Now that the dust has settled after the farcical bar closings for poorly attended elections March has been a more stable month. Just when we thought everything was on track the police have had a crackdown on bar closing times. Loss of revenue to the bar owners is one thing but just how much alcohol tax revenue is lost for two hours of lost sales. Some believe this is temporary and in response to the news coverage that the island recently attracted after the savage murder of a young Swedish tourist on a Northern Beach.
BAR CLOSING HOURS
This piece in italics is what I drafted on Tuesday afternoon:
Rumours that the two am bar closing was to be re-in forced came to nothing and Patong Beach goes on as normal. The local police are sensitive as to how important the nightlife is to the tourist industry and common sense has prevailed.
This is what happened Tuesday night.
At quarter to two the police came round all the streets in Bangla and ordered them to close by two am. All bar chits had to be paid and drinkers were given a few minutes to drink up and go. They have continued this through Wednesday and Thursday nights. Local bar owners are hoping that this is only temporary but last night I saw the local police chief down town at two checking that all was in order. I still believe the police chief would like to see everything open as before.
All that has happened is that the street food vendors have all brought in Styrofoam containers and are selling cheap beers late at night. The 7/11s and Family Marts were also selling alcohol last night after three am. All that is left in the morning are streets littered with empties and shop doorways smelling of urine.
This is the group of bars more commonly known as The Irish Bar area on Beach Road. It is one of the original bar streets and does enjoy a hefty trade during the daytime from people leaving the beach. At night time this place used to give Bangla a run for its money but not any longer. I called in a few days ago and most bars were doing very little trade. There are at least twenty bars but they do not have the dancing damsels to attract people in. Over the years both the Irish Bar and the Sunrise Bar have expanded and have seating for up to a hundred people each. These two and the Sailor Bar next door seem to get most of the custom.
ST PATRICK'S DAY
I was considering a pub crawl of the Irish Bars in Patong until I realized how many there actually are. If you include all the ones on Nanai Road as well as the beach area there are more than fifteen. I decided to curtail my tour and just popped into a few of the more convenient ones. Needless to say Lek Murphy's and the Blarney Stone in Soi Sans Sabai were busy. I was told that Faulty Towers actually consumed two kegs of John Smiths Bitter that evening. Both Molly Malones and Scruffy Murphy's had a special menu on offer. Even The Green Man Pub down in Chalong got in on the act and laid on a special meal to celebrate.
Sometime I get tired of the same old beers and like to change my tipple. For a choice of Belgian Beers go to Shakers or Montes Bars. The Grillhutte on the Beach Road does good German Draught Beer. Faulty Towers and The Irish Times offer a wide range of imported bottled beers and ciders. In Karon Beach Angus O Tool's offers draught Strongbow Cider and as well as a choice of six other bottled ones. The Green Man in Chalong carries a full range of draught beers.
Montes Bar on Phisit Koranee Road has become more popular. They now do a Happy Hour price on local beers from two pm until seven pm. They have plenty of room and a wide range of food is available. They do an “as much as you can eat” BBQ three nights a week and have a daily specials board. One of their strong points is that they have a car park right out the back. The staff are friendly and service is good.
Last month I failed to mention this Danish bar and restaurant which is also in Soi Bangla Square and doing good business. The Rottehullet has expanded and now has a restaurant and rooms available. So if you want to be in the entertainment zone but enjoy a quiet drink or two this is the place for you.
VALHALLA's FINAL FLING
The "Goodbye Salute To Valhalla" Party is to be held on 29th - 30th April. Tickets are available and a high turnout is expected from all past Valhalla Patrons. Tickets can also be booked on line at their normal web site address.
I had been told that this project has been sold to a new management team and changes have been made. The first thing I noticed is that they have crammed in more bars in the street end and this makes it difficult to see what is further in. In the centre a lot of the smaller bars have gone and most bars are now double size units. There are a lot of empty units and one or two 'bar for sale' signs up on others. The rear area from the toilets back has been blocked off completely and is a building site. The Night Station Club up the stairs also seemed closed. Beers were only 80 Baht but I could not wait to escape. This street has the worst music I have ever been subjected to in Patong. Their demented DJ was playing a load of Euro trash music at a decibel level to rival Concorde doing a fly past. Someone should super glue the volume control or, even better, get a DJ that can entertain people. The bar owners should have an input to what style of music is played.