Nightclubs Being Hit Hardest By Curfew

Published on 4th June 2014 by Stickboy BKK

Insanity Closed Until Further Notice – that was the message today from one of the most popular and busiest nightclubs in Bangkok. Right now must be an absolute nightmare for nightclub owners in the city with the midnight curfew in place. Dare to imagine the revenue lost?

Midnight is just when you’d start to see a trickle of bodies into your club that would build through until the go-gos and beer bars close at 2am and then it is boom time.

For clubs like Insanity that stay open until sunrise there are “obligations” to be met for such flexibility. With the army ruling the country it seems one side can not deliver on their end of the deal.

insanity closed

Open for a few days with varying closing times followed by several days closed completely only to be repeated over again. Wishful thinking when the call comes through that it can be business as usual only to have the rug pulled from under their feet again a few days later.

And the numbers through the door on the days clubs have managed to open must be a fraction of the usual they’d expect to see. This is speculation on my part but with many people reluctant to be out between 12-4am and tourist numbers way down it would be foolish to think late night venues are as busy as they would be under normal circumstances. Add in no one knows for sure where is open and where is not just rubs more salt in the wound.

And it’s not just Insanity getting a kick in the crotch. Mixx, Narz, Route66, Levels, Scratch Dog and countless others are all on the curfew closing time roundabout.

mixx bangkok close midnight curfew

There are of course exceptions to the rule and I know of at least two clubs running as they normally would. One for the past week but the other seems to have an endless supply of Get Out Of Jail Free cards and has been open as normal for the past 10 days or so without interruption.

In what can only be described as an act of desperation, clubs are opening anytime after 6pm to try and generate a little bit of something. But who the hell wants to hit a nightclub at 7 or 8pm? There are open bars, free bottles and a ton of other crazy promos being advertised to try and draw a crowd and I can’t blame the owners and managers for trying to salvage something out of a bad situation. But is it really cost effective? Are they jotting down their figures at closing time in black or red?

levels open bar

There are also the knock on effects of all these clubs being closed at midnight if they have bothered to open at all. Let me start with the staff. Pay cuts of 3,000 plus have been implemented across one group which is a heavy hit considering the basic monthly pay packet is 8,000 or 9,000 baht. That is doubled in some venues with tips but with fewer customers and endless days of closure that tip money has all but disappeared. That means the staff are taking home 5k a month plus what ever small amounts of tips they may have been lucky enough to receive. That doesn’t bare thinking about.

Then we the taxi drivers who earn the majority of their living off commissions from the clubs. Businesses like restaurants and takeaways do good trade from the clubbers in the wee small hours then there are the girlies who ply their trade in the late night discos of Bangkok. All three examples I have given have alternatives to recoup some of that lost money but they have all carved out a niche that earns them a decent crust that is directly related to nightclubs opening late and right now it has been wiped out.

The reason I say nightclubs have been hit hardest with the curfew is that go go’s and bars that would normally close at 2am, or 3am in some cases, have the opportunity to get the party started at an early hour, as is the case with a lot of chrome pole parlours at Nana and Patpong who are opening their doors from 4 or 5pm instead of 7 and 8pm. The two hours they lose at the end of the night can be caught at the start in the hope of keeping the bottomline up. Bars are open most of the day anyway and if not most likely can open earlier if they wanted to.

For those in this side of the entertainment business it is simply down to doing something a little different from the competition if you want to put bums on seats. For these establishments the scope for doing something to curtail the effects of the curfew are endless for those with some imagination. Mind you, most keep wishing for the BIG announcement that the curfew is to be lifted and things will go back to normal instead of being inventive and coming up with something special.

As for nightclubs. Right now they are pretty much stuffed until such times as the curfew is lifted completely.

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