By Richard Mehr
When it comes to finding a location in town to share a few beers and food in a lively atmosphere, there is no doubt, Father Ted’s Irish Pub & Steakhouse is the place that comes to mind. David Long is amongst the friendliest, down-to-earth and welcoming restaurant & pub owners in Hua Hin, always on hand to make sure his patrons are well looked after.
Originally from Cork in Ireland, David grew up helping in his dad’s company, lifting cash register machines, fixing slicing machines, weighing scales and money counting machines.
He studied electronic and sound engineering and worked briefly at the Opera House in Cork, before being offered to help one of his dad’s clients, who owned and operated several pubs in the city, to teach the employees how to use the cash registers and implement stock taking and inventory procedures, which eased the workload of the team.
There, he was given more management responsibilities as he was learning the tricks of the trade which gave him a first insight at managing pubs. Globe-trotter at heart, David travelled around the world, from Austria, to Thailand, to Australia, to Fiji and finally the US, but there was something special about Hua Hin.
From 2004 onwards, he visited Hua Hin frequently until the day he seized the opportunity to work in our peaceful and charming city. After having worked in several places throughout town, David decided it was time to start his own business, Father Ted’s opened in December 2017.
“At the time, it was probably the hardest decision I’ve made, as I had no idea what the outcome would turn out to be, but today, I am happy I’ve made it.” says David Long.
[Hua Hin Today:] What do you like about Hua Hin?
Its culture and heritage without a doubt! There is a certain normality here and a way of living that you won’t find in places such as Phuket or Pattaya, and I must add, there is also a different level of expats living in the region compared to other destinations in Thailand.
[Hua Hin Today:] How are you surviving the pandemic?
Like everyone else, we’re suffering but I can’t complain. Although Father Ted’s went through three closures in the past 2-years, our clients have been very supportive and continue to be, to this date. We are thankful and blessed to have many regular guests patronizing Father Ted’s and helping us through the pandemic and I am particularly proud of my dedicated team, who despite the severity of the situation, stayed on board and continue to play a major part in Father Ted’s success.
[Hua Hin Today:] What is your biggest challenge, today?
I wouldn’t want to speak as an individual, it wouldn’t be fair as everyone else is in the same situation, if not worse, and I was saddened to see some nice places close down. Our biggest challenge is of course, the lack of tourists to the region. It is rather sad to see Hua Hin, as it is today, with empty streets, empty shops, restaurants torn down to rubble that haven’t been cleared yet. It’s important that we adopt a forward thinking approach and prepare our lovely city for the future.
[Hua Hin Today:] What would you like to see happen in Hua Hin over the next 5-years?
It would be nice to see Hua Hin grow without losing its identity. We have a little bit of everything already, but if we aspire to attract more tourists throughout the coming years, a few additions are needed to meet rising expectations. For instance, opening and easing access to the region, have a better quality of nightclubs, themed lounges, (not necessarily girly bars), a variety of specialized shops selling different products as we often see in France, Greece or Italy which are usually spread-out in walking streets. We can’t just stay stuck with yesterday and not think about tomorrow just because of the pandemic, we need to evolve as well and be ready when international tourism comes back.
[Hua Hin Today:] What do you think is missing in Hua Hin?
In general, we have more than enough but simple things are still missing such as art galleries, studios, an opera house, a museum, bowling alleys or a youth center offering various specialized sport activities indoors or outdoors, a dance school, a little bit of everything to keep visitors occupied.
[Hua Hin Today:] During the pandemic, you’ve posted a bit about charity work you were involved with, tell us more about it.
During the pandemic, I kept on thinking about orphanages and how children were coping with this scourge, and since my brother is adopted, it is for me, personally, a matter I hold close to my heart. I came across MERCY HOUSE orphanage in Pranburi and helped wherever I could, whether it was collecting food for them, organizing games or distributing Christmas presents, it kept me happy to see the smiles on their faces. Honestly, I would like to do more, when time permits of course, and encourage everyone to do the same, they do need help.
Father Ted’s Irish Pub & Steakhouse
19 Damnernkasem Road, Hua Hin. Father Ted’s on Facebook