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Where everybody knows your name.  Well, at least Sam said, "Welcome to the neighborhood, Andrew."  But I'm putting the cart before the horse.  The area around our Soi became the backpacker's neighborhood  and was centered around the Malaysia hotel.  There was one bar in the neighborhood, Wong's Place, which somehow became a world renowned dive bar.  

Wong's Place...Courtesy of CNNgo.com
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Now, if you know me, you know that I absolutely love dive bars.  This one definitely qualifies. First of all, the aforementioned Sam is of Chinese descent and was actually a bodyguard for a Thai senator when his brother opened the bar.  Unfortunately, Sam's brother died of a heart attack in 2003, and the bar closed.  Several newspapers wrote articles about the bar and the front of the bar was covered in flowers and cards from across the world.  According to CNN:

After a few weeks of soul searching, he took leave from the senator and restarted Wong’s bar, a process that required a lot of hard work. News of Wong’s Place's reopening spread and people as far as Stockholm booked flights to be there on reopening night -- around six months after it shut -- with over 500 people cramming into the tiny bar. 
“It was definitely standing room only and people still couldn’t fit so they stood around out front," he says.
We've now been to Wong's the last two weekends.  There is no table service - you have to walk up to the cooler and grab your own beers.  The place is tiny, and Sam and his staff have been eating dinner when we arrived relatively early at 11am.  Part of this place's mystique is that it has no set operating hours, it just opens when Sam feels like opening it and closes when he's done, usually around dawn I'm told.


Us at Wong's...I might have had a few too many but I was drinking for 3 (NOT pregnant alert!)
So as you can see, the walls are lined with photos of regulars . . . and apparently they have hookah!  By far the best part of the bar is the VHS collection.  When we walked in the first time, they were playing an old Beach Boys concert.  On a side note, the Beach Boys got way too old to sing about being cool at school.  It just comes off as lame.  Then, luckily for us, the bartender changed to and 80s mix.  We got hits (with scrolling lyrics) from Cheap Trick, NKOTB, Cyndi Lauper, Human League, REO Speedwagon, and the Bangles.  Do you guys remember how cheesy videos in the 80s were?  And can you still say "sand dance"? Also, some of the songs were even worse than Lady Gaga if you can believe it!  I'm looking at you Altered Images.  Last weekend, we got BB King (!!) and some bizarro 70s stuff.  Really bizarre.

So, we have our new neighborhood haunt that makes up for still not having The Last Drop. If you're coming out Bangkok, we're probably going to take you there to tip a few.  

5 comments:

  1. Thanks for the clarification :) Can't wait to check it out!

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  2. I'm coming to Bangkok on Friday, September 30 and I'll be there until Ryan and I head south at the end of the next week. See you at Wong's?

    Juliette

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  3. You know we'll be there! Send me an email with your phone number so we can meet up at some point with you and your grungy boyfriend.

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  4. AWESOME. I like Sam's principles.

    ReplyDelete

 
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