Pattaya beer bars drive through gaping ‘restaurant’ loophole to reopen

A bar turned restaurant on the corner of Soi 7 and Beach Road is packed with diners and drinkers.

Showing how wide the loophole it is for “restaurants” to serve alcohol, the bar beers of central Pattaya are reopening with cold beer and available women, with food a mere afterthought.

The combination of easy qualifications and lax enforcement of the law that now only penalizes air-conditioned bars and nightlife entertainment venues close has allowed watering holes – some with no kitchens – to pass themselves as restaurants.

While some beer bars did reinvent themselves during the eight-month shutdown with food service, others remained closed or charged beachgoers 10-baht tolls to use restrooms, such as bars turned restaurants on the corner of Soi 7 and Beach Road.

Now, long free-food queues have become less common and nightlife workers are slowly returning to familiar jobs in Pattaya shutdowns that spanned 14 of the past 22 months.

Secretary-general of the Social Security Office Boonsong Thapchaiyuth met with representatives of musicians and nightlife entertainers associations impacted by Covid-19 to discuss ways of relieving their suffering.

If the omicron coronavirus variant doesn’t sweep through Thailand as it’s now doing in South Africa, the United Kingdom and U.S., some semblance of a high season could return to Pattaya in January when more foreigners choose Pattaya as their holiday destination.

In the interim, the government is planning to pay musicians and nightlife entertainers impacted by Covid-19 a one-time handout of 5,000 baht.

Secretary-General of the Social Security Office Boonsong Thapchaiyuth said Labor Minister Suchart Chomklin will bring the proposal to the Cabinet for approval on Tuesday.

The handouts will be available for about 120,000 people who fit the criteria begining on Dec. 29with a second-phase beginning before the end of March.