And that's just one of the many reasons why the Malai Bar
is The Looking Glass's August 2006 Pattaya Bar of the month. Yet
this band highlights what Malai Bar is doing right whereas many of
Pattaya's Bars fully deserve to become miserable failures.
Let's face it, most customers in Pattaya's countless beer
bars are men in their forties, fifties, sixties and even in their
seventies. They are Westerners whether they are English, Germans,
Americans, Canadians, Aussies, Russians or from wherever. These
are the guys spending their money in Pattaya's bars that should be
catering to the customer, but which oftentimes don't out of the sheer
ignorance or irresponsibility of their owners. And these guys
don't want to be listening to the crap that the 16 to 20 year old boys
and girls buy into back in their home countries, crap that usually winds
up on the top forty, simply because it's the boys and girls that buy
what the record companies push. What makes the band at the Naklua Malai Bar
special is it caters to typical Pattaya bar customers by playing
the music of the 60's and 70's.
The guys are Thai and each of them can sing. And
although they care never going to be able to duplicate the voices of
American Country Western singers or of such popular English groups of
the past as the Beetles, they try their damnest to do it all.
They'll do country Western, and they'll do Santana, Jimmie Hendrix, Led
Zeppelin and the Stones. But I had never heard them do the "House
of the Rising Sun" by the Animals", so I called out to, Noi, the band's
leader if they could do it and he gave me a broad smile and said, "Can
do". And sure enough, they did it.
This bar draws a good crowd even though it's 50 yards off
Soi 18, which is not the premier location considering there's plenty of
other bars right off Pattaya's main roads and Sois. But the band
is not the only reason why Malai Bar gets our number one rating.
The second reason is the price of its beer which begins at just 40 baht
for a bottle of Chang and ends at Heineken's being priced at 60 baht a
bottle with Tiger and Singha being priced in the middle at just 50 baht.
The third reason is the overall quality of the girls
which is significantly better than one finds in most other bars in the
area. And the fourth reason is that neither I nor a single one of
my friends has ever had a girl ever ask us to buy her a drink. So
the bar remains hassle free without the pressure of our having to put up
with people always trying to pry into our pockets with the exception of
the street vendors.
So why is that? Let me suggest that it's all part
of GREAT MANAGEMENT from a CLEARLY SUPERIOR BAR OWNER who knows what her
customers want and who's got her fingers on their pulse. Eed a
marketing genius who's obviously trained all of her girls to never be
pushy with the customers.
A week ago my girlfriend and I ventured into a new Naklua
Bar just off Naklua Road where I was immediately set on by a slightly
overweight older woman who appeared to be in her forties. I got
the standard bar girl questions of "Where you come from? "How long
you stay in Pattaya?" And then the woman proceeded to sit next to
my girlfriend whom she spoke with in Thai for the next fifteen minutes
as I spoke to an American friend who was sitting to my immediate right.
Finally my girlfriend whispered to me, "Mamas an wants to know if you
will buy her an Orange Soda." Now that's one helluva huge mistake
so many of Pattaya's bar owners, mama sans and bar managers keep making
because no customer wants to be badgered into spending his money on the
person in charge of the bar he is visiting.
Malai Bar's owner, will never ask a man to buy her a
drink. Instead she will often buy a good or even a new customer a
drink on the house. And that's the fourth reason why Malai Bar
deserves our number one rating. Its owner is a very wise
entrepreneur who is quite adept at welcoming her customers and making
them feel right at home while making damn sure they can get their drinks
at a very modest price while delivering to them the kind of music they
like to hear.