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Opinion

Late Night Opening Slowly Returning

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late night clubs bangkok

Up until May 2014, there was a long list of clubs and bars open beyond the legal 2am closing time. Owners with influential “friends” and others with deep pockets willing to make donations to various retirement funds meant people could party all night long and into the morning at some clubs.

The military coup put an end to that insisting all clubs and bars closed at the time specified on their licenses. A few “after hours” clubs tried their luck a few weeks into the crackdown opening until 4 and 5am only to find they got hit with temporary closure orders.

Seeing the nightclub cash cow drying up as owners no longer had any reason to make donations, assurances were given to certain clubs who were again given the green light to operate beyond 2am, only for the closure orders to now come with warnings of do it again and you will be permanently shut down.

Clubs and discos across Bangkok have been hit hardest in the entertainment industry since the coup and as time has passed one or two started opening late sporadically. Some nights open until 4am, the next 2.30 or 3am, the next back to 2am. It was a lucky dip.

Some tried it for a few weeks then stopped only to start again the following month. Each passing week had another venue chancing their luck only for them to suddenly stop and return to official closing time.

Only a couple of months back one live music bar on Soi 4 was raided with customers and staff out on the street with ID being checked and pee tests for some staff. It looked to me like a public slap on the face for disobeying orders.

The same bar is now back rolling the stay open beyond 2am dice as are a number of other clubs in lower Sukhumvit plus a few other well known after hours clubs scattered across the city.

The more venues that do stay open late will result in a few things possibly happening. Other owners joining the late night party with the mindset of, if you can’t beat them, join them. Others might decide to stir the pot and report the competition for breaking the law. Or ultimately, the military come down hard on anyone breaking the law and actually close venues down as a warning to others to toe the line.

Of course, these clubs are all farrang targeted and for those in the know or with some Thai mates, there are plenty of Thai venues open late into the wee hours from karaoke joints to smaller clubs and of course bars for the naughty boys.

I chose not to name any venues open beyond 2am, if you are around the usual haunts and want to keep the party going beyond 2am, just ask any of the friendly cabbies parked up and waiting to ferry you to the club paying them the best commission

Stickboy aka Sticky Boy aka Mike McKay aka Mike McKwai, Wild Mike, Magic Mike, Mr Mike, and a fair few more best forgotten, is a party animal with hollow legs who loves music, current affairs, beer, food, causing trouble on Twitter, and making the most of life without worrying too much about what people think or say about his antics. You can send him stuff here - stickboybkk@gmail.com

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Opinion

More Bust Than Boom Coming For Bangkok Bars: Part 1

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Over and over I keep reading and hearing how the good times will roll again soon for Bangkok bars when the government ease measures under Phase 4 of their plan to allow life to return to normal that will see entertainment venues allowed to reopen having been shuttered since March 18.

This leaves me to think that owners, managers and customers haven’t thought things through and are being blinded by the light at the end of the tunnel to the reality of what is potentially coming.

If bar and business owners think that when borders reopen and inbound passenger flights are permitted again that it’s going to be boom time they’re going to be gravely disappointed.

In my opinion, it will be more bust and very little boom.

boom or bust bangkok bars

Of course, there is a large expat community here in Bangkok but their disposable income only goes so far and the majority of venues require tourists to stay in the black.

Even when flights are allowed to land again how many tourists from the USA, UK, Europe and Australia will be booking a ticket?

The first question I ask myself is, can they afford to?

So many people have been hit hard in the pocket over the coronavirus situation, paid off, laid off, hours cut and you all know the rest, meaning as much as they would like to return to Thailand, do they have cash to come?

Prices for flights are going to be sky-high. The good old days of discount deals are done. The airline industry is on its knees right now and a cheap two-week return ticket to Thailand isn’t going to be splashed all over their landing pages.

We also don’t know at this point what each country is going to require upon entry. To visit Thailand you might need a medical certificate and a decent insurance policy to cover you for COVID and a lengthy stay in hospital should you catch it.

Then there is the possibility of being required to undergo quarantine, not just in Thailand but upon returning to your home country. 14 days when you arrive, two weeks partying and soaking up the sun followed by another two weeks when you return home – if you’re allowed to re-enter.

morning night

Sure, I’m giving worst-case scenarios but as I said to start with, not many in the bar business seem to have considered any of these points.

All I hear is expectations of thousands flying in and cash registers going cha-ching.

