Crypto Phangan - The Whiski Bar looking to the future

11 Jun 2021

The owners of Whiski Bar here on Koh Phangan used to run a restaurant located in Nai Wok but after 4 years the land was no longer available to rent. At this point, they relocated to Soi Krung Thai, formally Santorini restaurant location, just 3 minutes walk from Thong Sala Pier.

“Being from Scotland, whisky was an obvious choice, so we threw an "i" on the end. Most places focus on brands like Jonnie Walker, and Glenfiddich, with heavy marketing investment behind them. There were few options to sit and enjoy a peaty smoky Isla, or a dram from anywhere other than Speyside, we wanted to change that”. 

All their drams are served in Glencairn Crystal imported from Scotland, and accompanied by complementary nibbles, typically dark chocolate, smoked almonds, blue cheese and shortbread (subject to availability).

What makes the Whiski Bar different or special to other places?
Primarily, regular events, such as 8 ball Fridays, and the islands only regular 9 ball competition every Tuesday on ladies night. We also run Quiz nights, darts night is Monday (see our Facebook page for details). Aside from specialist Whiskies, we offer a range of premium cigars from our humidor, 7 varieties. We also have 2 dart boards, darts for sale. 2 pool tables, one being the Islands only Diamond Pro-AM professional pool table, to give our customers something more than the typical bar table experience. We invested in an electronic mechanical Atari Pong table, the only one on the Island. We were looking at Pinball, a possible option for the future. 

Why did you start to accept crypto?
Around 2-3 years ago, staff held a calculator app on their phones, where they could enter values in thai baht, which would transfer to bitcoin, back then we offered a 20% discount when paying this way. However, at this time, uptake was slow, with only a few customers paying that way. Now recently, we have rebooted this approach, an electronic payment, such as bank transfer and prompt pay are more commonplace

Why do you think crypto is good for Koh Phangan?
Our island needs to look to the future, we cannot rest on our laurels, times are changing and we must embrace this. Crypto is part of our future, and we as business owners must be ready to embrace change to survive

How do you feel covid has affected your business?
As with most businesses on the island, detrimental, tourism was a large part of our income. We are very lucky to have a large number of local ex-pat and thai customers who have continued to support us during these difficult times. Also appointing bar Manager Jay has made a big difference, albeit when we are permitted to open. Taking over the management of the bar allowing us to concentrate on our next project, The Winery bistro and tapas bar - directly opposite Whiski Bar

Where do you see yourself and the business 5 years from now?
It's difficult to say, especially with the unpredictability of the world we live in now. Meanwhile, it's about good management, to ensure that the business can break even, and we can continue to support our staff and local surrounding businesses. 
We believe businesses need to work together, to promote their location. We are working with our neighbours on projects to better illuminate our Soi, and perhaps a weekly walking street, and maybe an entrance at both ends. We also sponsor a local football team here, and an amateur team in Scotland

What do you enjoy about Koh Phangan?
The people, the outdoor life, fresh produce and the freedom it offers, by comparison to the western world. The unique characters, who like mindedly made their way here, and of course the local people.