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There are quite a few great reasons to visit Lamai if you don’t already live there but by far one of the best reasons, for residents and visitors to the island, is the Swing Bar and Rich Resort.
There are so many different elements to the Swing Bar. For a start it has a fabulous beach front location, and as it is behind McDonalds it is pretty easy to find. Although there is not an abundance of parking directly in front of the resort/bar there is plenty in very easy walking distance and actually a car park a few hundred yards away that is normally unmanned and only 20 baht when it is.
The Swing Bar is vast. It is quite a hard place to describe but think TGI Friday’s meets an English country pub, meets a tropical beach bar and you will be somewhere close. The centerpiece of the bar is the actual bar that is huge and square and has swings all the way down the right hand side. The ceiling here is quite high, so the fans have been lowered very cleverly down to a level where you will reap the benefit. The wooden tubes that hide the wires have been fitted with funky lighting effects that look amazing after dark. The size of the bar makes it really ideal to go with lots of friends and also ideal if you are alone or in a small group and want to interact with others. There are three huge TV’s and a projector screen for your favorite sports.
The bar area has a large dining area and what is particularly cool about the tables is the individual low level lights above each table that add a really intimate and romantic feeling at night and make you completely forget you are in a vast area, not that there is anything wrong with the size that accommodates a large live band area, three pool tables and ocean and beach views. Back to lighting, the whole place has been really thoughtfully lit in a way that really compliments the environment and it even has a couple of London style cluster street lights that add a bit of quirkiness to the largely wooden environment. Getting the lighting wrong in bar of this size would be a disaster, getting right, which they have done here, produces something really special
The beach front area is vast and has over sixty sun loungers that guests are welcome to use and many do. Do not be deceived if you walk past the bar and think it is empty, as the main bar area is raised from the beach, a glimpse from the outside hides the fact that there are plenty of customers enjoying beers, great food and cocktails on the beach. And talking of beer, every bar professes to have ice cold beer, but they rarely do, Swing Bar however certainly do serve really ice cold beer that is seriously refreshing.
Another great reason to visit the Swing Bar is the food. Let’s start with the breakfast. What is really great about the ridiculously low priced breakfast is that you can create your own by picking from a list of what you want. The price remains the same no matter which four items you choose and they include eggs, sausages, ham, mushrooms, baked beans, fresh tomatoes, tinned tomatoes, potatoes, cornflakes, pancakes, toast, baguettes, croissant, chocolate croissant and juice!
The menu, that was re hashed in August, opens onto a specials of the day list and then its right into the vast array of snacks. The Mozzarella fingers are a great dish to nibble on while you are chatting to friends, as are the nachos, cashew nuts, onion rings, mushroom tempura, spring rolls, sate and tempura. If you fancy something a bit more singular try the chicken or fish nugget baskets, toasties – Swing Bar Style, Green Mango with Spicy Sauce or the delicious burgers that include a Cajun Chicken burger that is to die for. If you want something really special then try the Jack Daniels Burger and if you like things the way only you like them then build your own by adding either cheese, ham, mozzarella, pineapple, bacon, sausage, fried egg, mushrooms or chicken breast!
The menu has a great range of reasonably priced sandwiches and salads. The Swing Bar Salad is hearty and fresh and contains ham, cheese, tomatoes, onions, corn, carrots, eggs cabbage and cucumber. There are some great soups, the Broccoli and Cheese is delicious and of course there is a great Thai menu with all of the usual dishes.
The pasta dishes are also great value and the Cajun Shrimp or chicken pasta will more than exceed your expectations. The entire Italian section of the menu is pretty outstanding, this could have something to do with the manager having Italian roots, even though he grew up in Monaco! The Swing Focaccia blue cheese with tomato sauce, mozzarella with olives and onions comes highly recommended and deservedly so!
So what about good honest pub grub then? Well you won’t leave disappointed in this area either. The menu has good old fashioned Fish and Chips, Chili Con Carne, Cordon Blue, Port Chops and Lamb chops but to name a few!
But if you really want to give yourself a treat then go for the Jack Daniels Grill and choose from Chicken and Shrimp, Ribs, Sirloin and Shrimp, Ribs and Shrimp or just chicken or tenderloin. If you really can’t decide then order the meat lovers platter for two, or one with a healthy appetite and feast on chicken breast, pork tenderloin, half a rack of ‘fall off the bone” ribs beef sirloin, chicken wings and a side of French fries and coleslaw!
If you are fan of BBQ seafood then the grill fires up at 6pm and you will be given appetizers while you wait! Or you can pick from tiger prawns, white or red snapper, tuna steak, barracuda, lobsters, shark steak, squid, clams or crab and have it fried, steamed or deep fried and enjoy it with garlic butter, soya sauce, garlic sauce, pepper sauce, lemon and chili sauce ginger and herbs, chili sauce, sweet chili sauce, plum and ginger sauce, sweet and sour sauce, curry sauce or tamarind sauce!
What is super great about the menu is not only is there a chili symbol to tell you how hot the various dishes are but a peanut symbol too so anybody with a peanut allergy has nothing to worry about.
So what is for dessert? Well ice cream and pancakes, deep fried ice cream, crepe nutella, the most delicious lemon meringue pie ever! Trio of chocolate mousse that is off the scale when it come to decadent, but pleasingly not harsh and bitter like any desserts of this style, the white mousse cake mixed with red berries is also top of the list and if you are after Italian try the Affogato! The presentation of the desserts is nothing less than you would expect to find in a five star restaurant, in fact the presentation in general is way better than you would expect in what is fundamentally a bar!
The drinks menu is vast and comprehensive and has frozen shots, shots, virgin cocktails, premium cocktails that can be enjoyed in a glass or a jug. There are soft drinks, fruit drinks, milk shakes, fruit shakes, liquor coffees, buckets, bottle sets, mojitos in vide variety of flavores and Shishas! And of course it has to be worth mentioning that the staff that serve your food and drinks are fabulous, well presented, friendly and efficient and of course also worth a mention is that the menu is in English, Thai, Russian and French! You can pay by credit card if cash is not your thing and there is free wifi.
If you are staying in the Rich resort across the road from the bar, but under the same ownership and management you get 10% discount. There are 48 rooms in four different styles to choose from.
So what else is going on, if that is not enough to temp you, well how about the Monday and Friday night parties? The parties at the Swing Bar are legendary and start around 7pm. There is great music, loads of room on the vast beach, limbo games, balloon games, a bottle juggling show, a human firework and fire dancers and its free entry to the party! Of course the sounds of the ocean are always in the background party night or not!
In summary the Swing Bar is a great place to be, Chef Christophe and his team will make sure you leave feeing thoroughly satisfied food wise and manger Sebastian will make sure nothing else during your visit is left to chance and if you get chance to sit him down and have chat then go for it, he is most entertaining and a thoroughly nice guy!
For more information and lots of photos of the bar and the legendary parties visit the Swing Bar Facebook page by clicking HERE