THE DARK SIDE OF HONG KONG NIGHT LIFE 1

Once upon a past and when Hong Kong still had its mojo and that much missed Can Do spirit, at the Dickens Bar of the Excelsior Hotel in Causeway Bay were afternoon Jazz sessions led by guitarist Tony Carpio.

These afternoons were hugely popular with there always been a brilliant Indian curry buffet to spicy things up before the ‘live’ music took over and the beer flowed. These Jazz Sessions were part and parcel of a Sunday in Hong Kong when horse racing was always held on a Saturday.

Today, the music has died on Sundays- at least in hotels though many would say, the ‘live’ music scene in Hong Kong died over a decade ago. To those who blame this on the lack of venues, one has to ask, Where’s the talent?

Why have venues for ‘live’ music like Orange Peel closed and those left struggle along until they go bust with the music supplied being by the usual suspects and most simply not up to standard? Because those long in the tooth agents keep going to the same old well. They are clueless about options.

As for the hotels, most lack that certain je ne sais quoi known as common sense: Because their resident trio and singer have Sunday off, none have thought about having an act for a Sunday evening despite knowing that customers visit restaurants and bars and hotel lounges hoping to chill out and take in some ‘live’ music with friends before facing the week ahead. Guess that thinking is not part of job responsibilities.

Yet, all those geniuses running hotels in Hong Kong, don’t hear this tune being played which shows the standard of those running hotels these days-glib, colourless characters content to ride the gravy train and not think out of the box with their underlings too busy shoe shining egos for there to be any independent thinking.

Sitting earlier this week at the “bubbly” bar of a certain five star hotel in Wanchai, one couldn’t help but eavesdrop on the German F&B Manager speaking to the person somehow given the role of managing this outlet. As there was a big function taking place in the hotel’s ballroom on the Sunday, he mentioned how many would drop into the bar- and then drop out because it would look and sound more dead than Le Rue Morgue. Really?

Well, Einsteins, simply hire a duo or even a singer-guitarist for the night. But no, there was only navel gazing until this customer piped up and told them to use common sense: When you KNOW there’s the opportunity for business and this is still not catered for, it shows a certain amount of stupidity. But, especially five star hotels in Hong Kong today, are struck by stupidity and mediocre management.

It’s why staff are unhappy and looking at bailing and why standards have dropped while top management spend their time wondering if their coffee shop should serve a veggie burger at 5-star prices and make sure staff top up drinks before customers have even finished their very expensive liquid gold. Don’t.

We’re onto you people and the best and worst hotels and restaurants and bars and clubs will very soon be named and shamed here. The gravy train tap is about to be turned off. Dig?

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