Often referred to as Coyote Bars, Bangkok’s gentleman’s clubs (or G-Clubs), are not so well known by western tourist, or even by the vast majority of western expats. Instead, this is where you’ll find many hi-so Thais and flesh hungry Asian tourists, with the vast majority of clients being of Japanese or Korean descent.
Despite the lack of western knowledge and attention many of the Bangkok Gentleman’s Club are very welcoming to westerners, and some have recently started making notable efforts to grab the attention of wealthy western travelers and well-to-do locals, particularly through social media advertising.
What’s all the fuss?
Spread throughout the city, the gentleman’s clubs of Bangkok are a more suave and sophisticate alternative to the gogo bars of Nana, Patpong, and Soi Cowboy. These G-club venues tend to be large and swanky, often chic in style with clearly little expense spared on design and decor. Similar to a posh nightclub in vibe, guests are treated with the utmost respect and pampered from the moment they enter. The clubs are firmly aimed at businessman and wealthy travellers, often doing more trade during weekday evenings than at the weekend.
Inside the clubs you’ll find lots of young attractive female staff, with the girls notably fairer in skin than those in the notorious gogo bars around the city. The staff are typically of Chinese-Thai descent, or attempting to look that way, and tend to be young, around 18 to 25, with very few staff above 30. Most girls working here are also reasonably well educated, often at university and using the job to pay for their studies. In contrast, guests to the clubs tend to be over 30 and of high standing (expect to see a few super cars parked outside).
The clubs also put a little more effort into the musical entertainment than you would find in your average gogo bar, with many clubs switching between live cover bands and dance DJs, with some clubs even hosting the occasional pop band or internationally known DJ.
How do they work?
Most of Bangkoks Gentleman’s Clubs try to work on a membership system and if you are not already a member you’ll soon be greeted by sales staff on entry, who will then try to talk you into buying a membership, which could set you back anything from 10,000 THB to 100,000 THB. A membership basically buys you unlimited free entry over a set period of time and includes a number of free drinks.
Tip: Don’t be afraid to haggle, there is always a little leeway on the pricing and if you can’t get the cost of your membership down you can at least add a bottle or two to it, especially on the more expensive memberships.
Non-members are still very much welcome and you can enter most clubs without joining, but prices are significantly higher for non-members, up to 25% higher in many clubs, and you’ll often be expected to pay extra for your mixes, which are free to all members.
Once in the club you are likely to be followed by host or member of the sales staff who will try to find you seating and greet you to the club, and basically take care of you throughout your stay (in turn they will expect a couple of drinks or a generous tip for their efforts). When you join you will often be associated with the sales staff member who signed you up and they will try to take care of you on every visit, so it pays to put a bit of thought in to choosing who you sign up with, especially if you are planning on becoming a regular visitor.
Wait, are these real models??
Girls on staff are usually split into Models and Dancers, with many of the models being actually models working for publications such as Penthouse and Vogue, so don’t be surprised if you recognise a pretty face here. The girls are also rated by how many lady drinks you will need to buy in order for them to sit with you, but as a general rule you will be expected to buy a girl at least 2 to 3 drinks for every 45-60 minutes they spend in your company.
Things get a little confusing as by buying a girl a drink they do not always get a drink, it’s essentially just a slightly less seedy way of paying for their time buy calling it a ‘drink’, and they will be allowed to drink from your bottle for free (we are talking about a bottle of spirits rather than beer). So occasionally after you have bought a girl a ‘drink’ she may ask for an additional drink (usually called a cocktail), with that being a real drink. Confused yet?
We’re not in Nana Anymore
One thing to be aware of is that these are not gogo bars, and despite the skimpy uniforms and friendliness of the staff, few gentleman’s clubs will encourage you to take girls out of the club, nor are they likely to have ‘short-time’ rooms on the premises. The girls are not thought of as prostitutes.
The purpose of these Bangkok Gentleman’s Clubs is to allow ‘gentlemen’ to enjoy the view and company of young, pretty college girls, with the club making its money by way of drinks and membership. With that said it’s not unthinkable for customers to cross a girl’s palms with enough silver to whisk them away from the club, and many of girls will be actively looking for a generous sugar daddy or wealth young local to build a relationship with out of the club. While you won’t be discouraged from slipping your number to a girl of your liking you will be expected to pay for several ‘drinks’ (usually up to 20 drinks!), should she take the night off to meet you on a date (so not totally dissimilar from the nana scene then..).
Keep a close eye on your bill and request to see and sign drink receipts before they are added to your tab. Though these clubs don’t have a reputation for bill padding mistakes are often made, especially when you are in a large group.
Drinks can also be as much as 400 THB for non-members, so watch your spending, you can soon rack up a bill of 10,000+ if you are having too much of a good time. With that in mind it’s always worth considering one of the smaller memberships and haggle for an extra bottle or two, even if you are only in town on for a short period of time.