Royal City Avenue, or RCA to the initiated, has been a fixture of Bangkok nightlife since the mid-1990s. A 2.5km stretch of road jammed between noisy highways and bereft of residential charm, RCA was converted into a nightclub strip by canny investors who saw its hidden value. Since no one lived there, nobody complained about the noise and rowdy behaviour, and it was far from the tourist dives of Patpong. Within a few years, RCA had become a magnet for young revellers - seriously young. Underage would be more like it. Thai teenagers flocked there and the scene reflected their tastes: kitsch kiddy decor, flashing lights and pounding Asian techno music - that is, fast, unchanging beats and squeaky, sampled voices that contain not an ounce of soul or funk. Unfortunately, RCA's age profile was the seed of its downfall. Thai media outlets competed to tell the most lurid tales of teenage sex, drugs and drinking that police were accused of ignoring. With the rise of Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his conservative allies, it was clear that RCA was in trouble. Raids and closures followed, and Bangkok's teenagers took fright. Many bars and clubs stayed open, and the crowds did not completely melt away, but what had been an all-week party scene turned into a weekend attraction. Nightclub owners stuck to the tried and tested. Ironically, RCA's saviour was the same government that drove out its underage patrons. Since 2001, nightspot closing times have been steadily brought forward, to the dismay of late-night drinkers and dancers. Last year, the national government ruled that all bars and clubs had to close by 1am, unless they were located in a designated entertainment zone, in which case they had leeway until 2am. One of the three entertainment zones in Bangkok with a late-night licence was RCA. Suddenly it had an edge on the trendy discos and lounge bars strung along Sukhumvit Road. And it was an edge that a new generation of RCA nightclub entrepreneurs has been quick to exploit. The result is that a swathe of new clubs has opened up, and the old-timers have changed their game to reflect a more sophisticated crowd, which prefers hip-hop and other funky beats to the robotic genres of dance music. Curiously, RCA also boasts Bangkok's only genuine art-house cinema, at one end of the street. The other end of RCA is where the hard-core clubbers tend to go, and in the middle is a Harley-Davison dealership. Where else in Asia can you watch a Finnish flick, test-drive a Harley and boogie to hip-hop on the same street?