Updated: Sep 4
Building a list of 50 gents clubs in central Pattaya along with all of their details was easy compared to tracking down what is even open on the dark side (the East side) of Pattaya.
Usually it's possible to research most of the info online. And if that fails I can call up one of my aging monger friends and quiz their 20+ years of knowledge living here. But for this challenge both were insufficient. The internet is full of out of date info. Everyone I asked wasn't sure. In the end it became clear that I'd need to get in the car and spend a day driving round. The plan was to visit every bar on a very long list of all potential places open to see if the lights were on. Maybe I'd get lucky and go into one for a beer and find a dark side monger table of knowledge. Surely the guys living there must know everywhere open and their details. Sadly this didn't happen. I found several tables of knowledge throughout my short trip. Most had no clue what was open. In a lot of cases the reply was "never heard of that one".
I've been to the dark side quite a few times. It's where most of our suppliers have their main offices and warehouses. It's not the sort of place I'd usually go to drink. "Why?" you might ask. I think it comes down to the police mostly (at least for me anyway). The idea of hopping on the bike, traveling over from central Pattaya and then having a few beers fills me with a sense of dread that I'd end up in jail for drink riding.
There are taxi's and bolt but the friction is too high at 30+ minutes to get there. I don't want to wait around or sit in the back of a car when I can hop on my bike and get most places in under 10 minutes. And if that place is boring it doesn't matter as hopping to the next bar is almost instant. That's not really the case on the dark side. There is a bit of distance between a lot of the bars.
So who drinks in these gents clubs? Locals. It's all locals. The extremely insular population that live the other side of the train tracks. Westerners (falangs) who are of retirement age with a family.
Driving around I was surprised by how family oriented it all was. At one point I wondered if it might be better to create a new website for dark side restaurants instead. The sheer volume of what looked like luxury dining venues was incredible. I may drive back over again some weekends just to try the food in some of the opulent looking places.
In terms of gents clubs I stopped in a few and was pleasantly surprised. Cheap drinks, decent decor (in the ones I went into) and a handful of ladies. I went into each of these bars with extremely low expectations. I was expecting a maximum of 3 ladies all over the age of 60. The reality was approximately twice as good as expectations. Usually at least 6 ladies with at least half of them being pre-menopause. If I was on a proper dark side gents club crawl on my own or with a wingman it would have been a fun day out. Going with a larger group would probably have been disappointing.
None of this, apart from my new found desire to try more restaurants, is a revelation. I think most people who have been to the dark side bars will echo my sentiment. The only slight shocker was the girl situation isn't as diabolical as I thought it might be.
So what's actually open?
The dark side is bigger than I thought it was. My plan was to spend 1 - 2 hours driving round and then bathe in the glory of owning the only list in existence of gents clubs actually open on the dark side. However, that wasn't what happened.
It took about 5 hours to get around everywhere. I started at 4pm to ensure all bars would be open. The first 2 hours in day light was optimum. When it got dark I got lost a lot.
Things may have been quicker if I hadn't gone into as many places. I should have been more of a weirdo and peered through the glass window from the outside more.
I won't bore you with the original list we had. But this is the verified set of gents clubs currently open: Aqua-Deymie
Darkside Gentlemans Club
The Bird Cage
The Pussy Cat Club
All had the lights on with girls inside. Since coming back and posting on Facebook I've been given a couple more to verify (Butterfly Bar and Paradise) so I'll have to do another trip.
There are a lot more bars than this open on the dark side but they aren't really gents clubs. The definition of a gents club is extremely loose and subjective. But the expectation is that they are at least discreet closed fronted bars with girls doing naughty things in the open inside. All of the ones above fit that definition. Others got close but were removed from the list for just being more of a normal drinking bar.
The next piece of work is to continually update this site, adding more to our directory, and filling in all of their quirks and features. For example Aqua Deymie has a very nice swimming pool. Azure Fabrice has a pool, bakery and hotel. Hopefully I'll discover many weird and wonderful things.
If you have read this far well done. We've now added the dark side bars to https://gentsclubs.com/gc under the location 'Darkside' in the dropdown. We may split this out into specific roads later.
Also, the info on many will be currently lacking - but perfection is the enemy of good enough. Just having them as a list online is better than things were before. We'll endeavor to make the info accurate for each in the week ahead.