Jane King, an interesting Thai lady, has seen the Queen Victoria Inn expand and contract and the fortunes of “Soi Half Dozen” businesses made and lost. She has been at the helm of the Queen Victoria Inn (Soi 6), with her husband Vic, since its inception around 21 years ago. In that time, Pattaya has seen businesses rise and fall, but the Queen Victoria Inn is still there. How?
I spent an interesting afternoon with Vic exploring two decades of life in Soi 6. First, the Inn got its name from the very successful British TV serial East Enders set in and around a Queen Victoria Inn in London’s East End. The eponymous Inn on Soi 6 had 33 rooms and was then easily recognizable to all the British tourists. (Tourists? Remember them?)
This was when the success of the Queen’s restaurant relied on the King’s business acumen. Keeping food costs down was the answer so they opened a meat supply outlet to service their own restaurant. Like the accommodation side, this did very well and deliveries blossomed all over Pattaya and further afield. Called Prime Food Service it was another success, but with the number of restaurants dwindling in Pattaya, it has been a case of hanging on in there.
“Then came Covid!” said Vic, with a finality in his voice.
“How did you last?” I asked.
“We didn’t,” said Vic. “We closed for 10 months!” However, as a master stroke, the staff were retained and when the Pandemic eased, Queen Victoria Inn was up and ready to go.
The Queen Vic opened in October 2001, with the Kings having decided that Soi 6 needed a place of tranquility where customers could relax in comfort, enjoy a drink or a sumptuous meal. That was the plan and now Queen Vic includes a pub, the restaurant and 33 Budget hotel rooms and I am told they are Guest Friendly.
The Queen Vic has survived by providing quality and the meals are certainly of good value with weekly and daily specials and a traditional Sunday Carvery. All this and an interior which is just as “English” as the exterior.
The menu includes a Full English Breakfast, and a Ploughman’s Lunch and a traditional British Fish & Chips with Peas, and a Sunday Buffet from midday to 19.00hrs
Outside the pub I discussed Soi 6 with Vic and he rather felt that the cosmopolitan ambience had unfortunately been lost with the enforced furlough brought about by Covid. From a thriving soi it had become an empty shell other than a few entertainment locations. However, having looked at Soi 6 from afar during these two years myself, I felt that despite problems, the soi was definitely recovering, and a healthy Queen Victoria Inn is lifting the spirits of the entrepreneurs, but it was obvious that Vic felt that the jury was still out on that one.