The Thai-Danish couple Wanna and Bent Laasholdt retired permanently from naval duty at their Admiral’s Pub & Restaurant on Friday 14 July 2023 with a big party at the popular location in Bangkok. But they are not retiring from active duty altogether. Around the corner awaits the next job as supervisors of a hotel in Phitsanulok, where relatives of Khun Wanna are major shareholders.
“The name is “Shinnabhurra Historic Boutique Hotel“, Bent Laasholdt reveals.
“Actually, it is exactly halfway between Bangkok and Chiangmai, so if you wish to go on an adventurous car trip you are welcome to stop over. We are going to be resident supervisors – the hotel already has the key personnel it needs. But I think I will organise a few golf tours and bicycle tours and that kind of thing now that I am there,” he adds, mentioning two of the couple’s favorite activities during the years at the centre of social activities among the Scandinavians in Bangkok.
The closing party at The Admiral’s Pub and Restaurant in Sukhumvit soi 24 was filled to the last seat with faithful patrons who have enjoyed the food and ambiance of the Admiral’s for 30 years – in so many different locations. In 2013, then ScandAsia journalist Sine Neuch Thomsen wrote:
“The history of the Admiral’s Pub & Restaurant, a familiar name among especially Bangkok-based Scandinavians, is quite a roller-coaster ride. Openings and closings, exciting new opportunities that fizzled off, and much more. All this appears to be a thing of the past.”
That was on the occasion of the opening of what finally ended up as the last location of the restaurant in the basement of the Oakwood on Sukhumvit Soi 24 in Bangkok.
At that time, in 2013, they had just moved after two years of Hotel Mermaid in Sukhumvit Soi 29. This restaurant they were promised was going to happen shortly after they, in 2007, closed their dream location in Sukhumvit Soi 18 – but the new location was constantly being pushed around, first from Sukhumvit soi 27, then to Sukhumvit soi 29 and then postponed again and again until four years later, when the couple had eventually lost almost all the fabulous staff that had helped make a big name for the restaurant during the years from 2000 to 2007 in Sukhumvit Soi 18.
But the legend is older than that. The first Admiral’s Pub & Restaurant opened in 1993 in Jomtien and later, in 1998, the couple opened a branch in Hua Hin. Everywhere the restaurant was located, interior decoration focused on the golden years of Denmark in Thailand during the reign of King Rama 5 Chulalongkorn.
One of the many equally legendary patrons of the Admiral’s, Neil Pye, had written a tribute to the two retiring Admirals which he sang himself to the tune of “House of the Rising Sun” accompanied by the musician of the night, guitarist and singer Brian Patterson – who impressed everybody with his exceptional cover versions of a range of Kim Larsen’s most popular songs.
The history at Shinnabhurra in Phitsanulok goes way longer back than that. But you will have to go and explore that by yourself.