Cook bacon pieces in a large Dutch oven over medium heat about 5-8 minutes or until bacon is crisp. Using a slotted spoon, remove bacon and place it on a paper towel-lined plate. Set aside
While bacon is cooking, slice corn kernels off the cob over a bowl and set aside.
Use a clean paper towel to absorb some of the bacon grease, reserving about 1 tablespoon in the pot. Add butter and melt over medium heat
Add diced onions and cook for about 5 minutes, until soft and translucent. Add garlic and flour and cook for about 1 minute, stirring often
While whisking, pour in vegetable broth and increase heat to medium. Add in corn, potatoes, thyme, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper. Stir and bring to a low boil, then reduce heat and simmer.
Continue to simmer, stirring often, for 15-20 minutes, until potatoes are fork tender
Use an immersion blender or food processor to combine half of the soup until smooth
Stir the blended soup back into the pot
Add in half and half and about half the chives. Stir in and heat through
Garnish with chives and cooked bacon pieces