And what I’ve mentioned above is just to get through the exit doors at Suvarnabhumi. But what about when they are free to do as they wish with some cash in their pocket looking for a good time?

I for one don’t believe for a single second that there won’t be a new mindset and believing you can just give customers what they had before and charging funny money for it isn’t going to cut it any more.

Unless there are some big changes by bars, in my opinion, they are doomed.

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Opinion

TAHUG – A Free And Easy Way To Make New Friends

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With daily life a little bit different to say the least right now and often feeling like Groundhog Day making new friends might be just what the doctor ordered to lift away the doom and gloom and ease the boredom.

We all know about the usual apps and websites such as Tinder, ThaiCupid, and ThaiFriendly to mention a few of the most popular ways to meet and make new friends here in Thailand but there is always room for a new kid on the block, right?

Tahug.com might be a name you have seen recently scrolling through your Facebook feeds or Twitter timelines but have you given it a go yet?

Tahug is a brand new way to meet and make friends without the need to pull out your credit card when you start hitting limits or restrictions as this platform is 100% FREE – and that’s a guarantee.

✅ No capping how many friends you can introduce yourself to
✅ Send as many messages as you want
✅ Unlimited chats
✅ No time limits or usage restrictions

When you register with the website you have 2 choices – you can either signup with your mobile number or your email address. Whatever your preference, you can be assured of no spam as that isn’t what the makers want.

Since signing up a couple of weeks ago using my email address the one and only email I received was my login PIN. I haven’t had anything else since and I do not expect to see any more either.

TAHUG - A New Way To Make New Friends

>>> SIGN UP HERE <<<

Once you sign in and start browsing the site you will find a fair few things that look very familiar – and I’m not talking about the rows of profile pictures with basic details below them.

No, what I am referring to is when you actually start interacting wiith other users and begin chatting as you will see the interface looks and feels very much like your old friend Line – with a few extras such as the automatic translation tool.

For example, you see someone who catches your eye and you send them off a quick hello to break the ice, if they accept your request but after some back and forth you find their English skills aren’t so good they can speak to you in their native language, for example Thai, and all you need to do is double-tap the chat bubble and it will translate it into the language of your choice be it English, Japanese, French or whatever you have selected.

You might ask is the Thai-Eng-Thai any good as we’ve all seen how awful services such as Google Translate are and the answer is yes. It does a pretty decent job of it.

Tahug isn’t a standalone app, although I do believe that is in the works, however, once you sign up it offers the option to put an icon on your home screen after which it will act and feel like an app.

If you have an hour to kill, fancy making some new friends, and perhaps meeting a lovely lady, or fella, then give Tagug a go.

>>> SIGN UP HERE <<<

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Opinion

Seven Weeks Since The Shutdown

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It has been seven weeks, and one day if you want to be exact, since Thailand went into shutdown mode leaving us all locked up at home with nothing much to do.

Aside from popping to the supermarket for some shopping, there’s not been much of anything to do or anywhere to go until last weekend when some restrictions were eased.

You can now go for a jog in the park or sit 2 meters away from your dining companions if you want to eat out, you can now buy booze again after the sale of alcohol was banned for a few weeks but other than that, not much else really.

St Paddy’s night with the usual suspects at O’Shea’s seems like a lifetime ago for someone like myself who is out and about at least 3 or 4 nights a week.

I miss going out for a beer with the boys, meeting my mates for a night out in Nana, and goofing around with my girlfriend doing whatever it is we do when we go out.

A lot of people are in the same boat as me with cabin fever setting in sometimes as socialising is a big part of peoples lives here.

7 Weeks Since The Shutdown

I’m too lazy to play guessing games when pubs and clubs will be allowed to reopen but for many with time on their hands, it’s all they seem to do.

I sense they are living in hope that the nightmare of being locked up alone will soon be over.

But even when bars are given the green light to reopen, what are we in for? 1 person per table? Staff in face shields and rubber gloves?

And that is just normal pubs I’m talking about, I dread to think what madness they’ll come up with for chrome pole palaces.

Will it be no touching when you go for a Thai massage? Two-hour time limits when you visit the mall?

All I can say is, we’re going to have to give it about six months before all the rules and regulations they put in place to open everything back up are overlooked and enforcement is forgotten like every other crackdown we’ve seen come and go in the past.

The shutdown might be easing but day to day life returning to normal is a long way off.

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