Thirsty Lion, Tempe AZ – USA

I was in Phoenix / Tempe for almost two weeks for business.  Some guys at work had suggested The Thirsty Lion as a good place to go for dinner.  The Thirsty Lion is situated in Tempe Marketplace, which has lots of places to eat and a few upscale shops.

The Thirsty Lion is an enormous pub with a large square bar in the centre and tables all around.  There are lots of TV screens dotted around the pub and there is also an outside area that has some tables situated around an outside fireplace that is pretty cool.

I arrived with two (out of town) colleagues on a Tuesday night.  Tuesday nights in Tempe are not very happening so we were greeted with a smile and given a choice of tables.  This is a fairly modern pub with young and pretty staff and a fairly young clientele to match.  The music here is loud with a constant steam of MTV hits showing on half the TV screens with sports being shown on the other half.

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The Library, Kuala Lumpur – Malaysia

I had been in KL for about 36 hours.  I was slowly coming to terms with the fact that I could find many places for dinner that served excellent food, but no beer, or I could find several establishments that served beer along with mediocre food.  It seemed it was very difficult to find somewhere that had both.

A client had insisted on taking me out for the [Friday] evening and despite my very best efforts at refusal; I had failed miserably.  I had been taken to a great Banana Leaf Curry restaurant that was actually a great experience that you should try.  Having been fed, I was ready for a beer.

I try to be aware of different cultures when I travel and I was aware that Malaysia is a Muslim country, and as such many of the people that live and work there may not drink alcohol.  It took about an hour after dinner before I eventually asked if we could find a beer.

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Casa Del Gatto, Bonn – Germany

I was in Bonn on business and had been staying a few weeks.  It so happened that we were staying when the Bonn carnival was on.  My client had informed me that the festival was on but I didn’t really understand how big an event this is to the locals.  It was the Monday of the carnival and as people had been drinking since very early, most of the restaurants I saw were quiet.  The same could not be said for the pubs!

I had wandered around Bonn with a colleague for a while and I saw an eatery that looked interesting; it was called ‘Casa del Gatto’ (Cathouse).  The logo they used on the sign amused me so I stopped to look at the menu.  There was the (normal for Bonn) selection of pizza, pasta and sandwiches.  It was very cold and as it was getting late, in we went.

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Park Royal on Beach Road – Singapore

I was staying in Singapore for 11 nights on business as part of a project.  There were some 21 global colleagues staying in the same hotel; alas I had no choice in the brand.

I had never heard of Park Royal hotels before I received the reservation confirmation from my client.  They seem to have a number of hotels in Asia that target the higher end of mid-range clientèle.  They do not have their own loyalty programme, however they are part of GHA (Global Hotel Alliance), which is at least something.

A chauffeur car was included with my Emirates flight and less than 20 minutes after leaving the airport, we were pulling into the hotel.  The first thing I noticed was that there was a huge building site right next to the hotel – more on this later.

There are 7 floors here but from the outside, the building looks a lot bigger.  There are many rooms here – indeed walking from one end of the corridor, passed the elevators and down the other end is a task that I don’t want to repeat.

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Restoran Rokaro, Kuala Lumpur – Malaysia

I had been staying at the Hilton PJ for a few days already.  There was an Exec Lounge at the hotel, which provided me with my much-needed beer supplies – but only until 8pm at which time the beer was cruelly taken away.  I was wandering the streets looking for a new supplier when I came across Restoran Rokaro.  This is a Japanese karaoke bar that offers lots of seafood (yes, you can pick your own live lobster and then eat it…) lots of drinks and some karaoke too.  There was a very large sign that read “Members Only” but I think this was to deter some of the less well off locals – I was warmly welcomed and offered service immediately.

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Emirates Business and First Class Lounge – Kuala Lumpur

Business and First passengers share the Emirates lounge at KL. Skywards elite members also have lounge access irrespective of the travel class they are in.  As the lounge is shared with First passengers, they make it pretty cool.

I was greeted at the desk with a smile and a welcome.  My ticket was checked and I was invited to enjoy the lounge.  This lounge was bigger than I imagined (although by the time to left to board the lounge was almost full) with lots of staff waiting to look after someone.  Service was important here – there were two staff members (one male and one female) to assist you in the bathroom…  I am not sure what they could do for me other than leave me alone in there!

