Offers an ambiance so laid-back its almost Horizontal…

by Mick and Di Barker

If I ever get my dream commission to write a guide on the best beach bars in the world, then Drifters Beach Café on Na Jomtien Beach would be an indispensible addition.  If you haven’t chilled out at this unpretentious beach hang out yet, then now is the time to head out to the golden sands of Na Jomtien, kick back, relax and enjoy the simple pleasures of beach life.  It certainly ticks all our boxes:  an ambiance so laid back it’s almost horizontal,  a backdrop of  tropical paradise proportions, craft beers to slake the thirst and beyond borders chow. 

On approach you’d be forgiven for thinking the bar-cum café had been pieced together with driftwood but that is exactly its rustic charm.  It’s set on the water’s edge and seating is either on the tall bar stools overlooking the beach (our preferred spot), at the batik clothed tables or on an iconic deckchair set directly on the beach for that toes-in-the-sand vibe.  Famous for it’s jugs of Margaritas and their artisanal pizzas it reels in travellers from around the world, expats, locals and tourists.

Owned by a charismatic expat from Darwin with his wife, Mon, who wields the baton over her kitchen, it operates at a steady pace with the wood-fired oven disgorging a succession of their top notch molten pizzas.   Classic Aussie pies are naturally high up there on the menu and are all priced at B.185.  Made with a short crust base and flaky top they are available with fillings of rich beef mince, steak and potato, steak and kidney, steak or chicken with mushroom, spinach and potato in a cream sauce or broccoli and pumpkin in a yummy cheese sauce.  Additions of gravy, mushy peas and chips are always popular add-ons to boost the experience.

Under the “Mains ‘n Stodge” listing hot dogs come topped with salsa or chilli, plus two tasty newbies, pulled pork and pastrami in long rolls.  The world’s three most requested pastas, carbonara, bolognese (B.165) and napolitana are  the hot favourites here as are the sweet potato wedges, fried chicken mid-wings (B.95), the nachos with jalapeno peppers and cheese plus the extra large sausage roll (B.125). Tacos are full to bursting with your choice of filling while the beef stew piled high on toast with garlic bread (B.220) is a trencherman’s undertaking.

Although only a small selection of Thai items they are all big on recommendations.  Do try either the tom yam kung (spicy prawn soup) or the tom khaa ghai (spicy chicken soup) to appreciate the complexities of Thai flavouring.  chicken massaman, Penang ghai and the tangy Thai salad all have their admirers.

It all started with pizzas and they are undoubtedly still the best sellers.  Over the years they have been perfected, honed and refined with the choice of toppings diverse and atypical.  Choices from their 21-long list  include the quintessential margherita (B.220) through prosciutto with mushrooms, seafood with crab, prawns and Mozzarella, but our favourite (until we tasted the smoked salmon) was vegetarian with tomatoes, olives, garlic, onion, rocket, bell peppers and mushrooms but with extra salami. Hawaiian is another top seller but they are all much in demand from 11.00 am until  well after the setting sun.  Look out for the bacon and egg and the pizzalicious cross eyed crab (masses of blue crab chunks on creamy mozzarella.

The demand for craft beers has soared recently and DBC has taken in this trend and is now stocking premium craft beers from the across the globe including America and Japan plus a whole range of stouts, porters and IPA’s. 

From the soft drinks we liked the ginger beer fizz plus of course there’s those famous cocktails, ciders, shooters, glasses and carafes of house wine plus carefully curated bottles.  Also, the latest (and most potent) shot on offer is genuine Tennessee moonshine.  It comes in ball mason jars the way it did way back.  It’s distilled in the moonshine heartland and is a must try for you’all who want something unique.

Drifter’s Beach Café is a true bonza place, no pretensions here, just great food, convivial company and a happy atmosphere.  In truth, this is just about the most relaxed place in the world to nurse a beer and watch the kite surfers cruise by.

How to get there:  Located on Na Jomtien Beach just past the Kilometer 154 marker and Wat Na Jomtien.  Heading south from Jomtien on Sukhunvit Highway make a U-turn after the Shell station on your right.   Soi 8 is marked for the Pinnacle Hotel.  Follow the road to the bottom and turn right.  500 metres on the left hand side you will see Drifter’s Beach Café.

NB:  Some quoted prices may have risen by publication date.

Tel:  087 743 2319 Open daily (except Mondays) from 11.00 am to 10.00 pm.   Visit www.driftersbeachapartments.com for more information.

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