On its last slender legs, Silom drag bar pleads for help to keep the glamor going

M Stranger Fox, at left, laughs with another performer in front of the Stranger Bar in Soi Silom 4. Photo: The Stranger Bar
M Stranger Fox, at left, laughs with another performer in front of the Stranger Bar in Soi Silom 4. Photo: The Stranger Bar

Last year, a Silom drag hot spot survived a three-month shutdown without any relief or aid. This time it might not make it.

One of Bangkok’s best-known and rowdiest drag queen destinations The Stranger Bar yesterday called on all the fans out there for help via a crowdfunding campaign called Save the House of Drag Queens.

“The place we can call home that cares about LGBT community with staff and drag artists who make a living and career have been seriously impacted since March,” said Chakgai Jermkwan, the bar’s owner and host who transforms into “M Stranger Fox” on stage. 

Like other nightlife purveyors, Stranger has felt deep pain under the various restrictions which have been in place since March. Unlike others, its clientele consists largely of travelers from abroad. Chakgai told Coconuts in March that if the pandemic continued, which it has, his bar would “go out of business.”

In two months, the venue was due to celebrate its ninth anniversary. 

While some of Chakgai’s employees are “informal workers” eligible for a THB5,000 monthly government stipend, that isn’t nearly enough to get by. The impact has been “devastating,” he said. 

“Without government support … and with banks denying us loans, we tried to carry some of the losses and keep the shows alive and our talented drag performers employed,” Chakgai said. “Unless we get an immediate influx of cash, we will be forced to close permanently.”

Since it launched yesterday, the donation drive has raised USD$1,582 (THB47,000). Contributors who donate US$30 and up will get drink vouchers of the same value for use at any time in the future – if the bar survives.

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