The revival of tourism in Thailand’s favourite seaside resort has also boosted Jomtien and Pattaya bridge club with session numbers now over 30 players. The club meets Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 12.30 pm and is popular with tourists as well as long-term expats. Chairman Jeremy Watson said, “We have a loyal base of supporters all year round, but there are increasing numbers of snowbirds from northern Europe who are escaping the icy temperatures.”
The new base is MeatStuff Pattaya, the resort’s popular wholesale and retail supplier of premium meat products, off Soi 8 on Thepprasit Road. General manager Steve Kerr said, “A bonus for us is that the bridge players also buy lots of pies, sausages and cheese from our delicatessen or eat lunch in our restaurant.” He added that all cheeses were imported from Europe and that the principal baker is Steve Mines who has worked professionally in Thailand for 20 years.
The bridge club was founded in 1994 and was trouble-free until 2016 when it was raided by the Department of Provincial Administration after a “concerned citizen” reported an alleged hive of gambling activities. The charges, hotly dismissed by club executives as ridiculous, did not proceed to court and were cancelled after an inquiry by the provincial governor. Bridge was introduced into Thailand by King Rama VI and the country has been an international competition venue since the 1940s.