Did you ever wonder how it all started? Where was the very first Pattaya Beer Bar and what was it called? Did they have bar girls like today? I recently set out on a quest to find the history of Pattaya beer bars. This is what I discovered.
Of all the entertainment venues in Pattaya, the most abundant is definitely the “beer bar”. There are more beer bars per square kilometer in Pattaya than in any other city in the world. It’s impossible to count them. I don’t know of even one street in all of Pattaya that doesn’t have at least one beer bar. If you can find a street or Soi in Pattaya without a beer bar, please weigh in with a comment below.
There are literally hundreds of Pattaya beer bars, there could be even more than a thousand. Now, if you figure that each of these places employs anywhere from 10 to 15 Pattaya Girls, then you do the math, there are a whole bunch of girls here in Pattaya that are just dying to meet you.
For those of you that haven’t yet visited our fair city, you may be wondering what exactly is a “Beer Bar”. Well, it’s basically an open air bar. Some of them have three sides, some have two sides, and some only have one side. They all have a roof. They are open to the street so you can watch the people passing by and the bar girls can beckon to potential customers, “Hello welcome”.
Some have a small dance stage with a pole, but you usually don’t see very many good pole dancers at the beer bars. The exception to that would be the Frog Bar or the Basilisk Bar on Walking Street where outstanding dancers are occasionally featured
There are also large beer bar complexes, like Siren, that house several different bars all under one roof. Naturally, they all have a bar where your favorite beverages are served and,of course they all have bar girls.
Since theses venues are open to the street, there is no nudity and no hands-on activity. The girls are generally not up to the caliber of the gorgeous gogo girls that can be found on Walking Street, but there are some very attractive Pattaya Girls to be found in the beer bars.
Beer and other alcoholic beverages are much more reasonably priced at the beer bars than at the other entertainment venues in Pattaya. Some beer bars, like We Are The World on Beach Road, feature happy hour prices with shots for as little as 25 baht and a bottle of beer for 50 baht. Some also feature live music from local bands.
So how did it all start? It started back in the sixties during the Viet Nam War. Thailand was neutral during the war, but they allowed the US Air Force to station the huge K-135 tankers at Don Muang Air Base in Bangkok where the US could stage refueling operations throughout Indochina.
The sight of the huge planes flying in and out over Bangkok was starting to cause political embarrassment. So an agreement was made to move the operation down to the remote U-Tapao Royal Thai Navy Airfield, just outside of Pattaya.
In August, 1966 fifteen of the huge K-135 tankers arrived at U-Tapao along with support personnel and refueling operations officially began.
In 1967 another agreement was made with the Thai government that would allow fifteen B-52 bombers to be stationed at the base. The bombers and support staff arrived in March of 1967.
During 1967 the U.S. Air Force had a few guys stationed at U-Tapao air base just to support the fifteen B-52 bombers and the K-135 tankers that were flying in and out. The guys performed aircraft maintenance, storage and loading of explosive ordinance, as well as refueling of the B-52′s. Naturally, when the fly boys were off-duty they would head into Pattaya for fun and sun with the hopes of meeting a Pattaya Girl.
In those early days, there weren’t any gogo bars and there really weren’t any local girls available either. That bleak situation, however, didn’t last long.
The very first beer bar to open in Pattaya was called Barbos and it was owned by an enterprising ex-pat from Greece.
Barbos was basically the only place in Pattaya where you could hang out and have a beer with your buddies. Barbo’s didn’t actually have any bar girls, but as word slowly leaked out, some girls from Bangkok started coming down to Pattaya to meet the boys from the base. The bar at that time featured food and drink and old fashioned couples dancing.
Steve Lott was one of the American GI’s that was stationed at U Tapao during those early days. Steve was an Electronics Warfare expert during his stay at U Tapao. According to Steve, “Several of us lowly enlisted troops from the EW shop used to go to Pattaya when we got enough time to do an over-nighter. It was great to get away from the constant activity at the base.”
Steve and his buddies helped pioneer the Pattaya entertainment scene. Thanks to Steve, I’m able to share with you some of the only existing photos of Pattaya and of Barbos from those early days. Steve took these photos in 1968.
The bar was located approximately where the intersection of South Pattaya and Walking Street meet today. At that time, there was no Walking Street as we know it. Hell, back then there were really only 2 or 3 streets in the whole town.
Eventually, the USA started using U-Tapao as a base to fly in soldiers from every branch of the US military for R & R leave. When that happened things changed rapidly. As soon as hundreds of US servicemen started to flood into Pattaya, word got out.
Can you imagine? While planeloads of horny guys were flying into Pattaya, busloads of girls were coming down from Bangkok. As demand for girls increased, word spread to Issan in Northeast Thailand. Beer Bars and Go Go Bars started to spring up all along the “Main Drag”. The rest is history!
So there you have it, a little history lesson. Here’s to Steve and the boys from U-Tapao and Barbos for making it all happen. Thanks guys.