Pattaya bars, now you see them, now you don’t

A well-known bar on the corner of Soi 7 and Beach Road has temporarily converted to a food shop, ready to become a full-fledged bar at the drop of a hat.

The life of a Pattaya bar owner is not unlike a roller coaster. The climb up to the top is a slow and tiring process, but the ride down is neck-breakingly fast and vicious.

Unfortunately for people in this profession, when the muck hits the fan, they seem to be the first to get the full splash of guano in their faces.

They are the first targets to be ordered closed during elections, special holidays and more recently, at the very hint of a germ flying around in the air they are ordered to turn their switches off.

Not being able to sell alcohol for a couple of days, though painful, is bearable. But to close down permanently for months on end is a little much to bear.

Once a barmaid, this lady is now the chief cook in her converted restaurant.

Many bars and pubs have bit the dust and their owners have gone home to lick their wounds and try to make a living in other ways.

But there are hundreds if not thousands of bar owners who have nowhere to go. They have invested their whole lives and all their money in their bars and pubs in Pattaya. If they close and leave town, they would lose everything. So as not to let that happen, they hang on.

Walking Street has become a ghost town and there is no chance in the foreseeable future that the world famous strip will come alive again. Other nightlife areas such as Soi 6 are also deserted. The area around Soi 7 on Beach Road has been dark for almost 12 of the past 17 months.

Soon we hope, full-fledged bars serving alcoholic drinks by beautiful damsels will be open again.

But now, with talk of allowing the bars to open up again ‘soon,’ some of the bar owners have hastily made a few changes, turned on the lights and are passing off as food shops. Of course, it’s all home-made food, but at least they are showing some activity that there is still some life and energy left, not to mention their fighting spirit and will to survive.

But the main purpose of opening partially is the hope that when the powers that be give their permission to operate again, they will be able to open as full-fledged bars serving alcoholic drinks by beautiful damsels and handsome lads at the drop of a hat.

That is the plan.

Many Pattaya bars, shown here during happier times, have become temporary restaurants serving only food and soft drinks.

But just a couple of days ago, the Thai prime minister said that the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration will consider a proposal to keep Thailand’s bars, nightclubs and other entertainment venues closed until the new year, admonishing nightlife operators not to be “selfish.”

When they are allowed to sell alcohol again, Tree Town in Soi Bua Khao would become the new in-place to meet friends and enjoy a meal at one of the many temporary bars and restaurants.