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Thai Minister clarifies statement, says nightlife venues can open until 4am

Clubs and bars in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket, and Chon Buri will now be licensed to serve alcohol until the extended time

  • Henry Cooper
  • 8 November 2023
Thai Minister clarifies statement, says nightlife venues can open until 4am

Thailand’s Interior Minister, Anutin Charnvirakul, has clarified previous statements regarding extended opening hours of entertainment venues.

The clarification comes after a previously incorrect statement from the Minister in which he said that although clubs and bars' opening times were prolonged until 4am, alcohol sales hours would remain legal until only midnight.

On Tuesday, November 7, the Minister conveyed: “I might have been a little wrong because I talked about several issues. Entertainment venues can stay open until 4am and sell alcohol under their existing licences”.

This new regulation affects clubs and bars in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket and Chon Buri.

He also clarified that entertainment venues located inside hotels could also stay open until 4am under the new terms, whereas restaurants can only serve alcohol until midnight.

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Thailand’s Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin has expressed his aim to boost the economy for the upcoming peak tourist season; one of the methods is by prolonging the operating hours of venues in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket and Chon Buri, which also includes regulating alcohol sales times.

The current alcohol control law permits Type 1 night entertainment businesses to sell alcohol until midnight, whereas restaurants without live music can serve alcohol as long as they remain open.

Sanga Ruengwattanakul, president of the Khao San Road Businesses Association, conveyed disappointment regarding the government's choice to extend operating hours without also extending the alcohol sales hours.

The initial reasoning behind the extension was aimed to stimulate tourism; however, Ruengwattanakul sees this decision as counterproductive.

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One of the critical points that Ruengwattanakul brought up was the difference in drinking habits between locals and foreigners or tourists.

He stated that local clubbers' habits include buying bottles of spirits with mixers and drinking until closing. In contrast, foreigners and tourists lean towards buying single drinks one after another, leading them to be the primary audience affected by the government’s new decision, despite it being aimed at improving tourism.

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In agreement with Ruengwattanakul, the Thai Restaurant Businesses Association finds it impractical to extend operating hours without permitting extended alcohol sales hours, pointing out the varying drinking preferences of foreigners as well.

Minister Charnvirakul said the ministry is still finding the fastest way to implement the policy by December 15, 2023.

Via: Bangkok Post

Henry Cooper is a Writer at Mixmag Asia. Follow him on Instagram.

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