Beer Bar Blues


Dear Hillary,

I have been offered a 50 percent share in a beer bar, and the price seems very reasonable (about ten thousand pounds sterling).  The bar does good business (especially with me around!) but they do not keep books the way we have to in the U.K., so all I have to go on is the number of patrons – and that seems very good.  How do I protect my investment, as it looks like a wonderful way to retire over here?  Are there any hidden problems I should know about?

Lucky Lenny


Dear Lenny,

Not lucky for long, Lenny, this is a veritable minefield.  Not only a foolhardy retirement plan here, it is also the best way that has ever been designed to lose ten thousand pounds sterling, or more, within six months.  Of course there are no books kept, neither are farang “partners” kept for long.  The “patrons” may have been just invited friends, that is a common practice (renta-crowd).  Don’t even consider it.  If you are still skeptical, leave the Sterling at home and come over here for a six months look-see.  Do your own research and by that I do not mean just sitting drinking in bars.  Find out how many bars there are in Pattaya.  How many of them are well frequented?  How many of them have farang owners or partners who have been here for years?  What makes you think you can run a successful bar and what experience do you have?  (Being a customer just doesn’t rate.)  Do you speak Thai, do you have a trusted Thai friend you can trust with your life and your bank account?  In that six months you may be able to locate a trustworthy Thai lawyer to help you arrange documents but that is really not much safeguard.  As a bar owner you would become an instant target for the powers that be for all sorts of over and under the table payments.  What you are suggesting is akin to taking the pin out of a hand grenade and playing pass the parcel!  Forget it Lenny and stay lucky!