Friday, 9 May 2014

On Street Bar

This is the name of a bar that is not surprisingly on the street in Chaweng, next to the Buri Rasa Resort. There is absolutely nothing new about this type of bar in either Koh Samui or in Thailand. After having been to this bar I am nearly totally ignorant as to why Trip Advisor rates the place as the number one bar in Koh Samui.

If you are starting up a small bar in Thailand with very little capital the best way to keep costs low is to use outdoor space with cheap tables and chairs. Beach bars in Koh Phangan, and once in Koh Samui, all followed this model. They were often made of driftwood and local materials. Most of the construction was the bar itself. Patrons had to sit outside on cushions or in a hammock. Decoration would be odd bits and pieces and of course rasta colours. Bars like this include Rolling Stone Bar in Mae Haad. They are fun, geared towards backpackers and sell cheap bottled beer.

Perhaps Koh Samui and Chaweng have insisted on re-inventing itself  for high-end tourists  so much that basic street bars now seem a novelty, and hence the unexpected favour which reviewers have bestowed On Street Bar.

The popularity of the bar seems to rest on the hospitality of the owners – Jim and More – who make guests feel at home. Many establishments in Koh Samui tend to take their customers for granted. Moreover, the late night venues in Chaweng have seen more than their fair share of drunken fools starting fights, not paying for their drinks and revealing their body parts. The staff and management are jaded with such types (but not the money they bring in). It is thus  refreshing to encounter friendly bar staff and owners who join in the festivities.

Another factor for On Street Bar’s success is its drinks list. It has some impressive items on the menu such as passion fruit and strawberry mojito. These drinks are cheaper than in the bars of the main resorts. No doubt lots of tourists decide the Buri Rasa bar drink prices are a bit on the steep side and then stumble upon On Street Bar just outside the resort that has a better atmosphere and better prices. The contrast is considerable and a good incentive to make the effort to write a Trip Advisor review.

Clearly people rate more highly cheap drink prices, fun atmosphere and friendly staff more than beachfront location, leather sofas and expensive wine.

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