What is a barfine or “bar fine”? It is a simple enough question. And the answer can be simplified too. But there really is more to it than just a single line definition of the type you would expect to see in a dictionary.
After covering the commercial sex industry all over the world, I realize that there are some basic concepts that I have not explained. For those who are well versed in the pay for play scene, this sort of thing can seem like second nature. But for many people around the world, phrased like “barfining a woman” may seem out of the norm. So I will tell you what exactly a barfine is here.
What is a barfine?
Basically, a barfine is a payment given to a bar to release a woman on staff from work early. In fact, barfines are also referred to as “early work release” or EWR in some parts of the Philippines. In other places it is called an exit fee or salida. No matter the name, the general idea is that a customer gives a bar money in order to make up for lost income.
For example, let’s say a bar pays a gal they employ a base salary of $300 USD per month. Then they set a barfine at $10 USD. If the lady wants to leave work early one day to go out with a customer, the bar receives $10 to make up for the $10 in daily salary they paid out.
she's in love with his moneyshe's in love with his money
Of course in practice, things don’t always work out so logically. There are places with barfines in place that don’t even pay salaries. There are also places that charge barfines for customers who want to have sex with women on premises. In those cases, the gals don’t even leave the place. So obviously the bar doesn’t lose any money. The owners just want to get a cut of the action. Or they charge for something like cleaning or use of a private room.
Now that you know what a barfine actually is, let me explain some of the specifics. There are local peculiarities to barfines in various parts of the world. In some cases, barfines are exactly what they are purport to be. In other places, they’re clearly just a way for a place to make money. Prices and procedures vary from one place to another too.
Barfines in Thailand
Barfines are charged at most bars with women in Thailand. In beer bars they are usually between 300 and 500 Baht. In go go bars, prices can range from 600 to 3000 Baht depending on the city, the bar, and in some cases the “class” of the woman.
Barfines are paid up front in Thailand. In some cases they are negotiable or change. For example, some Pattaya go go bars charge a higher barfine before midnight or some other time. They do this to keep more women in the bars, thus giving them more potential to bring in customers and make money on drinks.
Some Pattaya go go bars also have different barfines for short time and long time. They charge less to guys who just want to spend two hours with a girl from the bar. Theoretically, the ladies will return to the bar afterward. Long time bar fines are higher, these bars say, because the women leave for the entire night. These sorts of tiered barfines are much less common in go go bars in Chiang Mai and Bangkok.
Barfines can occasionally be found at other establishments in Thailand. But they aren’t always as common. For example, some of the blowjob bars like Lolita’s in Bangkok set very high barfines because they prefer that the ladies work full shifts. Others like Wood Bar have a less expensive barfine as it is more routine for the ladies they employ to go out with customers.
Hostess Bar barfines
Bar fines exist in Cambodia too. Hostess bars in Phnom Penh charge barfines ranging from $6 to $15 dollars. The barfines are usually set and don’t fluctuate according to the time of day or anything else. Some places will even negotiate over barfines or simply wave them entirely for guys who spend a lot of money on drinks. A few of the KTV places in Cambodia also levy a fee on guys who want to leave with a lady on staff.
The hostess bars of Ho Chi Minh City sometimes have barfines, but it is now less common than it used to be. After a number of places were raided and closed years ago, many new bars have opened without any kind of barfine or work release. The ladies just work for drinks and tips. And if they do want to meet a guy outside of the bar, they simply wait until after they finish their shift. There are exceptions. An increasing number of bars around the Bui Vien backpacker strip have an unofficial barfine system in place, though the rates are negotiable and often include payment for the ladies.
Salidas in Latin America
Some places in Latin America have a salida system in place. Customers pay a fee to the bar if they want to leave with a lady on staff. This used to be common at several bars in Sosua, but that was before major changes that took place a few years ago. Nowadays most ladies there freelance, or work on their own.
Salidas are still paid in other areas though. That includes bars like Lalo’s International in Bogota, strip clubs with women who have sex with customers like Fase II in Medellin, and strip clubs in the Dominican cities of Puerto Plata and Santiago.
Early Work Release in the Philippines
Barfines are common at go go bars all across the Philippines. But they differ from one city to the next. For whatever reason, bars in different cities have adopted their own barfine models. And they usually stick to them.
As stated above, barfines are often referred to as “early work release” at go go bars in Angeles City. Apparently this is aimed at adapting to local regulations. Some places go even farther by selling high priced bottles of strange drinks like “party animal” in place of charging barfines or EWR. But the effect remains the same.
One thing that doesn’t remain the same in Angeles City is the way the money is used. Barfines in Angeles City uniquely include payment for the ladies. Customers hand over payment to the bars, then later the bars give a portion of that money to the gals. This used to be considered an all inclusive payment. But more recently the ladies have also started to ask for additional tips from guys who take them out of the bars.
Although they are sometimes higher, the barfines at go go bars in Manila do not include payment for the ladies. So on P Burgos Street and in the EDSA Entertainment Complex, customers pay barfines at the bars then give the women they take out their own money later.