Flashback Photo Spread: Black Pagoda

I remember the first time I heard about the place. It was 2014, and a guy at work kept going on about a gogo bar that was suspended above the street, with glass walls so you could see into it from ground level. He said it used to be a coffee shop. The dude was a wanker, so I barely heard him. It only clicked when, one night as I wandered up Soi 2, heading for what used to be G’s and is now The Paddy Field, and it caught my eye—A gangplank, running from the parking garage above Foodland to the building across from it, with strobe lights and girls dancing on little stages in a massive window that stretched from floor to ceiling. The Black Pagoda. I skipped visiting for weeks as I was unsure how to even get into the place. Then one night, a friendly hostess took me by the hand and led me to the lift that ascended to the 2nd floor and deposited me outside the double doors of a gogo that would become one of my favorite watering holes in the whole of Patpong. My name’s Bangkok Seven, this is The Sunday Rap, and the photo spread comes courtesy of Jack Nites.

The location isn’t the only distinctive characteristic of this cozy gogo. Their DJs and girls also set the place apart. When Electric Blue shut down in 2017, half of their roster quickly relocated to BP and settled in, including Taitle, Best, Bum, Saa, and Fook. Soda, Mina, and Aom also switched from The Strip around the same time, rounding out a gang of gals who became the heart and soul of the joint and injected a party-with-abandon atmosphere that endured until the start of the pandemic.

In many ways, Black Pagoda feels more like a gentleman’s club than a gogo bar, mainly for the inverted stage-to-seats ratio. In a typical gogo, the stage is the centerpiece, with seats scattered around it like a mini gladiator arena, where girls squeeze together in a menagerie of legs and tits—a spectacle of sexiness and a mashup of feminine wiles. Not so in BP. The centerpiece there is the bar, and it separates the place into two halves. There are a mere four two-person mini-stages dotted around the bar, interspersed with high-top tables and five leather sofas. The girls spend more time lounging in the laps of punters than they do dancing on a stage, giving BP an atmosphere that hovers between a brothel (though there’s no sex allowed on the premises) and an opium den (though there are no drugs to speak of). The girls themselves are a kind of hallucinogen. In concert with the strong cocktails, a monger can easily find himself hypnotized by the intoxicating combination (intoxibination for short, copyright BKK7) of booze and beauties. And like the other girls in the Pong, these lovely ladies will remember your name after visiting once, and greet you like a long-lost friend on every visit. I personally regard many of these girls as sisters, having known them so long. 

Whenever I swing in, my usual cocktail is placed on my usual table before I even reach it, and Saa and Best are waiting with their hands out—not for a tip, but for my phone. They confiscate it so they can play Candy Crush until I get up to leave, which is partially why I was unable to include any BP photos in my blog over at patpongnightlife.com today, which features photos from almost every other gogo on the Pong. Not BP. No, my little sisters usurp my phone on nearly every visit. It’s nice, actually, to have so many friends in one place. In fact, not coincidentally, I’ve spent my last two birthdays in BP. Last year the girls sneaked off to Foodland and got me a cake. I’ll never get over how sweet they are, these Patpong pole princesses.

And as we continue to wait for the fun ban (that persist in spite of a Covid death rate of less than 1%) to end, let us soak up these photos, harken back to better times, and look forward with hope to a future where we can all pull one of these gorgeous gogo girls onto our laps and once again raise a toast to what used to be the greatest country in the world, and will be again (provided the powers that be pull their heads out of their asses): Thailand. Cheers.