magic Table, where Isaan’s finest dance on mirrored tables while wearing school uniforms. This is a very agreeable place to relax with a cold beer. I couldn’t help but notice that the dancing damsels had forgotten to put on their navy blue knickers.
For a change of pace, the Boo Sa Bar usually has a few locals with whom you can discuss the Thai constitution while watching the English football. English owner Andrew was the first farang to dip his toes into the Soi Eden bar scene in 2003 and has witnessed the area’s metamorphosis into a fully fledged entertainment strip. Like the other beer bars, Boo Sa gives customers the option of enjoying air con inside or soaking up the atmosphere in the outside lounge area. There are plenty of girls here but they are far less pushy than their sisters in Nana Plaza and Soi Cowboy.
As you continue down the right side of the soi, there are five similar beer bars – PP Beer, Crazy Hot Beer, Siam Style, Sweet Heart and Tequila Dragon. The latter sometimes has live music and stays open very late (most bars on the soi close at 1am). For a while Tequila Dragon was really packing in the after-hours crowd, but the demands of the boys in brown and competition from Spice Club on Soi 11 mean it is much quieter these days.
The budget-conscious will appreciate Mike’s Corner Bar at the end of the soi, right next to Maxim’s Inn. This is one of those mobile bars you see dotted around Bangkok where you can enjoy cheap libations with no unwanted attention from Cola addicts.
Attached to the Best Value Inn is Night Flight and next door is Blue Lightning, which was recently bought by an Englishman. Next along is the Down Under sports bar while the World Inn and restaurant completes the crawl before you arrive back at Subway.
Soi Eden has a lot going for it. Apart from the variety of nightlife in such a small area, it also benefits from the lack of traffic, meaning you and the ubiquitous elephants can wander around without risking injury or inhaling exhaust fumes. On the night of my visit, a drunken farang decided it would be a good idea to ride a baby elephant. Happily, he fell off.
The beer bars are not as in-your-face as those in other areas and you could happily take your mother-in-law to most of them – but don’t let her see you creeping into the Eden Club for a taste of paradise with two “nurses”.