Connect with us

Thai Life

Video Report: Fight for your rights – Don’t drink more, drink better

Legacy Phuket Gazette

Published

 on 

PHUKET: Two critical issues plague the Phuket drinking scene: terrible drinks, and terrible service. The number of watered-down something-or-other and cokes served on this island that take 20 minutes to get, and are delivered with anything but a smile, is abysmal.

“Just because you’re on a beach in Phuket doesn’t mean you should be satisfied with a [expletive] drink,” says Richard “Liquid Playground” Gillam, as he lounges at Xana Beach Club after another day of training the club’s staff.

After 15 years in the game playing a range of roles, from bartender and gastronomic molecular mixologist to avant garde cocktail glassware designer and bar designer, Richard isn’t your average consumer.

But after managing The Kenilwirth Cocktail Lounge, one of the top cocktail bars in the world, this man has an idea of what we want – more so, perhaps, want we need.

“How many drinks have you sent back, compared to food?” he asks. “If you think about the prices… A burger can be 500 baht, but go [somewhere] and get a [expletive] rum and coke, and they try to charge you 350-400. I’m going to have 10 of these and one burger. I’ll happily send [the burger] back, but I’ll drink 10 crap drinks and not say a thing,” Richard points out.

“People need to stop being so easily pleased with drinks. Send it back, and have them make it again.”

Easy for Richard to say. Most of us schmucks simply don’t know we can get better… and sometimes, once we get going, it’s hard to remember that we can.

“I don’t say drink more. I never say drink more. I say drink better,” Richard explains.

Richard Gillam at Xana Beach Club talks about taking cocktails to the next level. Video: PGTV

“If you go out and can afford to have 10 drinks, most people will have 10 drinks – spend it all. Why not spend the same amount on seven drinks and have a more expensive spirit? Just try it.

“You’ll probably enjoy the drink more, and your hangover, if you have one, won’t be as bad, so you’ll be able to remember it as well.”

Now, Richard isn’t insinuating that everyone needs to be shelling out 600 baht per drink – which, when made by him, are gastronomic masterpieces. Imagine spherified (liquid shaped into spheres which visually and texturally resemble caviar) booze in a tantalizing glass, with the aroma of rosemary wafting up in waves of cold, freeze-dried ice steam – he can make that happen.

“I’d rather teach this [basic ratios for creating an endless number of drinks], and how to shake, how to strain and why ice matters.

“It’s not about following recipes. If you get bored of making traditional mojitos, use raspberry jam instead of simple syrup,” he explains.

The bottom line, however, isn’t the drink (that’s Richard talking), it’s the service.

A week spent in the Phuket bar scene, from go-gos in Patong to the exclusive beach clubs in the north, might leave few questions in a visitor’s mind about the concept of “service” – not that there aren’t exceptions.

The moments when a waitress seems to be on the verge of tossing a drink in a customer’s face are a welcome change to an inattentive wait-staffer who avoids eye contact for 30 minutes before meandering over to see if a customer actually happened by the pub for a drink, and not just to hide from the heat.

“Waitresses, bar backs, bartenders, bar managers – they all have the same job. Their job is to assure that when someone leaves the bar, they leave happier than when they came in. Full stop. Thats all.”

It’s true. So many seasonal tourists, whether they are seeking a break from oil rigs west of Perth or a mundane office job in England, end up at the same bars every year, because those bars offer more than just drinks (get your mind out of the gutter).

“And there is no excuse. You do that, and it’s golden. All this stuff [mixology] is not important compared to that, so hopefully we’re going to see a change soon.”

Though perhaps a bit optimistic about swift changes throughout Phuket, Richard provides an example for those in the service industry, and there is little doubt that if bars and clubs make an effort to embody his ideals and take drink-making and customer service to the next level, they will reap the rewards.

image

— Isaac Stone Simonelli

 

Get more from The Thaiger

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS
👋 Have your say on our Thailand forums
🔔 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
📺 Subscribe / Join YouTube for daily shows
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🐦 FOLLOW us on Twitter
📷 FOLLOW us on Instagram

image

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Coronavirus (Covid-19)31 mins ago

Autopsy results for woman who died after mixing vaccines

Coronavirus (Covid-19)5 hours ago

Covid UPDATE Saturday: 14,260 new infections, news briefs

Thailand10 hours ago

Department head predicts Covid-19 could last up to another year

Welcome back to Thailand!

Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in Thailand - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages!

World12 hours ago

Swedish prison hostage situation resolved with pizza

Thailand13 hours ago

Minister: Foreigners, migrant workers are cared for amid Covid-19

Coronavirus (Covid-19)17 hours ago

“Withhold Intubation” for certain older Thammasat Hospital patients

image
Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Coronavirus (Covid-19)18 hours ago

Bang Sue vaccination centre open for expats 60+, under must wait

Coronavirus News & Updates18 hours ago

“Covid-19” deaths said to cause crematorium in Bangkok to partially collapse

Thailand18 hours ago

Nakhon Sawan farmers make large profits growing fingerroot as Covid cure

Coronavirus (Covid-19)19 hours ago

Leaked document: military arranging private Moderna vaccines

Thailand20 hours ago

Nakhon Si Thammarat arrest drug suspect hiding in jar

Media20 hours ago

19 year old man drowns in a Kanchanaburi river while rescuing his puppy

Thailand20 hours ago

Online registration site up for interprovincial travel permission

Thailand20 hours ago

Thailand News Today | Sandbox tweak, ‘filthy rich’ visa, Chon Buri restrictions | July 23

Phuket21 hours ago

18 infections today in Phuket creeps closer to 90/week threshold

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism5 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism5 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism5 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8

Trending