There was still the turnover of bars, new owners, concepts and continued attempts to bring the spark back but the Western financial crisis and uncertainty created by the PAD demonstrations kept activity down to a minimum. In 2008, 10.2m foreigners visited Bangkok alone and Nana saw a nano percentage of that.
Talk of the ‘Master Lease’
Running out early in the new decade was another reason for the whole Plaza descending into disrepair. Why invest when it could all be gone within five years? Apathy ensued and by mid 2011, talk of the purchase of the Master Lease from the land owners was on and off with the same frequency as a go-go dancer’s bikini. Rumours of this landmark being bought by The Landmark or other investors would of course have a massive impact on the Soi Four businesses that came here to make money off the foot flow. These were very uncertain times.
Eventually, the confirmation that Nana Plaza would continue allowed everyone invested in the district to breathe a sigh of relief. The Plaza was given a good spruce up: new signage, canopies, drainage and interior revamps helping the place look a world better. The future was a bright as the signs and it felt like that the fabled phoenix had got up, dusted itself down and got right back on it!
Full houses were back to many of the bars particularly at weekends and earlier this year, Nana Disco, a long-standing after hours club inside the Nana Hotel jumped on the overhaul bandwagon too. Some go-go bars began opening at noon, happy hour and all you can drink offered until 8pm and the whole place was looking rather chirpier.
During the dark days of the last decade, managers rightly returned proper customer service attitudes so that customers enjoy, spread positivity and more importantly, return. Abusive staff and props that press-gang you are gone. The only pressure upon you is to have fun, which turns out to be an easy task.
You get a lot further in life if you do not behave like a odious octopus out only to ogle, and the unwritten rule in Nana’s Social Contract is that you get much better service and attention if you tip and buy drinks.
In keeping with tradition, there is something for everyone here – everyone being open-minded adults, naturally.
Nana Plaza: “it is what it is” and crucially, it’s better than it was.
*This article is the 3rd of a 3 part series about Nana Plaza