Naklua Malai Bar

The Looking Glass Magazine Pattaya Bar of the month

by Jack Corbett

band at the Malai Bar

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.


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