Drain the canned clams over a measuring cup and reserve the juice. You will need 3 cups reserved juice in total, so add the 2 bottles of clam juice to make a total of 3 cups.
Add the bacon to the Dutch oven and saute long enough for the bacon to begin to render its fat but not begin to brown, about 3 minutes. Turn up the heat and add the garlic, celery, onions, thyme, bay leaf and some salt and pepper. Saute until tender and fragrant, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the flour and cook until pasty and blonde. Stir in the clam juice, and then add the potatoes. Bring to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are just tender, about 8 minutes.
Add the half-and-half and clams and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Season with the vinegar, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce and salt and pepper. Serve with the snipped chives.
Recipe courtesy of The Neelys