Anyway – I took a seat and was immediately welcomed by my server and asked if I wanted anything to drink.  I opted for some champagne that was served at once with all of the Silver-service you would expect.

There was a fair choice of food here – pasta, curry, snackage and some other goodies along with some pretty good wines (which are nigh impossible to obtain anywhere else in KL).

I wouldn’t rush to be here any earlier than you really need to be – it is after all just a lounge.  However, if you are here then you will certainly not want for anything.  Free Wi-Fi and lots of international power points are available.

Enjoy yourself.  And if you have a blue tag on your carry on, try not be upset by those who have a red one; you could have a green tag instead.

Dave’s Electric Brewpub, Tempe, AZ – USA

I had been staying in Phoenix for a couple of weeks on business.  Hailing from Scotland I like a bargain just as much as the next person, so I often look for coupons and promos for places to eat.  Restaurant.com offers $25 vouchers for $10 but they often run promotions, which gets you money off this.  I had managed to obtain ten $25 vouchers for ten different venues in the Phoenix area for the handsome sum of $10.  It was almost the end of my business trip and I realised that I hadn’t used any vouchers yet!  I presented my vouchers to the lady at the front desk in the hotel; she recommended Dave’s Electric Brewpub and as I could hitch a free ride in the hotel shuttle, it was a done deal.

Dave’s electric is small.  It has a bar area as well as tables for food – maybe 12 of them.  There is a fairly large outside area with plenty of seats and tables and you can access the bar from outside which is always a good thing!  The décor here is almost non-existent – some bare brick here and there but you clearly don’t come here to sit in a trendy place.

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Taj India Restaurant – Bonn, Germany

I had been in Bonn for almost a week with a colleague on business.  We were disappointed with our recent German food experience, but weren’t yet ready to have more Italian.  We soon discovered we each had a curry craving…

A search on a popular review website (who we wont mention here) suggested that we try Taj India; indeed this was rated 29th out of 431 restaurants in Bonn.  We went on a U-Bahn adventure and found ourselves outside around 8pm.

Upon arrival I was slightly perturbed to catch a glance of the ‘Pizza’ section of the outside menu; I have never been to an Indian that serves pizza.  Inside I wasn’t concerned by the almost-80’s décor as I naturally assumed this meant the food would be good.  We chose a table and after a few minutes more than I would have liked, we were eventually given some menus by the Indian waiter.

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Roses Restaurant – Bonn, Germany

I was in Bonn for a couple of weeks on business and was quickly working out that the centre of Bonn is not very big.  One lucky colleague was with me on this trip and we needed some beer and if time, some food to go with it.

We found Roses a short walk from Bonn central station and after a quick glance in the window, decided to go in.

This is a funky place; a bar with comfy seats and a real fire to the right, and tables for the restaurant to the left.

We were greeted almost immediately and offered a seat of our choice.  We sat next to the fire in the bar and looked at the drinks menu.  It was fairly extensive with the normal beers that you would expect but also a good selection of wine.  Had I not already decided on beer before entering, I may well have had a bottle of Argentinian Mendoza Clos De Los Siete (33 EUR), which looked yummy.  I did have a little glimpse at the Rothschild too… and then at the 298 EUR price.

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Black Chile Mexican Grill, Phoenix – AZ, USA

I had been in the US for about a week on business.  I had gotten up early and driven to The Apple Store to buy some goodies on the cheap (compared to the UK!).  Black Chile is located in an upmarket mall with several funky shops and eateries as well as The Apple Store.  A shiny new Apple TV in hand I decided it was time for lunch.

I went in the restaurant and the first staff member I encountered completely ignored me – not a good start.  The girl behind the bar shouted me over and explained I could have any table I wanted.  It may have been January and it may have been colder than it could have been, but it was a lot warmer than it is in Scotland in January so I went for a table outside.  I was delighted to find bar stools – one side of the bar had a shutter so I could sit outside at the bar!  Fantastic!

This was a fairly modern place – focus is on expensive dinners with a strong Mexican theme.  There was lots of black and a few choice paintings dotted around.  It was lunchtime though and most people were having smaller plates.

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