The Ultimate Newbie Guide to Thailand

Barfine Explained

Many bars, GoGo's and similar venues employ staff that may leave the venue with exchange for paying a "fine" or barfine. In other parts or Asia it is referred to as EWR (Early Work Release).
Herein staff will be referred to as "girl" as the majority are females and ladyboys prefer to be called girls.

bf_pay_here.gif (28231 bytes)The barfine in its strictest sense is to compensate the bar for the "loss" of labor in a loser sense it may be viewed as labor for hire as most bars retain girls with the specific intent to collect a barfine and as such create another source of revenue along with other hospitality services offered.

That bears the question "what can one expect from the venue after paying the barfine?"
The answer is quite simple, it relieves that girl of further duty in the venue for a duration.
The bar fine does not include any more than a girl be relieved from duty. It does not include any specific services for which the customer may have expectations. Any services or favors expected should be negotiated with the girl and any compensation is a separate agreement that does not involve the venue (see negotiations). In a few venues a manager may try to intervene, but is best avoided.
In some bars known as Short Time Bars, the barfine may include the use of a room for a set period of time.

When does the relief of duty begin and how long does it last?
In almost all cases the it starts the very moment that the barfine is paid. Exception may be when it is prepaid for another time or in rare cases after a said hour when barfines are allowed. The latter may be a case if the venue is hosting a major party and limits early barfines.
The duration of the relief of duty is generally for the remainder of the shift, however, the girl may set a duration shorter either because she wants to "go home" after that time or return to the bar to make more money.
In Short Time Bars where a room is being used the duration is usually defined and typically one hour.

The cost of a barfine differs greatly from venue to venue with beer bars usually starting at a few hundred baht and the most expensive GoGo's can be as high as 2,000. For higher end bars 600-1,000 baht is quite typical.

Why is it called barfine?
Often when a fine is paid most think of a penalty like a speeding ticket or a fine for speeding.
As with many words used in Thailand deriving from English something is lost in translation, this could be just that or it may have derived from an obsolete definition of "fine" meaning and "end" or "terminate"; which certainly fits the meaning.

The Ultimate Newbie
Guide to Thailand