“You call this an after-hours place?” asked the 34-year-old expatriate. “Hell, it looks just like a normal nightclub.”
Owned by a consortium of above-board and respected businesses, Club Naughty opened its bright, easy-to-see doors in March, after its owners spent Bt10 million renovating a former restaurant in the Ari district. Advertising itself as a “legal, members-only after hours club,” Naughty skirts closing-hours laws by selling single-night memberships instead of a cover charge.
The difference was immediately noticeable to Windhorst, a self-described “nightlife expert” who has been staying out late in Bangkok since 2003.
“There were no dirty cops milling about outside the doors with flashlights, no dark alleyway entrance, no capricious taxi drivers looking for payouts for delivering patrons,” he said. “Hell, they even had a nice lit sign on Phahonyothin Road advertising the place. What the fuck?”
According to Windhorst, the disappointment only worsened when he entered the actual Club Naughty premises.
“They had uniformed staff showing us to tables, chairs made from metal not plastic, and waiters who actually wrote down our drink orders,” he said. “The place had a proper dance floor, and good speakers playing actually good music. I went up to the booth and there was a real DJ, with decks and everything.”
“It was awful,” he added.
After promptly being served an ice-cold Asahi beer and a clean glass on a napkin doily, Windhorst and his companions were able to survey the establishment for more violations of after-hours club propriety.
“The music was actually good enough that Kevin wanted to dance. Dance! I mean where was the ear-splitting 90s techno? Then Dan looked down and said ‘Dude, the floor is clean.’ He was right – no layer of dried Spy wine cooler, no cigarette butts, no hint of vomit. It was all wrong.”
Windhorst, who considers the after-hours club a sacred aspect of Bangkok culture, said the worst moment was when he looked around and saw that the clientele of Club Naughty consisted largely of people who appeared to have maintained their dignity.
“It was a mix of Thais and farangs, but the people, I mean, they looked decent, you know? They looked drunk but not puke drunk, and maybe on one pill but not five. People didn’t have sweat stains on their shirts, no one was bleeding from the face, and everyone was able to sit upright. I almost freaked out right there.”
Despite his desire to leave Club Naughty immediately, Windhorst stayed for another two hours, hoping that the atmosphere would descend into the desperate, destructive, apocalyptic meat-market chaos that he holds dear to his heart.
“Listen, I’ve been to them all. Spicy, Mixx, Scratch Dog, that place what was next to the Big C, Bualuang Swing above the noodle shop, that firetrap on soi 7, the douche convention on Lang Suang, all of them,” he insisted. “They all try their own gimmicks but one thing stays the same: the holocaust of human misery that parades through Bangkok at 5am. That shit is a constant.”
When Club Naught finally closed at 6am, without a single person vomiting, fighting, screaming at the staff, or molesting another person, Windhorst was distraught. As he was politely escorted outside to a queue of waiting taxis with their meters on, he vowed never to return.
“This is an aberration. It has to be,” he said. “Because if this is the future of Bangkok, then I might have to move somewhere else.”
“Look, I’m an expat in Southeast Asia,” he explained. “I have standards.”