Whatever Happened to…….. Part 1

After doing a few site updates we noticed how long the list of closed venues is getting, so we thought it would be fun to do an article taking a light hearted look at whatever happened to some of the old places and personalities from Chiang Mai’s gay scene of yesteryear.

It quickly became apparent that this would be a long article; just covering all the changes at the Night Bazaar bars warrants an article on it’s own. So this is part one of several in our occasional series “Whatever happened to”. If you can’t remember them, many of the places listed can still be found on our Gay Map under closed.

If you have anything to add or news of what happened to the people involved please leave a comment; it’s very easy with no registration required.

Power boys

Power boys gay club

Powerboys first opened as part of the Lavender Lanna Hotel, and closed some weeks after the death of the projects founder Jay Gregson. It had a short lived spell reopened under some of the old Lavender management and then closed again. Last year, it was re-opened by a new owner, who got a good deal on leasing it independently from the hotel and ran it both as a Go-go Cabaret bar and late night Karaoke. It appears to have been not that successful as it closed in July this year, according to rumour, because the lease expired.

Whilst never our favourite venue, we have to hand it to Jay – the opening party at Powerboys was one of the craziest we’ve ever been too in Chiang Mai, with a FREE bottle of Johnny Walker Black on every table. Short on staff, Jay’s crew trawled some of Chiang Mai’s least salubrious haunts to find some rent a crowd Tai Yai boy extras, who included some of the more notorious Bon Tong boys. These crazies proceeded to collect and consume as many bottles of the free black stuff as they could and an alcohol inspired near orgy followed! There’s more than one farang in town who still blush whenever this story is mentioned 😉 !

Lavender Lanna Hotel

Lavender Lanna Gay hotel - Chiang Mai

Lavender Lanna Gay Hotel seen from inside the moat

This was an ambitious project by American Jay Gregson to convert an old Chiang Mai budget hotel, Sri Tokyo into a major gay hotel employing nearly 200 people with full services inside including massage (Lanna Salon and Massage) , sauna, swimming pool, roof top restaurant (Lanna Sky), Go-Go bar Powerboys (see above) and Lanna Cabaret – Part of Powerboys.
The plans always seemed like a case of trying to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, and the project surprised many given its high profile location in an area of the city not known for risqué entertainment venues. It also drew criticism and protests from Thai gay activists who were opposed to the brazen advertising and adverse publicity for Lanna culture.
Rather predictably, the project was not a financial success and lasted but a few months before Jay committed suicide. Since then, the Hotel has reverted to its original format and name and, as far as we know, all the gay facilities have now closed. However, the Hotel has somewhat cynically continued to ride on the back of the Lanna Lavender name to attract gay customers, even if there is now nothing remotely gay about the place. you can still see their website here

You can read the latestreviews of Lavender Lanna Hotel on trip advisor. The most recent example:
No longer a gay hotel thank heavens. This is a filthy hotel with stained smelly carpets in the rooms, dust everywhere. I had paid a one night deposit but found it so filthy I checked out after having an afternoon nap.

Post Club

Post Club Gay Bar

The Post Club Bar - from asiancoop.com

The first of many Farang plus boyfriend stories we will share in this series. Post Club was started by an Australian and his Thai boyfriend in a small location that seemed like a garage or something in a hard to find soi behind Rajaphat University. With a few waiters/freelancers who came from the old Peak area they were targeting the Farang crowd. Again, predictably, no one knew how to find the place and it lasted but a few months closing in May 2010. Read about it here on Frank’s blog: www.asiancoop.com

Yum Boi Boi

Another Farang and Thai partner story, though as the Farang had been in Thailand a long time and this wasn’t his first bar maybe he should have known what would happen [Update on the farang story Jan 2013]. Yum Boi Boi opened in Santitham plaza in June 2009 as a Farang orientated night bazzar style beer bar located right next to Fit Bar (Now La La), a Thai style gay bar. Trying to sell drinks at tourist prices when everyone else on the Soi was selling three large Changs for 129 Bt was never going to fly. Also, the location is not one known to Farangs and unless you are familiar with Thai style places somewhat intimidating. This blog article has more information: Thai Eyes – Yum Boi Boi

Ironically the bar has more recently become Chaophraya bar, home to excellent Thai reggae Ska band “Super Running Ska”.. Fit bar, closed briefly and reopened as La La (same owner). Now in rainy season it is not open so often and Ting the boss is busy with another job too.

