Whenever I post anything in any way connected with the Pattaya nightlife scene – such as Walking Street – there is a polarisation of opinions. The same goes for when writing about how Pattaya may re-emerge after the International borders reopen, some say it will return to normal and others say it will be different.
For most parts, no one is sure of the future landscape in Pattaya, but for some things there are glimpses of the signs.
My first memories of the Pattaya nightlife scene were open beer bars throughout the town and agogos in Walking Street. It was, for want of a better phrase, an older gentleman playground. You would rarely see couples or families, it was space catering for men. I am not going to pretend anything otherwise.
And, I must admit, as a single guy I loved it.
But as the years progressed the scene had to change and it did. Pattaya saw more families and couples arrive and the traditional open beer bar has slowly been disappearing. As it stands Soi LK and Walking Street are the key party areas for foreigners still enjoying that chrome pole type experience.
I am no killjoy but the market is still evolving in Pattaya and this scene was already being hit for years from falling numbers and Covid then drew a halt to everything. The question is how will the Pattaya nightlife scene re-emerge?
It would be a fair assertion that when the town does re-open we will see a surge in visitors hungry and missing their Pattaya vacations – and nightlife. Who can blame anyone after a year that made many housebound for large periods across the world?
But, things are changing in Pattaya and to many, it is going unnoticed.
We are seeing the quality, Bangkok style venues open that fundamentally cater to the Bangkok Thai but for sure will start turning the Western heads. I have been quite amazed and excited at what I am seeing.
In fact, the changes can transform and start putting to bed any of the more negative nightlife reputations Pattaya has on a global front.
Three venues that you have to go and see for yourself. Mali Brew, Pippa Restaurant and the Wizard Brewery. They are magnificent.
I never really warmed to single unit style bars and restaurants, yes they serve their purpose but they are restricted in what they can do and offer. I am not saying there is no place for them, as there is, I am saying the ratio will decline with only the best surviving.
Think about the Cafe des Amis, Tratorria Toscana on Beach Road, Hilton Rooftop bar, Hooters, Hops and the likes. They look good and have a great proposition too. You feel like you have been out somewhere.
And now things are just getting better and better. This weekend I visited the Wizard Brewery, just along from the Avenue Shopping Centre. It brews its own beer and has an outstanding ‘Harry Potter’ style ambience. The menu is good and it is all stylish built around live music.
This all has to bode well for a more mature, developed and rounded nightlife scene in Pattaya.
Previously in Pattaya, unlike Bangkok, Thais and Westerners frequented different places. This looks set to change as Pattaya plays catch up to the more sophisticated Bangkok market. In my opinion, this coming together is a good thing.
So, again in my humble opinion, I think the Pattaya nightlife scene has been evolving continuously every year – it is not just a recent phenomenon. Whereas once for foreigners it was largely built around girly bar-type venues, they have been marginalised as the town started to develop for Bangkok Thais and a new face of foreigners.
Ultimately everyone wins as every aspect of the nightlife scene gets better as the lesser venues close with only the creme de la creme of each sector continue to prosper and grow.
The future, as Covid has shown us, is unpredictable so until otherwise, we can only speculate as to how the Pattaya nightlife scene will emerge – but there are certainly strong clues which we just cannot ignore.