Samui Wining & Dining

If you plan on celebrating St Patrick’s Day on Samui, you’re spoilt for choice.





There are a few things that all Irishmen have in common, other than a penchant for drinking before noon! They’re a lively bunch, who are blessed with the gift of the gab, a great sense of humour and an unusual love of potatoes. But that’s not all they love, and it would be a challenge to find an Irishman (or woman for that matter) who doesn’t like a good pint of beer.


        There’s a saying, ‘May the luck of the Irish be with you.’ Well, luckily for us on Samui, we don’t have to travel thousands of kilometres to the green hills of Ireland to enjoy a good pint in true Irish style. An Irish father-and-son team have made Samui their home, and brought all that is Irish to Samui, with four themed restaurant/pubs. Father, Derek Watson, is an ex Northern Ireland international football player, playing for his country back in 1968, and son Paul, is an avid football supporter, so, you’ll find Irish football memorabilia in all their pubs. Tropical Murphy’s, located on Chaweng Beach Road opposite McDonalds, has been keeping patrons in high spirits for more than a decade, and turns 13 years old this March. Not that the Irish need much reason for a celebratory drink, but with St Patrick’s Day being on 17th March and it being birthday month, it’s a good reason to head down to Tropical Murphy’s for a pint (or a few) and some good ‘pub grub’.



        Speaking of grub, you’ll find hearty, wholesome fare at Tropical Murphy’s, which is just what you’re after to line the stomach before tucking into a pint of draught (we’ll get back to the beers in a bit). Chatting to owner, Paul, we asked him which dish he recommends, and not surprisingly, old Irish favourite, ‘shepherd’s pie’ is one of the best sellers. It’s made from homemade mince, potatoes and vegetables in rich gravy, and topped with a layer of crispy potato. Equally as popular are the not-quite-so-Irish fajitas, which arrive sizzling in a hot pan, with your choice of chicken, pork or beef. They’re served with fresh tortillas, salsa, cheese, sour cream and refried beans. The menu at Tropical Murphy’s is diverse and covers everything from light meals and snacks to hearty Irish stews and even a good selection of Thai food. And with the pub being open from 9:00 am to 2:00 am, there’s a great breakfast menu too.


         But it’s no doubt the beer you’ve been waiting to hear about, and as Paul says, “Starbucks do coffee, we do beer.” And judging by the jovial atmosphere in Tropical Murphy’s, there’s no doubt they do beer well. There’s a wide selection of local and imported bottled beer, and 12 kinds of draught beer too. A substantial amount of money was spent on putting in a state-of-the-art draught beer system to keep the brews at the optimal temperature for enjoyment. The kegs are stored at 2°C in the cold room to keep the contents fresh and in a stable condition. From there, the draught is pumped to the bar taps, running alongside glycol lines, which are at -2°C. A final heat exchanger takes out any heat picked up along the way, to give you a perfect pint at 1°C, a great way to cool down in the tropical heat!


          Right, so we have good grub, a perfect pint, and all that is needed is a great atmosphere and setting to round it all off. Well, Tropical Murphy’s doesn’t fall short here. Downstairs, you’ll find a few tables outside along the street, perfect for peoplewatching, and inside traditional bar counter seating, tables and booths, and a free jukebox lets you pick your favourite jingles to get you in a party mood. Several perfectly positioned TVs allow patrons to keep up with the latest sporting events, and here you can follow the football, rugby, formula one racing, cricket and G.A.A (Irish sports). To most Irish, lifting a heavy pint of Guinness is a sport in itself, but if you’re feeling a little more energetic, head upstairs for some traditional bar sports, where you can partake in a friendly game of darts or pool, or even enjoy a golf game.


          With the success of Tropical Murphy’s Paul opened two other Irish establishments. While Tropical Murphy’s is more of a sports bar, Max Murphy’s has a stronger focus on food, and serves ‘gourmet pub grub’. Of course, there’s still the great beer selection too, and you’ll still find TVs to watch the sport, it’s just a little more sophisticated. You’ll find two branches, one being in Nathon near the police station, down a side road that leads to the sea, and the other is at the departures area of the airport. So no matter if you’re leaving the island by plane or by ferry, you’ll be able to enjoy your last great meal and pint of draught before heading off, so get to the airport or ferry terminal early to calm the travel jitters with a pint or two.


          Last, but most certainly not least, is the Irish Times, a firm favourite with expats, as it’s located a little away from the tourist hubs. Heading towards Chaweng from Bophut, on the ring-road shortly before Tesco, is a modern building development with shops, businesses and apartments as well as ample parking. Here, you’ll find the Irish Times, centrally located to meet up with friends or to stop for a great meal before heading to Tesco to run errands. Dad Derek heads up this establishment, and it offers the same great favourite dishes and beer selection.


          Max Murphy’s Nathon is open daily from 9:00 am until 1:00 am, while the airport branch is open from 8:00 am until the last plane leaves. The Irish Times operates from 10:00 am (Perhaps Derek sleeps a little later than his son?) until 2:00 am. So no matter the time of day, or where you are on the island, you’re not far from a great meal and an ice-cold pint. And we’ll end on another great Irish saying in honour of St Patrick’s Day: “Here’s to a long life and a merry one. A quick death and an easy one. A pretty girl and an honest one. A cold pint and another one!”




 Rosanne Turner



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