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Bangkok Venues Seek Clarity on Mourning Period

Bangkok, Wed Oct 04 2017
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A number of Bangkok venues said they are unsure what measures to take during the national mourning period as no official guidelines for nightlife and entertainment venues have been issued.

While a number of events such as Koh Phangan’s raucous Full Moon Party have been cancelled outright, owners of six capital city venues said they are ready to meet any expectations regarding closing times and alcohol sales – if they know what they are.

Romain Guiot, owner of Outlaw Creative Cuisine in the Charoen Krung area, said he doesn’t know if his kitchen should close earlier than usual or if any changes should be observed for the entire month. The owner of an alternative cinema club on Soi Sukhumvit 22 said his place has yet to set any temporary measures, adding the venue would wait until an official regulation is issued. “Still waiting. We certainly try to always stay open whenever it is legally safe, even if we don’t serve alcohol, but obviously in this very special time, we don’t want to risk causing offense,” said Paul Spurrier, owner of the Friese-Greene Club.

Owners of craft beer bar ‘I Hate Pigeons’ on Soi Si Bamphen in the Ngam Duphli area said they may remain open as usual, depending on what direction they get from local police.

Highball Bangkok’s Mlinssara Bhumichitr said her recently opened venue will close on October 13th, which marks the anniversary of King Bhumibol’s death, and again on October 26th, the day of his cremation. The bar’s music will be kept respectfully low tempo. “For the rest, we‘re wait for the official guideline,” Mlinssara said.

Dhyan Ho said he plans to close his art-bar space Jam for a week during the cremation ceremony. Reached for comment, he was curious to ask what other business owners expected. “Been actually trying to find more info on what’s going on too,” Ho said.

Caitlin Lee Chullasapya, who runs barbecue joint SpareParts, said it would close for some days during the royal ceremony, which officially runs October 25th to 29th. She said the restaurant, upstairs from Foojohn’s on Charoen Krung Road, would close October 13th, as well as on the 25th and 26th. She said they’d be following all of the rules for any dry days. “Some of our live music days have been cancelled but others will be jazz/acoustic tribute concerts to the King,” Chullasapya wrote in reply to an inquiry. “Obviously if the government or our local police station restricts us from anything else we will act accordingly.”

Thanakorn Kuptajit, president of the Thai Alcohol Beverage Business Association, said official regulations on operations during the funeral would soon be made public. Although no official statement regarding alcohol sales or closing times has been made, he believes the nightlife scene will voluntarily go dark.

“I personally believe that, even without official regulations, many business owners will voluntarily reduce and stop entertainment activities to go along with the atmosphere,” he said.

What is known so far? There will be no alcohol served today, Thursday October 5th, for Wan Awk Phansa, which marks the End of Buddhist Lent. The October 6th Full Moon Party on Koh Phangan has been canceled, as have performances at many pedestrian markets. All are expected to resume normally come November.

A number of nightclubs, such as Beam in Thonglor, have announced they will close on October 25th and 26th to show their respect.

According to the cabinet last week, “joyous events” such as weddings, ordinations or home-sanctification ceremonies are allowed to take place but only in “closed” venues.

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