Death of a bar
We have all seen the empty bars around the various locations in LOS but have you ever been there and seen one shut?
For me, on my recent trip, it was the first time I have witnessed the actual closer of one.
I have been frequenting the same bar in Pattaya on and off since my very first trip there in December 1999.
The Best Friend Bar Complex is situated on beach road just past the Royal Garden Hotel as you head to Walking Street. My first venture in to this bar complex saw me being called to "Sit down please" at Lucky Bird Bar.
Well the years have gone by and although I spend a lot of time elsewhere nowadays I still find myself drawn back to the bar on occasions and of course to the owner who I have become friends with.
It was while I was sat at another bar on the evening of the 2nd January watching Chelski and in particular John "**** my mates wife" Terry celebrating his last minute goal against the Villa thinking that they had just scored the 3 pointer goal that they so desperately needed but in the end failed to get (ha ha ha) that I received a phone call.
“Hello Gary it’s Waraporn, are you out tonight?” To which I responded “do bears poo in the woods”. No of course I didn’t, I said yes I am watching the football at the moment. Waraporn knows I watch footy elsewhere because I cant’s stand the constant wailing of the horrendous music that goes with the boxing ring near her bar and besides that she has a crap TV.
Anyway she asked if I would go to her bar later and I said of course I would, any particular reason why?
Yes, she says, tomorrow I close bar so you can have free drinks all night if you come and help me get rid of the stock.
Needles to say I said I would be there as soon as I could.
I quickly phoned Nok who was in the hotel room while I was watching the footy and told her about the call and said I would pick her up as I had to pass the room to go to the bar. We managed to get in to Lucky Bird at 10:30 and having said all my hello’s to everyone asked the boss what was going on.
It turns out that having paid her months rent on the 15th December the complex owner had decided that he wanted the bar back and had sent one of his girls round earlier that night to tell the boss that she had until 4am of the morning of the 4th so basically the business night of the 3rd to get packed up and out. No refund of the remaining months money and sod all notice to organise anything properly.
Anyway the first of the few beers I was to consume that night was placed in front of me at the bar and I asked her what she was going to do. Now Waraporn is not short of a Baht or two (million) so the answer did not surprise me really when she said that she didn’t really need to get anywhere else as she didn’t need the money but it was her girls she was worried about, some who have been with her for as long as I had been visiting the bar. She was going to get Thip (her top girl and the one who ran the bar in her absence) to look for somewhere while she was back in the States seeing her husband (she was flying out on the 5thJan) and if Thip found anywhere suitable then she would come back and buy the place, but it would have to be an apartment block with a bar underneath so she could be her own boss and not have this happen again.
Anyway a few (read a lot) more beers had been consumed and it must have been about 1am when I saw the boss talking to a girl and starting to get a bit agitated (unusual for the boss, let a lone a Thai). A few minutes later she came over and told me to drink quicker because the girl had just told her that the owner had changed his mind and he wanted the bar back at 4am, in about 3 hours time!
Needles to say I started drinking quicker (well I was only thinking of reducing the amount of stock she would have to shift) and things started to get a bit more heated, especially when a woman accompanied by a security man turned up.
The talk got even livelier when one of the men that worked around the bars (a friend of the Boss) started to take the fans down. As it turned out the reason for the rise in temperature of the conversation was the Boss being told that she could not take the fans but the Boss winning out saying she was taking everything that she had put in to improve the bar. And so the fans came down to be added to the pile of bits and pieces to shift.
Round about 3'ish boxes of booze started to be piled on the bar nearest the road, games were being passed to the other bars, the fridge was starting to be emptied and soon a pick-up truck with a caged back turned up with a couple of men in it. Waraporn had hired them to transport all the booze and bits and pieces to her house, which was about 20 minutes drive away, as she said what else could she do.
Boxes were loaded on to the pick-up and fairly soon it was way down on the shocks so had to be driven off and emptied. The clear out went on for a couple of hours with more and more stock being piled on the road just by the bar.
A lady-boy that used to work in the bar came along and asked what was happening and started asking all sorts of questions and was get very heated in her talking. From what I gather from Nok once she had found out what was happening she started ranting and was praying for all sorts of horrendous activities to befall the complex owner and that basically he hurry up and die in a horrible way.
