Soi Cowboy bar owner says the business has survived the pandemic, but revenue has fallen by 70%

Photo via Unsplash

Bangkok’s notorious red light district Soi Cowboy has survived the pandemic, but barely. An owner of a bar along the street said the business is only earning enough to cover operating costs.

Bars and nightclubs were hit hard by disease control restrictions with the government banning alcohol, shutting down the venues and limiting operating hours during peaks in the pandemic. Just recently, bars and nightclubs were allowed to reopen after being shut down during the recent wave of Covid-19 infections.

Reporters from Nation Thailand took a walk down Soi Cowboy. It’s been a full year since Thailand’s first nationwide lockdown. For the manager of Country Road music bar on Soi Cowboy, Thawatchai Tutthayayut, he told reporters it has been a rough year.

The ban on international tourists hit the area hard. Soi Cowboy is a famous red light district for foreign men, and for some tourists, a rite of passage. Thawatchai says his bar depends on foreign tourists for income. Over the past year, the bar’s revenue fell by 70%.

“What we earn nowadays is only enough for running costs – staff salary, electricity and water bills, and rent.”

Country Road’s shareholders had to use their savings to pay for some of the expenses and keep the bar running, Thawatchai told Nation Thailand. The bar’s staff and musicians took a pay cut last year and the landlord helped out by lowering the rent.

“A bar might only sell three bottles of beer per day… Some bars decided to operate from their entrances and keep their interiors shut to save on expenses.”

Thawatchai says that he and other bar owners are thankful for the regular customers who come at least once a week.

“My friend’s bar lost around 300,000 baht a month… But we were lucky enough to have the expats.”

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

Bangkok NewsThailand News

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