Pattaya beer bar owner cooks up survival plan

Tuk sits forlorn in her once thriving bar which is now used as a larder.

Bars are closed and restaurants are open in Pattaya, so a Jomtien Beach beer bar owner is now selling food.

Kotchakorn “Tuk” Kanharien, owner of the eponymous Took Bar located behind the Grand Jomtien Hotel, said May 17 that she has been selling somtam, grilled chicken, Isan food and smoothies since bars were shut down in December. Even after they reopened briefly, she kept cooking.

The Khon Kaen native came to Pattaya 13 years ago and previously married a British man. But these days she’s working alone, aided sometimes by her younger brother, cooking up food for the public and area construction workers in order to pay the rent.

Kotchakorn tearfully recounted how her bar use to earn about 10,000 baht a day and employed 10 bargirls. Today Pattaya is dead, bargirls have gone home and she’s lucky to bring in 1,000 baht a day. After expenses, she’s left with a few hundred in profit.

Kotchakorn said she believes outdoor beer bars are a low risk for spreading Covid-19 and that the government should allow them to reopen.

Tuk smiles with optimism as she sells her limited selection of Isan food in front of her bar.

A European customer enjoys his sandwich while the girls happily prepare their self-cooked Asian delights.