Unplugged: Mario, thank you for meeting with us today. Please introduce yourself for those that may not know who you are.
Mario: My name is Mario. I am a Swiss-Italian “boy” that came to Thailand back in 1994. Many people get bored after so long in one place but after 8 years I still love to live and work here. I have worked in the nightlife industry all my life and am one of the owners of Rise Nightclub with my two partners Bob and Gus. I also manage Champagne Agogo on Soi LK Metro.
Unplugged: Everything seems to be going well for you. Many people know of Champagne Agogo but I also understand you recently opened Rise Nightclub as well. Why the decision to open a nightclub instead of another gogo bar?
Mario: I have been working in the nightlife industry all my life. I am presumptuous enough to believe that I know what kind of experience people are looking for and I make sure to offer what they want. I myself enjoy nightlife as much as the next guy, if not more, but for me, the setting and place need to be the right one.
Personally, I am a fan of underground clubs. I searched all over Pattaya trying to find an underground style nightclub that exceeded my expectations but I was unable to find one that was perfect. I believe that Pattaya is ready to have a proper nightclub, one that is a mix of the underground club feeling from back home with the “friendly disco” feel of Pattaya, Rise will be that nightclub.
Unplugged: Unfortunately due to the current world situation Rise was only opened for a few brief days prior to having to close. What is the comeback plan when things reopen and business resumes?
Mario: Yes, unfortunately, we were only a couple of days into our “soft opening” phase when we were told we had to shut it down to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. We were preparing for our grand opening on the 21st of March and had just been working through any potential problems. We are currently in “suspended mode”, we will be ready to open immediately, however, when this emergency is over, with more power and determination than before, if at all possible (and finally complete).
Unplugged: Soi LK Metro has been becoming increasingly popular over the last couple of years. What made you choose LK over other areas in Pattaya?
Mario: I have always thought that Soi LK Metro would be the future of the nightlife scene in Pattaya. I worked and watched for 3 years to get a feel for the place and to see how the nightlife areas in Pattaya would change. More and more visitors are realizing that LK Metro is the place to be if you want the best that Pattaya has to offer.
Unplugged: Coronavirus is hurting a lot the economy how is it about Champagne and The Rise?
Mario: The mandatory shut down for us, like many other businesses in the world at the moment, was a tremendous blow. That being said, we have very big shoulders, we will reopen stronger than before. By now, everyone knows what it will take to beat this virus and win, therefore we are all just hoping everything will be resolved as soon as possible but health first always.
Unplugged: Many of the bar girls have gone back home to their cities, did you give your girls any advice before they departed? (i.e. Don’t get fat!)
Mario: You must have been at my final meeting! Those were my exact words to the girls. “I’ll see you all soon, IN SHAPE”.
Unplugged: We understand that behind each of your girls is a family. How do you foresee this affecting them?
Mario: The impact of the coronavirus scare is devastating. Many of the families don’t have enough money to live even when they are able to work, so it will be far worse now that they can’t. I am also worried that with many of the girls going back to their home cities, they could end up taking the virus back with them to their parents and family members (many of which who are older).
Unplugged: Are you excited about the eventual reopening of the city? What are your plans for the eventual re-launch?
Mario: Excited is an understatement, I fly when I think about it. There are several plans in the works from a new resident DJ to parties and special guests will all be taking place. We will be doing lots of promotions and there may be a few surprises thrown in as well. Let’s see how everything goes and continue to take this situation day by day. The good news is we are 100% ready to open at this point. That will make us that much stronger at the re-launch.
Now that we got the boring stuff out of the way, how about some quick important questions.
Unplugged: Grappa or Lemoncello?
Mario: Lemoncello before, Grappa after!
Unplugged: Which one of your establishments is your favourite? Champagne or Rise?
Mario: You Cannot ask to the father to choose between his two sons. I love them both equally.
Unplugged: Soi 6 or LK Metro for the party?
Mario: Soi 6 in the afternoon and early evening, LK Metro for the night hours through the early morning hours.
Unplugged: Juventus or Fiorentina?
Mario: JUVENTUS !
Unplugged: Girls on soi 6 or soi LK?
Mario: Girls are girls, I love them all! It doesn’t matter what Soi they come from.
Unplugged: Pattaya or Torino, Italy?
Mario: Pattaya Pattaya, 1000%
When all of this coronavirus scare is over, head over to Champagne Agogo or Rise Nightclub on Soi LK Metro and pay Mario and his staff a visit. They will be more than happy to see you and are always happy to make new friends! It will be nice to see Mario’s vision for the new Rise Nightclub and we are looking forward to getting back to a sense of normality here in Pattaya.
Click here to check out the Facebook pages for Champagne Agogo and RISE!
Interested in interviewing with Pattaya Unplugged? Send us an email to [email protected]! We are always interested in hometown stories!