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Longer Booze Hours Bring Bigger Crowds to Khaosan ‘Restaurants’

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The extension of booze-selling has brought bigger crowds to bars masquerading as restaurants on Khaosan Road.

The nightlife strip in Bangkok’s Phra Nakhon District – where visitors must show proof of full vaccination or take coronavirus tests to enter – has been taken over by young Thais, relegating the former hub for foreign backpackers to distant memory.

It also has become a pet-pride project for Bangkok’s mayor as he seeks to reform the area’s previously dodgy reputation. As such, bars and nightclubs – some that don’t even have kitchens – are being latitutde to open, provided they obtain an easy-to-get “restaurant” license.

It’s also the proving ground for the ‘Covid-Free Setting’ scheme, yet another certification being foisted upon business owners and likely the model that will be imposed on bars and clubs once they are allowed to reopen, possibly later than the Jan. 16 date announced.

Entry to Khaosan Road is limited to two gates manned by public officials checking visitors’ identities and Covid-19 vaccination certificates.

Those without full vaccination must undergo an 18-baht antigen test for which they are charged 100 baht. Should anyone test positive, they had detained and put in an ambulance to be taken to a hospital and likely forced quarantine.

Welcome to “new normal” nightlife in Thailand.

Despite bars, er ‘restaurants’, throughout Khao San and Sukhumvit operating normally, authorities seems to be only enforcing the law directly across the street from the Pathumwan police station at CentralWorld.

Officials have told the nightclubs there – which twice have been busted for serving alcohol – to increase the distance between tables, make band members other than singers wear masks and clean up their disease-control act.

Meanwhile, bargirls wearing little more than face masks are dancing on beer bars on Sukhumvit Soi 7.

The Thaialnd News Agency contributed to this report.