THAILAND BANS ALCOHOL ON ST. PATRICK’S DAY 2019
Beer drinkers and Hell raisers have long resented Thailand’s strict regulations on alcohol. Along with the daily 2pm to 5pm ban on alcohol sales, Thailand prohibits the sale and consumption of alcohol on Buddhist holidays, royal birthdays, and election days. This year Thailand’s 2019 election season overlaps with St. Patrick’s Day, and that’s not good news for local beer enthusiasts.
As anyone with a Boston Celtics jersey knows, St. Patrick’s Day falls on March 17th of this year. The official date for the 2019 Thai election is March 24th. Recently the Junta decided to open the polls up early, meaning that the weekend before the 24th, St. Patrick’s Day weekend, will be considered election days. So if you’re expecting a riotous weekend of Irish ballads and day drinking, you might be out of luck.
The truth is the Junta does not mess around with the rules. Following the death of the late King in 2016, bars and nightclubs were ordered by the Junta to “tone down” the entertainment for 30 days. Bars that ignored this decree were either fined or, in some cases, shut down permanently. Suffice to say that if the Junta doesn’t want you to have lime green beer, you won’t be having it.
If you insist on celebrating this notorious holiday along with the rest of the world, consider your options. You can designate your own St. Patrick’s Day with a few friends. You can buy your beverages early and celebrate on the roof of your neighbor’s condo. You might even want to attend a Catholic mass and pay respects to the great St. Patrick himself for converting the pagan Irish to Christianity. Whatever you choose to do, try to keep your bread soda out of sight of the law.
While reports are still unclear, it seems that the official times and dates are as follows:
Saturday the 16th: Alcohol sales and consumption will be banned after 6pm.
Sunday the 17th: Alcohol sales and consumption may resume after 6pm.
If you are planning to have any kind of celebration, stay tuned for more clarifications. Many locals expect the government to give more clear details closer to the 16th.