After her little (long) rant she started to cry and that set off a few of the girls that were left there clearing up as I think it started to dawn on them that they had no job to go to tomorrow (tonight really, as it was already morning). They also started to get their phones out to call the other girls that had already left to break the bad news to them.
Time was ticking on and I was getting more and more pie eyed as the stock of Heineken that was left appeared to be in front of me and not with the rest of the stock on the road. By 5:30 the fuel gauge was reading full and no matter how much prompting from Waraporn another beer was just not going to fit.
It was time to say our goodbye’s and head back to the Hotel for a much needed drunken sleep, leaving the Boss and the few remaining girls sat around a deserted and darkened bar waiting for the truck to arrive and take the remaining stock.
For me it was a sad end to the holiday as the bar had been part of my visits for the last ten years with lots of happy memories of many a Christmas party and all the New Year celebrations spent there.
I am now waiting to hear from the Boss to see if she has managed to buy something so that we can visit during our next trip out to LOS in May.
And just as an aside:
On the way back to the Hotel I had to pass a Macky D’s and thought that a Samurai burger would go down a treat right about now, but venturing in I noticed that the breakfast menu was up so managed the drunken consumption of my first LOS Sausage and Egg McMuffin, just right to go to sleep on.
Did you put ketchup on it ?
No, in my drunken stupor I forgot
Seriously though, a great shame about the bar closing, nice people there. Let's hope the boss finds a new bar with some nice apartments above, and all the girls get jobs there too.
Good write up Gary.
Something about Gary I didn't know.
You are burying deep into my past, Phil!
I should have poof read Chapter 9 again but I am too busy to correct it now.Anyway the Chapter is my least favourite so probably needs a complete re-write.
Yes, sorry Gary, I've been having a problem with my r's just like Harvey.
or you didn't want the gang to see that the beer you were helping to polish off was actually Bacardi Breezer ?
Thats more like it Wolfe, He was on the top shelf again and didn't want to appear to be a commontater like the likes of us
Just as a matter of interest I discovered this afternoon a 1 litre bottle of Grouse in "Foodland" for 710B is this cheap or what comparatively?
Also discovered at a friends pad tonight a fruity wine called " Mastery" does anyone know where I can get this it was so sweet and fruity.
And for the record if anyone wishes to call round for a dram they are welcome. Please note no phone or battery problems Gaz!
Nice post . I know the complex well. Never went to that bar .But like you say we each have our watering hole. Jam and Fossil in that complex were amongst the few I met on my first trip. Remarkably loyal customers us farangs given the choice of bars.
As you know it well and not knowing when you last paid a visit you might be interested to know that the first 2 bars, as you walk out of the toilet at the back, are now shut and also the big bar along the back with the jacuzzi (that was 3 bars knocked in to 1) is also shut.
The Best Friend complex is looking a bit sad these days
That would be the Swedish bars then. Jacuzzi !!! Ye gods never even saw it. ( was that where they put an air con effort in the back -dont need to answer its history ) Probably for the best . In my single days Beer bars+ beer+beerbarmaidens+jacuzzi could only mean ......more bubbles matron oooh ahh no misses. Sometimes I am almost glad at Pattys decline. I feel I was part of a golden age a more innocent one perhaps. Year Zero the Nokia 3310 and the Honda Wave hit asia . Part of me wants to cry when I see a new mall over what once was perfectly good bars . Actually I remember my mate George. On our first night on that years hols we stood at the top of soi 7. I looked at George and he was crying . Whats up mate? Its just so beautiful he cried. Arm in arm we progressed down the soi me smiling George blubbing.
Progress is what we wished for the country we love but lucky for us or at least me each year I find another nook or crany to amaze,annoy,intrigue,confuse or plain make me smile about the place.
Amazing Thailand 555
Legend! What a lovely bloke, is he still around?
Originally Posted by richardb
Yes it would be them Richard, gone and not missed by some of the other bar owners it would appear! anyway....
Couldn't agree more Richard, even over the the short 11 years or so I have been going the changes are remarkable and not always for the best. This trip just gone saw yet more hotels springing up where bars used to be! Not great but it's still a place I enjoy.