Now Catch on Surin Beach is no more, residents -both Farang and Thai- between Layan and Surin are looking for somewhere to drop in and catch up for a drink and a chat. Of course there is always BB’s- the pub for golfers or Peppers- the sports-bar opposite in Cherngtalay, but where is a good mixed bar? HQ has semi replaced Catch and is on the north end of Kamala, but there are often police road blocks both north and south of HQ.
I sense there are only 3:
- Luca Cini – A Wine Story on Boat Avenue,
- Benny’s on the southern end of Bangtao and
- Siam Supper Club (but Sean won’t let RL magazine publish my story on his place)
Whilst England may have its village pubs, in Europe they tend to be coffee shops, bistros or wine bars where people hang out – with tables spreading out on the footpath to chat and watch the world go by. In Luca Cini we have this very much on Friday (market night) on Boat Avenue, Cherngtalay.
You can either buy food from the market, just 10 paces away and match it yourself to one of over 100 bottles of Italian wine, or if you are really lazy you can just order the simple wine bar food from inside. There is a tag on each wine not only telling you where it is from but also what is the best food and wine pairing. Prices range from 700 baht up with the average being about 1,700 baht. It seems 80% of the wine is either drunk on the premises or is for take home- doesn’t matter the price is the same.
A look any day shows that 70% of those in Luca Cini are either Thai or Expats and with lots of women. The shop is normally open from 11:00 AM until about 9:00 PM but that really depends on how long the last customer stays- you won’t be thrown out early.
The Name? Well its simple- Luca Cini is the owner and he comes from Marche on the East Cost of Italy and the opposite coast to Tuscany which is on the west coast. He has been in the wine business 15 years which included almost 3 years in Hong Kong. As Luca tells the story, he and his wife were working long hours and took a short holiday to Koh Samui and fell in love with Thailand that lead to a move to Phuket and opening their shop on Christmas Day 2014.
Luca is always happy to chat about his wines and suggest some different ones to try and seems to be ably supported by Iddy, an elegant and organized Thai lady.
By Ian Lancaster