Flashback Photo Spread: Black Pagoda

April is the cruelest month, or so the saying goes. And yet, May’s shaping up to be just as shitty here in our beloved Bangkok, wouldn’t you say, reader? I mean, what’s more cruel than denying expats their bars and gogos? What twists the knife so ruefully as depriving a man of those Earthly delights that make life worth living, and worth living in Thailand? All for a virus that remains 99% survivable, and that has infected a mere 1.8% of the population. One might call that insane.

And so the insanity persists, and we’re forced to get our rocks off by whatever meager means we can, which brings us once again to the Sunday Rap. I’m Bangkok Seven, the photos are Jack Nites’ and here’s your gogo flashback album for the week:

Black Pagoda has become legendary in Patpong, with it’s unique, glass-walled bar resting on a bridge above Soi 2. If you’re walking through the Pong, it’s impossible to miss. And it’s packed with goodtime gals, which is why it’s a favorite among locals. At first glance, it seems quite….cozy. There’s a couple of sofas, some high-top tables and bar stools. A newbie might think the place is small. But that’s deceptive. Above the bar is a VIP area that’s nearly the same size as the bar itself, and then of course there’s Club Black—a huge back room with sofas, a DJ stage, a 2nd bar, and a billiards table.

But the best feature of the bar is the roster of gogo dancers who call Pagoda their work-home. Their lineup is what makes it one of my favorite bars. Most of the girls are veterans of other bars who migrated to BP over time, as other bars closed. And like some kind of gogo melting pot, the collection of lasses at Pagoda work remarkably well together. They’re like a small family, something even the customers can sense whilst there.

My BGF’s (best gogo friends) at Pagoda are Taitle, Best, JJ, and Saa. Many others—Ice, Mai, and Mina among them—have gone their own way, either acquiring farang boyfriends or simply giving up the life. Ice got married, then quickly divorced, then returned to the countryside to live with her parents. Mai moved over to The Strip, where she stayed for a year or so before relocating to Phuket. Mina got a Euro-BF and as far as I know has moved back with him to his home country…..I want to say…..Moldova.

Taitle has been dancing in Patpong for over a decade. She got her start in Electric Blue, moved to Lust on Soi 1 for a couple years, then back to EB, then to Pagoda. Best started out in EB, then switched to BP when EB became a steakhouse. It’s now The XXX Lounge. JJ’s first job was at Pink Panther. Then she switched to Kiss Bar for a while before settling in nicely at BP. Saa was another Electric Blue vixen who moved to Pagoda with her bestie, Best. They’re all lovely girls who place fun above all else while on the job.

Adding to Black Pagoda’s gogo clout is their roster of DJs. Music can make or break a gogo, and a Bangkok DJ must walk the line between pleasing the customers and the dancers, a feat that is much harder than it seems. If the girls had their way, the only songs you’d hear would be that terrible, frenetic Thai speed-polka that blares from every pickup truck in Isaan. If it were up to the customers, they’d likely opt for old Western pop or classic rock, which the girls find impossible to dance to. Finding the happy middle ground takes talent, and the BP DJs have it in spades.

Speaking of dancing, though, remarkably little is done in BP compared to other gogos. This is because of the lack of stage space in the bar. It consists of small islands, each with a single pole, each big enough for one or maybe two girls scattered sparsely around the space. But fear not—the place strikes a nice balance between girls shaking their moneymakers and girls lounging on low sofas, where a customer can recline in the embrace of one or more ladies for an x-rated cuddle.

Rounding out the perks of this dark den of debauchery is the mix of attentive staff, strong drinks, and supercool toilets. You’ll have to go there to see what I mean.

If you’ve never been, here’s hoping this photo album inspires you to give it a try on your next visit. If you’re a regular, let this trip down memory lane remind you of what we’re all waiting for—the chance to pass again through the doors of our favorite gogos, to wrap our arms around our favorite pole dancers and toast a life less ordinary. Those days will return, gents. Keep the faith.

Until next week, keep your beer chilled, your balls warm, and here’s to waiting out the pandemic in this adult wonderland placed on ‘pause’ for the moment. And if you need more Black Pagoda photos, pop on over to my website: http://patpongnightlife.com/2021/05/30/flashback-photo-spread-redux-black-pagoda/

Cheers, everyone. Stay strong.