Okay, so you all love the booze and are concerned about boozing in Bangkok, my most popular post is this one regarding mid-afternoon prohibition and the majority of emails I receive have questions about when and where people can get their drink on.
Changes to the rules/law:
2015: There was a load of big announcements and PR about the ‘new rules’, it seems there is only once change to the current rules/selling time and that involves the purchase of larger quantities of alcohol. Prior to 2015, you could purchase alcohol in larger quantities anytime during the day (makes no sense, right?), this has now changed and alcohol is only for sale from 1100-1400 and 1700-2400. As always, you can usually buy alcohol at any time from a ‘mom and pop’ store that doesn’t have an automated cash register/checkout.
2013: There have been a few changes that were supposed to take effect 1 Jan 2013, the primary changes being no more of the pop up bars located on the sidewalk and bars closing a bit earlier, I don’t see many of these changes in effect.
Where you can buy alcohol:
Grocery stores, convenience stores, bars, restaurants and hotels
Where you can buy alcohol to go (take away, take home):
Grocery stores and convenience stores sell beer, wine and liquor
At what times can you buy beer and liquor in stores?
You can buy from 11:00-14:00 and 17:00-24:00
What if I need to buy a beer at a store and it’s during prohibition hours?
Try a local store (meaning not a large grocery store or 7-11) that doesn’t use a computer. If you’re cool about buying, they’re cool about selling it (they’ll put it in a bag). Trust me, I’m cool, at least in this regard.
Can you drink in a bar or restaurant during hours when alcohol isn’t served in stores?
Can you walk around drinking a beer?
Yes, you will see both locals and foreigners drinking beer on the street, many Thai’s will have a beer on the street. Please ask before doing this, but many bars will let you leave the bar with your unfinished beer- I have walked out of a bar drinking my unfinished bottle of beer. Note- bars won’t let you enter with an open bottle of beer not purchased at the bar
When do bars and clubs stop serving alcohol?
It varies from bar to bar, but most bars close at 2am with some staying open later on Friday and Saturday. Many clubs serve until 4am and even later.
Where can I find a drink at 4am?
Many of the ‘pop up’ sidewalk bars will continue serving until you stop buying, buying meaning you stop buying for yourself and stop buying the bartender drinks. Pop up bars are the bars setup on the side of the street and sidewalks, or sometimes in a mini-van, they usually setup around 9-10pm and stay open late.
How much is a drink?
In grocery stores and convenience stores, a Singha is thb36 for a can and thb42 for a bottle, many bars have a happy hour where beer is thb85, other than happy hour, beers will be from thb100-150, mixed drinks are anywhere from thb180-400, depending on what you fancy and environment you fancy drinking in.
Elections & Religious Holidays- Dry Times
On election days (when voting is taking place), it’s dry with convenience stores and grocery stores not selling- try a local store. Some bars will serve on election days, some won’t, western owned hotels will serve.
Religious holidays can be very, very dry.
If it’s your desire, you can find a drink at just about anytime. My one request to foreigners- don’t embarrass me, with me meaning foreigners. For my sake, much less your own as a guest in a foreign country, drink, be drunk and have fun and go back to your dwelling while you’re still fun.
If you need help finding your booze, email me and buy me a drink.