Home > Dining > Drinks > So we talked Pattaya bar culture with Plug Kronchawan of Bar Voyage
So we talked Pattaya bar culture with Plug Kronchawan of Bar Voyage

Pattaya is not only for old men looking for love anymore. Even a good cocktail isn’t hard to find. So, we talked to Plug Kronchawan of Bar Voyage.

When people think of serious cocktail bars, Pattaya may not crack the top five. After all, Bangkok is a large hub. Chiang Mai has its own community. Phuket has a lot of destinations to put on the bucket list. Now before you hit all the parties and beach bars, Bar Voyage might just be your new favourite hangout spot.

Kronchawan ‘Plug’ Natemarn, previously of Thonglor’s 008 and Midsummer Night’s Dream, created a signature menu inspired by port cities. From Pattaya to Japan, it’s a voyage around the world through ingredients and techniques.

Recently, we hopped on the van, busted down the doors, and asked him about his story. Here’s how it went.

[Hero and featured image credit: Bar Voyage]

So we talked Pattaya bar culture with Plug Kronchawan of Bar Voyage

Image credit: Bar Voyage

How did Bar Voyage come to be?

The owner of Bar Voyage is already working in real estate, so when he found the space between Once Pattaya (a condominium) and a Hilton that’s under construction, we felt that it’s the right spot for the next bar, after Midsummer Night’s Dream and Lost in Thaislation.

Bar Voyage’s concept is to take guests on a yacht to different destinations through ingredients from those places, turning them into cocktails. All 12 of the signatures are twists on classic cocktails.

Why open a bar in Pattaya?

When you’re looking for a serious craft cocktail bar, it’s so hard to find one in Pattaya. It’s a cosmopolitan city that has a lot of tourism value filled with so many kinds of people.

People in Pattaya, both residents or just visiting, know more about cocktails as time goes on. Of course, bars such as Ronin and Darkness have been serving cocktails before we arrived. They also helped us a lot by sharing knowledge and ingredients that made it easier for us to complete the menu.

I see Pattaya soon to become another destination when it comes to cocktails — as much as Bangkok or Chiang Mai.

Image credit: Bar Voyage

What’s the cocktail you’re most proud to present?

“Pattaya” is the one I’m most proud of. I wanted to present something new yet keep it local in order to represent Pattaya. I used sea crab to bridge the gap between food, which is what the city is known for, and drinks, which is what we’re doing.

Pattaya is a tall, tequila-based drink with redistilled sea crab, homemade coconut blossom syrup, fresh lime juice, grapefruit soda, and topped with foam made from sato (Thai rice wine) and sea salt.

Have you always been fond of classics, seeing as the menu is full of classic twists?

I’ve always worked in cocktail bars with a strong focus on classics. “Pattaya” is a twist from the Paloma. “Amalfi Coast” from the Bloody Mary.

My absolute favourite classic is the Vesper Martini. There’s only three ingredients, but it’s so hard to make it taste good. It has become a challenge for me to create a Vesper that I’d like to make, and it’s still a process till now.

The same goes for a lot of classics. The Daiquiri, for example, has three ingredients, yet it’s very hard to get it just right.

So, what makes a Vesper a good Vesper?

Depends on the customer. When it comes to making a cocktail, it’s so subjective that I can argue that there’s no good or bad, rather more of if the customer likes it or not. Some would prefer if you amp up the vodka, some already like the ratio. Shaken or stirred, nothing wrong, just preferences.

Image credit: Bar Voyage

What’s the weirdest order you’ve ever received?

Spirits, on the rocks, but without ice. Also, a highball without soda.

Which are your favourite bars in Bangkok?

Bar Us and Messengerservice — I love all the elements they combine into a drink. P’ Aum and P’ Taln are so technical, and there are no drinks I didn’t like when I visited.

Any advice to new bartenders in the industry?

Ask yourself why you want to be a bartender. There’s a lot of elements to being a bartender. It’s not just about putting liquor into a glass, it’s also about meeting people, talking to customers, creating something that is not to be below the set standard.

You need to educate yourself on different spirits, and how to utilise them. If that glass isn’t what it’s supposed to be, would you still serve it? Find your own pride in being a bartender.

Bar Voyage, 15, 99 Chaloem Phrakiat 1, Pattaya City, Bang Lamung District, Chon Buri. Open daily, 6pm-2am.

So we talked Pattaya bar culture with Plug Kronchawan of Bar Voyage

Vichayuth Chantan

Digital Writer, Drinks and Dining

Writer by day and skinny legend by night, Vichayuth focuses on the hospitality industry of Thailand. You'll often find him at a bar finding new friends, discovering new drinks, and silently judging you from across the room.

Never miss an update

Subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest updates.

No Thanks
You’re all set

Thank you for your subscription.