This picture was taken at the top of Pattaya Soi 7 just off Second Road looking down the soi in the direction of the beach. The food stall you can see is serving up some tasty insects! It’s not often you see a westerner buying this sort of thing, and I’ll guarantee that you’ll never see me buying it... this is one for the locals as far as I’m concerned.
Pattaya Soi 7 remains a popular nightlife hotspot going into 2015. The make-up of visitors is still more or less what it has always been i.e. primarily middle-aged to pension-age Western men. The gentleman with the white hair heading down the soi is fairly typical of the sort of guys that you find strolling around here. It is a good soi for visitors to find the company of a local lady; bar-fines are quite cheap at a standard rate of 300 baht.
There are some bars at this end of the soi that are a bit of a rip-off in my opinion. The PJ bar and guesthouse (also known as the Anna Jet bar) has always been more expensive than other bars in the area and for no apparent reason. As long ago as 2009 the barfine there was fixed at 500 baht per night and I suspect it may be more than that these days. Even worse though is the new bar on the opposite side of the soi... ‘Shooters’ charges prices that are ridiculously high! Beer costs around twice the price of most bars, and if you take a liking to a lady there you had better be ready to stump up 1,000 baht for the barfine alone… and you can only get your girl at that price after midnight!!! Needless to say the girl will almost certainly ask for at least 3,000 baht for her company (the current standard is 2,000 baht per night).
To put this into context, the Buhpha Bar a few bars down (you can just make out the sign in the picture) charges a mere 200 baht barfine, and that rate applies at any time of day. I can’t explain the difference in prices... there’s no real difference in the quality of the girls so I think it pays to be watchful of what prices you are being charged.
Whenever you see a bar with balloons spread out all over the exterior as in this picture, it means that the bar is throwing a party that night. Usually this means that it is somebody’s birthday. Balloons do tend to attract a much larger custom and I suspect that it is because the expat community in Pattaya is fully aware that a party at a bar means that free food will be flowing at some point! There is a sizable community of expat paupers in Pattaya that will stop at nothing to save a baht!
I’ve noticed that the ‘Rolling Live’ chain of bars in Pattaya is expanding into new areas. They have long had a couple of bars on Walking Street but I don’t recall there having been one on soi 7 before my latest trip... maybe my memory is playing tricks on me. However, the Rolling Live bar on Soi 8 is definitely new, and is well worth checking out. The Rolling Live bars have live music acts every night and they are usually performed by capable musicians. The bar on Soi 7 is the first of these bars that I’ve noticed with a sizable line up girls outside, and this is only a small Rolling Live venue compared to the others that I know of. Maybe the theme here is a little more catered to your typical Soi 7 customer...
A little further down the soi you come to the best places to watch live sports. My current favourite is Nick’s Bar (which is the bar closest to me in the picture). You can get beer here at very reasonable prices and there are a number of TV screens set up so as to ensure lots of good viewing positions.
If you like to relax in a comfortable padded wicker chair, no problem, there are lots here. I prefer to sit at the bar itself when watching sports, and there are plenty of seats there too. The best thing about Nick’s Bar is that the satellite feed is a few seconds faster than in the other bars nearby. That means that if you are watching the big game at a nearby bar and you suddenly hear a lot of cheering from Nick’s Bar, you know a goal is coming! That forewarning ruins the fun for me, which is why I recommend this beer bar as the best option for sports on Soi 7.
I’m not sure what the future holds for Soi 7, there is no doubt that the general pattern for nightlife in Pattaya is a gradual shift inland due to the cheaper rents there, but for the time being at least, I still give this soi a solid thumbs up.
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