After a busy, busy day in Bangkok we headed out to see the nightlife by starting at a bar we found through Lonely Planet called WTF Bangkok. WTF is located on Soi 51, down a relatively dead alleyway. When you walk in, it’s your typical hipster dive bar with an art gallery on the second floor (which was unfortunately closed). The mainly expat staff was friendly and our bartender Kris made us feel right at home recommending her favorite Thai beers and a great eggplant/eel sauce(?) dish (and I don’t even like eggplant) from the Japanese restaurant next door that caters to the WTF patrons.
As the night wore on, and the drinks kept flowing, we began to get really friendly with all the staff working that night, including the friends of the staff who were at the bar, and the chefs from across the street who were regular customers as well. Thus began our one night in Bangkok (cue the Murray Head).
Needless to say, a massive amount of libations were consumed, so the memory on this one is spotty at best. As WTF was coming to a close, one of the chef’s, Sam, made the suggestion to all go to a lady-boy bar. This wouldn’t typically be the destination of choice for myself in any normal situation. But this wasn’t a normal situation. This was Bangkok. So hell yes we were gonna go along to a lady-boy bar with the locals.
Before you get any thoughts in your head, I’m putting this out there: nothing happened with any lady-boys to me or anyone in the group. Needless to say, the lady-boy bar was very bizarre. The actual place wasn’t anything special; you could swap out the people in any dive bar with a pool table with lady-boys and that would be the scene. And to be honest, the lady-boys who ended up hanging out with us were actually pretty friendly. Even though they were likely soliciting for sex, which we weren’t going to give them, they were still fun to be around. One of the girls in our group told us that the proper etiquette is to at the very least buy one of the lady-boys a beer, which is what each of us did.
Now I’m completely comfortable with that scene, but I would not have gone to a lady-boy bar had it not been with a group of locals. I suspect that many of you reading will never end up there. But I’m glad I did because Bangkok is a city where the societal lines of normality are placed differently than in other parts of the world and it’s something that was worth experiencing.
The lady-boy bar did not consist of the entire night. We also went and got fried chicken/fried beef from bartender Brian’s favorite street cart, ended up at some random outdoor bar that literally consisted of a bar table and bar stools in a random dark alley, and went dancing again in some random night club down another random alley. Yes, there was a lot of random in the night. And because of that, the night ended at 6-6:30 AM. Oh yeah, and I forgot to mention that we had to be up at 8 AM for the Bangkok Food Tour. My review of that on the next post.