I like Hanrahan’s. I like it so much I have been eating there on a regular basis over the past couple of months for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
The food is great, good hamburger, excellent fish pie, succulent pork ribs, good breakfast special before noon, the view out the window is good entertainment, and a couple of the waitresses are very pretty.
I just don’t like the water scam they run – 50 baht for a bottle of privately bottled faucet water and when you ask for “water” with your meal they bring the bottle over, open it, and pour it before you can object.
So when I don’t want to drink coke, I have been asking for “tap water” or free water. Translated to English, I ask for a glass of water with ice not bottled water.
I have done this 3 or 4 times in the last month. The first couple of times there was no problem but today there was a big problem.
I ordered lunch with a friend and asked for “tap water” and the 300 baht Big Breakfast.
A bottled water was brought and being familiar with the water scam, I stopped the waitress from opening it and explained that I wanted “tap water” or “free water”.
She left with the unopened water and returned after a long delay with a glass of water.
At one point I wanted a refill, so when the waitress was near the table I asked her for another in polite Thai by pointing at my glass and saying “aw iik na kha”. The waitress nodded an acknowledgement but never bought the water.
After awhile I called her over to the table and told her again that I wanted her to refill my water glass.
Another glass of water was brought after a long delay by a different waitress.
Throughout this whole process, voices were never raised, impolite words were not exchanged and most of the time I was smiling.
When our checks were presented, they were presented by the head waitress. When she returned with our change, she delivered the change with a lecture which basically went:
We gave you a break this time but next time no more free water.
The tone of voice and the message reminded of The Soup Nazi from Seinfeld.
I didn’t say anything in response just looked her right in the eye until she became embarrassed and walked away.
My friend and I paid our checks and left chuckling all the way.
I don’t know the moral of this story but I guess the free water policy at Hanrahan’s exists no more.
I don’t know if this should be labelled a scam or just American marketing coming to The Reservation.
It’s happened to me twice at Hanrahans on Soi 4. The first time I wrote it off as an accident. The second time forces the conclusion that it is Hanrahan policy. A policy that is just a ripoff of unsuspecting customers.
What happens is you ask for water with your meal.
At other restaurants, a bottle of water and glass of ice are brought and the charge is typically 15 THB.
At Hanrahans, a “designer” bottle of water is brought and the charge is 50 THB – >3 times the customary charge and not that far from a bottle of cheap beer. Before you can say anything, the waitress has opened the bottle and poured it into the glass. No time for an objection. Most of the time, the customer is unaware they are being stuck with an unrequested bottled water that costs 400% more than normal.
What you get is not really a designer water like Perrier or Pelegrino (which you would have to explicitly order) but a bottle of tap water with a label that is produced and sold to restaurants for exactly this purpose. These are the same bottled waters that are provided free to poker players at Los Angeles casinos that say “Commerce Casino” on the label but are just tap water placed in a bottle. In the U.S. they cost about 10 cents in bulk.
Chains and upscale restaurants in L.A. run the same sort of scam with water and ice tea. Order ice tea which usually costs $1-$2, comes in a refillable glass with ice and the waitress will ask you if you want regular, passion fruit, or herbal. If you answer anything but regular, a privately branded bottled ice tea is brought that costs $4-$5. Frequently its brought to the table with the cap unscrewed and pre-poured making an objection difficult.
Same cheesy trick being played by Hanrahans on Soi 4.
In the marketing literature this is referred to as an upsell but when you are upsold without giving consent it borders on a scam.
I don’t want to give the impression, I’m trashing Hanrahan’s because I’m not.
Besides the water scam, Hanrahan’s is one of the superior English Pub’s on the reservation and has a great location, atmosphere, and sexy service staff. It’s the best eats on Soi 4 and its subsoi’s and also the best ambiance.
Foods good and the window seats have an excellent view of the Hilary club girls.
Their English Breakfast, pictured below, is top notch. Not up to the Dubliner but damn close.
For 300 baht with coffee, it’s a good deal.
Everything else I’ve ever ordered at Hanrahan’s has been good too.