Logo Chiang Mai band: Super Running Ska

Chaophraya Bar Santitham PlazaSuper Running Ska

Packed Chaophraya bar - Home to Super Running Ska

2013 Update

The Klaus Hicker AKA Klaus Dracula, the farang owner of Yum Boi Boi just got busted for alleged kiddie fiddling. Read the full story here Rumour has it he died whilst on bail (or was that “died” and went to Cambodia 🙂 )

Happy Dicks (AKA Cockpit)

Here’s a story few will know as the bar never opened with its intended name/form. This small bar was a Thai attempt to capitalise on the sex bar business in a somewhat unique way. Unfortunately, it wasn’t that well thought through. Located next to Spirit House on Viangbua Road it was to have been a host bar with a couple of twists. To select a boy, punters went into the glory hole corridor to sample the merchandise protruding through holes in the wall and make a selection. Rather than take your selection off from the bar, the package allegedly included a Tuk-Tuk trip to a nearby short time hotel . The mind boggles, needless to say, this bird never flew, not least because of a lack of host boys wanting to play that game! It subsequently re-opened as a straight beer bar.

Doi Boys (AKA Club Grooves)

Rough Tai Yai Boys

Doi Boys – if you like ’em rough

Doi Boys was a Chiang Mai legend for many years, a small host/Go-Go bar on Chang Puek So i 4 with not many boys or customers. Doi in Thai means mountain, as in “mountain boy” a reference perhaps to the many hill tribe and Tai Yai (Shan) guys in Chiang Mai’s sex industry. Doi Boy, like Chiang Mai’s other go-go bars had mainly Tai Yai staff.
It didn’t have a fixed show, rather a few boys got up and danced on stage, often naked, whenever a customer appeared. Whilst many avoided the place as “dead” it had a few followers. Of the few guys who worked there, some were real rough diamonds who had their own following. A couple of years back they had a disastrous attempt at turning it into a disco style place called Club Grooves – that only lasted a few months before reverting to Go-Go, which in turn ceased shortly afterwards. around July 2009. Rumour, unsubstantiated by us, has it the place has recently been bought by Mike from La Cage in Pattaya who apparently will transform it into an upmarket lounge style place.
For a while, some of the old Doi Boy crowd had an outdoor bar called Dton Fai on Hussawisadee Road, (near the intersection with the moat) and have now opened a Bar called Memory by Doi Boy.

DD Club

This was a Ladyboy bar in the same Soi where Barocco now is. It’s long gone, except it seems to have gone viral and is still listed on so many gay web sites, despite not having existed for several years. The power of the internet keeping the name alive!

Hot Boy

Close to DD Club was Hot Boy, another Farang owned bar/Pub type place that opened up next to Circle Pub several years ago. It was a fun place, but not an overwhelming success. We believe the owner, who already has another successful business in Chiang Mai, got bored and had better things to do.

Bar 66

This used to be one of Bon Tong’s favourite hang outs in Chiang Mai. Also know as Free Guy 2, Bar 66 was located in part where Spirit House is now, on Viang Bua Road, and was an outdoor local Thai style beer bar run by Ray, the owner of Free Guy. Beem, the extremely cute bar tender was an instant draw, as were many of the Free Guy boys who used to come there after work giving a great party atmosphere some nights. Defeated by the rainy season, Ray gave up on the project in July 2006. We believe Beem is now in Bangkok.

Update, since writing this article we found some pictures from Bar 66 – see this post

Escape

Escape was a small bar (with food if we remember correctly) run by a very sweet Thai Gay guy called Eddy. Located on Sithiwongse Rd in Chang Moi district it was quite hard to find and had few customers. Pity as Eddy was a very nice guy – whatever happened to him?

More coming in part 2 soon.

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