Curtain closes theatrically on Thonglor bar ‘Backstage’

Photo: Backstage Cocktail Bar / Facebook
Photo: Backstage Cocktail Bar / Facebook

A theater-themed cocktail bar in Thonglor announced this afternoon it won’t return for a second act despite the gradual easing of alcohol restrictions.

Backstage Cocktail Bar said it will end its six-year run due to a lack of support from the government, according to one of its founders. Nightlife venues in Bangkok have been forbidden from operating since April with zero compensation to business owners.

“Without any support from the government, and the money we’ve been throwing away each month, we realized it’s about time to close the curtain,” Ronnaporn “Nueng” Kanivichaporn told Coconuts Bangkok

The theater-themed bar, originally named Behind the Scene Lounge, first raised the curtain in 2014 at Thonglor’s Playhaus boutique hotel. Six of Bangkok’s leading bartenders converted the hotel’s ground floor into a small but exciting spot where the motto was, “Nothing is serious behind the curtain, except for the cocktails.”

Like many other nightlife operators, Nueng and his fellow founders — Kitibordee “Gov” Chortubtim, Supawit “Palm” Muttarattana, Anakin “Ton” Wongsala, Watcharapong “Bank” Suriyaphan, and Chennarong “Janz” Bhumichitr — said heavy-handed government restrictions took a huge toll on their business. 

Though the booze curfew has been partially lifted, and restaurants as well as those bars registered as restaurants will be able to serve alcohol until 11pm starting Wednesday, places like Backstage Bar are still barred from operating. 

“Even though Backstage is just a small bar with a 30-person capacity, we cannot serve drinks because they do not provide a license that differentiates us from large night clubs, which they believe to be the source of COVID-19 outbreaks,” Nueng said.  

Asked about his future plans, Nueng said that the sextet might split up and focus on their individual projects, adding that his new bar project is a collaboration with chef Chalee Kader of 100 Mahaseth and Wana Yook. That might open next month, he said. 

“Since now we know what to expect, we’ll register our new bar with a restaurant license,” he said. 

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