The Covid-19 pandemic, as is well known, has taken a huge toll on Pattaya businesses. Around half the resort’s entertainment venues are under lock and key. Even the once-vibrant street markets have shrunk, whilst the service sector including lawyers’ offices, visa shops, travel agencies and massage parlours are cutting hours or putting up for sale and for rent notices. Here’s a selection of just five well-known Pattaya landmarks which have, at any rate for the time being, called it a day. They have closed.
1. The Colosseum
Pattaya is famous for its professional cabarets and transvestite artistes. All the major shows closed down as soon as Thailand declared lockdown last March. The Colosseum, looking very abandoned these days, was the most recent addition but still dates back to 2013.
Tourists from China, who far outnumber any other nationality, arrived in scores of tour buses to marvel at the thrice nightly extravaganzas before packing the neighboring restaurants on Thepprasit Road to enjoy that Chinese favourite – Mama noodles.
2. The Pig and Whistle
A popular choice with expats in general and Brits in particular, the Jomtien Pig and Whistle almost resembled a Manchester pub on occasion. In its heyday, this restaurant served arguably the best fish and chips in town and there was a breadcrumbs option, rather than beer batter, for the chunky fillet. By closure time last March, some reviews on Trip Advisor were talking about the loss of magic and the advent of smaller portions. None the less the Pig and Whistle, strategically placed in the centre of Jomtien life, left a stark gap in the lives of many Pattaya retirees.
3. Ginza A Go Go
The Walking Street has suffered more than most from the absence of the tourist hordes. Ginza struggled on for a while, but has now closed like many others. Almost uniquely, the “for rent” notice actually tells you what to expect including a 10 years contract and a state-of-the-art light and sound system. There is talk of turning the Walking Street into a Thai-style leisure area and markets selling native products. Not to mention the rumours of international finance knocking the entire street down in an acknowledgement that Pattaya’s days as Sin City are well and truly over.
4. Starbucks Coffee
Starbucks Coffee was founded in Thailand in 1998 and has pioneered handcrafted beverages by inviting customers to personalize their beverages. Great marketing ideas. But even Starbucks coffeehouses alongside, other famous names in the fast food industry, has suffered some closures, including this branch on Pattaya’s Beach Road. Yet other branches, for example in the nearby Avenue mall and the South Pattaya Road, are still popular drop-in centres for both expats and locals coming to chat, meet up or work.
5. Robins Nest
Robins Nest guesthouse, sports bar and restaurant is one of the few closures in town that positively aspires to reopening once the better tourist times return. Situated in Soi Diana, Robins Nest was well regarded for the professionalism of those running it and the food received many accolades on social media, notably the Sunday carvery which became a compulsory outing for a good many local expats. In an impromptu hand vote last year in one of the local expat clubs, Robins Nest was acclaimed as the “best breakfast” in town. Adieu but hopefully not Cheerio.