Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Ode to Thaimes Bar

Win and Tway BFF
Win and Tway, most excellent bartenders

From my first unsure entrance into Thaimes Bar, I have been made to feel at home by the two friendly bartenders Win and Tway as well as the interesting mixing pot clientele of NGO workers and Burmese. Like Cheers, its nice to go where everyone knows your name, and where you know your friends will be if they feel like being social that evening. The atmosphere is buttressed by a triangle-pillow and low table seating area, a ten foot snooker table, darts, and a patio. No prostitutes are tolerated to come in, so the problem of having working girls (or lady boys) bothering you is eliminated.

I have fostered many friendships here with different NGO volunteers and workers. Dutch, English, Canadian, Australian, German personalities stir up interesting conversation with varied worldviews. At Thaimes, we can vent frustrations about the NGO lifestyle, enjoy humorous aspects of living in Mae Sot, or put together future work connections.

Never before have I been to an establishment that has treated its guests like family. Win and Tway deliver great service, but bar self service is allowed as well. In the spirit of trust, payment is not expected every night instead tabs can extend for weeks. Win has a habit of serenading friends with guitar and song until the early hours of the morning while Tway is usually eager to hold down his title of snooker champion. The hours of Thaimes are flexible, meaning if patrons are willing to stay until eight in the morning, it stays open. I have taken this road once or twice on a Friday. At sunrise the monks start walking the streets for alms which is a good heads up that it is time to run home.

Although unadvertised, all proceeds from Thaimes Bar support a local school for migrant children. Legend has it that there are 3 founding fathers, 2 NGO workers who wanted to support the school and also a 22-year-old professional online poker player who was passing through and dropped $2,000 on the project, but this is unverified information.

Win singing in Burmese